How Chicken Soup Heals (Helped Along by Friends and Support)

by Judy Stone-Goldman on February 21, 2012

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chicken soup change memories

A bowl of memories and possibilities

I wrote yesterday about not wanting to write. I felt stuck, lost to myself, up against change but unable to grasp it.

What happens when you admit out loud that you feel stuck? Sometimes nothing; sometimes everything.

Yesterday was an everything kind of day.

First I heard from a good friend who had disappeared from my life several years ago. My attempts to reach her had been left hanging in the atmosphere, dissipating gradually from her lack of response. Then suddenly, yesterday, there she was.

Next I asked for help. Help—a challenge for us independent types—help to move forward. In this case I connected with a writing coach. It is a sign of the problem that I am embarrassed to admit I need this help, given that I am busy encouraging others to write. But surely many of us have had the experience of being able to do for others what we cannot do for ourselves.

And then I served homemade chicken soup for dinner.

Believe it or not, I’ve never made chicken soup. Maybe it’s not breaking news, but I find it curious that a Jewish girl goes through life without cooking the most traditional healing elixir. I was toying with the idea the other day (maybe a hint of the change to come?) and saw a free-range whole chicken on sale. I bought it, Googled a recipe, peeled and pared veggies, and threw everything in the pot. Hours later: chicken soup.

Maybe it was the excitement of hearing from my friend, or maybe it was the energy transmitted from the coach, or maybe it was the jump start from writing yesterday’s blog, but the chicken soup felt like the cap to a momentous day. An occasion–the occasion of doing something unexpected, the occasion of breaking out of my ordinary routine.

Suddenly the chicken soup wasn’t just soup but a fusion of past, present, and future: something old (the taste of the boiled vegetables bringing to life my mother’s apron-draped body in my childhood kitchen), something new (my grandmother never added tofu and bok choy), and something right then and there (chicken soup, 2012). It was an aromatic mixture of memory and vision, both a sedative and a stimulant. I sipped soup, felt deep comfort, and wondered, “What else can I create?”

Questions for Reflection: Have you had ever experienced sudden movement after feeling stuck? What happened? What does the story of the chicken soup mean to you? When has an apparently small or ordinary action become symbolic for you?

Writing Prompts: “My best way to get unstuck is to ______” (then keep writing); “When I need help from others I feel ______” (then keep writing); “This blog reminds me of the time when ______”  (then keep writing); “I get energized and motivated when I ______” (then keep writing).

Of course I’ll continue to write on my process as the week progresses, but I may not be posting the writing as blogs.

I’m suddenly very busy! I can see scheduling is going to be an art form.

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{ 9 comments… read them below or add one }

Heidi & Atticus
Twitter:
February 21, 2012 at 5:18 pm

Sweet!! I can’t believe you’ve never made homemade chicken soup before now! I don’t eat meat anymore, but when I did homemade chicken soup was the ticket to calm! I hope the warmth in your belly was part of your pick me up too.

So happy you heard from an old friend and connected with your writing coach — all good! Atticus thinks you are now “unstuck” — so get on with your “doing!”

xxxooo

Heidi & Atticus
http://www.atticusuncensored.com
“commentary to give you paws…”

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Judy Stone-Goldman
Twitter:
February 21, 2012 at 7:47 pm

Hi Heidi – Atticus is most definitely correct–I feel unstuck and energized. Loved waking up this morning, writing the blog, and moving forward through the day. Chicken soup will have special meaning for me from now on (along with the other good things helping me along). {{xxx}}

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Vicki Dello Joio
Twitter:
February 21, 2012 at 7:35 pm

Yup, Thursday I will make chicken soup. I’ve been craving it but somehow not quite getting there…And how exciting to hear you are feeling that energy moving again!

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Judy Stone-Goldman
Twitter:
February 21, 2012 at 7:46 pm

Hi again, Vicki! Yes, I do feel energy moving, it’s hard to believe the difference in the two days. I highly recommend chicken soup! (or something creative that is warming and sustaining…) Thanks so much for reading these two posts and commenting. I really wanted to share this experience.

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Trish
Twitter:
February 27, 2012 at 7:46 pm

Judy, I’m happy you found the energy you were looking for and are “unstuck.” The chicken soup in the picture looks delicious and I don’t even eat chicken! :-) This post left me wanting more, though (but in a good way). I would love to know more about your friend and your “apron-draped” mom and your grandmother. Just like a perfect dinner, your post was perfect — leaving the reader wanting more!

Trish
http://www.robertssister.com
caregiving. family. advocacy.

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Judy Stone-Goldman
Twitter:
February 27, 2012 at 9:28 pm

Hi Trish, Thank you for saying you’d like to learn more! I did have a wonderful week, and I now have even more healing associations to chicken soup than before! Are you a vegetarian? I admire that! It just doesn’t work for me biologically, but perhaps it helps that I buy free range and organic chickens. I do try to express my appreciation to animals that give their lives to be food.

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Franziska San Pedro
Twitter:
February 27, 2012 at 8:14 pm

Hi Judy,

I know the feeling of being stuck just too well!
And guess what? I have a food consultant because I am not able to put a balanced meal plan together for myself. Most important rule: don’t skip breakfast! Do I ever eat breakfast? No. You know I am a chef and I teach and consult others. But finally, I am following someone else’s advice.

It’s a big step forward to ask for help especially when it’s the things you actually know best yourself. Kudos to you :-)

Glad you don’t feel stuck any more!

Franziska San Pedro
Flavor Designs

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Judy Stone-Goldman
Twitter:
February 27, 2012 at 9:29 pm

Hi Franziska, Yes, asking for help has been difficult for me. But this was definitely a good decision that is going to pay off well (I can just tell already!) Thanks for sharing about your food consultant. We are like the shoemaker whose children don’t have shoes… :)

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Liane Markus April 15, 2012 at 8:19 pm

I find your blog helpful and useful and I even gained new knowledge and understanding from what you have shared here. Perhaps, that’s how healthy chicken soup is to us.

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