No Show: A Recipe for Self-Restoration

Dec 23, 2018

Photograph by Toa Heftiba

Sometimes it’s OK to not show up...

We’ve just made it to the other side of the hustle and bustle of the holiday season, which always manages to add its own special flavor of craziness to our lives. We feel obligated to join in the party, to get out and embrace it all. But this year I did it differently. I had to listen to what I needed and show up for that instead.

2018 ended with a bang — one that was noticeably more intense. And for those who know me, I like calm. I like life and my kitchen set at a certain pace.

I share this story with you because I want you to know that it’s OK to heed that call, not the one that fills the expectations of others — the one that says, It’s OK to pull a ‘no show’. Besides, if we don’t show up for ourselves first, we’ll have nothing to share with anyone.

Things can shift abruptly. Just last Fall I was on a high, celebrating and writing about the nature and love of my home here in Woodstock. That was until I suddenly received an unexpected notice to vacate before the holidays began. Holiday buzz kill, to say the least.

A change of ownership had taken place — and the home that I had rented for over a decade was to be updated and renovated (without me in it!).

It felt like a harsh blow and it could’ve dragged me and my family down with it. But there really wasn’t any time for that. All of my energy, money and focus was being summoned for searching for a new living arrangement and moving. That honestly took a little fa la la out of the season for me.

They say that things happen for a reason, but that is never comforting while midstream in the discomfort…but there’s some truth in it.

And you know what — I am very blessed to have such an amazing family and ‘chosen family’ who held my hand and helped me through this.

I’m happy to report that I am now in a new, more light-filled home. I have downsized belongings to a quarter of what once cluttered my space. My writing area is set up, my art supplies are condensed into a tidy cabinet, my kitchen is all ready for creativity — and the windows overlook a beautiful stone patio that awaits spring planting and summer languishing.

This has been a year of transition — expanding and retracting, kids leaving for college and becoming an empty-nester, birthing creative projects and recreating new spaces for solitude and germination. This new space feels like my blank canvas of discovery. Where am I going to lay the first brushstroke?

As with life, the move jolted me. It came at a time when my plate felt overflowing. And while it was, that’s just the way transitions often go. They don’t necessarily ask permission to enter.

A few days before Christmas when we were moved, I gathered my two amazing kids and said, We’re doing things differently. We have much to be grateful for. We don’t need any more stuff. We have a new home, each other and yummy food on the table. Let’s ease up on the gift-giving pressure and connect to the gratitude instead. And we collectively decided to not show up for the holiday frenzy. We did it our way…and it was divine.

Now that this whirlwind has passed, I'm choosing to not show up in more ways for myself. It is what my soul is crying out for.

I need to retreat inwards and sleep and process all that has passed — perhaps I need to mourn some things as I let them go and embrace others as they emerge. I don’t know, but I’m creating room for it.

With each big life change, I know I personally need space and time to chill and reset. And maybe you need some inward ‘me’ time too. There are seasons when we are called to go inward in whatever way that feels right. I think it’s OK (actually necessary) to not answer the phone for a day. Shut down the Internet and pop in a DVD. Put on a crock pot of root vegetable stew (see this month's recipe) and nurture yourself. Write your own recipe for restoration.

You are worthy. You deserve some attention to your own needs. And who knows best what you really need, but you? Are you listening?

Happy Restoration!

Chef Christine Moss, The Garden Cafe Woodstock

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