What It Is, Is What It Is

What It Is, Is What It Is

Omelet and Soufflé, Same or Different?

A man is but the product of his thoughts
– what he thinks, he becomes.
― Mahatma Gandhi

Most dichotomies are false ones; the mind/body and nature/nurture ones coming most readily to mind. A discussion in the LinkedIn Counselling & Psychotherapy Group concerning the latter revolved around the question “How do you like your eggs?” More specifically, the age-old question was finally resolved: the egg came before either the omelet or the soufflé. And then there was Humpty Dumpty.

How the eggs end up is dependent to a large degree, but not solely, on the chef. How well the eggs taste may be equally, if not more, dependent on the initial state of the eggs to which the multigenerational history of roosters and hens, chicken farmers, government subsidies, climate change and Frank Perdue have all contributed.

Now, what does any of this have to do with Bowen Family Systems Theory, you may ask. I thought you’d never ask, but that’s okay, you need not, as I’ll tell you anyway.

In contradistinction to What It Is and What It Isn’t, what it is is always what it is. Many paradoxes are only apparently so. Bowen described his theory as one of “natural history,” an attempt to develop a scientific approach to the study of human behavior.

“The concept of differentiation eliminates the need for a concept of normalcy. Any level on the continuum is both natural and normal. Nor is any level particularly concerned with pathology

…the level of differentiation plays a role in the ability of the family to absorb and manage tension produced by changing conditions” (Papero, 1990 p.47)

What It Is Is What It Is by Ronald B. CohenLike both the egg and the chicken (including the hen and the rooster), a human has a basic level of differentiation determined in large part by the multigenerational transmission process. A chicken egg is forever different from a goose, duck, quail or pigeon egg. One can work to improve one’s functional level of differentiation, but the basic level remains pretty much the same.

Equally important, whether you like your breakfast scrambled, poached, boiled (hard or soft), over easy or sunny side up is driven by both thinking and emotional forces.

Regardless of your choices, the presentation and mouth-watering enjoyment depend heavily on the skill, knowledge, expertise, emotional intelligence, sense of self, and de-triangling ability of the chef. For all the rest of us working on the unresolved emotional attachments in our families of origin is the best Vitameatavegamin health tonic we could ever take.

So if you can’t decide between the omelet or the soufflé, perhaps huevos rancheros will be on the menu for your next weekend brunch date. And if you get stood up, consultation with a well-trained Bowen Family Systems Theory Relationship Consultant and “Coach” beats a new long-handled shallow-pan cast-iron skillet most any day of the week.

Author’s Note: Special thanks to Janet Rigg for initially exploring the egg analogy and to Kay Rooke for expanding on it and her insightful comments on a preprint of this blog.

Best of luck on your unfolding journey of a lifetime.

Please share your thoughts and experiences concerning egg preparation in the “Leave a Reply”  box below. To request more information and/or schedule an initial consultation, click here. If you found this post helpful, please don’t keep it a secret. You are encouraged to click on the buttons at the bottom of the page and share this article with your own networks. Looking forward to continuing the conversation.

Ronald B Cohen, MD, PC www.familyfocusedsolutions.com Ronald B. Cohen, MD
Bowen Family Systems Coach
1 Barstow Road, Suite P-10
Great Neck, NY 11021
(516) 466-7530

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