Words & Cookies

Al invoked the word ahimsa today. It was in the context of animals. It’s a strange position that we are in. We have significant power over them; we can make choices for them, they can’t resist us. The word ahimsa literally translates from Sanskrit as ‘non-harm’. It is also equated with the word ‘compassion’. It’s interesting to me that the basis for compassion in this case comes from a negative - not doing harm. It implies that you have the ability to do harm. And if you have that ability, not using it is being compassionate. It seems particularly apt for our relationship to animals, where we have such ability to harm.

Another interesting word: consciousness. It comes from Latin ‘con’ - with, and ‘scio’ - to know. With knowing. By the same token, unconsciousness means without knowing. You could also use the words aware, and unaware.
One thing I’ve learned from working on these recordings over the past month or so, is that creativity needs awareness. It’s a common habit for me to write a song, record it as quickly as possible, throw on a few extra parts and call it a recording. Inevitably what happens in that scenario is that there are a few problems, which I try to overlook. It tends to feel a bit messy, like a camera lens out of focus. And then that path leads straight to “why is my song not working? Maybe I just can’t do it”. What it needs is awareness, in the form of careful work. If I practice the song for a few days, do a few takes and get a good recording, then carefully listen to it and let some parts arrive, and give each part the attention (awareness) it needs to make it sound really good, then it works! The only difference is care at each stage.
Speaking of care at each stage, during the last two weeks I have baked not only my first batch of cookies ever in my life, but also my second and third. The first was a classic chocolate chip cookie with coconut oil, coconut sugar and spelt flour. They came out splendidly! I was shocked and amazed at the fact that there is an easier way to get home-made cookies than by badgering Al for three days to make them. The second was a repeat of the first, except with really coarse cane sugar instead of coconut sugar because that’s all we had. They were OK. This is the thing I said to Al though - the stakes with making cookies are so low. If you mess it up, you end up with just a slightly less perfect batch of cookies. It’s still a batch of cookies.
The third batch was the real triumph. This was a ginger molasses cookie. I spent three years working at a coffee shop selling these every day, and had never eaten one in my life. I love ginger, and I love molasses maybe even more. The recipe was an interesting one: maple syrup, coconut sugar, molasses, cinnamon, ground cloves, just yes after yes. They came out so beautifully. They had those nice cracks along the top. And they were delicious. Al said they tasted like her grandma’s cookies.