It was in high school home economics class that I first learned the acronym CAYGO (Clean As You Go). It has stuck with me to this day partly because my husband follows CAYGO religiously…I actually marvel at how he can whip up wonderful meals or freshly baked treats and leave the kitchen sink and counter spaces as if he was never there!
The benefits of CAYGO-ing are not to be underestimated; they allow a cook to have easy access to tools they need to use multiple times, they ensure that work space is always available, and perhaps most importantly, they reduce stress by minimizing clean-up duties following a cooking experience. Consequently, the consumption part of the culinary creation becomes even more enjoyable!
As we enter the height of a big cooking/baking season, I’ve been pondering how helpful CAYGO-ing can be. I realize that that it has great application beyond the kitchen/cooking context, particularly to our own thinking.
In fact, we can use CAYGO on our thinking about the loaded phrase that we’re all exposed to this time of year: "The Holidays.”
The Holidays should be a simple, innocuous, NEUTRAL phrase. Depending on our association with it however, a whole host of loaded thoughts and feelings can emerge upon hearing it.
For some, The Holidays might be interpreted as “The most wonderful time of the year” while others might immediately link the phrase with “The most stressful time of the year.”
Here’s where CAYGO comes in. If we take a few extra moments to Clean (our thoughts) As (we) Go, it’s quite possible that we could process The Holidays with a more objective, open-minded viewpoint instead of get caught up in thoughts like,
“I can’t wait to see which of Uncle Jim’s comments and behaviors make heads roll at the family party this year! Or,
“Cousin Becca is hardly merry and bright with adults…maybe she’ll opt to sit with the kids again during dinner.”
While your thoughts related to The Holidays may not involve Jim’s or Becca’s specific triggers, certainly your personal experiences shape some association with the phrase. Even if the association is a positive one, it is not entirely “clean” because it is connected to some expectation, which is a precursor to stress.
Since our life experiences and belief system are integral to how we interpret things, it is very difficult for us to consider perfectly neutral concepts with a perfectly neutral perspective. Arguably though, that approach is the precursor to inner peace.
If we follow this logic, it seems that CAYGO-ing is a pathway to peace of mind. The philosophy encourages us to refrain from piling up in the “sink” our biased thoughts about things and to scrub away loaded thinking so that we have ample “counter” space in our head and heart.
The benefits of CAYGO-ing in our mind are just like those of CAYGO-ing in the kitchen then: with less stress, we are able to focus better on what we can create and offer one another.
Whether or not you find yourself preparing something in the kitchen duringThe Holidays, consider CAYGO-ing in your mind. It takes great diligence, but it could be just the thing that helps us appreciate Uncle Jim’s and Cousin Becca’s gifts.
Speaking of gifts, consider giving time and energy to developing CAYGO of the mind and other powerful tools, to yourself or someone you know. I have a couple spots available in January for either coaching sessions or The Grief Recovery Method (a unique process that helps people deal with the pain of a significant loss).
If you’re willing to receive, I’d love to help you get more clear in 2020! CONTACT ME for a gift that keeps on giving long after “The Holidays.”