At a very young age, I started helping my mom bake. In the beginning, my brothers and I were given the ability to use the cookie cutters to make our favorite designs for Christmas cookies. Eventually, we added ingredients, used the mixer and all other jobs associated. My comfort in a kitchen probably comes from the fact that I’ve been doing it for so long. There are sometimes when my mom would have to follow a recipe and others when she would just “wing it” because she’d done it so many times before. After years of baking, she had all of the basic ingredients at the ready and specialty items were available when the recipe called for it. The kitchen had a spice everything that it needed. Our job was simply to add the right amount of each ingredient to get the desired result.
Life surprisingly is about the same. The problem is that most of us have gotten so used to making the same recipe that we don’t ever set ourselves up for much else. There are certain items in both baking and life that are almost always going to show up.
Flour, salt and sugar– Much like breathing, drinking and eating; these are constants in almost every single successful recipe. The question is how much and the quality of that ingredient. It’s possible to get by with poor quality in all of these but the end product is bound to suffer. Getting these right won’t particularly win you a place on the podium at the county bake-off but it can balance out mistakes in smaller quantity ingredients.
Other Ingredients– Taking on a new recipe requires looking at the list of ingredients and making sure that you have what you need. Often in life, we’ve gotten so used to making the same things, day in and day out. We never even consider or conceptualize the fact that life could be any different. The thought of breaking from that which we did yesterday is not considered because we are largely on autopilot. We are running a thought, emotion and action program that we’ve run for years possibly decades. Humans have thousands of thoughts everyday. The problem is that most of the thoughts that we are having today are the same ones that we had yesterday and the day before. The same thoughts and emotions largely lead to the same actions. Therefore change is highly unlikely unless something breaks us from our cycle. This is why traumatic events often lead to people making life altering shifts. It breaks the cycles of familiarity but we don’t need or particularly want trauma to change.
The other ingredients that are crucial to deliberate change are meditation and visualization. They do not particularly have to come in that order but both are necessary. Meditation is critical, especially today, because we need to regain control of the mind. With all that is being thrown at us in the way of stimuli, we need to take the time to detach from all of the demands that others have for our attention and put it back into the moment. If we are able to detach from all of the noise outside and get our mind quiet and it is more possible to inject new thoughts and emotional patterns.
Visualization is also a key ingredient for change because we need to be able to see a new future in our mind’s eye before it shows up in reality. The world is full of secondhand products because almost everything had to be created in the mind of someone first. The phone or laptop that you’re reading this on was an idea before it became reality. The words that I’m writing. The wire that’s carrying electricity to the light bulb where you are. It was all conceived in the mind first. If you are able to get your mind still, then focus it intently on the things that you want, you’re more likely to see that end product arrive. Of course there is action to be done! Since the thoughts and feelings need to fall into place first, they are the necessary step that brings about the action.
There are so many possible outcomes for a day. Like baking a cake, cookies or any other thing, it is your job to take the ingredients that you have and put it together into something palatable. If your situation is distasteful then you need to envision something else and take action in that direction. The ingredients cannot put itself together. That’s your job and you’ll continue to get the same old, same old until you’re willing to see something different inside of your mind.
PS – One of my favorite comedy bits!