On mother's day I baked a dessert in honor of my grandmothers. It was a recipe that my paternal grandmother used to make for us every time we visited her at the village; with a creative addition from my maternal grandmother who loved to make anything out of a piece of dough; and my own adjustments in the ingredients I used, to make the recipe more acceptable for the sensitivities of my body and totally enjoy it.
I used to be terrified of cooking. What are the EXACT ingredients I have to use? How much EXACTLY should I use of each ingredient? What if I make a mistake in the EXACT directions while cooking and tastes awful? All these questions used to scare me to death and preferred not to cook at all.
Because at the same time I detest following recipes that tell you exactly everything you need to know. That’s no fun to my creative spirit.
My grandmothers could never tell me how much exactly they used of anything, in any recipe they cooked. Nor my mother. And believe me I tried to ask them many times. But they use everything “by the eye”, as we say in Greek. Their hands, eyes, noses and hearts just know how much to use and when. They learned by watching their mothers and grandmothers, using their hands, eyes, noses and hearts. They learned by having cooked and make ‘mistakes’, perhaps too many times, until they did not have to even think about it twice. They would just cook.
Cooking can be an alchemical process, just like an art expression, just like a creative action, just like loving, just like life; you choose some ingredients, combine them with love, and practice again and again until the result to feel gold.
Now, the more I practice cooking, while using a kind of recipe but no exact numbers, it gets easier to trust my intuition; that will guide my hands to use the exact ingredients I need. There are no mistakes; just different ways that can turn into new tastes. I can feel the joy of exploration, my heart is alive; and by smelling my way through the outcome, almost no recipe fails, it tastes gold; even if I had no idea how it could taste before it’s done. I trust the process. And for someone like me, with history of having been bulimic once, to enjoy wholeheartedly now the act of cooking and eating has a radical significance for my healing journey. I want to believe it must be similar with all aspects of life…
However, many times I am still scared to trust my intuition by listening to my heart to guide me in life. My mind is fast to take over and create plans, to organize, make sense, and have the illusion of control. My mind wants to have the EXACT recipe so as to protect me and my heart from any ‘mistakes’; at least it is what my mind thinks I need. Instead my heart stays hidden and unattended, feeling lonely and neglected.
But whenever I connect to my heart, I can feel my heart is warm and powerful; I know she has so much wisdom. It is only a matter of me not only to listen, but also to trust in what I listen and guide my life, just like I am able to do now when cooking. And the more I practice trusting my heart, the more my heart is clear with the messages she sends; turning, I hope, my whole life to taste gold.
Thank you, mother, thank you grandmothers and all the women before you who teach us every day, knowing and without knowing, how to trust our big hearts. I feel proud to say that the dessert I baked tastes gold. And thank You, for reading today, with an open heart. warmly, maria