In The Heat of The Moment

Aug 01, 2023

Yes, it’s hot outside, but there’s another kind of heat stirring — some emotional discomfort — do you feel it?

I don’t know if it’s just me...but have you noticed the temperatures rising (and I’m not just talking about the weather)? I’m actually referring to the temperature of people around you, maybe yourself included. Did you know that July is on track to be the warmest month on record?

Clearly, our weather patterns have been a bit harsh and extreme with little middle ground, not just here in the Hudson Valley, but around the planet. We had a glorious spring that spoiled me as I slept with open windows and was lulled by cool mountain breezes for weeks. And then this! Periods of drought one minute then days upon days of rain or those that were a mix of both — very unsettled, very unpredictable...kind of like the disposition of many around me.

Let me explain.

When we’re hot and bothered we get irritable, we squirm, our words come out sideways and we create disruption and our own suffering. And worse, we then share that with others. It’s hard to avoid the energy of those we interact with. It’s also hard to shift when we are in that state.

Have you ever had someone tell you to calm down when you are in the midst of a meltdown? It likely didn’t go well. [wink] The point is to try to avoid that escalation altogether. Easier said than done...I know.

I feel like the discomfort with the weather is a great metaphor for our unaddressed feelings and unhealed wounds. Just think of it as a beacon shining a light on something that needs to be seen. Maybe it’s time...and maybe you’re ready to let something go? 

I don’t know if it’s my age, but my entire nervous system is exhaling and rolling with the punches a lot more than it did when I was younger. Do you remember when EVERYTHING was a big dramatic deal when you were young? I’m sure you can laugh at some of your own examples of this.

But hopefully we get more ‘seasoned’ as we get older and with it, we navigate life differently, allowing more to roll off our backs. It’s also important to be discerning — to be clear on what is in your control and what isn’t.

Sounds simple enough until you find yourself leaning in trying to fix something that isn’t yours to fix. In the past, I would get way more involved trying to help. Now don’t get me wrong, it doesn’t mean I don’t want to be helpful, but there’s a distinction between being nurturing and supportive and assuming the burden of changing a situation for someone else.

Hey, we are each our own full-time jobs! Ha. And the truth is that I can be a better mother, business owner, friend, community member and human when I clean up my own backyard. When we tend to our needs (and weeds), when we rest, eat well, nourish ourselves body, mind and spirit — we can show up with so much more clarity, kindness and resiliency.

I still have to catch myself and remember not to get involved in everything. Often when someone comes to me to complain or is upset about something, I now simply give them my attention, which is often what we all seek. Sometimes when we just get our feelings out and are heard, we can release and let go.

But I consciously remind myself not to insert my unsolicited 2 cents. There is an internal dialog that takes place where I remind myself to stay grounded, to not get caught up in the heat of the moment, to be compassionate and not judgmental. I call on my Stop, Breathe, Pray method. It works every time! 

You know when you are headed down a slippery slope. You know when you are being sucked in or you are off your game. You also know this will likely lead you to say or do something regrettable.

The restaurant business is fast and furious especially during our summer months. The staff is running and gunning at high speeds in and of a steamy, busy kitchen, contending with hustle and bustle and dramatic weather shifts. For example, we’ve had several sunny days with a jam-packed garden when the skies just break open to thunderous torrential rain and we have to pivot quickly.

So, when something needs to be addressed in our business or with staff members, I remember that we are all dealing with a lot. We walk into each day carrying our own burdens, worries, hurts and concerns. I’ve learned to wait until the fire is out before diving into the ‘issue’ at hand.

It’s such a kinder, gentler, more loving way to move throughout the world. It doesn’t fan the flame or add more pollution to a situation that is headed down a bad path. It also gives me more time to consider what I want to say (or not say). Both are equally valuable.

I hope this resonates with you in your relationships either in your home or work or beyond — and that we can all do our part to respond (or not respond) in the best way possible during the heat of life’s moments.

Stay cool, my dear friends. This summer is a hot one! Blessings to all — our planet, each other and all our furry and feathered friends.

And before I sign off, I want to share just how much my heart smiled when I learned that a park bench in front of the café was dedicated to our wonderful Pam Brown, the founder of the Garden Café. I am so grateful to her for her friendship and for allowing me to create my own vision upon that which she started. May she rest in peace and know she is appreciated, loved and missed.

—Lea Haas, Owner, The Garden Cafe Woodstock


In loving memory of

Pam Brown

A devoted mother / grandmother,

powerful human rights activist,

extraordinary chef, founder of the Garden Café

& a wonderful, kind friend.

We miss you & love you forever.


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