The majority of my days between Thanksgiving and the second week of December were spent stewing. I wish I could say I was productively thinking, but I wasn’t. You know when you are just stuck in your head, with thousands of thoughts and instead of doing something with them and with that energy, you just sit and replay your worries over and over and over again? You break them down, you analyze them. You come up with no plan nor a result. You just let it sit and stir and stew. It sits there. Stewing. You sit there doing nothing.
My mental hamster wheel came to a sudden halt when I received a phone call from the Bachelorette asking me if I was available to work the next day or two. “Ummm… err. Yeah… well..” I hemmed and hawed as she sat patiently on the other end of the line. “Sure. Yes. Yes! Okay, I will come in if you need me. Thank you for calling me,” I said, committing to doing at least something more productive than sitting and stewing for two additional days.
Hmmm… let’s over think this all week, shall we? ℅ Google Images.
It was quite obvious the next morning that stewing at home for six hours the day before brought no more clarity or weightlessness to mind than working for six hours at the center. At least at work, in my normal routine, I had tasks, I had people to talk to and I had a reason to stop useless stewing. Even stews get over cooked.
Stewing is great for meats, for sauces, for dishes that require a great depth of flavor that would only come from patient waiting over slow, steady heat, allowing the ingredients to just sit, hours at a time, not doing anything but hang out. It’s like me. It’s like you when you stew. Walking around the house; flipping through channels without watching; rifling through junk mail; getting sucked into Facebook; entertaining a snowball of conflicting thoughts on our minds that don’t help us process the exact thing that is weighing down on our shoulders, or hovering over our heads. We have no ability to do anything about it. But we convince ourselves if we give it a full morning, a few more hours in the afternoon, lose sleep over it, then the stewing, the dwelling, the mulling, is worth it.But unlike a crockpot dinner, after a half day of stewing we don’t end up with a wonderful pot of savory, nourishing goodness. Stewing in our heads doesn’t make it any better, or our minds much clearer. Why not do an errand? Continue with your regular routine? Work on a post? Attend a yoga class? Deep condition your hair? Or in my case, actually pick up more available hours at work? Why is it that when we are stressed, the very things that bring us comfort and routine are the very things we omit from the pot first? Why do we let the anxiety and stress paralyze us? Why do we abandon the things that make us feel good and most like ourselves in favor of stewing in sadness, fear, uncertainty, dissatisfaction, or anger? Who invited those guys to the party? Why does stewing seem to be the best option when really, we should turn off the heat and quit sitting in it.
Even a stew itself can be over cooked if left unattended for too long. All stewing has to come to an end. Just stop it already.