A Note from the Chef
Anyone who loves toasted English muffins knows that they taste so much better when split open with a fork rather then cut with a knife. They know that a smooth surface doesn’t have the nooks and crannies, so perfect for holding melted butter. It’s the irregularities, the broken edges, that make it taste so good.
I think people are a lot like split English muffins. No two are exactly alike and it’s our bumps that makes us better.
If we can approach self improvement with a sense of appreciation for our imperfections, rather than from a need to fix what’s broken, I think we have the opportunity for true transformation. I know that hating anything about myself or my circumstances has never made things better. How can anything good come from the energy of hate?
As a professional chef I’ve worked with all kinds of ingredients in all sorts of conditions. More often than not, I didn’t have everything I needed and at times, what I had, was less than perfect. I just had to make the best of it – even if it meant doing what I didn’t think I could – especially if that. As a training ground for self-improvement, the kitchen was perfect – for me.
I learned that a recipe is simply a guide, and it’s my interpretation that makes it my own.
I know that if I mess up a meal, I can start over; that even a dish that’s delighted hundreds of diners sometimes needs a little tweaking.
I don’t judge the chicken for not being beef or broccoli for not being more like peas. I simply look at what I’ve got and make something good from it. “Self improvement is no different” says the Self to the chef.
The path to self improvement is always right in front of us, embedded in the twisted roadmap of our lives, with clues hidden in plain sight, waiting to be spotted. But they’re clever little devils. We can’t always see them with our eyes. And they’re never where we expect them.
Sometimes the sign is in a flat tire we get on the way to an important meeting; or a computer glitch just when we’re working on something critical. At times we don’t hear the message until we’re on our knees and at others…it only needs to whisper.
The other day the message caught me off-guard as I was pondering a situation in which I saw no way out. This was my state of mind as I headed to work only to find – after backing out of my driveway – that I literally had no way out.
The road was blocked by two men and a truck. One was high in the trees, in a bucket, lowering a big, dead branch to the man on the ground. I called out and within minutes the crane folded itself into the truck, the man in the bucket climbed out and moved the truck off to the side to let me pass.
Sometimes moving forward is as easy as stepping aside, and the message comes clearly, armed with a sense of humor.
May you tweak what needs it and remember to laugh.
Photo courtesy of seriouseats.com