Monday, January 09, 2006

cooking with betty

Yes, we're nine days into the new year, but I'm just getting started on my annual attempt to get my act together. I usually start some sort of dramatic new regimen each January 1. Last year it was a raw food diet (very time intensive, especially considering you don't actually cook) coupled with synchronized aerobic kung fu, chanting group meditation and parent/child hatha yoga classes, and I was supposed to speed clean my house during any remaining time each day. Somehow I forgot to schedule in time to go to work, and the resulting chaos put the kibosh on last year's perfect lifestyle plan.

That particular regimen lasted a total of 15 hours, and the rest of 2005 was basically a free-for-all during which I simply attempted to feed, clothe and school the (resistant) child while keeping myself (barely) functional and employable.

This year I'll be REASONABLE, a non-specialty of whirlingbetty. I got off to a good start at that by basically ignoring January 1st altogether. I treated it just like any other day. I didn't empty my refrigerator or cupboards, I didn't call 1-800-GOTJUNK, I didn't turn myself over to any TV evangelists, I didn't join any new athletic facilities, I didn't sign myself up for the Peace Corps or any extreme makeovers, I didn't enroll in any training program for a new career. I just sort of hung out, ignoring the oh-so-significant date.

I felt guilty. Finally, by yesterday, January 8, I couldn't stand it any longer. I HAD to at least appear to attempt to overhaul my situation. The year is already one week gone, so obviously any diet or exercise resolution is out of the question. (It wouldn't be fair for the rest of you to have an entire week's head start!)

So I hauled out my spiritual books. I own an impressive library of them because, by golly, if I can't have my act together, then at least I want you all to know that I've tried. I stayed up most of the night skimming through several different paths to enlightenment.

One concept caught my eye. As whirlingbetty, I often feel bombarded by too much information, too much technology, too many options, too many possibilities. I am immobilized by the whirlwind of choices, baffled by decisions.

Authors Esther and Jerry Hicks in Ask and it is Given address the issue of overwhelment. They suggest that the reader imagine being a chef in a well-stocked kitchen. You have a recipe, you know what ingredients you need, and you put ONLY THOSE into your pie. The other ingredients stocking your shelves need neither be banished from your kitchen nor thrown into your pie. It is not necessary to be overwhelmed by the number of ingredients present in the kitchen. Use what you need and leave the rest.

To me, this was earth-shattering. I laughed, of course, while admitting to myself that it really is this simple. This morning I decided what I wanted to cook today, and selected my ingredients: jogging, blogging, reading, working, eating amaranth and veggies. I encountered a couple of unplanned ingredients: an elderly neighbor called for help (I said yes- it enhanced my pie)) and a very negative friend called and wanted to scheme (I said no- it would wreck my pie).

Maybe I'm on to something, eh? The whirlingbetty pie is still in the oven, but the aroma is mighty convincing.


garnet david said...

Excellent post. It doesn't get much better than this. This is what blogging is about. Hilarious and thoughtful.

I need to get a copy of that book. I love all the ideas from it you've shared with me.

And the simpler recipes work best, both for food and spirit. I too am often overwhelmed. I rebel and pull away from friends and from myself. But these days' I'm more apt to keep my inredients simple, and find I'm more engaged in my life.

Kelley Bell said...

Here, let me add the whipped Cream!

Betty said...

And compliments don't get much better than this, either, Garnet. Thank you.

Betty said...

Whipped cream goes with all my recipes, for sure, even broccoli amaranth calming aerobic peace inspiration!

Shankari said...

Mmm! what a pie in the sky! :)

Priyamvada_K said...

LOL@"overwhelment". It does help to pause on reflect on what one wants, and ignore the rest. Last year was a whirling one for me. This year, I'm going to think of your pie story.


Anonymous said...

My pie runneth over with ingredients. Time to simplify. Nice metaphor!

ME Strauss said...

Ah Betty,
Sometimes the world gets to be so much for me that I years ago made adjustments to the word myself and just consider myself constantly whelmed.

What a wonderful post and what glorious, uplifting, rollicking fun it was reading it. Thank you for that. Thank you too for such a simple approach to the too many things that often cluter up my too many options mind.

Isn't always the way that the best answers are simple and elegant--easy as pie. :)

Sideways Chica said...

Here's to "only" enhancing your pie recipe in 2006. With one part Whirling Betty, it's already assured to be a blue ribbon winner.

A bit crazy myself these days, and I'm totally off schedule...which is rare for me. Even forgot to pay a bill (which is never like me.) The boy returns to college tomorrow, and I am very sad and also elated at the same time. How can this be? I guess I'm not used to this particular ingredient on a regular basis anymore. It can be a bit overwhelming. Our pie's are much more simple these days...until thank goodness, the boy whirls in again.

Ciao chica...great post.

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