I learnt a new word last week and have been sharing it with everyone I know as it’s now one of my favourite words ever and I never want to live without it – so, I want to share it with you.
The closest translation you can get in English would be ‘joy’ – but it’s so much more than that because it’s a feeling. The feeling of joy you get when you see somebody else doing really well. It has nothing to do with what you have done, or your achievements, it’s simply the joy of observing someone (or something) else doing well.
I told my kids about Mudita after picking them up from school one afternoon, and in the very next moment we saw a truly excellent dog. Big and shaggy and covered in wet ringlets – a truly doggy dog. We laughed out loud at just how excellent that dog was, and noticed that he also had the perfect owner for him; they were just right.
We realised that for us this was also Mudita; so we expanded our own personal translation to include ‘the happiness you feel from seeing something truly excellent’.
So, I invite you to go out and find some Mudita in your day today – perhaps you’ll find it in the golden glow of the autumn daylight or in the deeply orange sunrise, if you’re up to see it. You could find it in the feeling of sinking into bed at night, or even just by thinking about how that will feel when you get there. Find it by marvelling at how someone else does something you do, but in a different way – how cool is it that we’re all so marvellously different?
If you have kids, watch them do something they do all the time (like putting on their shoes) and realise that this moment isn’t going to last forever (so you may as well enjoy it, right now). Have a good laugh if a really awesome dog walks past, and another little one if that dog really suits it’s human. Better still, point it out to somebody else, so they can find it truly great too. Dance whenever a good song comes on, even if you’re at the computer or folding laundry or doing the washing up. Dance beside another human, and maybe they’ll feel like they can dance too.
Tell someone about that great song you heard, movie you watched or a funny thing you saw. Take a slice of something delicious you’ve made and give it to a friend. Give them the recipe too if you think they’d like to make it themselves.
Practice Mudita whenever you can; feel happiness and joy that there is joy to be had in the world, just by how you see things. Joy from the success of others and their achievements, even if you haven’t had good fortune yourself. Joy in sharing whatever good discovery you’ve made, or good luck you’ve had, and allowing someone else the opportunity to feel Mudita for themselves.
Mudita, instead of competition. That’s how I want the world to go round, filled with the joy of people seeing and doing cool things. Because good is good, in whichever language you say it.
While we’re finding joy in simple, great things let’s make waffles, for surely waffles can bring us nothing but joy. Even better, you can enjoy them first thing in the morning, to get the day off to a joyful kind of start.
Inspired by Banana and Spinach Pancakes from Green Kitchen at Home by David Frenkiel and Luise Vindahl
A few weeks back I set out to make the banana and spinach pancakes from Green Kitchen at Home. I was making them at the same time I was making dinner, so I could put them in the kid’s lunchboxes for recess the following day. I was getting prepared, you know? But when it came time to cook them up, my hands were busy with making dinner and solving the problems that arise around dinner time (where’s that thing I’m looking for, can you help me with this, what is the meaning of life… you down what I’m getting at) and I definitely didn’t have the hands, or mind, to flip pancakes! Instead I grabbed out the waffle maker and, voila, we had waffles.
The original recipe makes awesome super green waffles (or pancakes), which made the kids’ eyes open really wide and inspired a few questions, but they happily ate them over the following days – if you would like some truly super green waffles too just a handful of baby spinach to the mix and pop everything into the blender.
For my day, I simplified the process a little and just mashed the banana in a bowl with a fork before stirring through all the other ingredients with that same fork; pop it all in the dishwasher and it’s done – getting out the blender felt like too much for me in that moment! Luckily pulling out the waffle maker feels like no big deal; I’m lucky that my waffle maker only needs a quick wipe clean afterwards, and, it makes waffles! Which means it all feels worth it. By all means whip up the batter in the blender if that feels good for you, it totally works a treat. But if you feel like going lo-fi, just whip it up in a little bowl and you’re good to go.
Cook as pancakes, or as waffles – whichever brings you joy, right now.
These waffles are a great blank canvas for all your favourite toppings, so feel free to mix it up. I went with thick, tangy natural yoghurt and stewed plums, but my kids favourite are frozen berries and a little slick of maple syrup. Nut butter, a little honey and cinnamon is also a very excellent choice. I really like the bite the desiccated coconut gives to these, and the sweetness from the banana doesn’t taste banana-y at all; you could probably even give these to someone who thinks they don’t like banana and chances are they would be none the wiser… (FYI – I have done this, and succeeded – just here to spread the joy!).
The texture is soft and cakey – which is supremely comforting and just right for eating with a hot cup of tea in your cosiest sweater. These are the breakfast equivalent of woollen socks, a hug for your soul; and incidentally, go down a treat cut into little squares in a kid’s lunchbox (it’s one of the times in our house when a lunchbox actually comes back empty). Make a batch and keep any leftovers in the fridge, you can heat them up the next day gently in the toaster if you like. Here’s to finding your own waffle joy…
Makes 3 large waffles, depending on the size of your waffle maker.
1 large or 2 small bananas, peeled
2 large, free range or organic eggs
¼ cup milk of your choice
½ teaspoon vanilla paste
4 drops liquid stevia (optional)
¼ cup (50g) teff flour – or substitute with buckwheat flour
¼ cup (30g) almond meal
¼ cup (25g) desiccated coconut
½ teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
pinch of fine salt
Turn the waffle maker on to preheat.
In a medium sized bowl mash the banana with the back of a fork. Add in the eggs and whip to combine. Add in the milk and vanilla paste and stir until combined.
Stir through the dry ingredients until smooth.
Pour some of the batter into the waffle maker, use your waffle makers instructions or your judgement – you don’t want to completely cover the base of the waffle maker, more like ¾ cover, as the batter will spread and rise as it cooks.
Cook for however long it takes for the waffles to be golden, puffy and cooked through – my waffle maker takes about 5 ½ minutes on medium. Remove from the waffle maker and rest on a wire rack while you cook the rest of the mixture (this prevents the waffles from going soggy!). Serve with your favourite toppings and a big mug of tea.
If you experience something truly excellent, let it fill you with joy and hold you in the moment. Tell someone about it and spread that joy around. You’ll probably experience the joy all over again, just by sharing it with someone else. If you learn a cool new word, teach it to someone, in your language or another. Make someone waffles, or go read Joy The Baker(especially this post if it’s almost Spring where you are) because she’ll make you smile.
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