Powerful Placement • Powerful Presence

Spilling the Rice

This morning I spilled a bag of rice.  I had bagged it myself at the local health food store and to my surprise, the twisty tie was not secured.

This is how it went.  Rice spilling out  and landing on the pantry floor and on the shelf that had been its home and me saying “No…no…no, you’re kidding right?”  But no, there is was, on the tile, in the grout of the tile, in the saved plastic bags to recycle at the grocery store, in the paper bags stored for future use and just about everywhere.

As I got my broom and started to sweep it up, I started to think about this incident as imitating life.  There are times when everything,  e v e r y t h i n g, spills over. Down the chute, into the cracks and crevices of our lives.  Some of it is reachable and we can design systems to catch it and sometimes those avalanches of experiences slide into comfortable places.  We forget about them or store them for another time or they simply hide in the recesses of our minds.

Some of the rice was stubborn, embedding itself into the grout and establishing a prolonged visit with a corner; a corner that was particularly challenging to reach with a broom. There were moments when I surrendered and picked up the stubborn little critters with my fingers and then there were moments when I sought to manipulate the broom into being a pliable rag, swooping up the pieces.  That didn’t work.

I think of times when I have tried to manipulate my spillovers into reasonable containers to be dealt with.  That works for a while, but ultimately I have to clean it up.  I dispose of the overflow that I thought would add to my life and choose to save and cherish the parts that actually do add to my life.

There is still some rice left in the bag.  It is still useful.  I am grateful.  And those pieces that are hiding in the crevices will surface or move or reach a new place where I can see them. Those are the ones that chose to stick around for a while.  That rice is like the issue we finally get to that has been around awhile. It appears once again to remind us that everything surfaces in its time and all that matters is that we discover it, decide what we want to do about it and take action.

Rice. Life. Sweep. Deal. Dispose. Contain. Refresh. Move. On.



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Kathy Hoyer
12 years ago

More and more I realize that life is just one continuous, beautiful, mess that i need to “deal with”. The interesting part is HOW do I deal with it?

Maybe you had some hungry ghost to feed?

Thank you Ellen for your moment of contemplation this morning!

Carolyn Monjoi
12 years ago

Discovery is a wonderful thing, I’m learning, as I delve into my own crevices. I’m liking what I’m discovering because I am gaining the courage to do something about those things that just don’t feel right anymore. Thanks Author Lady.

Dale Dillon Lips
12 years ago

I’m busy sweeping the rice and picking it out of crevices too!

Natalie Wright (@NatalieWright_)

Beautiful Ellen. Thank you. I especially like the last sentence. You are a poet my dear.

Shivam Kohls
12 years ago

Ellen, what can I say? I love this! I appreciated the truth along with just enough humour to allow the “embedded rice” issue it’s safe haven in my life. I am lately dealing with some of those old stubborn pieces of rice that got embedded somewhere, that are now surfacing to be either “cleaned up” or “cooked”!

Love love love – Shivam

12 years ago

Oh, thank you for your comments! So glad that you could apply this to your life. By the way, one piece of rice that I missed has already shown up. Just sitting right there looking right up at me, fully exposed on the tile. I thought “There is something right in front of my eyes, in plain sight, that needs attention.” I am on the look-out for it.

Best to all and thanks for visiting,


Judith Lee Cohen
12 years ago

Indeed! and don’t forget enjoy the time you have to contemplate your actions,needs vs wants,
while you sweep the spilled rice.

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