May 10, 2019

Pizza for a Kinder Mind

I'm feeling raw and broken-open, of late. It's okay. It's part of being human - being me. I've grown, and have developed healthy ways of softening and easing the panic or despair that rises from my gut and tries to squeeze my chest, lungs, heart. I like this being older. This feeling of still being a feral girl (which is how I feel every day if I don't look too long in the mirror), but having the benefit of experience and whatever small amounts of confidence I've mustered up over the years.

My brain isn't always a friend. It brings up old stories sometimes. It says "they don't like you," or "you'll never fit in," or "your best isn't good enough." It says "that thing you did fifteen years ago is shameful and you should still feel awful about it. Remember. Remember all those mistakes. All those times you should have done better. You should have been better."

Several years ago I began treating that voice like a frightened child. A shivering animal. Talking kindly to it. "Yes, yes, love. I know. You're safe. Shhh." When it won't quiet down, I go for a walk, or go out to the garden, or drive along the lake, or bake something that reminds me of my grandmother.

I'm in love with the scent of yeast. The feeling of dough stretching out and softening between my palms as I knead, makes me soon. Whirling around in the kitchen in the late afternoon while sunlight and sweet breezes dance through the window, is one of my favourite ways to unwind. I speak blessings to the dough, sing or chant to it, and as I go through the ritual of pressing and folding I find that my tension, fear, or anxiety slips away.

I don't purposely set out to eat wheat anymore (when I do bake it’s more often with gluten-free blends or a wheat & grain free ‘flour’) though it finds its way into my world from time to time. The sexy coupling of yeast and wheat is singular - nothing else really smells or feels like it. Sometimes it’s just the only thing I want.

This ridiculously easy thin crust pizza dough is what I've been playing with lately. ‘Pizza for a Kinder Mind’ is a movement I could happily start. Do you have your own tricks to lower the volume of a shit-talking brain? What things happily derail a train of not-so-helpful thoughts, for you?

Quick and Easy Thin Pizza Crust

1 teaspoon of traditional yeast
pinch of sugar
3/4 cup of warm water
1 and 3/4 cups of flour
a pinch of salt

- add the yeast and sugar to the warm water and wait 5 minutes or so for bubbles
- place flour and salt in a bowl, add yeast-water mixture and toss with a fork
- turn out onto floured surface and knead for 5-10 minutes, adding more flour if too sticky
- press dough into a non-stick or greased pan, top with your fave ingredients, bake at 450 for 10-13 minutes


mxtodis123 said...

Oh that pizza looks so good. Thank you so much for the recipe. Pizza is one of my favorite foods but I rarely have it because pizza parlors put so much sodium in their recipes.

Rommy said...

Oof. When it comes to shit-talking oneself, my brain is an over-achiever. I do love the suggestions you offered, especially treating yourself like a scared child. I think I'll have to incorporate that into my toolbox. I do various things, with various levels of success depending on the situation. Mindful tea drinking is a big help. Running through Ye Olde Witchy basics 101 can do in a pinch (breathing, grounding, shielding - especially shielding where I work in the idea that it's OK to filter out the crap in my brain that I don't need at the moment). I may have to try that pizza on an evening when it's just me and the kiddos.

Rue said...

Mmm, your tea drinking ritual is perfection. Thank you! And I agree completely about breathwork and the like. I even do a variation on the LBRP that is very balancing. It’s all very helpful and I’m not often completely caught up in my own brain’s web anymore. Thankfully, it’s just the odd days I get bit now and then.

Magaly Guerrero said...

I'm very lucky, my brain and I almost always (unless we are writing a story) agree with each other. We are not huge on guilt or shame or any of those leashes society puts around necks and beats backs with. We do what we must and remind ourselves that we did our best. If we make mistakes, we take responsibility, try to make reparations, and move on. We might think about it later, but not to self-punish... We think about it when (and if) we find ourselves in a similar situation, to try not to repeat the same mistake. Some people have called me narcissist for this way of being, and I look at them, thinking, You say that like it's a bad thing.

So, I've no idea how to quiet that voice, how to reassure it, but the way you seem to feel about that voice, the way you treat it... reminds me of my relationship with physical pain. When pain tries to take over my day and night, when my stomach and bones hurt so much that I want to cocoon on the floor or scream until it goes away, I write, I exercise, I cook, I talk to my little brother or grandmother (both spirit), I visualize... In other words, it seems you and I do the same things to deal with what squeezes our mind or flesh.

And about pizza and such? No idea. I'm a terrible baker.

Rue said...

You are inspiring, Mags. And if narcissist means ‘self-knowing’ and ‘self-confident’ and ‘self-peace’ then count me in!

Shell said...

I do the same thing to my negative thoughts. I think of a favorite memory and tell my inner critic to play in that memory. To just relax, after a few minutes my mind feels calm again.

Rue said...

I love this, Shell. Thank you.