Forest Gump said, “Life is like a box of chocolates.” He meant, I think, you can never know what you’ll get until you take a bite of it. For me, Life is more like a cookbook. And the key is to find the recipe that uses the ingredients we have to create the result we desire to eat.
Some people treat recipes like chemistry projects. They measure carefully and follow procedures methodically, looking for a precision that can be reproduced reliably. Some people read cookbooks for ideas and then create spontaneously from the the inspiration they got. Some are interested in food creation only to the extent that they can open a can or a box and add water. All of us have our own unique relationship with cookbooks and the recipes within. For me, recipes are a side-bar, a reference point, to ground my creative exploration. Because – as with life – I only believe what I experience first hand.
Such is the power of the creative process – it is always a first hand experience.
I recall hungry times in my life when cash was limited, and the only food available was what remained in the pantry. To be able to take whatever was there and turn it into something satisfying to eat – that was a creative endeavor that transformed the helpless feelings of poverty into feelings of mastery and sovereignty for me. I could take what Life gave me (in the pantry) and make it work. More than a few times, I created meals when others around me said the cupboards were bare. Creativity proved again and again to be my unlimited and unending resource.
The metaphor became a touchstone for me. Whenever circumstances felt overwhelming and I didn’t know how to proceed to make it better, I would go into the kitchen and whip up another “something from nothing” creation. Sometimes, my creations surprised and delighted my taste buds; sometimes they were merely adequate. Always, they served to remind me of my ability to make it work. And each time, I remembered and reassured myself that – whatever it was – I could figure something out. Just like I did in the kitchen.
That recipe I call my Survival Recipe. Perfecting it over time, I realized we have many recipes for Life – Relationship recipes, Success Recipes, Health Recipes, Lifestyle Recipes, Spiritual Recipes, etc. Some of our recipes work really well, reliably resulting in satisfying creations. Others – not so much.
The good news is: recipes can be changed, altered to a new outcome. Unlike chocolates in a box where we never know what we’ll get until our mouths are full of it and then it’s done, recipes can be evaluated and modified until the result is exactly what we envisioned. Recipes are a creative process.
Whether it is a perfect rice pudding or a satisfying feeling of intimacy in a relationship. tinkering with the recipe is the practice that gives power to concepts of hope and faith. Hope and faith inspire us to persevere and evolve and make whatever is better. So, I say: Life is like a cookbook. Find the ingredients that interest you, explore their combinations in recipes that inspire you, and play in the kitchen called your creative process until the result makes you happy.
I love you. Thank you