Lessons from a wafer

The challenge that was laid before me: move this vanilla wafer from my forehead to my mouth without using my hands.

I placed the wafer above my eyes, and began my task with the wiggle of my eyebrows. Slowly, I moved the small cookie down my face, working to isolate muscles that don’t usually get such attention. All was going according to plan, until the cookie took a detour, landing in close proximity to my ear.

“Oh, that’s a tough one,” commented my brother’s fiancée, as the game continued. I felt that statement carried with it the foreboding message that it was lost cause.

I was determined.

I focused.

I worked.

I took it one small head shake at a time.

I finally placed the cookie on my tongue, having successfully completed the challenge.

My brother’s fiancée commented that this accomplishment should be the focus of my next writing, as she had read my words about Kilimanjaro. I laughed off the thought. How can a wafer game compare to summiting a mountain?

As my week passed, I found myself returning to this question. The more I sat with it, the more I realized that this moment did carry its lessons. For those moments, as I subtly shifted the cookie, a centimeter at a time, I didn’t let doubt stand in my way. I didn’t give up. The voices in my head that are so often at the ready to tell me all the reasons something couldn’t happen were silent. While it was a small moment, I was fully present and living in that moment. I’ve had several conversations of late about being present in the here and now, not getting lost in the stories of your past or your imaginings of the future. This vanilla wafer gave me the opportunity to live in the here and now. It gave me the opportunity to be present. That small moment is a gift.

Life is made up of moments big and small. Sometimes we are able to climb a mountain. Sometimes we are able to move a cookie down our face without our hands. Each moment carries with it a lesson, an opportunity, a chance to find something bigger than ourselves. If we let it.

In this moment, I choose to let it.

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