Cave Early & Often
We have used this recipe many times for Trio lunch. This time, as I prepared it alone in my kitchen before lunch, the profound process of dough making seemed particularly poignant. I added all the ingredients to a mixing bowl, let the mixer and dough hook work their magic (aka kneading), and allowed for the gentle rise and then equally gently fall and surrender of the dough to my pizza maker whim. It’s quite a metaphor.
As the dough rises in the warm, safe environment of the bowl it is equally prepared, as soon as it is touched, to cave quickly and become malleable in the hands of the creator.
CAVE EARLY AND CAVE OFTEN!
Stop wishing that things could be different than they are at any moment. If you can learn to do that, life will be infinitely easier.
Caving early and caving often is a skill. It takes conscious practice to build the muscles required for that kind of serenity. It is not always easy and it doesn’t mean to give up or render yourself powerless, it means you are willing to trust your outcome to an easier process that requires far less energy. It also helps alleviate undue stress and suffering, which is pretty much my goal in life.
Caving early and often is easily practiced by saying ‘no’ to an invitation that does not excite you, taking your family out for dinner when you just don’t feel like cooking, or abandoning a book that is not your cup of tea. It took me to adulthood before I felt the freedom of abandoning a book! Little wins like this can overhaul your entire outlook on life.
Think about it.
What little things do you insist on finishing or doing yourself that will feel like freedom if you just cave and let it go?
Practicing with little things like books and invitations can prepare us for weightier life lessons like finances and parenting.
For example, there is nothing that triggers me more than calling customer service for a third party booking company (Expedia, Travelocity, Hotels.com) and speaking to an agent in India who is drenched in apathy over my complaint. I had to do that this summer when changing dates on an international plane ticket. I spent almost two hours, armed with a hope disorder, trying to politely argue the inevitable (a steep monetary penalty) and knowing the futility of it from the beginning.
It definitely took me more time and energy than necessary to finally cave to the foreseeable outcome. And you know what? After becoming apoplectic before finally just paying the fee, I ended up saving the exact amount of the airline penalty in a discount at the orthodontist’s office when settling a huge bill for braces.
Well played, Universe. Well played.
My highest intention was to teach my child organization, motivation and the value of hard work.
My method included incessant nagging, guilt (which is a gift that keeps on giving), and overt exasperation. It’s a combination as old as time and as ineffective as a square wheel.
Finally, after swimming upstream like a salmon during spawning season, I realized that I was spending my time with charts and lists (I LOVE charts and lists!) that tracked what organization and motivation looked like to me. The charting system worked brilliantly to show me how much my child DIDN’T do each day.
In the throes of complete frustration, I had an actual epiphany. I realized if I stopped keeping track of every little behavior he wasn’t doing, I could let the whole thing go and focus on what was important. Our contract would be void (we had set it up together before school) which meant I could stop making charts and lists, paying allowance and I could put passwords on all TV, cell phones, and the gaming consoles. No more arguing and no more trying to transform him into an organizational wonder. The great news is I’m ALWAYS available for help if he wants it. In fact, last night, we cleaned up and organized his binders and got ready for Monday morning with serenity. I let him organize it his way and he thanked me helping him when we were all finished.
I can’t tell you how freeing it feels to let it go.
Will my son fail his classes? Possibly, but the principal assures me they track and support all their students and his English teacher has called me every other day for missing assignments (we found them in our clean up along with two detention slips). But he will have to figure that out. He is responsible for what happens at school and he may need some time to figure out what works for him. I am prepared to hire tutors, stand beside him while he organizes his way, and stand down when he doesn't want me there. What I am slowly beginning to understand is that my child doesn’t think, act or behave like I do (or maybe he does more than I realize). Helping when he wants me to makes things easy. Forcing him into a complete personality overhaul is really hard. In fact, it's exhausting!
It can even fracture relationships.
Next time you are faced with a challenging task or you are just plain frustrated about an ongoing situation, ask yourself, “What would make this easier?”
And when your little voice tells you to go out for dinner, abandon a book, or put parental passwords on everything, try it.
If the answer isn’t on the tip of your tongue, then disengage from the problem and watch funny cat videos. (Seriously, that helps. It’s amazing how a funny You Tube video can be a metaphor for your problem and handily give you a creative solution.)
You’ll know the answer when it feels like freedom.
And freedom goes well with a personal pizza and a glass of Moscato.
I’ve had lots of practice.
Peace and Light
The Busy Buddha
Talk Back to the Trio
What one little thing can you do TODAY to make your life easier?