Archive | January 2012

ASK FOR A BIGGER PLATE

 

Have you ever said, “I’ve got too much on my plate?”

 

Several years ago, while I was promoting a new book and traveling around the Midwest, I voiced that to Rev. Ralph, a minister I met in Milwaukee.

 

“Well, just ask God for a bigger plate!” Rev. Ralph chortled. “That’s what I do.”

 

Although his response was offered humorously, and I laughed along with that vibrant man, I immediately sensed the power in his light-hearted suggestion. And, in that ah-ha moment, the image of a large plate popped into my mind.

 

For sure, it makes sense for us to regularly examine our lives with compassion and wisdom, prioritize, and postpone (or eliminate) some of our “to dos.” Sometimes we do need to remove stuff from our proverbial plates.

 

At the same time, it IS wise to ask for a bigger plate!

 

We are all capable of so much more than we are presently doing and being.

 

Asking for a bigger plate reminds me of the Prayer of Jabez. Perhaps you read the book by that name which was authored by Bruce Wilkinson, published in 2000. The bestseller is based on the 1 Chronicles 4:10 biblical quote in which Jabez asks God to enlarge his “territory.”

 

To me, the Prayer of Jabez is like asking God for bigger plate. That prayer is not about wanting more material power and prosperity, but about having limitations softened and capacities expanded. We can all benefit by expanding our consciousness, capacities, and confidence. Can’t we? And, we need guidance and grace to do that.

 

When, like Jabez and Rev. Ralph, I ask for a bigger plate, I feel less restricted by limiting thoughts, such as I don’t have enough time; and I experience a sense of more space, focus, order, peace, and hope.

 

Try it. Ask for a bigger plate. Picture one in your mind. And, see how it works for you.

 

“REPURPOSING” INGREDIENTS: A LIFE LESSON FROM CHOPPED CONTENDERS

If you’ve ever watched an episode of Chopped, you have seen at least one demonstration of an ingredient  being “repurposed” in cooking. Repurposing is similar to the concept of taking a lemon and making  lemonade, and yet it’s more than that. When an item is repurposed in food preparation, it’s used in a whole  new way. For example, taco shells in the dessert mystery basket could be spun into crumbs and used as a  cookie, candy, or cake component.

 

I find this show to be inspirational as well as entertaining. What will the contestants prepare using their mystery ingredients? How might they combine salmon and root beer barrels into an appetizer?

As I watch the food transformations, I feel guided to apply the “repurposing” principle to life.

 

Everyday, we are handed a basket of unknowns. Nearly everyday, that basket contains challenges. The assignment for each of us is to accept everything that is in each day’s basket and use it as best we can.

 

We might first moan and groan, as some of the contestants do, when we face something difficult to incorporate. Then we get to work, as they do, using imagination, wisdom, and other resources.

 

On that show, the contestants have access to a pantry full of staples. To me, that pantry symbolizes our inner storehouse. We all have essential resources available to us. Among them are courage, wisdom, compassion, and love. Using these resources, we can repurpose everything. (In fact, many of the champion chefs have said that love is one of their most valuable ingredients.)

 

We’re not all great chefs. But we all have the ability to take the challenges we’re handed and turn them into savory and sweet life experiences.

 

Here’s a simple example. If we’re stuck in traffic, we can transform the seemingly “wasted minutes” into time to strengthen our muscles by doing isometric exercises.  Or, we can practice deep breathing. Or visualize our dreams. Or sing. Or just be present.

 

What about tougher challenges? You might ask. How do we repurpose an argument, an accident, an illness, a layoff? I don’t pretend to have solutions to all of life’s challenges. Ultimately, we each need to find our own ways to deal with them.

 

But, I’m convinced that we can “repurpose” anything when we use imagination, courage, and love. Chopped Grand Champion, Madison Cowan, sure shows the way, with examples like his Waffle Cone Remoulade and, more powerfully, his life. Did you know that, for a time, he was homeless?