When my son was studying with the rabbi to become a Bar Mitzvah, the rabbi asked him to imagine a huge pot filled with his favorite food. So my son imagined a pot filled with delicious spaghetti and meatballs. The rabbi asked him if he was forced to eat the entire pot at one time how he’d feel afterward. My 13-year-old son said he’d feel sick and would probably never want to eat spaghetti and meatballs again. The rabbi had made his point. When approaching anything in life, even the good stuff, we need to pace ourselves.
It’s like when I teach young readers the importance of “chunking” informational text. We practice reading a “chunk” of information and recalling some facts we’ve learned before moving on to the next part of the text. I tell my students that reading a whole book filled with new information without stopping to reflect on what it means is useless. We get to the end and realize we haven’t comprehended anything. We’ve all done that. Or we look at the size of the book and decide not to open it at all because it looks way too overwhelming.
Life is a lot like that pot of spaghetti or that new nonfiction text. We need to take smaller bites (metaphorically speaking!) when approaching large tasks that seem daunting. When I started journaling about my childhood experiences over 13 years ago, I didn’t think about how I was going to publish and sell those memories in the form of a memoir. I just wrote to understand my past and how it was effecting my present life as a mother of two young children. Then I began to rewrite those experiences into scenes. The scenes became chapters. The chapters became a book. If I’d been solely focused on the publication part all those years ago, I probably would’ve felt paralyzed and unable to write anything.
I’m trying hard to incorporate this mindset into all areas of my life…when I find myself lamenting over how I’m going to pay for my son’s college tuition; or where my relationships are headed; or how I’m going to finish all the many tasks that await me at work- I’m going to repeat this mantra: Chunk it, Chunk it, Chunk it.
Here’s to taking smaller bites!
Thanks for reading and sharing.