A Pressure Cooker’s Effect

The past three or four months have had different meanings for everyone living on earth; it has served different purposes; and everyone has experienced this phase differently, generating various messages to oneself. On one hand, it was a worrisome period, and on the other hand, full of valuable gains… At the same time, we can say that everything has developed quite rapidly, that the events have matured, the change has taken place beyond the speed we are used to, and that we have adapted quickly. What happened between February and May 2020 will be on the history pages enormously (web pages will be more appropriate); it will be subject to novels, poems, songs, cinemas and theaters…


So, what has happened in these four months? What do you see when you look back? What has changed in your life; what has remained the same? What new habits have you gained? I say “you have gained” on purpose, because each new habit we get to is essentially an acquisition, whether it is forced or conscious. Like everyone else, I observe a tremendous change and transformation in myself and in the world… It seems like the new world order will be very different from the old one… Rather than what awaits us, I would like to draw your attention to how this transformation is taking place… I call this process “Pressure Cooker Effect”.


If you’re questioning why it’s a pressure cooker effect, I’d like to invite you on a journey… Imagine yourself as a chickpea… Small, hard, and sturdy… In your mother’s kitchen, in a warm jar, you live in peace with your siblings… One day, your mother takes by handfuls of you and your siblings out of your jar and puts in a bowl with full of water… You sleep blissfully in the warm water, unaware of the time, and at the same time you swell, soften, and find peace… You’re peeling with the effect of this sauna bath, so to speak… You are rejuvenating… After 10-12 hours, you find yourself in a pot, hot as burning fire, where you swell up and up till you get a soft consistency… In about 14 hours, your mother transforms you from a rock-hard chickpea into a nutritional source which you can’t get enough of enjoying the taste of…


What happened to the chickpea is the same change and transformation that most of us experience in our lives, unless it’s a sudden event… As we age slowly, our ideas, habits, pleasures in life, or ways of doing our hoursehold chores change at relative speed along with the flow of life… In fact, it would be more appropriate to say “was changing” … Until Covid-19 came into our lives!


What happened with Covid-19? With the pressure cooker effect, everything accelerated… The 14-hour duration was reduced to 1 hour; the chickpea quickly adapted to the environment under pressure, swollen, crusted and peeled, and came to the consistency of consuming. None of them could put up resistance against the pressure, otherwise it would explode! We and the world order, just like that little chickpea, have overcome the period of 2-3 years of change-transformation within four months… we have been shelled and softened by the circumstances… we have experienced a process to pass slowly rather fast forward… all of us, one by one, have been keeping up with it and its speed… In sum, whether we wanted it or not, we have transformed with the changes brought by the moment, without resistance…


On the way out of my pressure cooker, I have my own implications… “Change is the only constant in life” says Heraclitus. Transformation is inevitable where there is change! We also know that the “future” will come one day… But this time, with Covid-19, the “future” has come much faster, unexpectedly and surprisingly… Analysing the process that happens to us with the effect of pressure cooker, it is not the effect of the pressure cooker on itself but on us that matters… So, we need to focus on the experience of the chickpeas… looking at their structure, their experiences, their emotions, their insecurities, their fears, the elements they find warmth and peace… and perhaps we should look at the new environment they will encounter when they come out of their contaniners. As for me, only such point of view will support the change and transformation we are going through… ease the process… and make the journey pleasant to us though it seems the opposite… It will make all kinds of beauty brought by the path more vibrant, more accessible and more meaningful.

Have a pleasant journey…


Dr. Shirli Ender Büyükbay

June 17, 2020


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