Despite the fact that occasionally I feel as if I am being held underwater, being forced to adjust to that which such duress activates … my mind is actually, on the whole, quieter these days.

I’ve taken note of the silence while I’m driving around in the car, where I might discover that I’ve propelled myself for miles without even so much as radio accompaniment, yet without thinking much about anything beyond an acute awareness of what is happening as I drive. Downshifting as I’m approaching an intersection. Signaling left. Turning my head right, towards the car next to me where I might watch a young girl with content eyes, her lips quietly mouthing words to a song I cannot hear.

In the kitchen this morning, while making breakfast for my daughter and her friend, I realize I’m moving through my morning without the usual discordant chatter that usually takes up residence in my head. And when the waffle maker putzes out, completely ceases operation, and I open it, fully expecting to behold fluffy, golden goodness but instead I discover cold, gooey, drippy batter, I surprise myself when my mind simply responds, Huh. Oh well….

English muffins? I ask the girls. They accept the sudden breakfast shift without a dash of hesitancy. Children are so fucking zen. When does the shift away from that occur, the one that exchanges acceptance of what is for expectation of what should be?

When did I stop being zen?

Once upon a time I would have been, at the very least, annoyed at such a deviation in my plans. In fact, I might have quite possibly be driven into a fit of anger. The meaning I would have once attached to my waffle maker deciding to die, after I’d righteously admonished it with widely cast aspersions – you motherfucking piece of shit waffle maker, how could you do this to me, NOW? – would have activated what I’d have decided to be a pure, unabashed reflection upon me; a critique of my inability to get the simplest of things done the right way.

Okay, I might be exaggerating a little. But just a little. My point is that I am learning to relinquish. To let go of my need to control even the smallest situation like a shitty kitchen appliance fritzing out. But I am figuring out that, truly, while I can get myself to my next destination, whatever and wherever that may be, the only control I have over the outcome of what happens when I get there is, well … none. I can’t make it be. I can certainly make the room for it to play out in a way that feels desirable to me, but that’s all I can do – make way for it. Create a clearing. But that’s about it. It’s all just going to play out the way it plays out.

And so I think that knowing this inside of my body, where my wisdom really resides (I should probably listen to it more often, yes?) I think this is why I am having longer stretches of time where I am not worrying so much about my future, or fretting about what I could have done differently, or over-thinking how I am reacting to things. Or not reacting to things! Glory fucking be. I am still doing this shit, of course, to some degree. I suspect I always will. But the quiet moments I am becoming aware of – the ones where I am finding myself free from contemplation about why, devoid of consideration as to how things could be better, empty of absurd designations that they have much at all to do with me … those moments I am enjoying immensely.

Downshifting. It’s good for the soul. Maybe I will find the child-like zen again.

In the meantime, I will go get a new waffle maker. And this time? I will spend more than $12 on it, which will hopefully create the possibility that it won’t be a motherfucking piece of shit.