The word that has been “stirring” around in my brain the last few days has been just that “stirring.” It was hit home for me over the past few days as I have listened to culinary judges’ comment on various aspects of stirring, including how often, with what, and when. I had never quite thought about how complex the simple process of stirring actually is. Ultimately, I found a vide titled “Stirring Conclusions” by Peter Hertzman which offered me so much information about stirring. Some of the things I knew, but some I was not aware. One of the points he made was that many people stir only because the recipe tells them to and don’t think about the reasoning behind it. For example, he suggested that there are three reasons to stir: [a] to create a homogenous mixture; [b] to evenly disperse temperature; and [c] To alter the viscosity of a liquid (thicker or thinner).
As I thought about this, I wondered how many of us do things just because the spiritual recipe we are following for our life told us to do so. Do we think about how we can create a more homogenous mixture of “ingredients” in our life? Or how by stirring up the way we move through life, we can more evenly disperse the temperature, so there are fewer high temperature and low temperature moments? Do we know when we are at a place where we can just let things be and sit at a slow simmer and when we need to stir more frequently because we are moving through a more challenging (thicker) time in our journey?
The second point he discussed was knowing what tool was best for stirring. Not all spoons are created equal or are right for the purpose. The spoon he suggested using was a wooden spoon or spatula as they help get in between corners and for scraping. He also suggested using a flat nylon spatula, tongs, chopsticks, a whisk, the pan, or even your hands. What you use depends on what it is you are trying to mix. For example, when mixing meats, he suggests using your wands. A whisk is great for whisking and stirring dry ingredients together. The only tool he advised one not use is a metal spoon because of the shape of its handle.
So what tools are we using in our lives? Are we using the right spiritual tools for the moment we are going through? There are times in my life, I have to just get in there and move things around with my whole body. There are other times, that I just need to separate some finer points and so my spiritual chopsticks are just what I need. So what tools are you using and are you thinking about why?
He also talked about the various methods of stirring. One of the main points he made was that when you are stirring, you need to make sure you are stirring things up from the bottom of the pan. While this is not always necessary, most of the time this is how you should stir. He also suggested that you not practice stirring things by flipping them with the pan without practice or when there is too much food in the pan. So how do we stir things up in our lives? Do we just try to address the surface issue or do we take the time to stir things up from the bottom of the pan? Do we try to do things without practicing them or try new things when there is too much on our plate already? In our Spiritual cleansing program, we encourage people to stir things up from the bottom so they can create a greater homogeneity in their lives and disperse some of those higher temperatures they have been carrying around with them. There are also moments when we encourage people to use their “chopsticks” to separate things and keep them from sticking together. Other exercises encourage people to scrape things from the bottom and flip them over to get a different perspective.
His final point was to know when to stir and when not to. For example, you don’t need to stir things that are being deep-fried in hot oil, but you do need to continuously stir when you are thickening a liquid with a starch or protein. When things are going well in our lives, we may need to “stir” now and then. However, when we are working through a complex time or issue, we may need to “stir” more frequently. Just ensure when you do that you are using the right tool and stirring for the right reason.