In the beginning of Rumi’s poem, Spring Giddiness, there are two lines that have stuck to my bones.
[…]Let the beauty we love be what we do.
There are hundreds of ways to kneel and kiss the ground.
And in the context of the poem, which I suggest you take a look at, Rumi is forming this exciting bit of life [out of some dark, empty place] where one picks up instruments instead of academic books. The moments following are filled with awe and romance and spontaneity. We are left with a fleeting stanza that if we lose what makes us feel alive, we will fade along with it.
At least that’s what I get from it. And really that’s all that matters. Poetry is what you get from it. What you feel from it. I don’t read it often, but I say these lines to myself from time to time. Some days louder than others, and often when I talk to people who have no idea what they want to do.
All the while the world rushes by me and I get caught up in myself. (Shocking, I know!) I think about what I’m trying to get people to understand about me, me, me — and whether or not it’s actually important.
That line, “There are hundreds of ways to kneel and kiss the ground” — it’s huge for me for a lot of reasons.
When I think about cooking, I seem to have this one idea of what it looks like. Smears on plates. Little flowers. Drops of this and that. Tweezers. Screaming. Scallops. Foie Gras. Etc.
I think about what it would take for me to get there — at least to be showy enough for some critical praise.
But then I settle back into myself and realize that I don’t really want that.
So this notion of cooking starts to transform in my head.
That there are hundreds of ways you can present a plate of food to someone.
There are hundreds of ways to work with food and nourish other human beings.
You aren’t stuck.
Which is easier said than felt, right? That middle place where you’re trying to figure out what to do next.
For the lucky people who get to do what they love and make millions, so be it. But it’s not realistic for most of us. It’s best you find a way to enjoy the normality of life. Where nothing extraordinary turns into day in, day out. And to also feel deeply those special times when you have more than you need, or are in the company of good folk.
There’s this James Taylor song that says something along the lines of, “…the secret of life is enjoying the passage of time.”
But we are future dwellers and past dwellers. We wonder where other roads might have taken us and where tomorrow might lead us. We burn bridges for good and bad reasons. We’re all just trying to figure that out, I think.
I try to catch these little bits of wisdom when I can. From other cooks, my elders and even little ones — it’s in the in-between that things get really messy.
…and that’s okay.
Daylight, full of small dancing particles
and the one great turning, our souls
are dancing with you, without feet, they dance.
Can you see them when I whisper in your ear?
All day and night, music,
a quiet, bright
reedsong. If it
fades, we fade.
Don’t be afraid to find your own path.