When I don’t know what else to do I make chicken soup.

I called a girlfriend I hadn’t spoken to in a couple of months.  “I have breast cancer,” she said. “This s a bump in the road. I’m having surgery next week. We’ll see what happens.”

I hung up digesting the weight of that call.

Next, I called my cousin. She just had surgery to avert worsening glaucoma, but her surgery provoked the very thing they hoped to avoid.  A surge of pressure now threatened to blind her. With love and prayers I hung up.

I then called my daughter at college who was having an angsty moment of overwhelm and uncertainty. I listened as best I could, refraining (as best I could), from reframing her situation and coaching her.

“I don’t want you to be a coach mom.” she said.  I offered love and support and hung up.

Each of these situations was out of my control and  I felt a deep sense of fear, anger, sadness and vulnerability.

When I don’t know what else to do I make chicken soup.

I’ve been making a lot of soup lately.

Making soup allows me to channel energy.

The gathering of ingredients brings order to chaos.

Control is the antidote to vulnerability.

Chopping helps dissipate the anger. A sharp knife thrust against a wooden cutting board delivers a percussive thwang (perhaps my inner scream) and vegetables surrender for the greater good.

I get out my biggest pot, my ladel, my spices. Methodically as a mantra I gather all the mundane seemingly insignificant ingredients: the carrots, the celery, parsnip, parsley, dill, onions and garlic and unite them in a collective cauldron of powerful purpose.

I bless them and thank them.

Truly the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.

And then I confront time.

In all situations, waiting equals uncertainty.

Uncertainty is that limbo space –the truest lack of control.

But soup has a finite time. Chunked down to two days.

Waiting with purpose accompanied by watching creation.

I see, hear, smell and feel the evolution of goodness.

I’ve transformed waiting into joyful anticipation instead of gloom and dread.

In a fixed period of 48 hours, I know I will have created a nourishing, soothing and healing elixir. I will bottle, bag and bring it to share as an act of solidarity and love.

Difficult situations ebb and flow like the tides and sometimes they swell like a torrent of  tsunamis.

And as much as I don’t like it, I know it’s how I respond to this ever-changing current that matters most.

Years ago my responses ranged from self- destructive binging to amplifying the negative situation by talking about every detail and perpetuating the story. Neither response helped anyone.

What do you do?

How do you or could you channel fear and loss into something creative that moves you forward with greater purpose?

When my mother underwent quadruple bypass surgery and I was in Italy teaching aerobics, I channeled my fear and lack of control into teaching the best class I ever taught.

Loss and death have catapulted some into activists like John Walsh who took his extraordinary pain, the murder of his young son and transformed it to rescue others from abuse and exploitation with his National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.

There is no one right way to manage difficult situations (yours or someone else’s) and this soup gig is new for me.

But for now it is what I do when I believe there is nothing else for me to do.

Make Believe~ Make Belief Affirmation:  Today I find a way to transform fear into love.



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