Firebirdlifecoach's Blog

Pursuing a Passionate Life

What’s for Dessert? September 24, 2011

Yesterday I baked a delicious peach and blueberry pie for my boys and I and “wow – was it good”. My neighbors had brought us over a half a dozen extra peaches that they had picked at a local orchard, and combined with a few I had purchased at the store last week and a pint of wild Maine blueberries that I acquired at the farmstand – I had all the inspiration I needed to pull it together. Baking pies reminds me of my two aunts who were never married, have lived together their entire lives and who were an extremely significant  fixture in my life from childhood to the present day. Emma (96) was the cook of the two, but Violet (94) had one skill in the kitchen – and that was baking pies. Actually, the combination of peaches and blueberries was inspired by my favorite of possible fillings from a pie I remember her making when I was little. Though I am a damn good cook, having grown up in a family where cooking delicious homemade food was the norm that my parents excelled in and having worked as a cook and chef for many years when I was younger – I am not a baker. But pie, is the one exception to this rule. It’s simple really and with pies as with regular cooking you can “wing it” as opposed to other types of baking which require recipes in order to turn out correctly. I hate following recipes – as it takes some of the joy out of cooking for me. The requirements of having the ingredients on someone else’s list, and specific instructions for the “how to” portion of the process – by their very nature leave out the spontaneity and creativity in the process which apparently, I don’t just prefer – in some ways I require.

Maybe that’s how Aunt Violet did it, maybe not and in fact it doesn’t really matter. If you enjoy the experience and the end result comes out to your liking it doesn’t really matter what your process was. Of course, the “what is in the fridge that I can turn into dinner” method that I most often employ – can make it a little tricky when you are trying to re-create something that you enjoyed before – but that doesn’t mean the final product will be a disappointment. I wouldn’t be a good executive chef – developing menus for my staff to create consistently and effectively night after night from the same menu – but ask me to develop some daily specials – and I’m your gal!

There is a time and place for order and repetition and a time and place for creative experimentation. Figuring out what works best for you in any given circumstance is the key. Trusting in yourself to stray from the directions a bit knowing that you will still produce excellent results is a perfectly good choice to make. Not every experiment produces a five-star creation but neither does every recipe. Determining which technique is right for you and when to apply which method, is the trick. So, that said – whatcha got in your oven?

 

The Choice is Yours August 16, 2010

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Looking through quotes this morning to find one to read at the closing of my business networking meeting, I came across this one from an anonymous source:

“Life can either be accepted or changed. If it is not accepted it must be changed. If it is not changed then it must be accepted.”

I liked this one. It was simple and clear and had a definite ring of truth if the goal was to live a life of choice and minimize frustration and dis-contentment. Concurrently, part of me was straining against what I assume to be an over simplification of a complex concept. But I decided to accept the wisdom of it with the knowledge that I could in fact change it a bit to fit my own personal philosophy. This seemed the best of both worlds and clearly in keeping with the sentiment at hand.

For each of us there are elements in our lives that are not completely in line with our goals and desires for ourselves. Not all of these items are within our locus of control, and what action we can take to change them is limited. Our choice then becomes not whether or not we can change those things themselves (a stern and disagreeable boss for instance) but how we will allow those things to affect us and whether or not we want to continue to operate under those circumstances. Some choices, like deciding to leave our job and find a new placement are pretty darned big – and their effects can be felt in almost all areas of our lives. Whether we stay or go – our choice becomes one of accepting or changing not just the circumstance itself but our orientation, outlook and integration of that choice.

For instance, you may think of yourself as a writer, but unable to support yourself with your writing efforts; need to take a job in a totally unrelated field like restaurant work. You might not like this work, the hours are long, you’re on your feet all day, you have to deal with some unpleasant customers and an inflexible manager. But if you see this as an avenue to allow you to have your nights free to write, if you see your experiences and interactions with our co-workers and customers as fodder for character development and your paycheck as a means of buying you time to pursue your dream writing job then it can all be good. Or you may decide that you need to be in a more “literary” setting and work to get yourself a job in the editing department of a local newspaper or publishing company or as a teacher in an adult education program. The choices are endless. The change can be as subtle as a re-orientation of how you view your choice or an acceptance that this is what needs to be done to allow you to do your “real work”. Of course not all our efforts are rewarded either, and that’s a whole other topic.

Accept or Change… each day we have that choice to make and each day our decision may be different. The real trick is to know yourself and your goals – and to understand and appreciate how you have the impact to change your own course with each little decision you make by understanding how they align with what you know inside you and what feeds your true self. What will it be today? Accept? Change? Or a little bit of both?