The Exchange for Less
It was one of those days; the avalanche of depression had been triggered and there was no stopping it. I laid down for a couple of hours, and somewhere in between I heard the kind voice of one of my relatives telling me there was some broccoli, cauliflower, and cheese soup ready. I resumed my sleep for an hour more before rising to find that it was not a dream.
The soup had a lovely consistency of smooth and chunky, and perfect coloring of white, green, with little flecks of bright orange carrots that were peeking out here and there just to say hello. They used good cheese in it and I could smell it; I couldn’t wait to ladle some into my tangerine soup mug.
I looked around and noticed something was awfully wrong; there on the laminated countertop was an empty container of sour cream. I felt tears burning in my eyes. Really? This was one of the few times that I actually was excited about eating, and now one of my most favorite condiments was completely gone?
The avalanche had calmed, but it had not stopped. Feeling a bit of “hum-drum” again, I settled into the couch to eat. I will tell you, the soup all by itself needed nothing extra; the sour cream would have detracted from the elixir of flavors in the soup.
“The exchange for less is often gain” is a lesson that never gets old, yet is seldom learned. One of the triggers that starts the “avalanche” for me is always trying to do more to fill the inadequacy. I have alway struggled with wondering if the effort I put in was truly a good effort- could I have done more? If I helped someone, did I forget anything that could leave them in an unfortunate predicament? Could giving an extra $10 or $20 have helped that homeless individual with just one more need? Do I need to take on more responsibilities in my group? I burn myself out going an extra mile on my high mileage vehicle, only to crash and burn alone.But can I just enjoy the soup without all the extra? Can I say enough and just savor the moment and enjoy the good that’s been done?
When I speak of the exchange for less in a society that promotes and burns out the overachiever, I am not speaking of doing less than a project or task deserves, or shirking responsibilities. No. I am speaking of finding satisfaction with your work, and not needing to dot everything you do with sour cream to feel as if you’ve done a job well. There is plenty of flavor and beauty in what you have done already from the place satisfaction and the promotion of well-being in your world.