George Orwell once wrote “Happiness can exist only in acceptance.”
Except I write my expectations in stone and can’t let go of the insistent, pounding future I’ve laid out. It’s the only acceptable one in my mind. All other fates are darkened forests of uncertainty and almost certain pain. I wish I was more ready with pencil and eraser in hand when looking ahead, but chisel seems to be my tool of choice and it makes reality merely an obstacle to overcome.
At the base of my lack of acceptance is the usual fear, and a lack of trust.
The least attractive additional foundation member is ego. I think I’m in charge, I think I can cajole the universe into my way of thinking, that the only reason everyone isn’t living to my script is because they haven’t understood how much happier they would be if only they would listen. Humility’s a faded dream when my ego’s in town.
My trifecta of imperfection roll in like hailstone storms, smashing my life and littering the ground with debris.
Sometimes, after the fire comes the darkness. I move from furious control to apathetic dismay. I called it acceptance for a long time, until someone pointed out that acceptance isn’t passive. That true acceptance is as often followed by action as not. A friend said to me recently that submission is acceptance of the mind, while surrender is acceptance of the heart. When I submit I feel weak and powerless. When I surrender I feel supported and at ease – I don’t give up on the fight, I just realise there’s no fight to be had.
My struggles with a lack of acceptance are many and varied. Mostly it keeps my mind in a small shell that I convince myself is enough, while yearning for the life I believe I can’t have. It prevented me from full and satisfying friendships, as friends didn’t get the carefully-worded scripts I never sent them and my chisel worked overtime. It prevented me from chasing my dream job because I was convinced, before starting, I knew how it ended and it was all bad. My life has been smaller as a result of my lack of acceptance – at the pointy end it’s an endless story depicting loss of hope.
“And yet” – how wonderful are those words? A shard of rainbow longing in a miasma of murk.
And yet, when I hold tight to belief in a safe and loving world, when I look around in awe rather than down in defeat, when I refuse to bow to the tantalising trinity of fear, distrust and ego…
When I finally surrender and see me, you and the rest of the universe, exactly as we are, as an essential part of the unity of my life – I am swept up in hope and dazzled by ease. I was rock and I am water. I am the hail that melts to dew. I am the darkness that disappears into light.
How can food possibly speak to all of this? What can meet the darkness, hope and light that’s required for a journey to acceptance? And yet, can’t food speak as strongly as words when made just right? Light texture and dark flavour, punches of tingled hope on my tongue as I slowly chew my way to joyful living.
1 cup self raising flour
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 cup rolled oats
1 cup raw peanuts, finely chopped
150g unsalted butter, melted
2 tbl sp golden syrup
1/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
80g unsalted butter, chopped
3 x 359g cans sweetened condensed milk
2 tsp salt flakes
200g dark chocolate, melted
1 tsp salt flakes
Preheat oven to 180˚c
Combine all the ingredients for the bottom in a bowl and mix well.
Press firmly into a brownie pan (a deep pan, about 20x30cm)
Bake for 10-15 minutes until golden
Meanwhile place golden syrup and brown sugar into a saucepan and stir over a medium heat until melted
Bring to a simmer and cook for one minute or until bubbling, giving off steam and caramelised
Immediately add butter, condensed milk and 2 tsp salt
Stir continuously for 5 minutes until thickened (do not allow to boil)
Spoon the caramel mixture over the base
Bake for 10-15 minutes or until a dark golden colour
Spread melted chocolate over the slice
Sprinkle 1 tsp salt flakes on top
Allow to set in pan before turning out
Cut into squares to serve