In the Presence of Coffee and Oatmeal

Each morning, I drop into a reverie that is becoming more routine than not. It occurs after my meditation and yoga practice but before that meditative state settles into my day.

It is a time in-between, this hour between the dog and the wolf, this waking up to the day Bloom of Peace 0613where thoughts define what must be done but being present provides the focus.

Breakfast often serves as a bridge for the meditative state to make its way into my day. A steaming bowl of oatmeal and coffee brewing simultaneously reach a point requiring a similar action, to pour.

The thought of pouring defines what is required but being present focuses the thought, which is either to pour almond milk into a steaming bowl of oatmeal or to pour freshly brewed coffee into a mug. If the general thought of pouring swirls between oatmeal and coffee, what was one or the other might just become another.

Such coffee-in-the-oatmeal mornings bring reality to our attention, courtesy of the meditative state. The realization of what has occurred intensifies our focus on what might happen next. This shape shifting of our lives uncovers us.

Give your real being

a chance

to shape your life.

~ Nisargadatta Maharaj~

Mindfulness does not multi-task but awakens us to where we are, to what we are doing. It is a snapshot, a jolt of opportunity to consider the untried, the untested. When our real being emerges, it is an hour between the dog and the wolf not so much of reverie but of reality.

I have many coffee-in-the-oatmeal mornings and just recently, I watched a writing life I had envisioned evaporate. The writer I was trying to be was not the writer I am. It was just that basic. I was trying so hard to secure a writing life not meant for me that I almost missed living the writing life I have.

I used to think I wrote because there was something I wanted to say. Then I thought, ‘I will continue to write because I have not yet said what I wanted to say’; but I know now I continue to write because I have not yet heard what I have been listening to.

~Mary Ruefle, “On Secrets”~

Footprints 1013

I am not a writer of fiction but for years fiction is what I thought I heard yet no center of any story I wrote ever held.

In my poetry, prose crowded meter, and the lines went flat. I did not distinguish what I heard.

Some sentences stand alone until the day they pour into a single paragraph not about one or the other but another, like coffee in oatmeal. For me, this shifting of my writer’s shape is my awakening to the writer I am.

Rather than hearing story or rhyme as one or the other I hear another, a beat in-between, a meditation on the story of a human being, sometimes a verse worthy of song.

If you begin to understand what you are without trying to change it, then what you are undergoes a transformation.

~ J. Krishnamurti ~

20 thoughts on “In the Presence of Coffee and Oatmeal

  1. Whenever I read your writing, I think differently. I’ve read this post several times, Karen, and I can’t imagine reading you differently. Your words are so real, so everyday… so deeply human. I just want to say ‘thanks.’ Meredith


  2. You are good at rituals, and at recognizing that they are possibilities for mindfulness, and for the fullness of life moment by moment–and you are also very good at conveying all of these things to your readers. What that means is–you’re a writer.


    1. As you know, there are days when putting one word either behind or in front of one that appears to be in its place is absolutely daunting yet what writer can imagine not knowing that challenge on a daily basis. Thank you, Ann!


  3. So much wisdom here, Karen, about writing, mindfulness, and being. Love the line, “what was one or the other becomes another.” Another opportunity to awaken. 🙂 {{{hugs]}} Kozo


    1. Thanks so much, Kozo! Of late, I have been struck with the possibilities another presents, something I have not always appreciated. As you say, it is about awareness, which can be such an eye opener.


  4. Writing is so many things in the course of a lifetime. For me it is often the place I explain things to myself. When baffled (a common state with me) writing is a way for some higher, quieter self to say, “Let me put that another way,” and a chance for the self that copes with paying bills and remembering there is no milk in the house, and is frequently frazzled to say, “Okay. Go ahead, I’m listening.”

    The patient, persistent writer adds a layer to life that the non-writer misses out on (or perhaps doesn’t need). Me, I’ll just keep writing things down–and I know you will too, Karen (and we will be the lucky recipients when you post them).


    1. Just as you say, Adrian, writing for the writer is so many things. One of my tendencies has been to return to writing I did at one point and try to finish it or even re-create it within that particular perspective. While that is a framework I can appreciate, in retrospect it is no longer a point-of-view I am able to write. When I read the Ruefle quote about not yet hearing to what I am listening, I thought ah, and so that is where I am these days. We’ll see. Thanks, Adrian.


  5. The connections you make between words and images, between thought and action, between the dog and the wolf, between oatmeal and coffee — awaken me to new possibilities. I love all your writings.


    1. Thanks so much, Beth. What continually amazes me are the possibilities within the connections, if I am willing to take the chance. It means a lot to me that you enjoy my writing.


    1. Yes, it is, Kenetha, and we seem to keep evolving providing we are willing to take the risk. It is as if it takes an ounce of understanding to open the door to a new us. Thanks so much.


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