I have just woken up after a short snooze with my baby. I have had a pleasant day getting the small jobs done around my house, whilst thinking about the big job I am working on in my heart!
The big job! What on Earth do I mean??? I do sometimes wonder whether all of this introspection, this inner work is a bit of a red herring, while I think about what on Earth it means to really be happy am I missing the simple story of just being happy! Happiness is a choice, just like it is possible to choose thoughts it is also possible to choose happiness!
I am intrigued by the fact that I frequently choose to think rubbish thoughts! Sometimes I choose to go back over old thoughts, and sometimes I choose to think about things I wouldn't really like to happen. I wonder to myself; when will I be free? When will I be proficient at shepherding my thoughts to the bountiful peaceful pastures? Will it be soon? Do I have much more work to do?
I am back again to the recipe analogy, I love stories, analogies and metaphors, I love the telling of tales, the weaving of intricate word mazes.....
Oh yes so the recipe; when I make a cake I find a recipe, or if there is no recipe I think of what tastes and textures I would like to experience and then I make up the recipe. Next I gather together all the ingredients and slowly I begin to mix together the ingredients to form the batter. Lastly I pop it all in a tin and put it in the oven at about gas mark 5 and wait for it to cook.
Hey presto, out of the oven comes my perfectly risen deliciously smelling cake. The first time I baked a cake it took ages, I made a right old mess and I don't think it rose very well. There was a bit in the recipe where it said to fold the ingredients in together, it should have said "this part is vital and cannot be rushed" but a lot of recipes are written as if one has previous knowledge of cooking. Like when it says to knead the bread dough, it's all very well if one knows what kneading is or how long to do it for!
So what on earth am I talking about? I am attempting to use baking a cake as an analogy for learning to use my mind to its optimum ability; serene daily happiness.
First I needed to work out what all the ingredients are and that is something I am still doing and may still be doing for quite sometime!
So far the most fundamental ingredient (without which the love/happiness cake is a total flop) is actively CHOOSING HARMONIOUS THOUGHTS, next a tablespoon of not taking anything too seriously is necessary, followed by two teaspoons of not feeling annoyed when things go wrong because it achieves nothing. Sieve a whole load of Gratitude for everything wonderful which already exists in my life into the bowl next, and beat in at least a kilo of appreciation for the natural world around me. Fold in a Rampage of Appreciation or perhaps two for good measure and leave to stand in a bucket of being kind to yourself everyday.
As with any other really delicious nutritious cake it needs to go in the oven at exactly the right temperature for exactly the right amount of time, then it needs to come out and stand for a while before it is iced and enjoyed, unless of course you are a raw fooder in which case you will probably use a fridge instead. I am not a raw fooder and I love cake, although I rarely eat it. Not that that should make my analogy any the less useful.
What I am really trying to say here to myself is like learning how to make a really good cake, or anything else worth having, it takes time to acquire new skills. When we make bread we leave the dough to rise or prove, I think I must be in the rising stage of my journey, and as with really good bread it may need a second proving!
I have been drawing together the ingredients of feeling fabulous with my life exactly the way it is right now, and I expect there are a few which still need to be gathered. I am reminded of Georges' Marvellous Medicine by Roald Dahl as I write this, the bit where George and his dad try to recreate the recipe for making the farm animals grow gigantic! Ultimately they do not manage to recreate George's recipe, but they do manage to get rid of the tyrannical grandma in quite a sweet way, so perhaps when success presents itself it is not always in the way that I might have expected it!
Who knows? Perhaps I will be aiming for a victoria sponge and I may end up with baked alaska?
Today I am thankful for cake
I am thankful for almonds and mangos
I am thankful for butter and cream
I am thankful for my oven
I am thankful for the stories of Roald Dahl
I am thankful for the mists of Avalon
I am thankful for the bright blue spring sky
I am thankful for the sound of bees in the summer
I am thankful for the generosity of strangers
I am thankful for olives