The Milk of . . .

They may be right, but for me a life without milk would be a rather dismal experience. Imagine avoiding milk in one’s tea or cream with one’s coffee, no yoghurt on the breakfast muesli, no hot custard on a cold winter’s night, no toasted cheese sandwiches or no cheesecake when friends come to visit.

 

This is an old basic recipe for cheesecake. What I like about it is that it is not too sweet, nor does it cloy the palate. It is perfect to serve either as a pudding with a dollop of cream for decadence, or with a variety of winter berries, or as is on any other social occasion.

Cheesecake

Pastry

1 cup of white flour
1 Egg
1 Tablespoon of sugar
Butter

Mix all together and make into dough. Spread in a flat dish and bake at 350 degrees F (180 degrees C) till golden brown.

Filling

3 Eggs
500 grams of smooth cream cheese or ‘Ricotta’
1 Tin of condensed milk
½ Cup of lemon juice

Mix all together. Pour into pastry shell and bake at same temperature until golden brown and the filling is firm.

FOOD FOR THOUGHT
Restoring Equanimity

Our theme for August is about restoration. As you can see from above and our sidebar, what has been broken into pieces can, with loving patience and with some time and effort, is restored.

So it is when one embarks on a process of healing the broken parts of one’s psyche. We start with what is broken. We lay out the scattered pieces. We observe where they were damaged. We look for the missing parts. We gently begin to piece them together by seeing how they fit. Slowly piece by piece we begin to draw the parts back together again.

We use different skills and tools and techniques for each part. While this is happening our concentration is totally focused on the task at hand. There is a period of complete self-absorption. This period is necessary in the restoration process. It is almost as if we need this time to ‘re-story’ ourselves, so as to derive meaning as to what happened and how we can talk about it in a different way, one that now has insight attached to it.

Only then, one is ready to embark on the journey of life where a sense of equanimity has been restored. So what is equanimity? The Concise Oxford Dictionary describes it as ‘evenness of mind’ and ‘acceptance of fate’. Some might argue that the former description is a positive outcome; while the latter smacks of resignation and in some ways this could be the view. Nevertheless, if all the delicate work of restoration is thoroughly done, then ‘acceptance of fate’ could be viewed slightly differently. One could view it as letting go of the past, coming to terms with the present and being prepared to trust in the future. This is the view we like to adopt at Change Matters.

 

We see the cow is a symbol of this ‘evenness of mind’. A cow ‘chews the cud’ many times before absorbing its contents. A cow will let down her milk only when she is content with her surroundings and is held by loving hands. We need to use this as a metaphor in our own lives when we are pushed to reacte rather than respond, when we feel unsafe or are in situations that are disempowering us (‘stealing our milk’). We need to remember that we can regain our equanimity if we say ‘wait, I need to think this over’, or we remove ourselves to a safe space or we refuse to give our power away.

We hope that the picture above will help to remind you that equanimity is not only an essential restorative outcome but also a necessary attribute when dealing with the challenges that life throws at us.