My New Favorite Tool in the Kitchen & In Life!
There is a pot of Spicy Chipotle Pork Chili slowly stewing on the stove, I am patiently awaiting its final approval to enter into my belly. It’s snowing outside (it’s Oct 29th today if that gives you an idea of the oddity of that fact) and I just arrived on the red eye from LA, where it was 85 degrees and sunny, life is diverse and each moment things change and in some cases drastically, the one thing that has changed most for me recently is my newly “acquiring” instincts in the art of patience. This art of patience I have always thought was impossible for me to achieve in my life, I have often just accepted defeat in this realm and accepted this was not my strong suite and have over the years developed mechanisms for dealing with my lack of patience. Life in the past year has given me some of the most challenges and the most positive growth yet and this current moment of life I find myself with an abundance of walls breaking down, these walls are some pretty major interior ones, protecting my core being. Now I am not going to tell you that the walls simple began to breakdown, I know this is a bi-product of the work that I have done on myself, the attention to my issues that I have placed importance on and the acceptance of the path or journey that I am on, knowing this is a life process rather than “tasks” or “things to overcome”.
My life as of lately has been providing me with tremendous growth and deep revelations of breakthroughs and I can see my cooking being affected through this process and transformation as well. Which for me doesn’t seem odd as I believe in the interconnectedness of all. Like my new nuances in the kitchen I have a great deal more gentleness in my life, toward people, processes and in general. This does not mean I have lost my edge, my verve or my aggressive side, it simply means that the instinct of patience is now a newcomer to the mix and shows its face typically when I need it to. When I think back to my childhood, which I did a great deal of this past month because of a trip to Santa Monica & the LA area, where I was born, I remember being a patient child, especially with all of our animals. So I realize that it wasn’t that I never had patience but my life circumstances and my lack of coping skills and adults to show or emulate the art of healthy dealing, made way for my impatience to be born. And thus many other bad habits and ways of being. We all deal with our childhoods in some way, we all adapt to the shortcomings that we lack as children and for me my defense mechanisms were to protect myself at all costs, rely on my instincts and survival skills first and foremost. This way of being is not conducive towards pensive thought, pros and cons, ramifications or anything like that, it is quite animal actually and I think if I was to be completely honest and this is the first time I have said this or thought about it, up until lately I would describe myself as more animal than human in a weird way. With this new found patience (many other new gifts are being born in me as well lately not just patience) comes a new feeling inside of my body. The way I physically feel things is completely new to me and certainly has a great deal of fear associated with this new “feeling”. But there is also a new trust in myself that is not just about instinct and animal but about intellect and reason and sanity of sorts.
The journey of how this new found patience came to be, I think is the irony of it all, the secret to success if you will is so utterly simply it seems like a bunch of bullshit. The answer that I seem to gravitate towards is love, and I am not talking about getting married, holding hands or sex. For me love is something I have always battled with in terms of what the definition is. I am swayed by society and influenced by media and even hallmark for shit sakes, but most of all my confusion came to be because of a lack of it in my life, throughout most of my life. “When you have never seen the ocean, how can you know if it is indeed the ocean you are witnessing?” Now I never wanted to delve into this fact much probably more so to protect my family, mainly my father, but to my father’s defense, he was the one in my life and still is that gave me love and as our family aged together we evolved in that process as people should, learned from our pasts and in the end myself and my three brother and father were the only family I had and thus the only early on love I really know. I know there will be many out there that want to dismiss this, mainly my mother but realistically she was simply angry for her own choices and thus even the love she thought she was showing us wasn’t genuine as basically she had her own stuff going on she avoided dealing with. My mother’s family the same as they abandoned us when the divorce happened and thus send us a subliminal message that we were not loved. Now I don’t think any of this is overly complicated just hard for us to really understand the future ramifications of it all and the “trickle-down” effects that begin to take shape, so minutely and just add up over the years. As I aged I became good at self sufficiency and kept feelings in a place inside to deal with later (which I did, and I thank myself for that) and while I moved through life I didn’t really learn what love was, I thought I did, I felt deep love for many people and not just lovers and men but my brothers and their wives and their children and friends. But I was not great at accepting love form others it confused me. I had no boundaries and no patience to sit and analyze any of it. I had fleeting moment throughout life with amazing examples of people who taught me genuine love and genuine human kindness, this, the meaning of this, I also put away to deal with later in life (which I again thank myself for doing) so I have been absorbing many things in life and basically subconsciously putting them aside until something clicked, which is where I find myself today. I reference on of my favorite saying sin Hebrew often; ha simon nafal, which basically translates to the coin click when a coin drops into a slot. The coin click for me always represents simplicity and yes I know it is not simple, the key to it all is that I have been present and active in trying to make sense of this thing called life. I have been able to do this partly because I invest heavily in the work and sacrifice a great deal in order to achieve this depth within myself but I have also chosen to surround myself with a few others, one in particular who has allowed me a safe loving place where I can move through this journey with love and love real love, the kind that is about, kindness, understanding, gentleness, non judgment, protection, trust, respect, and above all patience. When we can mirror these traits or qualities to each other we can then give to each other a safe place to grow and learn and make sense of these lives we have that are complicated, messy but also amazingly beautiful.
I met a woman on my trip to LA and she was 103 years old, decked out in a bright colored dress with jewels on her ears, pearls around her neck a bright broach and florescent yellow eye shadow, she was amazing, her energy simple and beautiful. She said to me in our discussion, ‘the secret to life is simple, it is only what you make of it”. I used to want to make everything happen at once, my explosive nature is a gift but a quality that needed some patience as well. So as I continue to acquire this new art of patience, I can see my life changing positively as a direct result of this. In the kitchen I think I realize I have the same tendencies that I did in life, quickly produce results top notch results, but as this patience continue to merge into my blood, I can see even my cooking becoming more joyful an experience rather than a task. I can understand more deeply why I need to slow down in the kitchen and I can directly equate my current lengthy personal relationship journey with an unbelievable man to the slow process of caremalization in onions and how that long slow, subtle heat process is needed to achieve that sweet, savory, succulent perfect flavor. All good things need patience and I am glad I was able to grow and evolve in life in order to achieve that as I can see my life benefiting positively because of it.
Don’t get me wrong, lately my patience has been tested in more than five of six ways. There is a substantial amount of change happening in my life at this moment, new processes being born ad this is typically the time when patience is the most difficult to attain and attract, especially for a hot head like me. So as I venture out into this world that continues to challenge me I am defiantly tested regularly even when I am in the midst of learning valuable lessons and this patience lesson is no different. I find myself dealing with a lot of new personalities, many of which I find frankly confused or warped, however I have matters of business with each and items I need to accomplish and need these folks to accomplish it s I am trying to find the common ground or in this case the patience to let it play out as I need it to. To keep my ideals and stay true to myself while giving a larger open to others or in this case a big dose of patience. Its hard and I make countless mistakes but I am trying my damnedest to come through with results all while exercising patience, I think solely I am accomplishing this!
I think life is a lot like cooking, talent is not the issue it’s the effort and faith in the possibility of achievement. We must move forward in life and cooking with the idea that we are able, we must be willing to do the work, really do the work needed.
“I claim to be no more than an average man with less than average abilities. I have not the shadow of a doubt that any man or woman can achieve what I have, if he or she would make the same effort and cultivate the same hope and faith.”
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