Life as Cake Batter

I know lots of folks who are experiencing extreme change in their lives right now. Whether moving house, starting a new business direction or completely altering a long-standing family dynamic, to an outside observer these changes might look erratic and a little, well, messy.

But, when I have the opportunity, I always tell these stressed folks that I liken this state of affairs to “Cake Batter”. It’s like this: Lets say you love cake but have never seen it made from scratch and know nothing about baking.

Watching the process just might shock you. “Wait”, you’d say, “You’re breaking the eggs! Oh, you’re putting all that dry stuff in with the wet stuff! That’s just a bowl of goop. It looks nothing like cake.” You would not think it possible that a mess like that could actually become the cake you loved, and in a way you’d be right.

You could put that bowl of batter in the fridge and not do anything to it, just let it sit there for a month and it would never turn into a cake on its own. For the batter to turn into a cake you must first pour it into a pan, stick the pan in the oven and turn up the heat.

The heat is the important part. The temperature needs to get pretty hot in that oven for any significant change to occur in the batter and change is what you want. So you have to wait. You have to have faith. You have to believe in your recipe and trust your own personal baking process and intuition.

There’s no speeding this part up. Watching it through the window in the oven door won’t make it bake any faster, no matter how much of a hurry you may be in. After some time in the oven the cake may look done, but then you stick a toothpick into the center and . . . nope. Three more minutes of heat. Or five. Or ten. It takes as long as it takes to complete the magical alchemy of transforming a gloopy, inedible wet mess into something sweet, solid and delicious.

Well, big life changes are just like that. You must be willing to combine disparate elements, take risks, break eggs. Then you have to heat things up and allow enough time for the cake to bake completly. And have faith. Please. Don’t give up before your cake is done.

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