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Reaction Time

I’m sauteing vegetables when a tiny droplet of oil bounces up onto my arm, exposed from a rolled-up sweatshirt sleeve. It feels hot, but I imagine that it’ll cool down in a moment, so I go about pushing mushrooms and spinach across the pan.

A few moments later, an alert flashes through my brain that there is still something hot on my arm and I should do something about it. I swipe my finger across the droplet and it feels like marking an email to “read” in my inbox. My brain relaxes and I return to my meal prep.

I’m washing dishes and realizing that there’s a lesson here. Perhaps one about removing yourself from the painful situation so a thing can get better. I make a mental note to explore this in a notebook or on The Smile Project blog some day.

Several hours later, I’m splashing lentils into what can only be described as a cauldron of mismatched ingredients that I am hoping will pass as “soup.” Once more, a bit of liquid leaps from the pot and onto my uncovered arm.

This time, my reaction is immediate. I wipe it off. There is no sting.

I’m drying dishes when I decide that perhaps every experience is an opportunity to learn… is a memory map to our hearts providing guidance on how to best protect ourselves.

Later still, I am holding a kettle that spent the past 10 seconds screaming into a crescendoing high note. There are two mugs on the counter, one with loose leaf mango, the other with a peppermint camomile tea bag. I am about to pour the boiling water into the glasses.

Before I do, I place the kettle on the stove top and instinctually roll down my sleeves.


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