When my mother was young, her family was very poor. She tells the story of how on special occasions they could afford to buy biscuits. But they didn’t go to Woolworths and buy a packet or two. They would go to the local factory and buy the broken biscuits. And they loved them.
That made me think of how unappreciative we often are – and how wasteful many of us in Western society have become. There is nothing wrong with ‘broken biscuits’. They taste the same. The only difference is in our attitude. In life if whatever we approach, we enter with an attitude of appreciation, we will gain great gifts every day of our lives.
Many of us are surrounded by excess and that has become the ‘norm’. I grew up in a middle class family and we had one bathroom, one car and we were lucky to have one telephone. There was no TV in South Africa until I was 30 years old. Nowadays even young children have their own cellphones – and they feel inferior if not provided with their preferred brand. When we renovate our homes, I am told that it is expected that each child will have their own ‘en-suite’ bathroom. Luxury abounds.
In some ways this easy access to abundance destroys creativity. Many people in our society no longer consider, ‘what shall we do with the leftovers’? It is obvious! They go straight into the garbage bin. Gone are the days when we lovingly created new combinations from our leftover food or other consumables. The basis of Creole cookery is looking in the cupboard and fridge and saying ‘what scraps are there that we can use in preparing supper tonight? And how can we most excitingly combine those ingredients?’ I still run my kitchen like that. It is fun!
And let’s look at another aspect of ‘brokenness’. In a jigsaw puzzle, if we discover near the end that a piece is missing, the annoyance often outweighs the satisfaction of the careful precision with which we put the pieces together. We notice the ‘missing piece’ more than we notice ‘the whole’.
The same applies to our chipped crockery. If it isn’t perfect it becomes redundant. Or does it? I have a remedy for that. Take up mosaicking. Putting together the pieces in new creative combinations is good for the soul.
So, how else can we apply these principles? The broken biscuits, the scraps, the missing jigsaw piece and chipped crockery can be metaphors for our lives and for society. How do we mend what is broken? Or even better, how can we create exciting new combinations? We need to explore possibilities and then recognise and optimise opportunities. Creativity and innovation are fun! And appreciation is the ‘golden thread’ taking us from ‘brokenness’ to ‘wholeness’.
For further information on Executive Coaching and keynote speaking please contact Brenda on firstname.lastname@example.org or +27 82 4993311.