Follow Your Bliss

This weekend past was a busy, but noteworthy one — my niece, Kristen, graduated from college on Sunday and a friend, Doug (who was only age 45 and who has three children all under age 8), died from a massive heart attack while asleep. Both events prompted me to think about some of my life lessons, including how valuable our lives and time here on earth really are.


Follow your bliss.
If you do follow your bliss,
you put yourself on a kind of track
that has been there all the while waiting for you,
and the life you ought to be living
is the one you are living.
When you can see that,
you begin to meet people
who are in the field of your bliss,
and they open the doors to you.
I say, follow your bliss and don’t be afraid,
and doors will open
where you didn’t know they were going to be.
If you follow your bliss,
doors will open for you that wouldn’t have opened for anyone else.
— Joseph Campbell , The Power of Myth

At Kristen’s age, I remember being refreshingly hopeful about everything I had before me. Ripe opportunities were lingering on the vine, just waiting for me to pick them. I was so darn hungry to learn, but so overwhelmed by all the possible life paths that each savory nugget of knowledge yielded. I negated the information before me or inside of me, postponing the decisions that I truly knew were the best for me at that particular moment in time, for fear of failure or rejection.

As I watched Kristen walk across the platform with her undergraduate diploma in hand, I was filled with pride. I was proud of her for identifying a passion and finding the motivation, hard-work and fortitude to follow through. As my eyes filled with tears of joy, life revealed another “big picture” puzzle piece — it is never too late to begin anew or to start over. No matter the age, we are never crazy for taking our dreams seriously and for following our passions. After all, when we peel away our complex layers, our simple passions and dreams are at our core.

With that “core” knowledge, it became clear to me that my “art of procrastination” was stifling my passions and dreams. My dreams are serious business and it is time for me to dig in and to make progress, even if my efforts yield a minuscule forward motion. Just taking the initial steps to realize a dream is an act of courage. Even if I change direction or fail, knowing that I at least tried is worth any perceived or real risks.  I have never heard of anyone succeeding by holding back or by editing oneself because of fear.  Have you?

Why it took death to refresh my perspective still perplexes me. Learning about Doug’s passing made me really sad.  However, it has also helped me recognize what is important and what is worthless.  What happens if tomorrow never comes? True living – living in the moment, loving with my entire being and giving my all to everything and everyone that I love – is where “it is at” and has taken on a new importance. Everything else is just noise.  If I can attain true living, that is probably the closest I will get to heaven.

As for my culinary strides over the weekend past, I had a few. In preparation for Kristen’s graduation, I chopped veggies for 5 pounds of pasta salad, made a balsamic marinade for 25 pounds of skirt steak and invited my niece, Kellie, to help me bake 4 dozen cupcakes (using my new favorite dark chocolate cupcake and Italian meringue buttercream recipes). To save time, we tried using Ghirardelli 60% cacao bittersweet chocolate chips instead of chopping a Ghirardelli 60% cacao bittersweet bar. While the ingredient lists were the same for the chocolate chips and the bar, using the chips yielded a much less flavorful cupcake.

Of course, I couldn’t let Kellie go home unfed, so I used a tried and true recipe from Peter Reinhart’s Artisan Breads Every Day cookbook (“Neo-Neopolitan Pizza Dough” on page 67, but I did not add the sugar), so we could make pizza on the outdoor grill. However, instead of using bread flour as I usually do, I used a portion of the 3 pound bag of Italian “00” flour that I found at D & D Market on Franklin Avenue in Hartford. While the new flour required less water, I really did not like the super crispy crust that it yielded. I’ll give the “00” flour another try, but suspect I will return to bread flour.

I wish you all health, peace, love and a great beginning to your week.  Happy baking!

P.S.  Debbie N-D, I know the reference to our favorite CCA baker made you gag! Thanks much to Kellie, cupcake sous chef extraordinaire (I am going to order chef garb for you, just wait!), to Lizzie for the “kewl” (like how that sounds vs. “cool”) cupcake book and to my blog “fans” for their kind and supportive comments.  Congratulations, Kristen, on realizing your college graduation goal (you definitely need time to recharge and I hope Europe does that for you!) – continue to reach for the stars! Pizza Doug, I will miss your smile, jokes and laughter – R.I.P.  Julie, you and the kids are in my thoughts and prayers.  XOXOX


~ by Kris on May 18, 2010.

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