Little Pockets Full of Space (And Cookies)

When I returned from my overseas adventure last June, transition and unexpected circumstances hit me pretty hard and I quickly realized that I needed to intentionally release, make space and get refreshed if I was going to avoid crashing and completely falling apart. After spending the first few days alone in my bedroom, I decided to embrace something familiar and hit the kitchen. Baking is nostalgic and also refreshing to me; it's become both a creative outlet and go-to coping mechanism when things feel hard or I just need a little extra time to myself. 

As a child I remember my mom nearly always had homemade cookie dough in the freezer in the event a guest were to come over announced, one of my siblings or I needed to bring treats to school or we were simply craving something sweet. One of my favorite places to be with my mom was the kitchen and I always admired the confidence with which she created and tried new things. I guess that's one of the things that just stuck with me and now I enjoy baking, concocting, testing and tasting in the kitchen myself.

So when life seemed overwhelming and I felt the need to do something useful yet mindless, I started to bake. I baked cookies and biscuits, cakes and tarts, experimented with new ingredients and then taste tested them all. And it was exactly what I needed.

There are times when I simply experiment with my own creative (or weird) ideas and other times I like to try something I found while perusing the feeds of my favorite food / baker bloggers. (If you need some inspiration, follow Joy the Baker (obsessed with her insta-stories lately), Izzy Hossack (author of Top with Cinnamon), Dana Eats and Broma Bakery). 

To me, part of living wholeheartedly is finding what refreshes you and then creating little pockets of space to do it. When I plan out my week during my Sunday night meetings, I'll typically reserve a spot or two in my schedule and block it off as if I have an appointment with myself. And then when stress arrives, I remember that I already put something in my pocket to pull out and enjoy, like a little surprise. 

What refreshes me may not refresh you and what I find inspiring may be pretty boring to you. And that’s ok. The process of finding refreshment requires self discovery and self awareness, both of which take time and are quickly stifled by comparison. 

I heard once that “comparison is the thief of joy”. And I think that’s true - when I start comparing my season, rhythms, pace or need for refreshment with someone else, I put unnecessary pressure on myself and forfeit my chance to find joy in the things I love doing.

Join me in devoting some time to what's most refreshing to you this week - ask yourself what makes you breath deep and exhale a sigh of relief. Is it writing? Baking? Playing basketball with some friends? Whatever it is for you, carve out some space and protect it, like a treasure in your pocket. Then resist the urge to look over your neighbor's shoulder while you let yourself sink in and just enjoy. And then when life feels overwhelming, you reach for something familiar - something you've practiced getting refreshed and refueled by so that it's mindless and simple and easy to pick back up again. 

How are you intentionally creating rhythms of refreshment in this season? As for me, I’m going to keep baking. And maybe I'll get around to posting a recipe or two up on my blog in the next few weeks. Stay tuned!