being quiet

Brim-fill the bowl,
it’ll spill over.
Keep sharpening the blade,
you’ll soon blunt it.

Nobody can protect
a house full of gold and jade.

Wealth, status, pride,
are their own ruin.
To do good, work well, and lie low
is the way of the blessing.

Lao Tzu
Ursula K Le Guin’s version

Last night, Chelsea made palak paneer, which is pretty labor intensive. Or, not labor, but it is time consuming and requires a lot of focus and exactitude, at least for a first try. Most of the process was making the paneer, which is more like performing a chemistry project from high school than it is like cooking.

It came out well, though there were a few missteps. I mean, this is normal the first time you make any recipe, especially when it involves ingredients you’ve never made or cooked with before. And paneer is a bizarre little thing to make and then use.

Despite some of our mistakes, it was great. More than that, it felt great to make it. The process of cooking is always enjoyable to me, even when it fails. It was also just fun, since Chelsea was the head chef last night. Typically, I do all the cooking, but it was fun to be an assistant in the kitchen.

And reading this poem of the Tao Te Ching this morning reminds me of last night. The joy of simply working well. Finding the pleasure in simplicity and doing new things. In working methodically and doing that well.

And I think that’s the point of this poem: to remind you to take care and be intentional with all your actions, regardless how small or seemingly insignificant. Whether it’s washing the dishes, cooking, or even just posting on social media.

Take care.

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