Yesterday, I was talking with my new client, Donna*, gathering a bit of background information – her address, phone numbers, email – seriously, nothing ‘heavy,’ just her contact info, at which time, she emphatically blurted out, “I love to cook for my family for the holidays and I’m not giving it up. My mother didn’t cook or bake for us during the holidays when I was a kid, and I’d always wanted her to. So, I cook up and bake up a storm each and every year for my family, and I am not going to stop! My kids, my husband, everyone – they love it. And, I repeat, I am not giving it up!”
“Oh … Okay,” I replied.
Believe me, I had no intentions of asking Donna to give up anything. Far be it from me to ‘take away’ her family’s gastronomically driven happiness or strip her of her identity as the fabulously, wonderful mother whose sweet potato pie and potato pancakes are to die for.
For the record, I am not the food police. Nor, I am in the habit of asking people to give up anything; much less cart away the foods that they think/feel make them the happiest.
Au contraire, I take nothing away! I am all about adding to your life; helping to bring out the best in you, supporting you in finding ways to add copious amounts of health and happiness to add to your daily platter.
Once I fully explained my position, Donna settled in and over the course of the conversation, she said, “I am really annoyed at my son. I asked him if he remembers the wonderful holidays that we’ve shared, and the delicious foods that I whipped up over the years, and he couldn’t remember not even one dish.”
With heaps of loving-kindness and sincere compassion, I gently brought Donna’s attention to the contradiction. I asked, “Donna, why do you think is it that your son can’t recall any of the dishes?”
“Because,” she slowly said, “the food isn’t important to him.” Allowing Donna a moment or two of silence to chew over her thoughts, we sat in silence until she was ready to continue. “Oh my, the only one who deeply cares about the food is me.”
And there you have it. The lid had been removed from that pot. Donna realized that she had more or less painted a Norman Rockwell fantasy. She had woven a beautiful story around the foods that she loves, making it all right for her to cook, serve and eat them. She was being her own ‘good mother,’ giving herself what she’d wished for as a child.
Still, whether or not Donna changes her holiday cooking habits is up to her. Again, I take away nothing from no one!
I am here to do the heavy lifting. The lifting of the lids that cover beliefs and stories that are no longer useful or even true.
Evolve. Don’t just improve.
*The names have been changed to protect the innocent.
And yes, permission granted by client to use story.