When I ran for office, I made a (sort-of) joke that in order to function, sometimes I put other non-political things on the backburner-and sometimes I just took them off the stove.
Ironically my real stove had some problems during the campaign. The oven light went out and my husband couldn’t figure out how to access it to replace the bulb, and the oven igniter died, meaning that it took forever for the gas to ignite and warm the oven.
Sometimes life is like that. Certain things break down, even things that used to work. You’re faced with something challenging (a new job, a new relationship, a new baby, going back to school-or conversely you face a job loss, a broken relationship, a health crisis for yourself or a loved one or even a death in the family).
Certain challenges take everything you have to give. So other things fall away. During those ‘takes everything you’ve got’ challenges, you can’t pursue a beloved hobby, you spend less time with friends, and you can’t develop outside interests.
The heat is turned up. All your time and attention needs to be devoted to that one thing on the stove or in the oven RIGHT NOW.
Then the crisis or challenge passes. There’s either a resolution or you find new ways to deal with the ongoing challenges. You meet new people who supply unexpected help. The heat gets turned down in that one area.
(Ironically during the campaign I doorknocked someone who literally had expertise fixing stoves. After the campaign, I described the problem and he came with a friend and fixed everything at minimal cost.)
A few days after the oven was fixed, I had a dream about my stove. Even though everything worked, I was having a hard time cooking because there weren’t enough burners for all the dishes I wanted to cook. But for the first time, rather than telling myself I needed to take something off the stove, my ‘dream self’ had a new thought.
In order to cook what I really wanted, I needed a bigger stove.
I’m playing with that metaphor. I have a lot of interests, so metaphorically I need more than four burners to really cook. (This is in stark contrast to real life, where I don’t do a lot of cooking and clearly don’t need more than four burners J…)
What about you? Metaphorically, what do you need to be able to ‘cook’? Do you need the metaphorical equivalent of a lot of burners with different degrees of heat and a convection oven to cook? Or metaphorically are you challenged by the one big dish (or life issue) right now and you’re more comfortable putting all your focus on one thing at a time?
May we pursue our paths, learning the best way we cook, and being willing to make changes when our circumstances change,