Welcome to the Dare to Blossom Newsletter
In this issue:
Reflections: Giving Thanks
Guest article: Reflection - Easter and New Life by Cate
News: Enterprising Women Conference with Alex Polizzi
Reflections: Giving Thanks
This has been a year of gratitude for me. Gratitude becoming a practice that I am more able to return to when things aren't seeming to go well. This evening, as I write this, I am grateful to Cate for submitting her piece as the first guest article. Starting from the simple actions of cooking eggs, she is led into thinking about her responses to life, creating a beautiful piece of flow-writing.(If you don't like eggs, or can't eat them, treat it as a beautiful metaphor.)
If you read these newsletters regularly you may recall that I suggested you might like to submit something, partly as a way for me to reduce my own potential load of writing monthly as well as the weekly Rediscovery Card pieces. It is only a 'potential load' as it has rarely felt that way, and I have two more cards to write about before completing my challenge to myself of writing about all fifty cards. I have yet to decide what happens next. More on that when I have completed the task.
The invitation remains open in any case, please do send in anything of your own writing you'd like to see included here. Provided I feel it is suitable for this place, I will be happy to include your writing.
My gratitude list is now very long and I feel blessed that it is so. In this month of May I always give thanks when passing the 12 May, the anniversary of the day I was given the diagnosis of cancer. It will be particularly significant this 12 May as it is twenty years.
Last Sunday Dave and I visited a favourite spot - the Japanese Garden at St Mawgan. It is beautiful at any time of year, and particularly so in spring and autumn. Now the acers are in the first glory of new leaf, wonderful fresh colours in an amazing range of shades: greens from bright acid colours to softer olive greens; varigated leaves with pink and green together; and stunning bright pinks and reds. This photo captures just a hint of one peaceful scene.
I am full of gratitude to the people who created the beautiful garden and who tend it so that it looks completely natural.
Thank you also to each of you reading this: every one of you is dear and precious.
Guest article: Reflections - Easter and New Life by Cate
Outside in the garden, Spring is much in evidence, young green leaves are forming on the trees, apple blossom and early flowers are in bloom. Over the Easter weekend I found myself considering new life and the choices I make in regard to how I wish to live my life today. One morning as I was about to make my breakfast, I held a free range egg in my hand and considered the many ways I could choose to cook it.
I had taken a half dozen egg box out of the fridge. Cleverly designed it carefully holds and protects the eggs in transit over many miles and through changing hands to my home. From a farm and its hens to my local supermarket. Cool storage keeps the eggs fresh until they are required. I lifted the lid of the pale green, recycled cardboard box and carefully selected an egg of my choice. I studied its size, shape, delicate pastel-brown shade and the unique markings on its shell.
Rarely do I have a boiled egg in the morning, that is something I like to have on a Sunday evening instead. I still make toasted ‘soldiers’ as my mum did when I was a child (and she continues to do so today). I have enjoyed making scrambled eggs for breakfast many times as it is quick and easy, as is a fried egg. However, I wanted to make a poached egg that morning. For this I need a bit more time and concentration.
To make a boiled egg, I pretty much know the result I will have. The hard shell defines the shape of the result. Timing is of the essence as I cannot see the inside cooking as the water bubbles and boils around it. The result, rarely a surprise, takes the form of a solid white, with the yolk held in the middle. If you are like me, cooking is timed to hopefully result in a nice soft, runny yolk to dip buttered toast into whilst hot, with a sprinkling of salt and pepper.
Scrambled eggs mean a complete change in the visible outcome and texture. Scrambling the egg combines the whites and the yolk as one, in a soft, fluffy, irregular shaped mixture. They also require some whisking or beating as part of the preparation and then regular stirring in a non stick pan until ready.
A fried egg is slightly different. As I break the shell and lower the egg into a frying pan, I can see the white of the egg, gradually clouding and then the yellow of the egg cooking. It obligingly sits there with little movement and waits until it is ready. I wanted to make a poached egg as I had a little more time to devote to my breakfast.
So, to the task in hand. I have aspired for some time to make the perfect poached egg. Not in a pre-shaped mould, but free form, in a pan of hot water. When I lived in Australia, a Sydney cafe brunch was not complete without a pair of beautifully poached eggs sitting on top of hot, toasted, crisp, golden brown, buttered Turkish bread or rye, with fresh or cooked spinach and tomatoes on the side. I miss that.
In recent years, I have set myself the task of becoming proficient in the art of poaching eggs and I am getting better at it. It has taken patience and practice as well as humility to ask friends for tips and help along the way. Unlike other recipes, I have not looked this up on the internet, I like the personal touch. I’ve learned not to strive for perfection in cooking or life, so this process has become more of an enjoyable experiment and lesson in observation. Making a poached egg is now something I don’t take too seriously, it is something I can be more light hearted and playful with.
As I went through the motions of deciding my approach, the preparation and cooking of my humble poached egg, I thought about how similar this method of cooking and process is to my life and the way I wish to live it at present.
With shallow water in a pan, the water comes to a simmer fairly quickly. I then hold the pan handle and swirl the water in a circular motion. In my life I don’t like the inner feeling of turbulence too much - anxiety, fear, or uncertainty, I’d prefer more stillness, but life is full of change and motion.
I then add vinegar - a spirit. This is needed to bind the egg, to hold it together. The motion of the water coupled with the vinegar prevents the egg from foaming up, all over the pan in a frothy bubbly mass. I then have to take the risk of cracking the egg shell and drop it carefully into the swirling hot water.
Before my eyes a beautiful rounded form emerges. The white folds around the yolk and I can observe the egg cooking, gently buffeted by the simmering. Sometimes the result is even up to Vogue Living standards - one of the glossiest of cookery magazines.
In the moment I made my poached egg this Easter, I saw before me the way I currently feel about my life. I have lived wanting security, stability, certainty - like a boiled egg. I can be scrambled at times, get in a muddle, mixed up and feel a bit beaten. I can take an easy path and sit there like a fried egg flat in the pan, without too much turbulence, being a bit predictable, or I can take a more risky and experimental path. The swirling motion of the water is like my ever changing life, if I remember the ever present spirit of life available to us all, which can truly hold me together sometimes, I can let life gently shape me to a beautiful, natural form.
Cate - 26th April 2014
News: Enterprising Women Conference with Alex Polizzi
If you are within reach of Wadebridge in Cornwall on 13 May or Buckfastleigh in Devon on 14 May, you may be interested in a chance to hear Alex Polizzi speak live. At each day those attending will be entered in a free draw to win a one-to-one business review with Alex (two chances at each venue). There are also workshops on a variety of subjects and plenty of time to meet other women in business. I'll at the Cornwall event as part of my role as an enterprise coach and trainer with Outset Cornwall, and it would be lovely to see you there. Full details and booking via the Enterprising Women website.
Thank you - for being my companion, for your support and comments, for sharing your suggestions and thoughts.
If you are waiting for this weeks's Rediscovery Card piece - it may not arrive until next week. I have not yet written it, and I may give myself a break and more time to consider and write to share with you. As I mentioned above, there are just two cards left of the fifty, and they will both be done before I set of for the 'Conscious Writing Retreat' with Julia McCutchen - perfect timing.
As always, please feel free to comment below with your thoughts and comments.
If you would like to own a set of cards to explore their power for yourself please visit the dedicated page.
Thank you dear friends for sharing time with me here.
Until next time,
*if you have any difficulty accessing the 'blogspot' service, you can also read here on the Daring to Blossom website, or find 'Dare to Blossom Life Coaching' on Facebook.