How many things have you got cooking on your stove?
In our house, at mealtime, it’s often a lot. We’ve got toddler taste buds…and kid taste buds…plus two grown ups who have each seen one too many holistic health practitioners and hold dear to our individual dietary do’s and don’ts.
In all seriousness, we love our health practitioners and our special food plans! But they do mean that there can be a lot of pots simmering on the stove at dinner time.
But today, I don’t actually want to talk about the literal pots on the stove. I want to talk about the sense you have in your life of how many things you are trying to “cook,” to make, to get right, all at once.
For many of us, it can feel like professional work is one soup we are making, family and personal relationships are a whole other pot of soup, and our own self-care is yet another pot. On top of that there may be other pots – volunteer commitments, creative side endeavors, home or financial projects, not to mention the dreams we keep meaning to get to – if only a spot on the stove would open up for them!
Of course, this is overwhelming. I’ve been thinking about the implications of feeling our lives are divided this way – like there are so many different, distinct domains and roles to attend to. It leaves us feeling daunted and depleted. Women in particular are conditioned to think of it this way, to see the compartments as distinct, and therefore to have to juggle many different ones.
But what if we hold the story differently within ourselves? What if we try on the idea that we are each only cooking up one pot of soup, one delicious creation, out of all the ingredients of our lives.
If we do that, we have a better shot at enjoying the cooking process. We get to see how the ingredients of our lives blend in interesting ways to make a rich, hearty stew. And the moments of overwhelm may feel more like opportunities to dance with the chaos playfully – a moment to throw in some spices or alter the recipe to account for the unexpected.
But how do we get there? How do we get out of the sense of juggling things on 17 different burners?
We can begin by identifying a single intention that we can carry in both our work, our personal lives, and all the other spaces through which we move.
In our Sunday session, I asked our community to do that, and they came up with so many stunning sentiments, single intentions that could credibly and supportively guide them in their work and personal lives – sentiments like these:
to spark growth in myself and others
to create connection
to be a vessel for a greater Spirit
to show up with integrity and presence
When we make one intention the touchstone, when we say it when we get up even before we get out of bed, when we say it again when we start to get stressed or distracted, the day is different. The fragmentation we see around us begins to blur into a kind of unity. We can be one self, with one intention, moving through spheres of life that may then begin to reveal themselves as not so different after all.
This – naming a unifying intention – is just one of the ways we can bring more harmony between our work lives and our personal lives. We talked about many more during the Coaching & Conversation session. If you long for more integration and harmony between the different domains of your life, I invite you to watch the full video, and do the journaling worksheet along with us here.
And last but not least – please share this with a friend or colleague whom you know would welcome a greater sense of integration and harmony between her work & personal life, too!
For today, just one big, gorgeous pot of soup, with many rich ingredients.
Just you, tending to it at the stove.
Header photo credit: Trình Minh Thu