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Shannon Brady

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Hook them with a quote

*Note: this post is part of an Everyday Inspiration 20-day writing prompt program I’m participating in. Today’s Prompt: Hook ’em with a quote.


open your baskets!

Welcome the present moment as if you had invited it. It is all we ever have so we might as well work with it rather than struggling against it. We might as well make it our friend and teacher rather than our enemy.” – Pema Chodron

After a full day teaching and practicing yoga, I sank into my sofa for a marathon of Chopped episodes…the teenage kid version. Flanked by a lazy kitty purring on one side, and a lazier excuse for dinner in the form of a bowl of Grape Nuts for dinner on the other, I inwardly sighed. These kids in their toques and aprons were making me look bad.

“Open your baskets!” the host demanded as four fresh-faced chefs below legal voting age peered in and pulled out a random assortment of ingredients: chocolate covered potato chips, canned rabbit, cranberry jelly, and some exotic spice I can neither spell nor pronounce. “You’ve got 30 minutes. And the clock starts…NOW!”

As they jumped into action it hit me: this moment right now, if I could allow it to be, was a friend, a teacher, not an enemy. Viewed from the perspective Chodron offers in the quote above, I could learn something from this present scene: the lousy bowl of cereal, my fatigue, the I-love-you-regardless-how-lame-you-feel-about-yourself-right-now cat next to me, the kids kicking ass in the kitchen on the screen in front of me.

My default, and maybe it’s yours too, is to draft a story around moments that make me uncomfortable. A 90-minute practice next to a yogi stronger than me, if I’m not mindful, could result in a dark tale about an undisciplined woman who ate croissants in lieu of daily plank poses and spent her bonus money on a pair of designer motorcycle boots instead of that inversion workshop she chickened out of. Watching a band of sweet kids get asked to create something edible out of a basket of total ridiculousness (they’re kids…can’t you give ’em some PB & J ingredients to work with already?) would typically have me cursing the Universe at the unfairness of it all.

But Chodron implores us to look at the present moment another way. The young chefs on my TV screen were here because they chose to test their creative chops under pressure, under the eye of a panel of world-renowned chefs (and in front of viewers eating Grape Nuts on the sofa at home). Chodron’s quote  reminds us that how we choose to receive the present moment can make all the difference in whether we’re able to cook up a new creation, or come to the party of life empty handed.

What wisdom can you gain from the present moment?


2 comments on “Hook them with a quote

  1. Lynda Bailey says:

    Another great story for contemplation Shannon. Love your work.

  2. mmccombs6 says:

    I agree with Lynda. It’s often times hard for me not to struggle against the present moment – I enjoy being present when I want to be. But I find myself resisting a lot too. Thanks for the post.

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