Monday, 3 December 2012

Pyrizhky - And What They Tell Me About Letting Go But Not Falling Down

Do we see things because we are looking for them? Or, are things we're meant to see put into our view?

I was thinking about this today when I came upon a Facebook friend's post. She'd decided to have a go at 'pyrizhky' - a Ukrainian (and presumably otherwise Eastern European) fare of pastry dough around a filling of either a ground meat with onion and mushrooms, or sauerkraut, or cheese. Unlike many dumplings, 'pyrizhky' are baked, which is similar to the 'burek' of the Turks, Bosnians and others.

And, some folks - and this I really need to try - also further cover and cook them in a creamy dill sauce. Here's a link for an amazing recipe:

Across 15,000 kilometres of land and sea, and some 30 years since we last spoke in person, I loved reading my FB friend's 'pyrizhky' post. It seemed filled with love for what she was doing and the places of the heart it comes from, including her getting instructions from her mom. It was also gave me a glimpse at the serious work and effort involved in her dumpling making labours. 'Pyrizhky' - with several stages of dough mixing and kneading, filling preparation, and baking etc - sure ain't like going through Drive Thru at McDonald's.

It said something to me about getting the balance right in my life - hopefully as good as the memorable guy's on the right.

I sometimes wonder - including aloud right here - whether we make our lives a certain way or they're just meant to be a certain way. Maybe, neither. I don't pretend at the final answer, but I'd like to think I at least have a good relationship with my own failures!

Indeed, the harder I have tried to make my life a certain way - the more I whipped and kicked it into a particular shape of expectations - the less it worked in the end. In fact, the more I forced things in my own drill-sergeant and arrogant way - be they relationships, jobs, material aspirations - the more stuffed up they got for me and those around me.

Some would say it's because I was pushing against the grain of stuff that's a whole lot bigger than me or that I was trying to impossibly realign the planets into an order that spells out my name (which is really hard when they've just demoted Pluto and there's only one Earth for E and no planets for T or R). 

A mate who used to work as a dealer at the casino says: "You and you're $50 - after a long night at the bar - just aren't going to beat me and my backer's billions."

Or, to put it another way that I like: "If you want to make God laugh, make a plan."

(Not that God and casino owners are quite in the same category.)

So, if only because my pain threshold isn't what it used to be, it's about balance nowadays for me. On the one side of the scales, I put my dreams and intentions. Sometimes, I think of these as hopeful seeds that I plant in the soil that is my heart and soul. On the other side, it's about the higher power of all our lives doing what it needs to do - and me getting right out of the way! 

Dumplings teach me about balance and acceptance. The right amount of pastry to filling. The right amount of frying, steaming or boiling so the dumpling's neither too soggy or too tough. The right amount of dedication and preparation so that it's still fun and fulfilling and not hard slog. The right amount of will and determination coupled with belief in my higher power and just letting go in favour of The Bigger Plan (with a really big capital B).

So, to my 'pyrizhky'-making FB friend, may you and yours have a wonderful feed. I won't be able to have even a bite, but I've already been nourished.


  1. the deeper meaning of Pyrzkhy! Great read and interesting insights about living.Particularly about not trying to force things to fit our plans.

  2. Peter, thank you for your article put a huge smile on my face this side of the world accross the Atlantic. Yes indeed did my pyrizhky making process make me wonder why I even started. The fruits of my labor though were worth it as my son snitched one then two as I was frying them up! Like I said being Ukrainian isnt easy and I meant that, but I am so blessed that I am. I wouldnt change my upbringing for any amount of money in the world. We are who we are no matter how we can try to conform! Next time you are in town I will make you some pyryzhky!