One of the things that my mom taught me about having people over to dinner and especially for having a party is to make sure that everything is planned out. She never makes some new recipe for these occasions, but spends at least a week working out all the kinks before offering something to somebody else.
Me? One of my qualifications for being able to teach children’s cooking is that I can improvise. Forgot to buy an ingredient? Don’t know what we’re making till I go to the market that morning? Half the recipe spills out onto the floor, but we still need to feed 30? Someone stuck a booger in the batter? Let’s just see what we can do.
One of the ways that I made my way in the world of yoga teaching when I was a very young (21 years old!) teacher was to take any subbing gig I could get at first. A lot of new teachers hate doing this since you have to get up in front of a group who wishes that, instead of you being there, their usual and beloved teacher was there. Sometimes a substitute is met with palpable anger or, in the very least, irritation. It was a specialized training, this coming in and having to find the opening into a class’s heart. Sometimes it was relatively easy, and the class went with the new situation. Sometimes, well, it was harrowing. It felt like I imagine a stand-up comedian feels on stage, but after a few months of practicing it, the fear just dissipated for me.
“What’s the worst that can happen?” I thought.
Then, yesterday, we had our class party for the big cooking class, and one of my friends called me “sensible”. I had to stop and think hard about that. Really? After the years of yoga teaching and afterward teaching kids and wrangling my own two, I have learned a lot of tricks: that you don’t reveal the dessert till the children have eaten at least a bite or two of the dinner or that there’s hardly anything in the kitchen that cannot be cleaned up with a bunch of dishrags and some soapy water (more formally known as: don’t cry over spilled milk), and that a little bribery (re: chocolate) never hurt anyone.
Sensible, though? Hmmm. I just thought I was improvising.
Other looks at being in the moment: