Hello and much love to all of my family/friends/readers!
I haven't posted in a couple weeks as I have been wrapped up with my raw culinary training at the Matthew Kenney Academy in Santa Monica, California. I'm taking a four week program which concludes this week. While I have facilitated many raw cleanses, cooking classes, and done my fair share of raw preparation, this course has taken my skills to the next level. It's been such a joy to see something that I was "kinda-into" turn into an art and a form of self-expression for me that I am becoming REALLY passionate about!
Raw cheese platter
Raw chocolate chip cookies
Raw chocolate tart (simple and DELICIOUS!)
My final project is due tomorrow. There are 14 students including me in the class, and we each have designed a three course meal - two dishes of which we are plating tomorrow in class. I have learned a lot about myself and about patience and planning through designing and planning my meal. I chose to do ravioli... a legit ravioli, not just some beet/zucchini sandwich like I have done/seen done many times before. Instead, I actually made a noodle "dough" from zucchini, coconut meat, and cashews with a little bit of psyllium husk as a binder... and I created a cashew ricotta with folds of fresh basil and parsley that tastes incredibly similar to a traditional ravioli!
Why am I telling you all this? No, I'm not just super obsessed with food (okay, maybe I am a little, haha), but the truth is, I wasn't THAT excited about the raw food world until I took this class and started to learn the subtle details and techniques that take food from just nourishment to a true art form.
Suddenly, I feel like I have a whole new palate (of colors and tastes) to play with. I get excited about the limitations of the raw foods because I know they are not only beautiful and fresh but also highly nourishing and cleansing for the people who are eating them.
For a long time in my life, I found that in many areas I was able to "make it through" and do just enough to "get by" in a lot of ways. I always didn't push myself to constantly improve because I didn't see or understand the pleasure in slowly crafting something that requires more of a process and attention to detail. In the past, I have been more of a "that looks fine" or "that'll do" or "it's okay" kinda girl... just going along with the flow (which I think is appropriate in some circumstances so as to get along with other people), BUT there is a distinct difference in how I look at creating not just my food, but my life, now.
I am becoming more aware of what I really like.
I'm noticing more.
And I'm also being consciously gentle with myself when I don't get it "just right," trusting that I am learning, and each "mistake" is perfect.
At first glance, this seems like something obviously that probably everyone should know - but as I am getting to understand my own artistic style, I am realizing what works about it, and why other styles don't work for me, and I'm even able to appreciate the details and style that others put into their creations in a deeper way.
Now, when I try food, I don't instantly think, "I like it" like I used to in the past, mostly to please people. I know the benefits of a well-thought out critique and I am becoming more particular with the words that I chose, so that I can help others improve and also appreciate their creation.
I find that this applies to many areas of my life, including relationships -where maybe I had said "it's okay" or "that's fine." In the past I had let comments slide that others said that upset me or I didn't understand, and I made excuses for people that I was in relationship with, allowing them to get away with things I didn't like because I was ALSO making excuses for myself. I'm realizing more and more that it's okay to ask questions. It's okay to say that I don't like this or that. It's okay to say, I want more of this or that. The more things that I say "no" to, the more clear I am with the universe about what boundaries I am setting so that it is becomes clearer what I DO want.
I share this because maybe there are other people out there who have gone through or are going through similar experiences, and I hope to inspire you to return to yourself always. Listen to your instincts. Trust your inner child.
What do you like? What do you want? What feels good? What upsets you? What can you do without? Trust that, and begin to firm up the rough outlines of your life's blueprint until you begin to see your dream life emerging a little bit more everyday.
And be sure to leave room for play, experimentation, and creativity! If you are looking for more clear guidance on how to refine your taste and step into your creativity, one great tool that I used to get back in touch with my inner artist was through a book called The Artist's Way by Julia Cameron. This book is basically a 12 week outline for returning to your essence as a creator.
I'm going to share with you an excerpt from my 6-week online program Resolve to Evolve Mastery (that will be launching April 28th!!), in which I talk about creativity and share some information from The Artist's Way:
This book is HIGHLY recommended if you are looking to develop your sense of creativity and what that means in your everyday life. The book is broken up into 12 weeks segments that you focus on a different aspects of your creativity each week. It helps you to clear what has blocked your creative impulses in the past; and it shows you how by to bringing more creativity it into your life means trusting in your intuition and ultimately your connection to source/divinity/universe/God.
Taken from the morning pages, I'm going to share two of the techniques that she suggests for honing your creativity which I still try to implement into my daily and weekly routines, and were incredible beneficial for me while I was going through her 12 week program:
This technique is simply writing three pages first thing when you wake up each morning. You immediately take your journal/notebook/computer and just start writing. It's NOT about writing anything perfectly, having to say particularly philosophical, or uplifting, or even nice. It's about dumping the thoughts that are on the forefront of your brain so that you can "clear the clutter" so that you can get clear about what is really going on inside of you.
Often our brains are re-playing certain thought patterns on repeat, without our being aware that it is happening, this exercise allows you to "dump" the chatter and it is an incredible tool for getting in touch with your inner self. Although this may sound time consuming, it actually allows us to be more focused, aware, and present so we don't waste as much time during the rest of the day.
The intention is not to SHOW these pages to anyone, or even to go back and re-read them ourselves, it's simply about the process of sitting down and letting your thoughts come tumbling out of you and onto the paper/computer so that they aren't taking up as much space in your mind. Often, I would find myself writing out complaints and things that were bugging me like "F*ck, I don't feel like being here, I don't want to get up, I'm tired, I should have worked out, I should have done more, I should be better, I don't want to write... So and so is bothering me this week... ," etc and once it clears and I wrote it down, I moved past the annoyances and frustrations and into a place where I was able to address all of these "problems" from a clear-headed perspective.
*This process clears dreaded, unhelpful, negative thought loops that are repeating over and over again
*This process creates a clarity by helping you identify what is most important each day so you can keep you project on track
*Helps you gain perspective on events in your life
This technique is a weekly "date" that you have with your inner artist. It's meant only for you (and the artist you)... so you do this SOLO! You take yourself somewhere inspiring and take time to tap into your creative and the magic all around us in the world. Psychologically, there is great importance in having play time, even as adults!
For me some of these types of artist dates have been
- Walking around down at the Buffalo outer harbor where I took several series of photos that ended up (unexpectedly) inspiring me to put together a photography gallery show.
- Going to an art gallery on my own and wandering around jotting down notes
- Observing an open mic (I went by myself - and I didn't even play, I just hung out and watched.)
- Spending an hour playing around with indoor plants, propagating large ones, and repotting them, feeding them, watering them, and growing my indoor garden
- Walking to a dog park and playing with other people's dogs (and meeting nice new human friends, too)
- Going to a group meditation
- Spending time wandering around the library or a cool bookstore, reading whatever I want and then leaving without buying anything.
- Going to a farmer's marketing, grabbing some fresh produce and making something new and creative.
In summation, my offering to you is to try out some/any of these creative ideas that are calling to you, and re-explore for yourself a little bit each day again what it is that you like, what makes you come alive? How can you live in child-like wonder, honesty, playfulness, and integrity?
Please share your feedback in the comments.
Thank you for reading and sharing in my journey <3