The Kitchen that Reconnects. Part I

Dec 19, 2023 | Menopause, Read


When we start asking deep questions to ourselves and embrace life fully, one of the questions that arise often is “How satisfied and fulfilled do I feel with my job?”. In my case, the trigger for the question was when I noticed that Monday mornings were becoming very hard, and on Wednesdays I started planning the weekend or wishing the week to end instead of being fully present in the middle of the week, enjoying what I was doing. That was a red alarm.

This one and many other questions arose for me many years ago after 25 years of career. Although the questions can be confronting, it is a signal of being highly connected with the “nature of life” and it is even more relevant for those people driven by purpose and meaning, above anything else.

When I talk about the nature of life, I mean that it makes sense that as we get older, the values and priorities change, and that in which we genuinely engaged in the past doesn’t nourish anymore. When professional and personal life grows apart, we are not whole and we just bring a partial version of ourselves into our jobs; a situation that cannot be sustained for long without feeling deprived and empty. 

As my job became more and more people-centered in the last years of my previous life, I had the opportunity to connect with colleagues in real-life conversations and find out that was not only me who had those feelings of lack of fulfillment. However, I also saw that the level of discomfort varies depending on our values.

Then, the focus during the inquiry period is to review our values, our purpose and what makes us feel whole. The worst we can do is to ignore the questions because they will return later with a stronger voice. 

Revaluation of Values

This phase of questions and deep inquiry may lead us to research, study, and participate in a variety of activities that match our values. In my case, I found spaces and communities where I felt more authentic, participating in activities in which even after a long day of effort, I left energized instead of exhausted. Also, I noticed that the model behind the work I did in those communities understands the cycle of life and the laws of nature in contrast to the linear models of constant growth and expansion I worked on for years. 

One of the first encounters when approaching life differently was through Joanna Macy and her “Work that Reconnects”. The work that reconnects is a form of group work designed to foster the desire and ability to take part in the healing of our world. The work sparks courage and creativity, connecting us with our natural intelligence, with each other and with our lives. The model has been used by thousands of people around the globe for more than 40 years now. Is informed by deep ecology, systems thinking, Gaia theory, and spiritual traditions (especially Buddhist and indigenous teachings). One of the parts of the work that reconnects, which I had the fortune to bring into experience is described as:

“The recognition that self-reflexive consciousness is a function of choice-making. Whatever the limitations of our life, we are still free to choose which version of reality –or story about our world– we value and want to serve. We can choose to align with business as usual, the unraveling of living systems, or the creation of a life-sustaining society” JOANNA MACY

Understanding that I choose the version of reality I value and I commit to serve, was eye-opening to recover a sense of meaning in life and enough to embark on new pastures.

“The experiential work of “The work that reconnects” follows a spiral sequence flowing through four stages beginning with gratitude, then, honoring our pain for the world, seeing with fresh eyes, and finally, going forth. The critical passage happens when, instead of privatizing, repressing, and pathologizing our pain for the world (be it fear, grief, outrage or despair), we honor it. We learn to re-frame it as compassion. This brings us back to life.” THE WORK THAT RECONNECTS

Artist: Dori Midnight. Source:

Is through deep understanding and practice that we set the foundation to answer the wake-up call that arises when we know that our jobs and efforts are not aligned with our values and are not serving a higher purpose. For everybody interested in digging into this work, please visit: The Book “Coming back to life” or “Volver a la vida” in Spanish -a title that I feel in my bones- is a good starting point.

Which version of menopause do you value and want to serve? In part 2 of this post, I explore how the “work that reconnects” can become a guide during the transitional phase of menopause.

Before continuing to read, take a long deep breath, smile, and come back to life.