Marilyn Paul, PhD

Spilt Milk


Milk Spilling

We are living for the year in Northern California, where the tomatoes are juicy, the peaches are heavenly and the overall quality of the food is just outstanding.  As I tried to up the health level of my family, I decided to try GrassMilk for our family.  GrassMilk is from grass fed cows.  No, of course the milk is not green, but it is unhomogenized.

As I poured a glass of the milk for our 10 year old, he pointed out the little globules of clotted cream floating around in it.  He expressed very clearly that this was not going to work for him so I poured the milk into our blender for an experiment in home homogenization.

I poured in as much milk as I could, well beyond the clearly stated limit of one quart of liquid.  I figured this power blender could handle such an easy task – I didn’t want to do this twice.

I turned it on high and the surging milk burst the lid off the machine and sprayed across the room, splattering the windows, soaking my clothes and leaving little milk droplets on the dishes in the dish rack that I had just washed.

As I mopped milk off the floor, the counters, the walls and the windows, I had time to think about what motivated me to try to homogenize so much milk at once.  It’s the same drive that leads me to pack my day with too many activities, or to make an action list that has more items on it than I can conceivably accomplish.

And, as with the milk, I when try to get too much done, I often end up with a bit of a mess.  I arrive late to a meeting, I break agreements (some of which I forgot I made), and I reinforce a sense my own ineptness as I survey a still full to-do list with just a few items crossed up.  The result of ignoring my limits can include letting people down, which is painful for them and – when I take it seriously – painful for me.  The mop up action with them includes apologies, promises to do better, recommitments to be on time, and promises to change.  The mop up action for me is to reestablish trust in myself by returning to a grounded, open-eyed assessment of what I really can and can’t do given my priorities, my values, and my own limitations.

I usually act with more care and skill nowadays as I assess my commitments and plan my day.  I keep letting go of the desire to do more and more.  But I still want to squeeze in an extra call or text.  When I try to add “just one more thing” I often find five things get squeezed out in some unpredictable different ways.  I keep relearning patience with life’s process which just takes it’s own time.

Haste can be addictive.  Calm can feel unfamiliar.  It reminds me of a phrase a friend shared with me years ago,

“Don’t push the river, it flows by itself.  This is taking the right amount of time.”

For now, I am going back to homogenized milk.  And, I am reminding myself that big moves take time.

4 Responses to "Spilt Milk"
  1. Thanks, Marilyn. I love the story and am perhaps taking away different conclusions for myself. My parallel might be to only blend the milk I need. Hmmm. A worth koan. Wishing you all a wonderful West Coast sojourn.

  2. Your new home state sounds fabulously alluring & challenging! Your milk article is very Marilyn-like: presented with your wry humor & very much to-the-point!

    from one of your fans, Alona, thetelavivangel!

  3. Dear Marilyn… I loved the article… and that haste can be addictive and calm unfamiliar, is very true… I feel threatened where there is calm and joy… just as those movies where everything is on its place, people are at ease, relaxed, happy, and suddenly something horrible happens… I will try to sort this out with “resonance repatterning”, as well.

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