I love to cook, but I find baking laborious.

When I cook, I never use recipies. I get ideas from recipies, but following a recipe step by step ruins the whole experience. I prefer to cook on the “fly,” tasting as I go.

This is a disasterous strategy for baking. Baking is chemistry rather than art. This explains why my early attempts to bake bread failed. 

One Christmas, MJ bought me a “chemistry book” for bread. The book taught me that ingredients must be weighed out to the gram. Water for the poolish was specified at 86 degrees. Dough should be mixed until it reaches 95 degrees, and so on. 

I followed the instructions to a “T.” Guess what happened?

My bread was spectacular.

No doubt there is a life-lesson there somewhere, but I’m choosing to ignore it!

I resonate more with the life-metafore offered by modern photography.  Simply pull out an Iphone, snap a picture, then adjust luminace, color saturation, shadows, highlights, and sharpness as needed. The results are fantastic.

This brings me to a question: 

Is finding happiness more like baking, or photography? By that I mean, can one follow a recipe or is it better just to make adustments “on the fly.” I’ve seen both approaches attempted, but neither seem to guarantee success. 

What’s the answer then?

I think joy ultimately boils down to connectivity in our daily lives.

In baking, we thoroughly mix ingredients to assure connectivity. 

When cooking, we add spices, stirring and tasting as we go. 

In photography, it’s about adjusting “the way that light attaches to a girl.” (Adam Duritz)

Joy is found in connectivity. 

Typically, we rush around from here to there, while thinking about something else.

That’s not connecting. 

We are naturally drawn to connections and broken without them. Deep inside, we want to locate ourselves within a larger story.

Americans sometimes get caught up in a fantasy of rugged independence. 

But no one is alone.

Whenever and wherever we deeply connect, we find soul.

As far as I can determine, the secret to joy is simply being here, connecting, (and now the really important part), recognizing it in the moment. This is what it means to be aware!

I write a lot about awareness because I believe it’s the whole enchilada!

“Presence,” “Mindfulness,” “Awareness,” are synoyms for the act of “Connecting.” 

Joy is found whenever we deeply connect with life. Circumstances are less important. 

We can examine how we’re doing on this by taking the Joni Mitchel test!

Remember her lyrics in “Big Yellow Taxi?” 

“Don’t it always seem to go, that you don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone!”

Deeply connecting in the moment fixes that!


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4 Replies to “Connecting”

  1. Tim,
    This post has to be one of my favorites of yours so far! I’m not sure why, but I think it is because of both the simplicity and the profundity of “connection.” I was reminded of that yesterday when I was able to drink tea with a good friend after being apart for too long. The time felt memorable, though the event was simple. Thank you for connecting and for the reminder of how much we need to connect with each other and with life around us.
    Best to you and MJ,


  2. I am so glad after all those years at Pillsbury you have finally learned to appreciate the science of dough 🥳. I think about cooking as jazz and baking as orchestra where we need to follow some “rules” to coordinate. Both make beautiful music 🎶
    Happy Sunday


  3. I would certainly echo the fact that we don’t know what we have until it is gone . There is not one day that passes when I don’t realise I took my husband for granted ! Just a reminder to value what you have !
    Doug is sorely missed and I can’t help being crossed with him for having spoilt me for so long and then left me! I should be cross with myself of course … word to the wise to all you be people who have been married a long time!


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