One of the joys of a well-stocked larder is that when your plans suddenly shift due to weather or sickness or other such capriciousness (car trouble, flaky friends) you can rest assured in the certainty that you will not, for the time being at least, starve. Even better, a day suddenly wide open and available means you can indulge a little (or a lot) in what you're naturally drawn to. Sometimes it can take a minute or two to sort this out, especially if your life is crammed full of expectations and obligations and you've lost sight of what it is that your heart yearns for. But a few quiet moments with a cup of whatever stimulates your body and mind and a gentle but firm reminder that this is not about cleaning cupboards or sorting spices and perhaps you'll arrive at something that brings a smile to your face. The answer for me this morning was simple, but satisfying: banana pancakes.
True, this decision had a touch of practicality in that a banana was getting dangerously ripe on my counter. But let's just call it my muse, then, a little siren that called me towards my true path, for when the thought of pancakes arose a big smile grew on my face and a little ping of energy shot through my veins. Out came the flour and an egg and, since I don't usually keep buttermilk on hand, some yogurt thinned with milk. Soon I was lost in the pure and simple joy of making pancakes on a rainy day. The pancakes were delicious and we ate them up like ravenous lumberjacks. But the real lesson of The Morning of the Unexpected Banana Pancakes was the simple act of thinking about what I want (truly want) and the discovery that when given an unexpected gift of spaciousness in my day, it took a little while to tune into a pleasure-based way to fill it. I realized that practicality and efficiency had become my default and I was losing connection with any possibilities beyond that. The Unexpected Banana Pancakes are a small and safe example of figuring out and then going for what I was truly hungry for. There are other desires that carry greater risk and greater knowing to unravel and may not be so easily coaxed into clarity. But it was good to be reminded of this notion of paying attention to the balance of pleasure and obligation in my life and that something as simple as a good breakfast can course correct a life gone just a little off balance. What do you do when a morning or afternoon or a whole day suddenly becomes yours? Are you quick to hop on the pleasure train or does it take a little convincing? Do you know what you are truly hungry for? Note: I used this recipe, my favorite, to make my pancakes, with the addition of a thinly sliced banana and a dash of cinnamon stirred into the batter. Related: Weekend Meditation: It Doesn't Always Have to be Fabulous (Images: Dana Velden)