Where do you find the real miracles?
I’m not much of a cook I confess. Not that I can’t – but mostly I choose not to.
What I think of as real cooking involves love, creativity and time. I choose to use my finite resources of love, creativity and time on other endeavours – primarily writing funnily enough.
Real cooking for me becomes a “sometimes” endeavour with expediency taking the limelight on most days.
But I do certainly know the difference between expedient food and food that is worth waiting for.
Think about coffee.
I don’t know too many people who would choose instant coffee over brewed, steamed and frothed coffee. Somehow the time spent waiting for coffee is a cherished part of the process.
I’m not much of a coffee drinker, but I do know the build up of anticipation from ordering to receiving that coffee-filled paper cup. The smell of the coffee beans alone is enough to set your heart racing and your mouth salivating. And the low pitch of the coffee machine sends vibrations through the air that add to hyped feeling that is only just beginning.
There’s the camaraderie too of fellow coffee drinkers. Instant friends that last until the next coffee arrives. But how magical that first steaming sip is. You feel your neurones tingle and jangle as the coffee finds it’s way into your blood stream to work it’s magic.
Yep – waiting for the coffee is an integral part of the experience. Drinking coffee would inevitably lose something without it. Would it taste the same pre-made and ready to go? It certainly doesn’t taste the same when it’s instant.
Somehow we know that the process and theatre of fresh coffee is worth paying for. Worth waiting for.
Worth waiting for
And it’s the same with other things too.
Who nowadays knits or sews? If you don’t, you may remember your mother or grandmother knitting or sewing. And whilst again I’ve chosen the convenience to give up these things, I do remember waiting and waiting for a jumper or skirt to slowly take shape. The being measured, the pinning and fittings.
All these made the moment of completion and ownership completely different to our quick and instant clothing purchases. Somehow it felt special to wear something unique and irreplaceable. And their imperfections made them endearing.
It takes time to plant a garden, build a house or raise a family. It takes time to master a language, a sport, a profession – some say it takes 10,000 hours to gain expertise. It takes time to save money for a trip or to pay off a house. These things we value and cherish require sweat, determination, courage, time and effort. And we put in that effort because we know it is worth it. That they are worth waiting for.
Destination or journey?
So why is it that when it comes to things like our health we are so often seduced by the instant, the convenient, the effortless? Why are we so often seduced by the guru, the expert, the miracle worker and look to them for quick fixes rather than taking charge for ourselves?
Do we really think we can lose in 6 weeks all the weight we took 5 years putting on? Do we really think there are special foods imbued with magical properties that kind of trump all the unhealthy things we are doing? Do we really think we can have our cake and eat it too – so to speak?
Perhaps its worth taking a moment to rethink our mindset and start to see things like our health as a journey rather than just a destination. A journey involving effort and sweat to be sure – but a journey that can take you to a far better destination than you had imagined.
So instead of investing in quick fixes, imagine for a minute investing that same money and hope in yourself – in your own journey towards health with all it’s ups and downs and see where that might lead you.
Imagine for instance you want to lose 5 kg and the different types of journey you could take.
Imagine a journey where the your entire focus was the number on the scales. You may or may not seek professional help to diet or exercise. Or you may be tempted by berries and seeds and shakes and the latest secret tips to help you get to your goal as soon as possible. Or a combination. Either way your focus remains on the outcome. “What is my weight today?”
Imagine a different journey where you decided that you would lose 5 kg by developing vibrant health in your body, mind and spirit. To do this you focus on your mindset, attitude, thoughts and behaviours. You start to notice how exercise makes you feel good – it has more value than just giving you a smaller number on the scales. Perhaps you become aware of how you block yourself from eating healthily – and you focus on overcoming this. In a sense you have forgotten about the scales and started to focus on the development of you as a person.
When we focus on the destination only (did I lose 5kg?) – we forget the wonder of the journey we are on with all it’s byways and highways and photogenic moments. We forget that the purpose of our life is not a number. The purpose is more closely related to becoming the best we can be and using all the challenges in our path to grow.
Whether it’s choosing health or something else, wherever we want to go, we are on a journey – and it’s our journey not anyone else’s. Sometimes journeys are wonderful and exciting. Sometimes they feel hard, hard, hard. Almost too hard for us to bear, we think.
Yet, my friends, in life the beauty, the richness, the magnificence, the growth is often found hidden in the challenges. Paradoxically and perhaps perversely we find the destination we are seeking in the waiting, the time, the effort, the sweat. These are the places we grow. These are the places where we come into our own and find our true selves.
Because when you put in effort and sweat and time and creativity, and journey along to health or wherever you want to go with faith and acceptance and humour, that’s when you’ll find the miracles were hidden inside you all along.
So next time you are waiting for your coffee think about, and savour, the journey…and think how you can expand that same richness into the other parts of your life.