Attunement has been on my mind lately. You know, how tuned in we are to the outside world, to the feelings and state of mind of those around us, and to our own, and how to strike that balance.
I happened to have trained myself since childhood to attune to others really well. This has turned out to be both a blessing and a curse. A blessing, because I want to and am often able to really see and feel the people close to me, to give them acknowledgement, empathy and understanding. But also a curse, because basically, I have attuned to others to make sure I do whatever it takes to please and be loved. In short, to fill a void, a fear within.
Especially since Pablo was born, I have been - slowly - learning to attune to myself again. And I have a long way to go. One place it can begin though, is at the table. I did a lot of emotional eating when I was younger, and as I have been trusting Pablo to listen to his own body and what it needs, I have been practicing to do the same.
I have seen him go through phases of eating more meat, or more greens, or more fruit, or more dairy, admiring his ability to instinctively know what his body needs at a particular time. I have seen him not finish a piece of chocolate cake (and the boy does love chocolate) because his body said it was enough. I am trying my very best to run no interference with what his body tells him. I offer a variety of real, tasty foods, he chooses what and how much to eat.
This week, he had a stomach bug (oh what fun ;-) our menus got reduced to rice, carrots and apples...). Once again, I noticed he knew what he needed, he knew when to drink water, when to rest and sleep.
This self-attunement is such an invaluable resource.
Ultimately, in every area of life, my goal is for my son to listen to himself, to his true inner voice. I choose to trust him to do so, so he will trust himself. I don't want him to do what I want or say in order to get my approval. I want him to know I trust him so he will discover what is right and what works for him. I want him to make his own decisions rather than follow what others may say (peer pressure) or do what he thinks others want (overachievement from insecurity), in order to obtain their acceptance or validation.
Sometimes, my attunement to other people's feelings is deafening, so much so that I can't even hear or listen to myself. It can trigger such insecurities that it backfires and I can't be emotionally available to others. So I'm working on ways to get grounded again, back to myself. The balance between the outside world and our inner life. Bottom line is, we cannot really be open to the world, if we are not attuned to ourselves, our needs. We can't have compassion for others, if we don't have it for ourselves. We can't trust others if we don't trust ourselves.
It all starts within.
What a tremendously important thing for me to learn, in an effort to have healthy, respectful relationships free of guilt, manipulation or control. I feel sadness for not being able to learn it earlier in my life. But gratitude for learning it now.
Cooking for me, in the last couple of years especially, has become a sort of meditation. A conscious gesture to seek to ground myself, be connected to the physical world, and inside of myself at the same time. A way to practice that balance of self-attunement and open-mindedness to the world.
One afternoon, making this simple pear cake, and enjoying it with Pablo with a cup of tea and the low afternoon sun, brought me inner peace.
May it do the same for you when you need it...
Pear almond spelt cakeAdapted from Les Cakes de Sophie by Sophie Dudemaine
Prep time: 20mn
Cook time: 15mn + 40mn
Age for babies: 12 months and up (because of the eggs)
3/4 cup (6 oz) granulated cane sugar
1 + 1/4 cup (5.5 oz) spelt flour
1/2 cup almond meal
1/2 tsp baking powder
2/3 cup (5 oz) salted butter
2 Bosc pears (not too soft) (other pears work too)
For the syrup:
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup water
Preheat the oven at 350°F.
Heat the syrup (sugar and water) until it simmers. Meanwhile peel the pears, cut them in half, and poach them in the simmering sugar water for about 15 minutes. Drain and cube them. (*Alternatively, in a pinch, you can use canned pears in light syrup. Rinse them and cut them up)
In a large bowl (or in a stand mixer if you have one), beat the eggs and sugar together (with a whisk, or electric beater). Incorporate the spelt flour, almond meal and baking powder. Melt the butter in the microwave or on the stove, and add it to the batter. Sprinkle the pear pieces with a little flour, and add them to the batter.
Butter and flour a rectangular cake pan, and pour the cake batter in.
Bake for about 40 minutes, until the blade of a knife comes out clean.
We enjoyed with some passion fruit tea and a bite or two of dark chocolate :-)