I’ve been doing some soul-searching and making life changes while working on my culinary dreams.
Soul-searching can be a difficult task due to the fact that you have to face yourself and listen to your inner voice (which knows what’s best for you more than anyone on this planet).
I’ve figured out that if you really want to succeed at your big dream, or find happiness, then you have to look at how you have contributed to the live you are living along with the looking at the people who no longer serve your “highest, and best purpose” on this planet. They are usually the people getting in the way of your dream.
Doing the unfamiliar will ultimately force you to deal with your own self-imposed, self-sabotaging dream limits too — so it isn’t “all them.”
Lately, the negatively-programmed part of me has been over-sharing its worries about everything and unfortunately, I’ve been listening too much. The healthier part of me doesn’t seem to understand why I am thinking this way, so it allows my sadness, uncertainty, and fear to seep through and make a home at my core.
It’s interesting what happens while on this dream journey when you start feeling sorry for yourself — the universe will slap you hard upside my head and show you that you are being a fool.
Which it did, when . . .
I met a new hero
I’d gone to a coffeehouse to meet a friend so we could “talk.” We had parted ways some time ago and we were both ready to talk and (hopefully) continue our past friendship. I was feeling a bit emotional because of the limits I’d been putting on myself lately.
As we were standing outside talking, we noticed a man sitting two tables away from us. He was enjoying his coffee and a muffin, but seemed to be having some trouble with it. His movements appeared slow and awkward.
I found myself feeling sorry for him
My friend and I continued to talk until she said, “I met a guy. His name is Charlie Brown.” We laughed. This man two tables from us tapped on his table. We looked his way. He was smiling while saliva to poured from his mouth. He picked up his towel and wiped his face clean.
We asked, “Are you Charlie Brown?” He picked up a smart pad, pointed to a name at the top and pointed to himself. He proceeded inside of the coffeehouse, unsteady on his feet, drooling, and unable to open the door.
By this time we couldn’t take our eyes off of him.
He went inside of the coffeehouse and I stared at my friend in silence. Tears welled in my eyes and I said, “What a strong will. Do you think he had a stroke?” She agreed and we waited for him to return.
When he returned to his table, he was trying to put two items in his backpack. This took about 10 minutes. I wanted to get up and help him, but I felt he would be insulted. He started to put his backpack on, then he looked up at me. I got up and I helped him get his arm through one strap.
The other was a challenge because that arm was rigid and deformed. We managed to get the backpack on and he didn’t look the least bit frustrated or tired. He motioned to the clips that needed to be fastened around his body and I followed his lead.
He then pointed to a Camelbak water pack with a drinking tube.
That’s when I noticed the bike helmet and the bike.
I thought, “Dear God, how is this man going to ride a bike?” There I was already putting limits on someone’s dreams thank you negatively programmed part of me.
I got his water-pack, attached to his backpack, and secured the tube for him to drink. He looked me straight in the eye. His eyes were clear and full of love, spirit and gratitude. He drooled and I picked up the towel and wiped his mouth.
We got his bike into an open space for him and my friend walked next to him towards the bike. We all just stood there — him smiling at us and clapping at his excitement to get on his transportation and ride like a freebird. I imagine I looked like a dumb-ass. I felt foolish, then I found myself becoming grateful to have met such a person which turned into empowerment.
I looked up as he pointed to his race number, that read, “Aids Ride.” He then lifted his bike pants to reveal his tan line. He gave a “thumbs-up” and effortlessly rode off.
Tears poured from my face.
I don’t know who that man was, but he is now one of my heroes. He was sent to sit two tables away from me that day in order to boost my confidence and dream stamina. I don’t feel sorry for him and I don’t feel sorry for myself.
He revealed to me that I have no limits — only the ones I set for myself. He’s the living, breathing example of how far I mentally need to go to make my dreams come true. There he was against all odds clearly living his life to the fullest — no matter how difficult it was for him. And he was happy too.
I learned a big lesson that day.
All dreamers experience obstacles, deflated self-confidence, burn-out, and fatigue. As a professional chef, the culinary industry alone is enough to make you want to sleep away your waking hours and just forget about it.
When your dream is kicking your butt and you think it’s time to have a pitty-party: find a hero. Some one, anyone — living or dead. Look for people on the street while you half-consciously run your errands. Look for life trying to answer you through your everyday encounters. Chances are, the universe will be sending a messenger. Hear it, would ya’?
This week’s recipe is for the hero inside of every one of us. This is for when you are too busy to stop to eat because you are out being the hero in your own life. Take this with you to keep you energized while you put on your cape.
And remember to look for the hero inside yourself.
Rosemary Chicken Salad
• 4- 6 oz. boneless skinless chicken breasts
• 2 long and strong sprigs of fresh rosemary
• olive oil
• black pepper
• 1-2 ribs of celery, chopped fine but still chunky
• a handful ofwalnut pieces
• 1/2 stick butter
• brown sugar
Put rosemary sprigs through the middle of the chicken breasts. In a baking dish, put the chicken, drizzle olive oil over them then salt and pepper them. Bake at 400 degrees until the internal temperature on an instant read meat thermometer reads 160 degrees.
Remove chicken breasts from baking pan but reserve juices. Heat a skillet on low fire. Melt butter and add brown sugar until there is a smooth and flowing paste.
Add walnuts. Coat the walnuts and let them roast in the skillet watching that they don’t burn. Once you can smell them, turn off the fire and stir walnut mixture a few times. When chicken is cool, pull out rosemary sprigs and chop chicken into rough, smallish chunks.
Add chicken, celery and pan juices to a bowl. Add walnut mixture according to your preference of sweetness. Add a bit of mayonnaise, salt and pepper and stir. Taste and adjust whatever you personally want.
Put the chicken salad on a tortilla or a lettuce leaf and roll it into a wrap. If you are using a tortilla, cut it in half on a diagonal. You can also eat this with crackers, stuffed in an avocado, on any type of bread, or alone.