Mindful While Making
The novel The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake by Aimee Bender VERY loosely inspires the following thoughts about being mindful while making.
What if everything you made offered a clear reflection of what you really were— not in style or in craft but emotionally and mentally? Would what you passed off as encouraging actually feel encouraging to its receiver? Would you be more mindful in your intentions and mood while making?
The problem with authenticity is that it’s hard to gauge how truly authentic something is with nothing to back up the claim. So here’s the real test of testing the authenticity of your own work: pay attention to what’s going through your head while working on your project. To test the theory on myself, I baked.
I hate baking. The process is long and messy and, in my case, rarely turns out how I would like. In trying to be mindful, though, I couldn’t focus on how much I hated the process. So, I turned on some mellow instrumental music and just focused on the process itself.
I took extra care to measure out each ingredient properly and checked and double checked the steps ahead just in case I missed something. Rather than focusing on how “folding” the ingredients seemed much less effective than stirring, I paused and tried a new folding technique. Instead of throwing my hands up in frustration after pouring the first bit of muffin batter into its cup only to realize I was missing a key ingredient, I actually laughed. The lemon poppy seed muffins were done and baked before I’d even had a chance to clean anything up.
The muffins came out perfectly.
Because I was actively forcing my direction back on the muffins when my mind started to drift into my to-do list or my anxiety over how hard baking is (or was?) or how confused and upset I was after the *book I’d just read, I did and good job and had a great batch of baked goods to show for it.
If we treat everything with the attention it truly deserves, it is much more likely to meet our desired outcome. This includes being mindful while making and creating. We just need to learn how.
*As mentioned at the beginning, these thoughts are loosely based on the Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake. While the premise is definitely thought provoking and full of question, the story as a whole will leave you with no answers…or closure, really.