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#450: The Lesson of the Kitchen Cabinets

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Our lives are complicated, aren't they?

We fill many roles every day -- parent, employee, sports teammate, cook, chauffeur, gardener -- and many more.

I thought of this today as I cleaned out one of my kitchen's cabinets. We all have them. Canned goods in one, spices in another, pots and pans in still a third one, and so one throughout our kitchens. What is in one cabinet does not overlap others and the efficiency of storage in one is not dependent on any other cabinet.

What I'm driving at is that too often in our daily lives, with our many roles, stresses, responsibilities and obligations we allow one area of our lives to negatively affect another.

For example, we have a long, busy day only to come home and say we're too tired to exercise, even though we know that exercise will wash away our stress and the endorphins generated from the workout will refresh and energize us. We go to bed with nerves on end and endure a restless sleep caused by the day's unrelieved pressures.

Or we feel we've had too hard a day to be concerned about preparing something healthy to eat when we get home, even a simple salad or sandwich, so we justify running through a fast-food drive-through and instead of ordering something nutritious, rationalize that a greasy burger and fries will make us feel better and wipe away the day's frustrations.

But think of the kitchen cabinets. The pressure of the spice cabinet being without salt for instance, does not affect the cabinet storing the soups and other canned goods.

That is a good way for us to think of our lives. If we compartmentalize our disparate daily duties and stresses from the cabinet that stores our physical and mental health, then when we get home after that long day we will more willingly look forward to exercise and a healthy meal, knowing we are doing good for our bodies and our minds.

Because, really, does one area of our life need to negate all others? Don't we owe ourselves the success and enjoyment that comes from knowing that no matter whatever happens in other areas, cabinets if you will, of our day, there is one cabinet we can open when we get home that will decrease our worries and improve our attitude.

That is the cabinet that holds our well-being inside. It is the cabinet we should hold sacred. We should tell ourselves and others that what is inside that particular cabinet is a reward we save for ourselves that will offset all we have endured throughout the day, a reward that will never expire and that will never need to be replenished.

Let's do something right now. In our minds, let's label a cabinet, a part of our lives, with the words: "Do not disturb. Contents reserved for me! Contents include tools for the daily rejuvenation of my body and my spirit."

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