I used to follow recipes to a tee. If I was making a cake and it said to add 1 vanilla pod, I didn’t use the vanilla flavoring in the cupboard, I waited until the next trip to the shops, bought it, and made the perfect like for like cake. The same with making cookies and adding colored syrups and for curries I’d search everywhere for a powder and when I couldn’t find them, I’ll do it some other time.
As I’ve gotten older, more relaxed, and live in a Punjabi household where when I make mistakes or forget stuff ‘Never mind, you’re cooking and it’s ok!’ As called out by my mother in law I’ve loosened up recipe rules and in life too.
Earlier I made stew and supplemented tomato paste with paprika. I miss bay leaves out all the time and as for cakes, I make them the same way my Nannie did and adapt as necessary.
I feel I’m adopting this in life too, routines won’t always go to plan, mealtimes with a toddler may happen in two sittings, some days everything might run late and I may not get to meditate at all.
I feel this relates to something we talked about in college recently.
I used to go along with the notion that the strongest wins. Inner strength outer strength, what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger, and resilience rules! To a degree, it does at our basic primitive level of survival and I believe things shape our character for better or worse.
It isn’t being the strongest that will pull you through circumstances but the ability to adapt to different situations and become flexible that will.
This is true with where I am at the moment in life, circumstances have changed and if I’m not adaptable and flexible in attitude and literal terms, I will feed control and resentment like a hungry woodland animal.
‘Rigidity is the mark of mental illness; flexibility is the mark of mental health. Without flexibility, there is no freedom. Think of at least three exceptions to your rule – and then consider all the exceptions you can’t even imagine’.
Now that is some homework! Here is mine:
Three exceptions to the rule/my Non-negotiable:
Wearing my crown, covering my head (Daastar/Turban/Pakta)
When looking for jobs, I cannot work once a week on college night.
Showering at least once a week
Giving our child my iPad/Phone randomly or out of laziness is a no
Getting to an airport late out of own poor planning
Staying up late and waking early doesn’t work as you get older
Small talking more than necessary to the point where I am exhausted
I could add having one hour to myself at nap times here, they are well protected with a big DO NOT DISTURB SIGN or at least the sight of me swiftly making a cup of tea and opening a book. Though I have accepted sometimes that appointment or food shop delivery or chat with my partner may happen. Oh and the sweet surrender that nap times won’t happen as she gets older.
There are so many situations I am flexible in now that I wasn’t in my twenties or before parenthood. If I can’t meditate that morning I may feel off though it isn’t the worst thing that could happen. If I can’t write one day it doesn’t mean I won’t ever again.
I think rigidity relates to control in us anxious folk and as I lessen my grip of control I can open up to being more adaptable and flexible.
Share your thoughts in the comments below.