This past weekend I had the lovely opportunity to attend and cook for a lovely group of people at a Pilates+Yoga wellness retreat in Vista, CA. Tucked up high on a hill overlooking most of North County San Diego we were away from traffic, busy bodies and noise. All that surrounded us were trees, birds, nature, and the wind. Everything is SO still up here, aside from the procession of the sun and moon taking turns, time really does slow and the days seem long. This weekend as I oversaw the food, the menu, the hospitality portion of the retreat, I learned a few valuable nuggets of wisdom. Weekends like this are priceless, because it's not in the doing that you learn it's those moments when you sit still, listen and just be in THAT moment that you get it.
These are just a few things I'm taking away this weekend and I wanted to share.
1. Read a recipe all the way through
From the first day of the retreat till literally the third this kept biting me in the ass, first was the whisper, then the pinch and then the brick. Simply put, slow down. I would have close to 5+ hours to prepare a meal but you would have thought I had minutes, I caught myself skimming recipes instead of reading them and understanding what was being asked. This is something I'm guilty of in my day to day as well, I will often assume I know what's coming, when I don't. I will assume I know what you're thinking when I clearly don't and I will skip a few steps so I can get to the 'good part' when it's the journey that counts, right? On the third day of the retreat, the first recipe I picked up clearly stated in bold, all caps READ THROUGH ENTIRE DIRECTIONS BEFORE BEGINNING! Well if that wasn't a sign from the universe, I truly don't know what is.
2. There really is music in my heart
I have long believed that passion can be tasted. That enjoyment can be seen and music can be heard when you're around someone who is living their truth. This weekend, a retreater blessed me with these beautiful words, that music is in my heart and my love of food and cooking can be tasted in every dish. In the kitchen I've got Pandora on blast, depending on the dish the station would vary; but from Edith Piaf to Jason Alden, from Sade to Melody Gardot a barrage of music could be heard coming from the kitchen. I just had fun, I wanted to have fun ~ I wanted to create and design and be wild and adventurous with the meals. I wanted color, flavor and taste profiles you might not expect. I wanted my heart to shine from every plate that I so carefully decorated, from every root vegetable to the diced herbs. I wanted the guest to feel that there was care and thought behind their meal. The one guest said, Brandi you HAVE to write a cookbook and you must include a CD of music or at least a playlist for the reader to enjoy while making your creations. I love that!
3. There REALLY are no excuses
Most of the guest that visited us came with broken bodies, or bodies that were healing. From serious degenerative diseases, past traumas, car accidents, falls, you name it. The one thing these women had in common, is that NOTHING is stopping them. They are traveling, back country skiing, ice climbing, horse back riding, surfing, backpacking and climbing mountains. They are beautiful, youthful and checking off things on their bucket list. They know that life is short and you've got one chance to make it extraordinary no matter what. They don't let their injuries keep them down, they have found a way to move forward. And even when it's hard, they have found peace and strength in knowing that even this to shall pass.
This weekend was amazing on so many levels. I may never see these women again but I will carry their spirit with me. They have inspired me to be and do so much more.