My therapist tells me it's useless to worry about the things we can't control.
I foolishly attach myself to the school of thought that if I worry about something I'm worried about enough, I will be able to control it, predict its outcome. I think I'll be able to outsmart chance, fate, and consequence because I was one step ahead of them. "Foolish universe," I think, "I've already worried about this so much and now that it has materialized I have bested you!" Perhaps this works against me. Perhaps my worry does control everything in a way, that works to be self-sabotaging. Oh well. Promise I'm working on it.
In rare moments where I can allow myself to succumb to the idea that maybe, just maybe I can let go of worry and allow the winds of consequence to take me wherever, I find cooking as a means to regain that (semblance of) control.
This is a science, isn't it? Here I am, grocery shopping and controlling which items I think will be best in a dish where I controlled its composition. Here I am, salt and peppering to taste, measuring out the flours and milks, sifting, stirring, chopping. I control this knife, I feel this dough, I work these ingredients to combine into something I created, I controlled, I figured out.
There is a usefulness here in being so deep into these culinary moments. For me, it's not just about controlling some elements of my life. It's about using my head in a way that distracts me from all of the things I have convinced myself I need to worry about. If I am focused and controlled, if I am using all five of my senses to build this dish, there's no room for the excess sadness and worry. I feel the sturdiness of the knife in my stiff grip, I see how the basil separates itself from its stem, I hear how these onions sizzle and crack in my pan, I taste the need for more thyme in my roasted lamb stew.
These are moments of pure mindfulness to me. I need them to forgive, forget, move on. To enjoy the sensations happening beneath me, the sensations that I am creating, all alone. In these moments I am thankful for all of the small things life allows me.
Still, in these moments, I am unable to forget the amount of loss this year has broken on to me. All of the things I could not control and can not go back to fix, all of my worries materialized. All of the moments I've tried to let go to fate. Still, I stand thankful for all of the things I have yet to lose: my knives, my hands, my feet, my intelligence, my passion, my talents, my love, my inconceivably supportive family and friends, and my ability to endure.