The holiday season has this way of stirring things up. I’ve really been quite pleased so far with my Sanity plans—I’ve only bought things I’ve really wanted and waited 24 hours, I’ve avoided “baking binges”, I’ve been meditating…and then I ran *smack* into the ghost of Christmas past.
Last year I was making Candy cane marshmallows for the first time. Often the first time when I make something, I get tense because I want to do it perfectly. Whenever you use a candy thermometer, there’s a lot that can go very stickily, goop-ily wrong. I got all fussy when the gelatin glopped, but it all worked out. I gave them to E, and I proclaimed them perfect. He, of course, said, well, they’re tasty, but they’re pink. Aren’t they supposed to have candy cane swirls?
You can feel the stink eye he got from here. He’s not mean-spirited, just a very literal person with brain/mouth filter that sometimes leaks. This year, I asked what he wanted, and indeed, it was the candy cane marshmallows. And I felt my body tighten, thinking about how I had to do it right this time.
So they swirled. Not 100% perfectly, but they’re not pink, either. And once again I’m amazed at how I hold my breath, basing my sense of accomplishment on whether I can manage to swirl food dye adequately. Because I’ve got to do it RIGHT. It’s a theme that shows up in all sorts of places. If I get good feedback, I can exhale and it’s all okay. It’s a good day. When I get negative feedback, it tends to really sink in and touch me deeply.
I wonder why I give up so much of my power to situations that simply matter very little.
During this holiday season, lots of cakes will fall, lots of cookies will burn, and lots of pies will flip over into lots of laps. And Aunt Ida will probably make snide comments about your clothes, or weight, or hair, or something else trivial.
We just need to keep remembering each of us gets to decide where to put our attention. We get to choose what matters.