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This post is part of my 2022 Word Project. You can read what that’s about here.

Wednesday, April 12, 2023

I’m thinking the word is groove.

As in, in a groove.

Because after a three month hiatus from healthful things, three months that were full of nightly baked bread and Cadbury egg blondies and raspberry syrup cocktails and no treadmill at all, I feel like I got back into a good groove.

It usually takes a lot to get myself into a groove. They’re so easy to fall out of and so hard to get back into. Sometimes I try, I mean, I get out of bed with excellent intentions of doing everything healthy and wholesome. I usually get as far as breakfast, but then there are animal crackers in the pantry and there’s cheese in the refrigerator and it’s Monday after all, or maybe it’s Wednesday and I’ve already had enough of the week and the only thing that really soothes a battered soul is a biscuit covered in butter.

I may not have perfected the biscuit, but I’ve gotten acceptably good at it. The trick is White Lily flour, which is low protein, which for reasons of baking science is good for biscuits. The other trick is super cold ingredients.

Question: why is bread so good?

At the end of the day it’s just cooked flour. But the universe sprinkles a little fairy dust on every loaf and it’s quite possibly the best food in the world.

My groove is more like a skipping record, stuck on boule.

Usually the only way to get back into a groove once I’ve botched it is to wait for my brain to make up its mind. There is a little switch in there, like the switch on a train track. It flips, and then I’m cruising along.

But until and unless it flips, I can’t seem to stick to all my good intentions.

Talking about it doesn’t help. Planning it doesn’t help. Mustering all the willpower and commitment in my being doesn’t help.

The switch has to flip itself and then all the struggles are meaningless because I just do it.

This time I got lucky. I summoned something, or it summoned itself. And I slipped back into the groove without the switch. There is some force of will that is neither mind nor spirit that I have tapped into to simply make things happen, even if no part of me agrees.

The groove is where I eat spinach with my bacon and eggs instead of a giant stack of chocolate chip pancakes, and I’m perfectly happy with that.

The groove is where I get out of bed and do a 20 minute Tabata ride without a second thought.

I love the groove. It’s just infinitely elusive. It’s why I hang on to it so tight when I find it, and why a single scoop of salted cashew ice cream can derail me utterly.

I’d like to think I make up my mind about these things because I am a font of strength and fortitude. But the truth is that my mind makes itself up. I just follow along.

For whatever reason I found my groove this week, and thank heavens for that. I really did not want to fall into an abyss of poor eating habits and inert evenings.

The groove is where I can get on the Peloton at 10:00 at night if I haven’t had time to do it during the day, and feel no resistance.

The groove is where Ralph asks if I want Burger King and I say no thanks, I’m in a groove.

It’s an excellent feeling, even if I had nothing to do with it. I’m enjoying it today and celebrating its reappearance. Maybe with a little positive reinforcement it will feel good about itself and stay for a while.

I don’t question the groove. I hug it and pet it and squeeze it and call it George.

Bonus points for getting the reference.

Motivation has nothing to do with the groove. I’m not particularly motivated to do pushups. But I don’t feel opposed to them, either. That’s the groove.

Accountability doesn’t affect it. When I’m not in a groove I have no qualms about lying to anyone who asks and saying I’m doing fine, thanks. I’ll say I had yogurt for breakfast, which is probably true, but I won’t say that I’m also in the process of eating my second row of Oreos.

Whatever forces righted me this time, I’m infinitely grateful. Because when I take care of myself physically, I also take care of myself mentally. I get more things done. I let fewer things slip through the cracks. Things sort of just line up.

Groove may be in the heart, but it’s driven by mysterious powers in the universe. Today those powers have all my adoration.

Photo: groove face.