Life is a lot like lasagna. We get the different layers we need, not always when we want them, but they all have to be there to make up the full lasagna dish. My favorite part is the cheese. I just love, love, love melted cheese. But if I only had the cheesey part, not only would it be just a ton of cholesterol, but it probably wouldn’t satisfy me the same way that the whole dish of lasagna does with the tomato sauce, noodles and any other fillings you put into it. Likewise, I don’t love zucchini, but I think it tastes really good in vegetable lasagna.
While noodling through life, sometimes we find that the layers of good and bad we get don’t always make sense, but if we can find a way to trust that it makes up our whole dish, it can possibly help us accept the layers of “ehhh” and appreciate the layers of visibly good things as we get them.
We may ask for, or work for, or hope for one thing or another thing in life that we yearn to have and yet, we’re given the layers that make up our own personal “perfect” lasagna dish of life whether we chose those “ingredient layers” or not. Things happen out of our control and we have to make peace with so much that we didn’t choose to put into our own life’s oven or onto our plate.
Like blowing bubbles into the wind, we don’t always know where our hopes, prayers, requests and efforts will go or which way they will land. You put them out there and they go where they go. So often we are surprised when we visibly notice or hear about our prayers or hopes being answered.
I challenge you to notice the incidences when things DO GO RIGHT, when your request (s), (large or small,) hopes, daydreams or prayers are answered. When divine providence works just so that you DO get the parking spot, find money in your wallet you’d forgotten about (even a quarter,) an old friend calls and you have a nice time catching up, or you arrived somewhere on time when you thought you were running late.
Human nature is such that we often focus on the negative and not the positive. Many of us have heard of that famous experiment that shows a single black dot on a sheet of white paper and how most people look at and FOCUS on the black dot, rather than the entire rest of the white page.
Many times there are things we think may go poorly and they actually turn out good. What a nice thing to notice this and be grateful for it in that moment. I know for myself that I need to practice this more often. If my focus is mostly on struggle, I get more struggle. If my focus, when possible, (and I realize it’s really not possible all the time,) is on what IS going well, I may at least feel somewhat better about whatever situation or layer of life’s lasagna is being layered on in that moment.
Personally, I find it’s helpful to note what positive qualities one has that help them to “deal” with whatever is going on in life: good, bad, ugly, great, blissful or otherwise. It’s not as corny as it sounds or you may think it to be! Noting personal traits of resilience and positive characteristics may help to continue to grow these good parts of oneself.
When we feel achey or depressed or alone or dejected about something related to personal health, relationships, or work, it’s hard to feel connected to others and feel a sense of greater meaning. Human beings tend to crave finding a way towards personal connection and meaning-making. This ties us to our purpose and our relationship to the greater cosmos.
To that end, in a workshop I was leading the other day, I asked the participants to think of the following questions and to write on each of these for a few minutes. These questions are still valid in how you think about and go about accepting the layers of lasagna that life is currently dishing you out to eat, so to speak. Ask and answer:
What is right with you right now?
What is right with your relationships? This can be your relationships with others, your higher power, pets, etc.
When do you feel most connected to your purpose or sense of meaning?
After taking time to think about or write on each of these questions, you may want to see what you notice, what stands out for you, or what calls to you as prescient at this time. Stay with that if you can! There is possibly way more going well in how your plate of lasagna is being served up than may seem noticeable at first bite!
Here are some additional resources on making a gratitude bag, a gratitude jar or a gratitude journal.
And if you’re a super big fan of lasagna like I am, (shout out to Pizza World LA,) you may be interested in this “Lasagna reading list” and lasagna quiz (because I’m a librarian!) that Los Angeles Public Library has prepared for your culinary reading pleasure!
Looking forward to hearing how everyone’s “lasagna eating and life-dealing” and strength/personal superpower-noticing goes this month!!! Email [email protected] and let us know your thoughts. Wishing you joy, happiness, good times and heaps of fun noticing the good.