The most important lesson I learned from my chef husband

February 1, 2013 in Expectations, Learning, Life

Before you begin… read here. *Caveat: This is a long one. Get your coffee.

Something BIG happened to me a few months ago.

Something I had never imagined happening.Truthfully, I didn’t even know it was possible to happen to me and ever since it has, I feel like I’ve been constantly in a game of tug of war in my head.

I’m still in shock I even comprehend whats happening and I’m somehow envisioning that I’ll wake up and find out that I passed out somewhere and realize that this is all a crazy dream.

The reason why I am even telling you this is because of my hunch that you too, RIGHT NOW, are struggling just like I have/am still, and if you have the chance to experience what I am, I predict you will feel the same way I’m feeling now.

It’s something that, before experiencing what I experienced… was the SOLE cause for my copious arguments with my chef husband. It’s what infuriated me about him,  was the reason why “How old are you?” passed through my lips, and when the tide was high, still had me wondering if we REALLY had what it took to actually make it, long term.

It’s what kept me on MY side of the fence… and him on his. Without a bridge to connect us.

I wish I was kidding you.

It’s something that I was so… unwilling to budge on; something that I NEVER saw any other way but my own, that the fact that I am sitting here, typing this out is still sorta freaking me out.

It’s probably the same situation going on for you and when you hear what I have experienced… I only HOPE that you will take me seriously enough to maybe give it a try sometime. *Note to self: ha ha, just did it there… keep reading.

Because, my dear significant others, It is starting to change my life.

Let me WARN you…me telling you what I’m about to tell you is not going to magically make all your frustrations with your restaurant man/woman disappear.  What I discovered is SO engrained in the fiber of who I am (probably you too) that I am still struggling to let go of my belief in it, right now.

Ever since experiencing this… It has changed my understanding of my husband, why he does what he does, and has actually brought us closer together, because of it.

I know… “Enough already, Kerilyn… you gonna keep us hanging forever?”

No. I just want to make SURE you’re paying attention because for 90% of us… this is going to be BIG for you as well.

I want to warn you this is going to push your buttons.. you might not want to continue reading. But please do.

This is the ROOT of your frustration.

Are you ready? *I wish I could pinky swear you before you continued reading.

Okay… I never understood why my husband was seemingly OBLIVIOUS to things around him. I always felt like he’s never been concerned with the future… he never really thinks about the past… and is just here. In the moment. He doesn’t really think about much other than what’s going on… RIGHT NOW. I have always felt like he’s walking around with blinders on… only seeing what’s right in front of him.

That said, he’s told me and I’ve heard from some of his staff that when he’s at work, he’s got to be and is ON TOP of everything that happens in the kitchen. Since he is responsible for everything that comes out of the kitchen, I guess he has to take a wider view of what’s going on. Everything coming at him at one time, making on the fly decisions, in order to make the kitchen run smoothly.

You know… donning the CAPE and all.

But as soon as he gets off the line, he’s back to living in the moment without much thought about what’s happening next or yesterday.

Then there’s me.

I’m always thinking about whats ahead for us, the future, my next goal or project or what to cross off my To Do list. From grocery shopping, to planning a family, considering how I plan to grow my mission here, I am constantly considering the steps it’s going to take to get to point B… and am regularly taking action to get there, as quickly and efficiently as possible.

Frankly, it’s a full time job to just do that… consider the past and the future.

It has always frustrated me that my husband is always seemingly happy. He lives in the moment and is happy to just go with the flow of many things in his life. He’s rarely upset and is just happy to spend time with me when he can… and since he enjoys what he does, and where he is, he is never thinking about a next move.

 I call him my Happy Buddha.

Source:  Pinterest

Frankly, I never got it and it frustrated the hell out of me.

I mean, there is always tomorrow to think about. Tomorrow and next week, and next year. You know, forward movement, right?

Hell, that’s why I became a coach, for Petes sake.

But no, he’s not concerned about that… he’s just happy to be wherever he is. NOW.

Honestly, It pissed me off. It caused arguments. It easily frustrates me.

It left me feeling like why isn’t he thinking about what’s next? About what we’re doing on our ONLY day off together?

Why isn’t he knocking things off his “To Do” list?

I mean, this house isn’t going to clean itself, man.

Of course he couldn’t really see what I was saying, except to continually ask me to look at which one of us is happy or not.

He’s happy, I’m not.

I’m not happy. He’s right.

I’m so focused on what’s next on my agenda, that I have twisted myself up in a KNOT. And as you know when you comb your wet hair out..

KNOTS are not fun.

I don’t know how I got to this point, but somehow I thought I was “happier” to continually focus on what is next, instead of even contemplating about what’s happening NOW, that where I was here today was no longer an option.

And add to that all the limiting beliefs that are mixed in with thinking about the future… vs. being happy now.

I mean, focusing on myself in this very moment, doing what makes me HAPPY right now means that I’m:

  • Selfish
  • Self Centered
  • Immature
  • Irresponsible

Right?

And that’s EXACTLY how I felt my husband was. All those things above.

But he was right, I spent more time unhappy than happy. Frustrated than at peace.

I realized this wasn’t working like I thought it would. Something had to give.

I don’t remember the exact moment that it hit me…but when it did, I had a flash where I thought about RIGHT HERE… NOW. Not tomorrow.

Ironically… placing all my energy on where I am right here in the moment, I surprisingly found myself…. Happy (er)

It was sort of amazing. I felt happy first, then instantly on its coat tails, were also the same adjectives that I listed above.

Mostly selfish and irresponsible. Like “must be nice.”

I find it interesting that I wasn’t able to be happy for long. That I naturally and quickly went back to my default,

Futuristically frustrated.

I didn’t understand it but I wanted to. I was determined to.

So, with a little help from my own coach, I’ve discovered that I, am a HOPE ADDICT.

Yep, you heard me. Someone who is addicted to hoping.

I’m addicted to thinking about the next thing and the next thing… because somehow,

Until I achieve/acquire/attain all these goals I’ve set for myself, I believe I don’t deserve to be happy. WHA????

Yup.

Let’s dive into this. Are you always thinking about the future? The next thing and the next thing?

Are you always frustrated with your restaurant man/woman because they seem not to even care about whats happening around him/her?

Do you have a hard time relaxing and being in the moment? Can’t even watch a movie without thinking about cleaning up after dinner?  *Psst, most of us are.

When you think about being in the moment, do you naturally gravitate toward thinking you are being irresponsible? Immature?

Do you think that only RICH people have the luxury of being frivolous with their time?

Why is that? Can you pinpoint the root of why you feel that way?

I betcha that it comes from believing that you too… don’t deserve to be happy UNTIL…

You don’t have time to be happy. (sound familiar?)

Happy is for other people (while secretly, it’s all you ever wanted.)

I told you, it was going to push your buttons. I know it pushes mine. For now, we’re going to just focus on experiencing another way, trying to dig out the root of why we feel we don’t deserve to be happy is a post for another day (I mean look how long this baby is already, right?)

Maybe you heard it from your parents, your teachers. *99% of what we believe comes from OLD conditioning.

THAT is the root of the weed we need to search out for and remove to allow for something healthier.

There’s a phrase from a course I’m studying, it says…

“Do you want to be right, or happy?”

If you only had to pick ONE… which would you choose right now?

*I know. It’s okay if you want to pick right. Most of us would.

I know this is sensitive. I know you don’t REALLY want to talk about this.

That’s why it’s the most important thing to me. I want to be happy so in order to be happy, I have to look at why I believe I don’t deserve to be so.

The answer is always at the root, but digging at the root can be messy. Need some different tools.

Then I thought about my husband, on the line during a busy dinner service. Once mise en place is done, stations set, and reservations start to roll in, I realize…

All he has is the moment.

The minute he starts to think about last nites service, or what’s coming next, he loses his flow and tickets start backing up. Right? *I’m not even in the industry and I know this much. I’m sure you do too.

Being someone in the restaurant industry, lends itself nicely to someone who naturally more in the moment.

Spontaneous.

Which is why… they choose someone that is not like that way to be their mate. (YOU)

Two people who live for today would not not make for a balanced life, wouldn’t you say?

He needs me to be thinking of our next step but I need him to help remind me to be happy today. (even in my resistance to it) BALANCE.

I have been practicing this for a few months now, and when I am able to remember where I am, right here in the moment, even for a few seconds… everything I’m worrying about sorta goes away. At least until I start thinking about the future, worrying about the past again.

The best place I have found to do this, driving. Sitting in the drivers seat, holding the wheel… I am able to focus SOLELY on the moment. It’s actually kinda cool.

Since I am a mere infant in this philosophy, doing this naturally is not something that comes easily at this point. I’m so unconscious about this very moment that I feel quite uncomfortable in it, to tell you the truth. And it only lasts seconds.

One of my coach friends told me that focusing on where we are in the moment… takes the same amount of energy (and the time) to get a puppy to STAY.

STAY.

Want to try it? Just for a second?

Alrighty. Put ALL your energy on where you’re sitting right now. Focus on how it feels, the seat under yourself. Look at the room you’re in. What is the light situation like? Listen to your breathing. Is it shallow? Look at your hand on the mouse (or on your phone), focus on where you are right now. Just where you are sitting is the only thing that’s important. Can you see yourself in this moment? Anything wrong with it? Say to yourself, “I am here. I am here.”

Now STAY.

Stay in that moment as LONG as you can. If you’re like me, as long as you can STAY in the moment, everything else drifts away.

Even if it’s for few seconds.

How does this feel to you? Can you see how important this is to our happiness? To our lives? While I’m pretty sure I’ll never fully embrace being totally in the moment, I’m positive that adding this philosophy to the recipe of my daily life WILL allow me to be happier more often.

Nothing wrong with achieving, attaining, pursuing… but remembering to be happy NOW, while we are in process, is almost the key to enjoying the ride.

I vow to keep practicing everyday, and in doing that hopefully the present moment will last a bit longer.

Maybe you want to practice this with me?

While yes, living on the frustrated side of not understanding my husbands way of being has not always been fun, but I can see how, by getting to a point where what I was doing was no longer working, I see the gift that he’s given me, just by being himself. When I am able to be in the moment, even for a second, I can feel that happiness is already there, inside me. I don’t have to look anywhere else to find it. I have taken to texting my husband “I am happy”, when I have these moments, it’s helped us enjoy each other more when we do spend time together.

I know he can see a difference. He is happier (if that’s even possible) because he has a generally happier wife.

The best gift I never knew I wanted.

How about you? Is your restaurant man/woman oblivious to “the plan” you’re always working on? How do you feel most of the time? Happy or not so much? How is that working for you?