Today I made bread. It was a process that took me the better part of 4 hours. It consisted of mixing, stirring, waiting. Stirring and waiting some more. Stirring and waiting some more. Molding and waiting some more. Baking and waiting some more. It took patience (and a surprising amount of physical strength, might I add!).
When it was done. It was splendid. It’s no secret that I tend to get stressed out when I cook. If it’s not perfect or how I envisioned it to be, I can get upset and deflated. But, in another illustration of the freedom of non-expectancy, I started working on my bread with this attitude: “What’s the worst that could happen? It might be inedible. So I’ll try it again, if that’s the case. This won’t be a failure, or a disaster. It will be an attempt.” And it was spectacular. Does it look “perfect”? No. But it’s beautiful and it’s delicious, because I made it with my own hands. It took me an entire afternoon. And when I ate it, it wasn’t just any old bread. I savored it because I worked on it. I am a part of that bread.
It was made with sincerity. I was present as I made my bread. I focused on the stirring, the kneading, the shaping as I was doing it, and nothing else. I was eating dinner, then, and I was really overwhelmed with happiness… and yes… it was because of my bread. It was like I could taste the presence. I was appreciative of everything non-bread that went into making that bread.
“Sincerity is the quality where your imperfections show.” Zen Master Edward Espe Brown