Life Lessons from Peanut Butter and Jelly

Culinary soul mates?

One of my many duties as a father of three school aged kids is that of the official sandwich maker. Most every morning I can be found standing over slices of bread, mindlessly configuring slices of ham, turkey, or olive loaf with American cheese and yellow mustard. Or if Dad didn’t get to the supermarket to pick up some deli meat, there’s always Plan B, also known as Peanut Butter and Jelly.

I guess I could have kept track of exactly how many sandwiches I’ve made in my role as official sandwich maker, but the morning usually never affords me the time to sit down and update a spreadsheet. But I wish I had a dollar for every sandwich I’ve made over the years.

PROFOUND A recent Plan B morning, it was time to make some PB & J’s. As I was about to unite the individual slices of wheat bread, one coated with a layer of peanut butter and the other coated with a layer of jelly, I stopped for a moment as I surprisingly realized something rather profound:

Peanut Butter doesn’t need Jelly.

And Jelly doesn’t need Peanut Butter.

Peanut Butter and Jelly are culinary soul mates. They have been for generations, forever linked together in our hearts and minds. But Peanut Butter and Jelly are perfect entities in and of themselves. Each partner doesn’t need to be validated or completed by it’s partner. Each partner is already complete, already whole. The beauty is what is built when the two partners come together, collectively creating something more magical with their union. Something greater than their individual selves. But even if there is no union, each partner is already perfect.

There are other iconic culinary soul mates. Macaroni and Cheese. Bacon and Eggs. Fish and Chips. But if Macaroni decided to walk away, Cheese would be just fine. And Bacon and Fish would be as well if Eggs and Chips went their separate ways. Each perfect entities in and of themselves.

FOOT PRINTS IN THE SAND In our society a great number of us are Peanut Butter looking for our Jelly. We are Macaroni looking for our Cheese. We are looking for that one special relationship that we think will complete us, that will fill the self-made cavernous hole within us. We are at once comforted in our hope that there is that one perfect person out there for us, yet frustrated when that so-called perfection eludes us.

Life is certainly a lot more fun when you have someone to share it with. When you have someone to share your hopes, dreams, and fears with. When you have someone you can be human with, someone who sees the real beauty within the raw vulnerability that we all feel from time to time. The journey feels more fulfilling when there are two sets of foot prints left behind in the sand.

Our search for the one that completes us usually distracts us from seeing the one person who actually already does. And that person is us. We are the only ones who can complete us, because we are all already complete. Completeness is a function of our own Divine creation. It’s just the way we’re made, though its something that we are never reminded of.

Would the Universe create us as incomplete beings, here to spend our time searching for the other half of ourselves? Or would we be created as whole and complete, here to manifest the perfection that we already have within us?

SPIRITUAL SYNCHRONICITY Embracing our own completeness goes against the grain. A rather radical concept in a world that does its best to convince us that we’re just not good enough, that things are missing, that the answers are always external. Music, books, movies, even advertising all paint an illusionary picture that all we need is the one special person (or product) to save us from the loneliness and despondency that keep us from fulfilling our own sacred promise, that deny us of our forever sought after happiness.

I had an extremely thought provoking conversation with a friend of mine and the question was asked, half jokingly, if a person could actually be their own soul mate. Could a person actually develop such a relationship within themselves? Could a person actually reach a depth of love, trust, and understanding of their own soulfulness?

A soul mate is a wonderfully romantic ideal. I personally am more taken by the mysterious spiritual synchronicity that two souls could actually be destined to be together. But the basic premise of our collective search for such a connection is flawed as it is based in need. It is, therefore, accepting a perceived incompleteness and needing another to complete what we feel is missing from within ourselves.

TOWERS & DRAGONS The Fairy Tale world is full of fables of damsels in distress in need of being saved by their own Prince Charming. That one person who’ll ride in on their white stallion, freeing them to escape their loneliness and despondency and providing them with the life of their dreams. That’s all they need. But in our modern world, however, we are our own Prince Charming, and we are the only ones that can free ourselves from the towers that we’ve somehow locked ourselves in. We are the only ones that can slay the fire-breathing dragons we’ve somehow surrounded ourselves with.

Perhaps the highest form of enlightenment is to fully acknowledge and accept one’s own completeness. To accept our own completeness as a condition of our very being. To understand that the answer to whom it is that completes us lies within us, and since we are already complete the very question need never be contemplated at all. The focus then shifts from searching for who/what is missing to nurturing the relationship with the complete self that already is.

Living Half Full is about truly accepting our own complete nature. That we were created perfectly complete, and the search for a soulful connection should first start from within. Perhaps all of us have a soul mate, found or yet to be discovered. But the real gift a soul mate will bring is not personal completion but rather a mutual expansion, a collective magic that transcends the conceivable.

It all starts with understanding that you, like Peanut Butter, are already complete, exactly the way you are.

Rediscover your own completeness.

It’s all that you need.

It’s a great day to be you!

One thought on “Life Lessons from Peanut Butter and Jelly

  1. Dear Peter,

    I feel like I have been dropped into a tropical forest where much to my surprise, the sole tribe there speaks my language. LOL Be clear, you are much more profound and I love the way you dance with the words you choose, but, it is still my language.

    I have known Michael for a very long time. He and I went to Kindergarten and thruout our entire school years together. He was always a thoughtful and kind person to me… forward to now, and via FB we reconnected…and he is still thoughtful and kind to me! I don’t know that I have a friend like him…nor will I ever. He has this gift for connecting, and loving in such a manner that being in the room with him brings joy. So, the connection is perfect.

    I wanted to thank you for the PB & J story. I am now divorced after 20 years of marriage and 2 more years of falling in love. What is amazing is i thought we were PB & J. Wow, was I wrong. LOL. And the longer we are apart, the more clarity I gain around that. I knew I was really good PB, or even really good J, however, with my Ex, I always felt less than.
    As I now face the “dating scene”, (goddess forbid!) I am constantly asking Universe for guidance. It is very difficult to keep remembering the autonomy I enjoy is wonderful. Just this past evening, Michael and I were talking about not looking, but sitting with the “cooking for one” feeling, that our society and media define as downright pathetic. That possibly, if we are too busy looking for that perfect complimental jelly, that the Fluffernutter that is painfully waiting to meet us, may just pass on by unnoticed.

    I hope to meet you someday! I will be an avid reader!




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