Everyone has heard, and probably spoken, the phrase "I have too much on my plate right now". I know I've probably said it hundreds of times in my life, but for some reason it's really resonated with me lately. I was talking with a friend...(okay, by "friend" I mean "my therapist" but I'm starting to get worried that I'm becoming "that girl". The one who talks too much about her therapist, annoying everyone she speaks to. So from now on, I'll be referring to "my therapist" as "my friend" so you won't know for sure either way and thus will hopefully not want to kill me every time we have a conversation)... about the concept a few weeks ago and that conversation helped me finally and completely understand what it means. Not only that, but I now see how you can use the visualization in a helpful way. Ever since this conversation with my friend...(ahem), I've been trying to evaluate what exactly is on my plate right now because I know for sure that it's completely full...I'm talking no room for even one scrawny string bean.
So, I started thinking about all of these things on my plate, hoping that I could find some wiggle room: kids, husband, job, Raising Little Heroes, marathon training (did I tell you about that? October 13th, baby!), friends, household chores...Grey's Anatomy (sort of kidding) and before I could finish the inventory, I started feeling overwhelmed because I realized that not one of these things is something I want to or can pass on or even get a smaller helping of. They are all vital to my life and happiness in this moment. I felt frustrated because while I know all of these things are important to me, I couldn't help thinking about the beets growing in my garden....
...our little community garden is doing really well this year. I feel proud of it because over the last 3 years of experimenting I finally feel like I have a handle on it enough to keep it looking nice and to actually harvest and eat the stuff I'm growing. I found a good time to go out and water/weed and I'm enjoying salads and green smoothies made from the stuff I've grown and picked myself. Very gratifying. One of the things that's thriving in that little plot are my beets. I hadn't planned on planting them, but a friend (no, a different one...but that's the last hint I'll give) gave me some seeds and I found some room for them. They were one of the first things to start sprouting and I've been watering them, weeding around them and watching them grow and grow. The greens are lush and they are fun to pick, but they also kind of stress me out. I know you can eat the greens but I haven't had time to experiment with different ways to prepare them. I throw some in salads and smoothies but really want to try cooking them too. I want time to think on it...to ponder...to lovingly soak and wash them 3 times like one website I came across suggested...but I can't find the head space to do it. I finally got around to boiling the actual beets and feel like I have a handle on that part, but I've had to accept the fact that it works best for me right now to just cut off the greens and throw them away. While partly liberating it's also kind of a bummer because I don't want to waste them. I want to figure out what to do with all of them...the whole beet.
The beets have become a symbol of why I am stressed out about how full my plate is. I started thinking to myself: "I just want to find room on the plate for the beets!!". At first I was telling myself it's because I'm too busy and I don't have the time, but then one day I found myself sitting on the lawn behind our apartment with my feet in the kiddie pool, sangria in my hand, good friend by my side sharing a lovely conversation. It looks like I have the time after all, so what is the problem here?
Then I started thinking all I want to do is take my plate, walk over to the garbage, scrape it, wash it and start putting things back on one by one. Thinking about each one, contemplating...before adding the next thing. Not surprisingly I quickly got frustrated with this approach as well because I couldn't choose the first thing--they all wanted to jump right back on at the same time.
Life is hard. I get that. It's hard for everyone and thinking about this stuff isn't going to magically give me a bigger plate (aka: more hours in the day) but I'm hoping being aware of it and thinking on it will help me prioritize a little better and create more head space. Mostly, I'm realizing that what I want most of all is to start with one beet. One beet on an empty, clean plate......I want to see how that feels before figuring out what to add next.
What would you put on your plate first?