If you’re asking, you are ready.
Spring is in full bloom at my home in California. This year, like every year, I swoon over the new green-gold leaves and the fragrance of waking flowers. Pack the coats in the closet, send the kids outside, and start opening the windows. The reprieve of warming weather and new growth after the cold wet months is like an amen.
Change takes time, even when it’s time.
My desk overlooks my persimmon tree (and also my neighbor’s solar-paneled roof), it’s the view I’m looking at now while I write. It was fall when the persimmon leaves colored and fell, I colored my hair purple (the wildest thing I’d ever done) and I decided to leave my job as a pantry chef for a thick stack of reasons. I had loved my creative work there, but the situation at the restaurant shifted, and I saw a dead end in my current position. I wasn’t certain what I would grab onto. Yet, it was time to let go of where I had been.
All winter the tree branches were bare. Instead of getting the kids to school then hauling my butt and a thermos of vanilla rooibos tea out the door to work, I was staying in. I thought, I read, I planned, worked, worried, and waited as my ideas began to coalesce and condense. I talked and wrote my thoughts into ideas until the pieces started growing together, leafing out, and into what could be as spring came into season on my persimmon tree. I spent many months looking at bare branches, and then finally bloom.
Have you been ready to step out into something new, but it took much longer than you hoped?
That was me too. I knew I wanted to help others using my stewpot of passions: fresh cooking, bold design, and honest writing.
I’ve been teaching cooking classes here and there by request for over a decade, I have experience as a cooking teacher, a writer and editor, and a reputation as a resourceful designer. I had always enjoyed all of those roles but I wanted to pull them together into something new and purpose driven. And, I really wanted to help others.
But the details of how and in what way took time.
I wished someone would come in a pick my brain and unlock what could be.
Not just with The Kitchen Natural, but many times in the past. As I taught myself to cook and to cook with wholesome ingredients and flavors I hadn’t been raised with, I often longed for a guide to expedite the process of becoming. How to make the flavor of strawberries radiate, how to cook eggplant everyone swoons for, how to fix an over-salted soup, or guarantee my yeast is going to activate. But as I devoured cookbooks and experimented in the kitchen, I became the person with the answers. At the restaurant as a pantry chef (jam and pickle maker extraordinaire), I solved problems the higher ranking chefs didn’t have solutions to. I was better read and more resourceful than my superiors.
There’s more than one way to get where you want to go.
Learning by discovery is powerful, but learning on your own isn’t the quickest method. I love helping other people get to the aha of discovery faster. I’ve introduced many fellow cooks and students to seasonal produce and wholesome ingredients. In our time they‘ve realized they can be better cooks than they knew possible. Their cooking comes alive in possibles realized: fresher, healthier, and way more delicious. It’s not going to be some magic recipe, the real discovery is you. You’re better than you realize. You can get there on your own, by experimenting, by books to guide you, but like any trip through new terrain, a guide will get you further and faster. Especially if you are ready to go.
You don’t have to go digging or embark on a one-woman mission to become the natural cook you’ve longed to be. There are so many fantastic resources to be discovered to help you. And so much potential waiting in you. It’s there, just waiting to mature, hanging, like the fruit now growing on the tree outside my window.
Start Before You’re Ready.
When the time comes, come on over and let’s pick the fruit. I’ll tell you all about hachiya persimmons, when they’re ripe and when to wait, how to spoon them from the astringent skin and cook with the sweet spicy pulp. But there’s a long time between the hard little green nubs of fruit and what will pick in the fall, then rest for weeks on my counter until the fruit is ready to be eaten. Ironically, the best time to pick hachiya persimmons is before they’re ready. (They’re harder to pick when they are ready to be eaten and sploosh to the ground easily.)
Don’t wait. The best time is when you’re wondering if you’re ready. That energy of asking, maybe boredom or frustration with what you have is telling you something. Maybe you just didn’t know you already know.
Are you ready? Yes, you are.
So dig in, stop asking, start seeking. Go after what you really want. You’re better than you know and you’re on your way to better still. Really. Tell yourself so. Don’t wait for someone else to give you permission. Pick the persimmons before they’re ready. They will ripen, slowly but surely in the kitchen window.
I’m so glad you’re here with me now. I thought I wasn’t ready (few people ever do), but I’m starting this anyway. There isn’t a better time than right now. Same goes for you.
Tell me, have you ever started before you were ready and gone after a goal?
Leave a comment below and tell me what you did before you were ready and what you’re ready for now.
I’d love to hear about it.