What baking Christmas cookies taught me about mindfulness

Hi Soul Friend,

This year I decided I was going to do some Christmas baking.

While this is a yearly tradition for many, I usually just hold out for my mom's.

I don't know if it's the new mom thing or because it's baby's first Christmas, but for whatever reason, I decided I was going to make some cookies.

Now I love shortbread, and I love that there are only 4 ingredients. How hard could it be?

I have baked with my mom when I was a kid so I thought this would be a cinch! In THEORY, it was so simple!

My first batch were, well, far from stellar.

They wouldn't shape into perfect little balls and they fell apart when I tried to flatten them. They were also cooked waaaaaay too long.

The melt in your mouth that shortbread normally does was more of a crunchy hard texture.

The second batch (with a different recipe) did the exact same thing! However this time, learning from my lessons, I added more butter.

Luckily this saved them - or so I thought.

The little suckers wouldn't bake.

I lost most of my oven heat checking that they weren't burnt - slowing down the cooking time even more. They took forever, but at least these ones looked better & tasted right.

I knew by my third attempt that I had this shortbread thing on lock down. I popped them in the oven, set the timer & managed to clean up the kitchen before the buzzer went off.

By this time I was a pro, so I just took them out of the oven & let them cool.

Guess. What. Happened!!??!

The darn things weren't fully cooked!

ARGH.

Just as I was about to throw in the spatula, it hit me like a ton of bricks - practice makes perfect.

I needed more practice.

I had this idea in my head that I would just nail it on the first attempt. When reality didn't meet my expectations, I came down hard on myself.

Being more mindful and present works the same way.

The concepts are painstakingly simple, but the execution isn't always easy.

It's something that needs to be practiced - daily - in order for it to stick.

If you’re like me, you might have a tendency to be hard on yourself when you don’t get it on the first try.

But the essence of mindfulness is to be aware of the present moment without judgement.

It’s this “without judgement” part that we tend to forget.

Your only job when being mindful, is to not judge the situation.

Take away any thoughts or feelings of how it should be or could it.

And just like baking, it takes practice!

So keep at it Friend. With enough time, it will become second nature.

Has there ever been a time that you felt you should have nailed something on the first attempt, only to be disappointed? If so, I’d love to know in the comments below!

(Or, if you just want to share your favourite shortbread recipe, that works too!)

Soulfully yours,
MB