In Crossing the Unknown Sea: Work as a Pilgrimage of Identity, David Whyte wrote “There is something trustable about the original enthusiasms of the very young that point directly toward the way we are made.” He showed how our childhood passions may indicate directions for our adult purposes and satisfaction. It’s also a reminder that just as fish do better in water than they do in the sky, we have proclivities to thrive in particular places and spaces. Although his focus is on vocation, the core idea seems to lend itself to avocations, as well. When such fires align what we love with how we make our living, it is a blessing. Yet, when we find fulfillment and greater aliveness outside of our work, it is also delightful.

Whyte raised many great questions for reflecting and moving toward true expressions of ourselves. Looking at what I loved to do earlier in life in this context, provided greater freedom, permission, and reason to purse an original enthusiasm. When I was young, I loved to cook and considered culinary school and work as a chef. My path diverted rather markedly. The kitchen remained a fun place to dabble, but the back-burner was on the back burner for many years.

Last fall, through the miracle of infomercials, the Ninja Cooking System got me rolling on a cavalcade of exploring new recipes. I originally thought this appliance would make a great birthday present for Paula. I was quickly dispossessed of this notion (jewelry, chocolates, and flowers were corrective suggestions). The real gift was I became the primary dinner preparer.

Cooking can be a wonderful creative expression and Whyte reminds us “different forms of creativity all somehow have their birth in memory … The deep memory of what it means to be fully human in a world that is grander than any human can conceive and more important, the deep memory of what it means to be this particular human being living in this particular world…”

Chef Will Remembering the play that led to enjoyable creations that could be shared to bring pleasure for others further awakened this arena of creativity. A couple weeks ago, I completed a “culinary boot camp” at NAIT and last weekend a couple little culinary workshops at Taste of Edmonton. I’m now in full swing of gustatory creativity, including baking and recent expansion into sorbets and ice cream.

This is my particular journey in my particular world. I encourage you to look back at the breadth of enthusiasms in your earlier life and find something about how you were made that reawakens or redirects you in your work or play.

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