Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Broth, soup or stew – where are you?

Posted on Wednesday, November 09, 2011 by International Coach Federation

The below post originally appeared on Joanna Bennett’s blog, Minimalist Self, on November 1. Joanna is a student at Adler Learning in Toronto.

No, this isn’t a post about cooking.

Although, if food could be used as a metaphor about choice and the quality of the menu items we pick daily, then perhaps this is a recipe for discovery about ourselves!

At Adler last week, we engaged in a variety of creative exercises to assist with our coaching studies. One morning we were handed a sheet of coloured art paper and a few pastels. Our task was to create the cover of a book we were going to write in the future about our past 5 years as professional coaches. Not only an excellent visioning tool to use with clients but what a great way to design our own future!

The title, “Broth, Soup or Stew – Where Are You?” came to me in the previous week when the term ‘soup’ came up a few times. Is a client comfortable sitting in their own ‘soup’ or is it slowing them down? When discussing scenerios that could be worse than soup, I said “they are stuck in stew!” Since clients come to us to accompany them as they embrace an exciting new path, I thought of broth as a healthy choice to sip on – or inhale in one gulp!

So as a coach, I ask: Where are you?

I love soup. On a beautiful autumn day, homemade cream of [insert root vegetable here] satiates my need for something comforting. I could improve the nutritional value by making soup with yummy lentils! (low on sodium of course!) Regardless of content, we’ve all heard about soup being good for the soul. I’m gripping a spoon in one hand and the bowl with the other, head bent over blowing off the steam.

Some days however, I want to fill up on stew. Chunky ingredients stuck together with dumplings ideally, paired with a hearty glass of red wine. I’m in winter now, lights out, the winds are howling and hurling snow at the windows. Candles are burning low and so am I. Sometimes it’s necessary to go underground and hide out. It may also become difficult to remember what life has to offer. I leave a light on at the door to remind me of the way out.

So what does a a simple, clear broth offer me? Not a lot of sustenance. Doesn’t support a spoon or even cling to it. Broth can easily drop in temperature. But since I can drink it from a mug, my hands can wrap around it to keep it warm longer. I don’t even need a spoon. If it becomes stale, I get up, go to my kitchen and reheat it. Requiring only one hand to hold the vessel, I can transport it to a cozy chair by the window. As I pause to look out at the trees, I am mesmerized by the dancing colours. I look down at my broth and see reflections of my environment. This place makes the most sense to me.

There are times when we need to sit still. Hopefully, there are just rare occasions when we need to hide. For the creative, resourceful and whole human being, building momentum on our mindfulness allows for conscious appreciation of what we have and where we are going.

I think I just made myself hungry! Time for lunch.

Joanna Bennett
 Joanna Bennett is a highly creative person who desires living as consciously as possible and engaging with those around her. After many years of 'naval gazing' as an actor and the sometimes solitary work as a freelance sign language interpreter, Jo is embarking on a new career that embraces moving forward in this valuable life and allows her to have meaningful conversations with others. With the goal of becoming an ICF certified coach, Jo is thriving on the education at Adler Learning in Toronto! One passion that does tie together all careers and the values above is her love of writing. For more thoughts on mindfulness with a focus on self-employment, please subscribe to her blog:  


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