joy-sparking chocolate-chip cookies

Friday, October 23, 2015

I'm on day two of living with this lightheaded, tingly feeling, like I downed a few glasses of champagne without the fun of actually drinking any. Yesterday I was pushing the stroller and I felt like the weight of it was holding me down on planet Earth. Like if I let go, I'd just float away. I suspect I'm either approaching enlightenment or have some leftover flu symptoms from last week. (For the record, taking care of an infant while you have the flu SUCKS THE MOST.)

It just might be the enlightenment. I’ve been steeped in Marie Kondo's “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up” and it’s causing me to look at my life through such a different filter. The book is essentially about de-cluttering and organizing. If you haven't heard about it already, Kondo (a Japanese organizing expert) recommends going through your entire house to get rid of anything that doesn’t "spark joy".  While I love this de-cluttering process, I love even more her belief about how to approach the discarded items. You thank them for what they meant to you and release them onward on their journey. This was a revelation for me. I've always enjoyed culling through my closets and paring down, but upon discarding, I've always leaned more toward the good-riddance school of thought. Once you get over feeling like a weirdo for talking to your old stuff, this part of the process makes the whole thing extra meaningful. Like you’re happily and deliberately letting go to make room for more blessings and abundance in your life, whatever that looks like to you. I feel lighter and freer already, which may be why I feel the top of my head levitating.

Something else I realized is that mostly I've lived with things around me that have made me happy but there were a LOT of things that were just kinda good enough. They worked. My feelings about them ranged from fine to meh. Clothes-wise, I had a lot of audition shirts that I wouldn't be caught dead wearing in the real world and it dawned on me: what would it feel like to actually have joy about the clothes I wear when I'm putting my best self forward to book jobs? That was a huge shift in my thinking. And after you look at your belongings this way, and ask this joy-sparking question of yourself over and over, this filter starts trickling into the rest of your life—your beliefs, your habits, how you spend your time, who you spend it with. What started out as a make-more-space closet endeavor, turned into something pretty profound for me. I'm holding my life and belongings to a higher standard now. Holding out for joyful. I gotta say, it feels really good. 

In related news, I started reading this book and came across a beautiful quote by poet Jack Gilbert:

"We must risk delight. We can do without pleasure, but not delight. Not enjoyment. We must have the stubbornness to accept our gladness in the ruthless furnace of this world."

Stubborn gladness! I love it so much.

I'm sitting now writing this in a cafe and incidentally, there is a guy sitting next to me eating a giant, lonely pile of tuna salad. He's chipping away at it like it's homework. I don't sense that it is sparking joy nor gladness. So it is to him (and frankly, to us all) that I dedicate these, the most deliciously joyful and glad chocolate chip cookies.




The Best Chocolate Chip Cookies
makes about 30 cookies

2 sticks butter (at room temperature)
1 cup sugar
1 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
2 t vanilla
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 t baking soda
1 1/2 t baking powder
1 1/4 t kosher salt
12 oz bittersweet chocolate (straight-up chocolate chips or chopped into chunks. Or both.)
3/4 cup toasted, chopped walnuts (optional)

Preheat oven to 350F and line two baking sheets with parchment paper. In a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Whisk together well and set aside. In an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugars for several minutes until very light and fluffy. Scrape down the sides and add the eggs, one at a time, mixing them well as you go. Mix in the vanilla. Now add the flour mixture bit-by-bit, mixing until just incorporated. Stir in the chocolate and nuts. Drop 3T mounds of dough onto baking sheets (a small ice cream scoop works great for uniform cookies) and make sure they're 3" apart, six cookies to a sheet. Bake 15-18 minutes until golden brown. Cool for a few minutes and then transfer to a rack. 

Happy Friday:)

P.S. My latest comedic Huffington Post piece (that in my busy mom life I forgot to tell you about) can be found here:
6 Pieces of Game-Changing Advice For New Moms
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