Friday, May 29, 2009

The Stuff of Life

I was visiting a friend the other day who, much to my surprise, treated me to a delicious loaf of freshly-baked bread. Now, the surprise wasn't so much in the bread itself--it was the manner in which the bread was made. My friend has two very busy and active boys under the age of 3. And yet, at 11:30 on a weekday morning, she was pulling out two beautiful loaves of hearty bread out of her oven.

How on Earth did she do it, I wondered. She explained that she can have that feeling of being away from her children, yet still be close enough to intervene with them if necessary. When she's kneading the dough, she can have a meditative moment while still observing the busy movements of her boys around her.

I found this an apt metaphor for coping with other "distracting" forces, such as depression or anxiety. The "noisiness" of anxiety or depression can demand much of one's attention, but when engaged in such meditation, as in kneading bread, we can observe its play from a distance. By achieving such space, one can come away with a deep sense of renewal and satisfaction.

I am already thinking about what I want to bake when I need a moment of solitude among the noise. I'm feeling inspired by Orangette's recipe for Everyday Cake. Even though she's taking a break right now, this Seattle food blogger has a wonderful index of recipes from which you might find your own domestic respite.

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