By: Katie Runnels
I usually make pasta at least once a week for my husband. Sometimes I put some chicken or turkey in it, and sometimes I try new combinations of meat and veggies. About two months ago we bought a new skillet. It is stainless steel, and it is very easy to burn the bottom of the pan.
My mom finally told me that the reason for the burning was that my heat was too high. So, I have been working on keeping the heat lower–so I don’t get a burned up black skillet…
A few weeks ago I was out of some of my usual ingredients, so I poured a little cooking wine it the sauce to spice it up a bit. I then remembered that I needed to turn the heat down, and let it cook slowly. I let it cook at a very low heat for a few hours–stirring it occasionally. I decided to be patient. I decided to watch and wait.
When my husband got home from work, the pasta was ready, and the house smelled delicious. He ate it, and commented, “this is my favorite pasta [that you have ever made]! It is so rich! What did you do?” I told him that I added wine…and that I cooked it at a lower heat for a longer period of time… I “slow cooked it.” The flavors were fully released (in the pasta), and it was the best version of itself. I learned a really important cooking lesson. I also learned a life lesson.
Last night as I was making some more pasta, I started thinking about how being “slow cooked” relates to our lives. I believe that sometimes the heat low….and stays for a really long time. We want some action. We want things to change. We try and try and try. We spin our wheels. We wonder what is going on. We try to either turn the heat up (to speed things up) or turn the heat off (just walk away)–to deal with our discomfort. The reality is that maybe the heat is right where it needs to be so that we will become a delicacy. Sometimes we just need to watch and wait.
Maybe, just maybe, the longer we are stirred over a low heat, the more delicious we become. Eventually, the aroma of your patience and steadfastness will fills the air. And then (maybe, just maybe), people will drawn to our sweet smell from miles away (okay, maybe not miles, but you get the drift!).
Whatever “heat” is driving you bonkers right now (maybe a job, a spouse, a friend, a living situation), don’t think of it as an enemy. Think of it as a a stove and a skillet–making you into a tender, rich, unique delicacy.
Embrace the heat, and pretty soon, you will forget about the discomfort. You are being molded. You are being sanded. You are being softened. Don’t get rid of the heat. Don’t run away. It will only prolong your process. Embrace that hardship. Embrace that relationship. Embrace that difficult circumstance. Accept it.
Pretty soon, people will smell your sweet aroma and want to taste your deliciousness.
(Please note: Some of this article is a result of Pema Chodron, and her book, When Things Fall Apart. ) I highly recommend this book. It just might change your life.