There it was, staring at me. My breakfast cereal hit me with some unusual wisdom. The flakes and nuggets became flecks and nuggets of gold.
The lessons came to me when I thought about the milk to crunchiness ratio. Stay with me, friend. This one will get interesting.
You know what I mean. Too much milk for too long, your cereal becomes soggy and a little like mush. Too little milk and the crunch is just unforgiving.
Each cereal has a slightly different ratio. Cornflakes and Rice Crispies need to be eaten quickly, Harvest Crunch tends to like to sit for a while longer. Most of us have an ideal ratio that is somewhere in the slightly moist, mostly crunchy range.
Breakfast cereal can be profound
My breakfast cereal taught me a lesson about recovery. Each one of us has an ideal ratio of crunchiness to smoothness.
If you have too much crunchiness, too much continual hard challenge, your life will feel overwhelming and will feel way out of your comfort zone. Life will feel unforgiving and harsh. Not enough challenge or crunchiness makes life uncomfortably boring, a little like living a soggy cereal life.
The unforgivably crunchy or The soggy cereal life. Which one do you want?
With cereal, you have control over the crunch to milk ratio. I wish life were that way. It would be more sensible to have an app that could dial up the crunchiness, or dial it down, depending on your needs each day.
But that’s not how recovery works. Sometimes you wake up and your moods kick you in the teeth. Or you feel irritable and pissed off at everything, even the wind. Or you feel continuously triggered and alone. Or you feel like you will never grow beyond where you are at right now. Or some days you have all of it together in one, long, shitty day.
Your today can lead to a better tomorrow
Breakfast cereal allows you to control the flow of milk. But life isn’t that kind. You have to go with the flow because in the eyes of life, you are the cereal. Life gets to control the flow and you have to adjust yourself to what life throws your way: The amount of challenge, it’s consistency and it’s temperature.
Truth is, you and I need all of it, the crunchiness and the milk. You need the challenge and you need times when life is boring. Life can get too comfortable sometimes and your soggy-cereal-life can feel too normal.
But you are meant for more than soggy cereal.
Remember that breakfast cereal serves a purpose. Cereal fuels you to live your life, to go on to greater things. And that’s why life throws circumstances at you: to give you what you need so that you can grow.
I get that you have your bad days: You blow your mind and freak out on your kids or your partner. You give in to your trigger and you drink/overeat/spend too much on your credit card again. You waste your day off because you feel lazy and unmotivated. Your ruminate on old using memories or traumatic memories until you feel overwhelmed, all over again.
Life won’t allow you to be even or “normal.” The circumstances that life throws your way are like fuel or vitamins that can propel you to better things. Depending on how you respond, your today has the seeds for a better tomorrow.
- Today, keep it simple.
- Accept that life is hard today.
- Be kind to yourself.
- Do one thing different.
- Stop the internal monologue and go for a walk.
- Go for coffee with a friend and tell them how you are doing.
- Think about your most important values and take one small action that affirms one of your values.
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Keep it Real
Photo by Mike Mozart