I went to a performing arts conservatory that was really competitive. We had to re-audition into the program after 2 years and hope that we weren’t eliminated from our class and sent home. A class called Circus Skills was inserted into the last semester of that sophomore year to relieve some pressure. We learned tumbling, trapeze, high wire walking, and juggling!
The sweet thing about learning to juggle is that you start with training wheels by attempting to juggle scarves before tossing the balls up in the air. The scarves are light and they catch the air, creating a hang time before falling down into waiting hands. Sadly, I never got the hang of it. I dropped the scarves. I dropped the balls. Luckily, I was reaccepted into the program, but that second year of conservatory was a really rough year for me, so I don’t often think of those circus skill days with fondness.
These last few weeks when people asked me how I was, I mentioned something about juggling, or having a lot of balls up in the air, or perfecting my ability to multitask. Then a friend answered an email where I was siting these skills and she replied with the picture of the Cat In The Hat juggling and balancing all of those silly objects. I was suddenly self-satisfied: I’d finally learned to juggle! Hooray!
Yet, the more I think about it, it’s not really a good thing, is it? I mean, I’m not in the circus, I can’t possibly think I’m really juggling. Overextending? Maybe. Crowding my calendar? Most definitely. Multitasking? Er, um…guilty as charged!
Multitasking means something isn’t getting full attention. Juggling means we’re not really in control -- that the balls could drop or be tossed out of our reach at any moment. Our brains can only hold one thought at a time… only ONE. So it is inevitable that in taking on many things, something will always be ignored and can easily fall through the cracks. That’s pretty risky, right?
When I returned to New York from my recent India trip, I knew that my plate would be full with many projects. Launching this beautiful new website, a few writing deadlines, working on making this blog into a book, recipe development, guesting on a podcast, and creating a video series for a product I’m representing. And this was all while keeping up with a voice recording schedule and my cooking clients. Believe me, I’m not complaining, or bragging. I’m grateful for every single one of these opportunities and I feel privileged to live a life that affords a schedule like this. But did everything get the attention it deserved? Did I truly deliver the goods?
I keep looking at that Dr. Seuss picture. The cat really isn’t even juggling is he? He’s keeping the objects stabilized and poised in the air, as if he is juggling. All he’s doing is making a choice, to hold the precarious objects all at once. I went back and read The Cat In The Hat to familiarize myself with what really went down. Do you remember? The Cat. Dropped. Everything. He was trying to impress the children and kept taking on more things in his teeter tottering stack of objects and they all crashed to the floor making a horrible mess!
But here’s the thing, he took responsibility for his actions and brought in the big red machine and cleaned up all the fallen down evidence from his stunt. He accepted the consequences. Is it pointless to have so many balls in the air all at once? Should we abandon all attempts to juggle projects, schedules, and commitments? NO! I say go for it!
For me, the choice was to travel overseas and keep my commitments once I returned, no matter what. I knew it was going to be tough. I knew I would have to stay alert. These times are when we expand our capacity to give, when we stretch beyond our comfort zones and find the ability to literally rise up and meet challenges. This is when we build the muscles of focus and discipline. It’s exciting! The lesson is to accept the consequences of our actions. We must face the mess if it all comes crashing down. Those times make us grow too.
This is going to sound funny, but one of the things that got me through this crunchy time of scheduling and commitment was Trader Joe’s Chicken Verde Burritos. I wish I were being paid to tell you this, what an awesome little commercial that would be. They are delicious, filling, easy, and inexpensive. I microwave them and feel rewarded for my efforts. I’ve written about being raised on authentic Mexican food. My mom, dad, sister, and I, if given a last meal would choose something Mexican. Sadly, there is not a Trader Joe's in Joplin, Missouri where my parents and sister live. They’ll never have access to these amazing chicken burritos! My family has a very full plate too and my sister is one of the main jugglers keeping everyone’s balls in the air. I’m flying home in a few weeks to see everyone, help out a bit if I can, and bring some cheer. And Shhhhhh…I’m also bringing these burritos to reward their efforts. I tasted and tested Trader Joe’s Chicken Verde Burritos and came up with my own version! I must say, I don’t think I dropped the ball on this one.
Lisa’s Chicken Verde Burritos
- 3 cups grilled chicken cubes
- 1 cup grated cheddar cheese
- 2/3 cup peeled, chopped green chiles (Hatch if you can find them)
- 1 cup Stonewall Kitchen Salsa Verde (here’s a great recipe if you can’t find the ready made.)
- 2 teaspoons Bob’s Green Chili Seasoning (1 teaspoon of cumin, 1 teaspoon garlic salt, and a big squeeze of lime as a substitute, but order some of this seasoning!!!!)
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon pepper
- 1 can refried beans
- 8 12” flour tortillas
Pulse all the ingredients except the tortillas in a food processor just until everything is combined. Divide the mixture between the tortillas. Roll up each tortillas folding in the ends. Place the burritos on a cookie sheet, spaced with an inch between them. Let the pan rest in the freezer for 2 hours. Remove the pan and place burritos into individual freezer safe ziplock bags. To reheat, dampen each burrito with water, pierce the outside with a knife and microwave covered with a paper towel for 3 minutes on high. Let rest one minute. Serve with extra cheese and hot sauce!