The Wisdom, the Flex, and the Food

Yesterday, Theresa and I spent a handful of hours cooking together. She prepped salad fixings and veggies to dip in hummus; I roasted off some other veggies, made the hummus, and threw together a batch of soup to join the one already in the freezer for quick, easy meals.

We both enjoy cooking.

We both enjoy eating our own and each other’s cooking.

We both feel better when we eat healthfully and at home and have prepped our fridge such that weeknights are pretty close to grab-and-go.

And yet, this weekly afternoon of cooking tends to more often fall into the category of aspirational than actual.

So what gives?

Well, like I wrote about last week, there’s the structure of schedules and then there’s the room for flexibility. This is where we flex.

See, Theresa and I both generally work one day each weekend which leaves one free day, a day that sometimes needs to be used for chores other than cooking or errands or other life maintenance things. And, yes, it also sometimes needs to be used for visiting with friends or each other or just turning off altogether.

The gremlins have something to say about it, no doubt, and yet this is one of the many places where offering them some attention and bringing some curiosity can be helpful while giving them a say in decision making? Not so much.

What does that look like? For me, something like:

  • Feeling some resistance to cooking or hearing some gremlin chatter.
  • Tuning in. Sometimes I’ll even intentionally think questions like, “Okay, what’s this about?” or I’ll describe what I’m experiencing to myself, “I’m noticing some funk in my belly and a little heaviness in my chest.” These are ways of saying to the quieter parts of ourselves, “Hey, me, I’m listening if there’s anything you want to share.” And that part of ourselves? It often has guidance for us when we listen. Stuff like, “Yes, cook. You don’t want to know but you’ll be so happy when you’re done.” Or: “Really, you’re exhausted and overwhelmed. You need to be still for a bit.” Or what I got to yesterday in the face of a particularly boring bit of training I needed to knock out: “Do one hour of training solid and then you get to go have lunch and watch an episode of The Outlander.”
  • Follow the advice. That advice contains the good stuff.

Now, you might notice: The gremlins and discomfort were what got me to tune in but when I got still and curious, I was ultimately able to hear from my inner mentor. It’s as though the gremlins are sending up flares and though we might expect wreckage when we track them down, what we often find instead is the guru who lives in our psyches.

You might also notice that the good stuff I hear sometimes moves me toward my stated goal of weekly cooking and sometimes away. That’s okay so long as I’m really moving from a place of self-care and listening in, and not camouflaged self-sabotage.

That does not, however, mean that I ditch my goal. It means that I take another swing at it another weekend. It means that I tell the Gremlin of You’re a Failure to go sit in the corner while I make my grocery list – or while I listen in and find that this weekend isn’t going to work either – and then I do it again and again. Re-starting toward a goal and learning along the way.

Instead of weekly cooking, plug in exercise or blocks for focusing on email or number of networking coffees a week and it all holds. Whatever it is, life does and will get in the way sometimes. Whatever it is, you can always re-start toward it, so long as it remains a meaningful goal for you, a goal that’s moving you toward your best life.

Each Monday, I send a crew of people an email that includes my weekly post and bonus ideas and actions from me and the great world of the interwebs. Some of them also join me for a weekly gathering to chat informally, and sometime chomp on lunch at the same time. Mysteriously, we call it Chomp & Chat. We’re eager to have you there; get all the goodness here.