Tag Archives: leap of faith

Winging It

As I write this I am sat on my sofa avoiding the midday heat and surrounded by the delicious scents of warm cinnamon, cardamom, butter, vanilla and gingery sugary goodness. I am paying close attention to the gas hob in my kitchen and wondering nervously if the heat has burnt the pan contents sat atop the hob or if these mouth watering scents means my random act of BAKING A CAKE IN A SAUCEPAN ON TOP OF THE GAS HOB is actually working.

Let me explain how I came to this…

I woke up yesterday and felt to bake a cake for my boyfriend. I wanted to do something nice for him and I pondered my options whilst I walked leisurely to the shop in my bright pink flip flops. The heat of the day slowly intensifying with the rising sun. I stepped up and through the creaking door of my local shop that lies nestled in the shadows of an old dusty church. The choice was limited but three sturdy orange carrots caught my eye and made my decision to bake carrot cake. I picked a handful of the finest walnuts I could see and tucked them into the basket with dates, spices, sugar and more.

I was up early and eager to begin my baking this morning. As I live in Egypt I have been missing the feel of autumn. The red and burnished gold of leaves, the smooth brown curves of conkers. This carrot cake was to be my way of acknowledging the season. It would be filed with golden autumnal sugar, the rich warmth of cinnamon and a touch of cardamom to represent the Eastern spices of where I now live. As I walked into my kitchen I knew I didn’t have scales and would have to estimate the weights of ingredients using a cup and trawl the Internet for a conversion table. I approached the gas oven and despite my best efforts it refused to light. I tried over and over again but it just would not cooperate. I almost burned my thumb on one occasion as the gas flared up and lost the lighter down the back of the oven during another as it pinged out of my grip. I had to leave the room after another attempt filled the kitchen and me with gas that made my eyes sting and water. After ten attempts and a couple of minor gas flaring incidents I resigned myself to no oven. But at least I hadn’t passed out from gas fumes in the process.

By this point I had also looked up conversion tables from cups to grams on the Internet and sadly realised they are all different. I could find no converter that had an answer for each ingredient and each converter gave a different answer for just one ingredient. Oh.  I stared at my dream of autumnal baking bliss, of carrot cake heaven, and felt disappointment rising in me like a soggy undercooked bun. I had no scales and no oven but I desperately didn’t want to give up. I took one look at the gas hob, another look at my largest saucepan and thought

Oh what the heck, let’s wing it and make a cake on the hob

That idea was WAY OUTSIDE OF MY COMFORT ZONE. I don’t wing it when I do things that reflect upon my abilities, that others can bear witness to. I plan, prepare, worry, prepare some more, lose sleep and plan some more. I have, as do many of us, a fear of failure and of being exposed for the village idiot. I fear I am not as good as all that. So the idea of baking a cake in a pan on the hob, with no idea of quantities of ingredients AND for someone else would definitely be winging it and very far outside of my happy place.

At this point I should mention I am recovering from a recent illness caused by, I believe, too much stress from unavoidable outside circumstances but also due to my reactions and expectations of myself. I ignored my Intuition telling me to stop and rest until I literally had to stop and lie down for a week. Yesterday I decided I must listen to my Intuition more and let her guide me. Stop playing by the rules, stop expecting everything (including myself) to be perfect and wing it a little instead with more laughter in every day. I simply do not want to be the cause of my own exhaustion and illness anymore by ignoring my inner self. The world is a harsh enough critic without me adding to it.

I pondered this with a raised eyebrow, and eyed up the hob and saucepan. Could making this cake be the perfect opportunity to put my thoughts into practice and let my intuition guide me? I could listen to my Intuition closely and see if I could make a cake without scales or an oven. I have made plenty of cakes in the past (albeit with scales, a recipe and an oven) and perhaps my inner self might just know the way to do this. Could it be the perfect opportunity to practice letting go of certainty of success? The cake could come out as a soggy lump of undercooked gooey, burnt batter. That would be my failing but perhaps that is okay. I won’t die from it.

So my beautiful imagined day of seamless autumnal baking for my man had turned into an opportunity for some self-analysis, growth and letting go. Who knew an almost lethal oven, a lack of utensils and a willingness to put myself out there could be so therapeutic? No, me neither.

I took a very deep breath, reminded myself to listen closely to me and then winged it BIG TIME. I threw cups of basic cake ingredients into my mixing bowl and hoped for the best. I splashed yellow eggs in, sprinkled over what I felt would be a tasty amount of different spices and added plenty of baking powder. Surely some extra lift would be a good thing for my saucepan cake? I chopped up the dates enthusiastically and threw them in without considering quantity. Why not, we’re not playing by the rules here anymore. As I mixed the ingredients together lovingly I listened closely and my intuition told me it looked about right for carrot cake batter. I poured the hearty, orange flecked, walnut filled batter into my saucepan and promptly fell about laughing at how ridiculous this idea was. Yes it was also FUN. I was letting go, I was covered in flour dust and playing. I was learning to be me and trusting I am enough. I was also learning just how divine raw cake batter tastes. If only one could survive on cake batter alone as a healthy nourishing diet.

So, my ‘cake’ has been on the hob now for almost an hour and we are back to where I started my tale. I am sat on the sofa surrounded by the delicious scents of warm cinnamon, cardamom, butter, vanilla and gingery sugary goodness. I am paying close attention to the gas burner and wondering nervously if the gas has burnt the pan contents. I tell myself it is time to check and guess what….there is a cake in my pan! An actual cake. Sure it’s not perfect looking but it is definitely cake. This is a recognisable edible item, commonly referred to as food. I can’t believe it!

Or maybe I can? My intuition told me all along I could wing this and make it happen. My stubborn mind just refused to quieten down and believe.

After a minor skirmish with my cake in the pan, a knife and a fish slice (I lack utensils here) it came free from the pan and flopped onto a plate with a heavy sigh. Here is the cake in all her autumnal, slightly burnt, middle-stuck-to-the-pan glory. Isn’t it just perfect? I think so. Okay so it may be slightly burnt, wonky and missing a middle section but it represents a step forwards for me and it is gorgeous with plump edges. As the cake cools slowly on the plate by my side I am smiling.

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What seemed like a disaster, a disappointment disrupting my plans, turned out to be an opportunity for adventure, laughter and growth today. The unexpected turned out okay in the end. All I had to do was drop my self-expectations and rules, turn up with an open mind and be prepared I may fail. Choose to give it a go even though I felt out of my depth, wing it with a kind and forgiving heart, listen closely to my intuition and do my best. Perhaps that is all I can ask of myself every day? All any of us can ask of ourselves? Because, truth be told, I think we are all winging it at times and hoping our cake comes out perfect every time. We all have fears,  wish we were better at this, less of one thing and more of another. Do we hesitate and hold back from trying new things because of our perceived limitations?

How about we just stop beating ourselves with the whisk, take a leap and enjoy the ride, bumps and all? Trust ourselves and go for it. Add heaps and dollops of glorious extra frosting and enjoy the cake. Sit down and eat the cake, eat a lot of cake. And say to ourselves…I did my best and that is simply enough. Now pass me my cup of tea.

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Never (Ever) Give Up

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Today has been awesome, so full of bright sunshine – and that is just from the people out there that have connected with me! What a perfect day to smile! You have all inspired me so much with your views and comments on here.

This post goes out to all the Free Rangers that read my story on the Friday Love Letter, the Free Rangers that I know are busy flapping their wings towards their dreams of freedom. Each and every one of you is incredible and I am so excited for you…who knows where today’s dream will take you tomorrow.

All I have ever wanted to do is inspire people to achieve their dreams and help them along the way with words of encouragement and a supportive arm around the shoulders that says ‘you can do this’. To know that I have inspired one or two of you to just go for it in life is simply wonderful. Thank you for making my day so special and for inspiring me to never (ever) give up.

And for those of you that don’t know about Free Range Humans, you really need to check this tribe out. They are incredible people. Go find them, join us and be inspired…

Free Range Humans

I think today is also the perfect day to share with you that, you know what, I know how it feels to be on the journey of going free range and I know how utterly terrifying it can be to make the decision to stand up and say

 ‘Hey, this isn’t working for me. I want to change my life and I’m going to do this’

 It is terrifying reaching that moment and I remember so many sleepless nights as I wondered if I could actually admit that let alone do something about it. The pressure and expectation placed upon all of us by society is huge and I couldn’t begin to imagine standing up to that and saying

‘Actually, I believe in another way. I’m sorry but I don’t buy into this for me’

That moment for me came this time last year at a family reunion – which was also going to be my wedding day as it happened. As you know from my previous posts and the Friday Love Letter, the groom had departed prior to then and rather than be sad we turned it into a family reunion day. My brother and family flew over from Australia especially to be there as a surprise. I remember standing in the kitchen thanking everyone for their support after my groom had left me and toasting to a brighter future. I then broke down in tears and confessed all…that I couldn’t go on like this, all I wanted to do was follow my dreams of working with sharks and being creative. I felt ashamed that I had such a dream, ashamed that I was admitting it and terrified that my family would reject me. This feeling had been within me for years and I embarrassed yet felt free to be admitting it – even if it did mean I had tears in my pink champagne damn it.

I couldn’t believe it when my family turned to me one by one and, with a smile in their eyes, said ‘We always knew you were a free spirit and wondered why you hadn’t done that many years ago’.

And so my journey began

With my sisters by my side the following day, I wrote down exactly what it was I wanted to do. They did the same and it was a powerful moment as we committed to realising our dreams. I signed and dated it and promised myself that a year later I would be making it happen. Don’t for a minute think I actually believed I could make it happen though. I was convinced it was impossible but by writing it down I had at least made my dream real on paper. Not once did I think a year later that dream would have come true.

You see I am not naturally confident in my abilities; I have to work on my confidence and anxieties daily as look in the mirror and dislike the reflection I see. I know how it feels to sit down in tears on the edge of my bed (many many times) and feel my heart break into pieces as I realise I am just not good enough to achieve my dreams. That there is no value in who I am, no value in what I want to do and I will never make a change and fly free. But the thing I have learnt lately is this…Those feelings, those fears are NOT real. They are tricks of the mind, tricks of our primitive emotional brain yet they consume and break all of us at some point. They are the moments that have made me give up in the past and convince myself that I should just do what everyone else does and throw my dreams away. I am sure you have had those moments too, we all do. So if you take one thing from me, please take this.

 Your fears are NOT real. They are NOT real. They make no sense, serve no purpose and will NEVER help you. Do not listen to them and NEVER GIVE UP

If you are reading this as someone about to make the decision to fly or your confidence and courage are wavering, remember we all have days like that. It is okay to feel that way, just don’t listen too closely to the fears and don’t believe the voice that tells you to give up.

NEVER (EVER) GIVE UP

Instead, go find someone inspiring to lift your spirits or maybe even remember my little story. I am not superhuman, I don’t have a long list of talents and skills. I am just ME but finally I am realising that every ME and, of course, every YOU has gifts and heart to share with this world. If you just keep on dreaming big, keep on believing in yourself you CAN do it.

I know you can do it because I am doing it right now and if I can make it happen then you definitely can too.

May you all keep chasing your dreams, keep flapping those wings and fly free. And make sure you tell me how you get on as you leap to your freedom xx

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Dog Tired Wings

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Who knew growing new wings could be exciting and yet so tiring. A wing-production roller coaster of a ride. I have found myself pretty dog tired today. I am on the verge of leaving behind all that is familiar and safe to me in order to chase my dreams. To live my authentic, creative life surrounded by my true passions and loves. To live in the sunshine being a dive instructor, a singer, writer, artist and hoping my life path will inspire others to take a chance on their dreams. It sounds amazing, it is amazing. I just hadn’t realised I would feel so tired inbetween the crazy excitement of these changes. Someone pass me my blanket, a bonio and a warm fire please. And whilst you’re there could you give my tummy a tickle? Thank you darling.

I mentioned in my first blog the ‘interesting and challenging’ events of the past few years and it’s fair to say that yes they have left their mark. Some are very funny marks and moments and are a great story to share. But there are also some deep, murky marks and I am busy excavating these at the moment.

I leave the UK in seven weeks time to start the next chapter of my life, which I have loving titled Book 2. I am going to broaden my horizons, my life and spread new wings. Smile at the sun and fly free to be me. No-one has stopped me from doing this before but, like many people, I bowed under the pressure of expectations from myself to conform and be what others expected of me. To put aside my dreams in order to please others and keep me firmly in my conventional, somewhat musty cardboard box. Well stuff that, I am busting out of my box one kick at a time. This path has been twelve years in the making – yes, alright my box is made of quite thick cardboard and I had found myself quite comfortable in there at times.

In order to leave feeling truly free I am clearing out all of my belongings and we all know that means I am also clearing out my mental clutter and hopefully healing old wounds. Not an easy task, as I have clung onto every childhood toy and have the remnants of a three bed house and all her furniture and stuff to let go of. But I have done it. I spent the last few weeks clearing through every box, relived every moment and cried and laughed my way through it all. I was confronted with happy memories of my beautiful mum who died nearly three years ago now, sad memories of the loss of my wonderful woolly Airedales and the pain that came with two fiancés walking away and leaving behind two lives for me to dispose of. And the best bit….the childhood toys. They were hilarious and it had me in stitches when I realised the crap I kept. I think my favourite had to be my Take That tour programmes from the 1990s with my hand written comments from each tour of when a member of Take That waved/winked/pointed at ME. Of course they were waving at me. Evidently I believed I would be marrying Howard from Take That (according to my comments) and yes I also spent a day camped outside Robbie Williams’ house once. I was that cool. My friend tried to steal his pants from his washing line but sadly she couldn’t climb over the high garden wall despite our best efforts. Robbie I am very sorry we tried to steal your underwear.

Anyway, I have done it and recycled, sold and given away everything other than some basic furniture and the kit I will need to take with me for life overseas. I would like to say it has left me feeling free but so far it has left me feeling a wee bit tired and surprised at the result. I feel like I have pulled this massive sticky plaster off my face and it has unexpectedly whipped off my features in the process. Eyebrows, lady moustache and all. I didn’t expect that to happen.

Having done all of this clearing out of the old, I am busy growing my new wings and they are fine wings indeed. I am on the most incredible journey right now and these wings are going to support me through thick and thin. They need to be both beautiful to the eye and sturdy. Somewhere between angel wings, swan wings and ‘built to fly all day’ albatross wings. Definitely not Dodo stump wings. This could be an interesting look. So far it is going well but I think I need a rest. I am perched on the edge of my cliff, looking at the abyss and testing out my prototype wings before I leap.

So if you will excuse me I am going to take myself off for a rest, burrow down into my blankets and snore like an old dog without a care in the world. My wings can wait for tomorrow. 50 sleeps and counting.