Beautiful Plate = Beautiful Life

If you read my blog, you already guessed, I am a creative.  Boring as it is to talk about oneself, indulge me please, just for a moment. 

I get very confused sometimes because I can be quite the chameleon.  I was raised on a farm in a farming/quasi blue collar family. The values there are hard work, little recreation, more hard work, honesty, faith in God, family, love thy neighbor, do not steal...you farm folks know what I'm saying - the simple, wholesome, God fearing values.  Somehow for some reason I sought out and embraced a totally different set of values to add to the mix.  I seriously thought I was adopted when I was about 10 years old because I felt I did not fit in with my family.  I even launched a secret quest to find my adoption papers buried somewhere in the family vaults. Seriously. I think my mother had to show me my birth certificate and even then I was hardly convinced. 

My personal values, seemingly since birth, included creativity, emotional expression, compassion for other cultures especially minorities, justice, individuality and later in life these grew into a quest for education, travel, anthropology, adventure, recreation, personal style, and many other beliefs that I'm not sure my family always understood completely.  They love me, but they don't always get me.  

So this blend of values I hold dear has created a hardworking, God fearing artist who can still produce a garden but also loves the farmer's market. I can fit in with a variety of people and I can be successful at a variety of endeavors. But I have a hard time really knowing what I want in life and following a single path.  Where is my focus???? I want so much and at 49 I am afraid I am running out of time to really pull off anything great. Leaving a legacy of change is one thing I greatly desire.  I want to make a difference in peoples lives. Is that just me getting older and embracing a new set of values? Hmmm...

All of this to say, even though I am unsure which path to pursue in the days ahead, I am sure of a couple of things.  Clarity is important to me, knowing myself is high on the list and I don't like to be too long around people who don't understand that.  If you habitually lie to yourself and never try to see yourself and your context to the world, I probably don't have much in common with you.  I like to see the big picture and I like to talk to others about their place in the big picture as well. That's just me.

By the way, thank you for indulging me in talking about me without any obvious point but there is a point to all of this rambling I think.

The point is, even though I don't know what to do with myself employment wise during this hiatus in Tennessee, I do know two things that I always want and those are a peaceful life and a beautiful life. The farm girl in me says to work hard and not worry about where I work, but the other me says change things, make the world around you better, even if it is just helping one person at a time and you only have time for a handful. Beauty to me is appreciating the little things, the nuances.  Some Japanese would say, "the crystallization of the moment" like appreciating the beauty of the tiny cherry blossom, forget the whole tree, focus on the one blossom and soak it in, remember it and cherish it. This is the beauty of life to cherish what we have today, in this moment.

I made a yummy omelet this morning and because I have been watching the food network so much these days I put it on the plate with a focus on presentation.  I realized that focusing on the presentation gave me more pleasure in the food and the meal as a whole.  It reflects so very much about the life I am trying to cultivate here.  I can only imagine if I set a plate of food down in front of my dad that was well designed and purposely presented.  He would either be skeptical of what the "fancy food" had in it or he would not even notice.  Not a problem - presentation is not important to him.  He values other things like sticking to the staples of food (meat and potatoes), the texture of food, and taste of food, the cleanliness of food and the man of the house providing the food.  Those are good values for sure, just a not altogether my values.  We learn to disagree on things without being disagreeable. It costs me nothing to let other people live their values and vice versa. Live and let live.

Strangely enough even though I miss them terribly I feel more free to be me when I am miles away from my family.  I gave birth for the first time at 19 so almost all my life has been geared around being what someone else needed or wanted me to be.  Almost straight from my parents home to building my own home with children and a spouse I went from being someone's child to having a child, then three more. Not to mention being born in the "don't question your parents" generation. I tried to be every thing I thought they wanted me to be growing up and later even as a mother and wife I strove to live by their specific values.  Until I realized one day, I can't do that anymore.  I have to be myself.  To live my life for anyone else is too much pressure and it robs me of the peace I feel in just being me. 

I am thankful for the values they taught me.  They are strong and worthwhile values and I cherish them.  But I also cherish my own additions and subtractions from their values.  Case in point, creating a plate of food that looks beautiful and tastes beautiful and adds health to my life as well as satisfying my need for creative expression means I am being me.  I value that.  This is the life I am trying to live, a peaceful, beautiful life. 

If your life values lead you to cook five chicken breasts with rice and broccoli on the side and eat that every day this week then by all means - go for it. Eat a half of grapefruit for snack everyday while you are at it!  I'm no hater but that just doesn't work for me.  At least not today.  And the beauty of being me, if that works for me next week, then I will adjust accordingly. This is how we do it!  We find the healthy life according to our values.  We embrace what works for us, we examine the results and finding them satisfactory, we dismiss the rest.  This is true and real.

Today is about finding beauty in healthy living and that's all ~ thanks y'all. 

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