A few weeks ago I finally got on the bread baking train. I know, I know — I’m late to the game, most people started in mid-2020 at the height of the pandemic, but I was living in a warm climate at the time and the idea of baking bread just wasn’t that appealing. Now that I’m living in the cool Pacific Northwest of the US, the idea of warm bread out of the oven sounds amazing.
I’ve been a baker for most of my life (My chocolate chip cookies will Change. Your. Life.) but I’d never ventured into breads, until now. I found a beginner bread recipe, gathered the ingredients, and found a dutch oven on the clearance shelf at HomeGoods. I was ready to BAKE.
I filled a bowl with water, measured out the yeast, added the four, plunged my hands into the dough, and started to mix.
And then the magic happened.
One of the weird things about being an empath and an intuitive is that I am finely attuned to life forces. I can sense the life force in people, animals, plants and even bacteria and viruses. Over the years as I’ve practiced this skill, I’ve grown to not only sense it but I can communicate with it as well, sending and receiving information and emotions.
You guys, do you know why you love making bread? Do you know why we all started baking bread during the pandemic and not cookies or casseroles or quiches? It’s the YEAST.
As soon as I started mixing the dough with my hands and gave the yeast some water to drink and carbs to munch on, I could feel it — the life force of the yeast coming back “online” after being in dormant form for so long. I could feel that pure joy, excitement and love that is at the core of all of our life force, bubbling up in my hands as I massaged the dough and gave the yeast life, once again.
I’ve felt this before when I’ve leaned against a big tree, or sat in front of another human being looking deeply into their eyes as we traded Tonglen, or freed the roots of a plant as I repotted it. It’s the feeling of the pure joy of life, the bliss of existence. And it’s healing AF.
During the pandemic, we lost so many opportunities for connection. We spent most of our time indoors, without the opportunities for interaction and interdependence that we normally have. No wonder everyone took to baking bread, that resurgence of the life force of yeast was a way to feel connection in a time of great isolation.
Here’s one thing I know, we’re part of a living system and because of that, we’re wired for connection and care on all three levels: physical, emotional and spiritual. When we are connected to people, animals, plants or any other living thing, we are healthier in mind, body and spirit. Numerous studies show that without connection, our physical and mental health starts to deteriorate very quickly. But the opposite is true as well, when we feel connected, we start to heal. In one study, people who had survived a heart attack and owned a dog were 600% more likely to still be alive one year later than non-dog owners, even when other factors like exercise and nutrition were taken into account.
The experience of connection is healing.
Nurturing, compassion, and care are healing.
Helping the little yeasties come alive again is healing.
As I sat and communed with my ball of flour, yeast and water, I knew one thing. This is what healing feels like. When we break down the walls we’ve put up to protect ourselves from being hurt or ashamed, and can simply feel the life force of another being, what we’re left with is connection and compassion. And that’s at the core of healing — feeling connected, loved, whole and worthy.
My first attempt at baking bread