I hate waiting, don’t you? I like to know what’s what.
Do you spend your whole life trying to rule out uncertainty and pin everything and everyone down? Are you unhappy until you have all the information at your fingertips and you can plan? I know the feeling. But sometimes we can’t plan. Sometimes we are dependent on the will of others, or the gods and doesn’t that feel all wrong? Uncertainty is so uncomfortable for our minds to live with that they begin running round in circles trying to bring it to an end by anticipating. They try to imagine the future in all its outcomes and prepare us for each of them. They try to have the experience in advance to get it out of the way.
Does this work? Not really and often something actually happens that we haven’t thought of anyway. Trying to anticipate the future like this is exhausting and there are some things out of our control. We cannot bring the uncertainty to an end by sheer force of mental effort. Then we are left with the horrible feelings, the mental anguish. What to do then? Aargh!
Usually we don’t feel the feelings. We get a whiff that they might be in the air and we spend all our energy running away or trying to fix the world so that we don’t have them. When we only glimpse feelings out of the corner of our mental eye, they appear enormous, overwhelming, fatal like being chased by a man with an axe.
Try doing the counter-intuitive thing. When we stop running away from them, come right up close and shake those feelings by the hand, they turn out to be smaller than you thought. Yep, they sure are ugly and they don’t feel good (fear, anger, panic, no-one signed up for those). Can’t deny that. But hang on. They are not actually killing you after all. They are just horrible and unpleasant. That’s it. That’s all that’s happening. They are horrible and unpleasant. Are they really huge up close? Not so much.
Next time you’re waiting for that magical person to call you back, for the waiter to bring the glass of wine, that train to arrive, that bell to go, why not have a dip into those feelings. It’s good practice for when we are waiting for the more difficult things (the diagnosis, the interview, the exam). Make friends with those feelings, look them in the eye. What’s so scary? Boredom, yes it’s dull but so far you haven’t died of boredom after all. (Your mother was right. Again.) Frustration (is a polite word for anger) and it’s an energy in the body that feels like you will burst but actually you won’t. Just feel the energy and see how that goes.
While you’re waiting you can make use of the time and get a lot done! Clean out the cupboards. File those papers. Go for a run. Practise the piano. In fact you can live your life while you’re waiting. Imagine that!
Here is some soup you can make which is super healthy and a fabulous colour, like molten lava. It is chock full of beetroot and fresh turmeric which give it the outstanding radioactive colour and you can throw in any other vegetables you have to hand. The beetroot and turmeric and non-negotiable. After that it’s up to you. Carrots, courgettes, parsnips, turnip, potatoes, celeriac. When it’s done add some lemon juice to brighten up the taste and some cream or yoghurt to bring out the colour and soften the texture. Do not eat this soup off your best tablecloth. It’s a killer.
Uncertainty Soup (because you don’t know what’s in it)
At least two beetroots, peeled and halved (or more)
Three or four pieces of fresh turmeric, peeled and cut in four (remember latex gloves will protect your hands when dealing with the astonishing colour of raw turmeric and beetroot)
A bunch of carrots, peeled and halved
Two onions, peeled and halved
Garlic and ginger peeled and chopped (to taste)
Other root vegetables you have going spare (potatoes will make it much more calorific). Save your spinach and broccoli for a green soup otherwise you will muddy the colour.
The juice from one lemon or a tablespoon of lemon juice from a bottle
A tablespoon of olive oil (more if you are not trying to control calories)
- Preheat the oven to 180 degrees.
- Put all the prepared vegetables into a heavy roasting pan which you have brushed with olive oil and then brush the vegetables roughly with the rest of the olive oil. (If you’re trying to cut back on calories using a pastry brush is really helpful when dealing with olive oil). If calories are no concern then be generous with the olive oil.
- Season with salt and pepper
- Roast in the oven for an hour
- Let them cool and then liquidise with plenty of water. If you want a smooth soup you will need to be patient and do this in batches so you can add plenty of liquid.
- Pour back into the pan and check the seasoning.
- Add the lemon juice and check again
- Heat and serve with a dollop of Skyr, Greek yoghurt, sour cream or a drizzle of double cream
Life may be disappointing, soup never. And remember that every time you cook something for yourself from scratch you are building healthy self-esteem.