In Memoriam of What We Were

You cannot change how your story started, you can always change how your story ends.”

For plenty of people, those are wonderful and hopeful words of wisdom. It is hard, and we often need help to do it, but it is possible to rise above our pasts towards a future we want. That is an empowering, terrifying, and beautiful thing. A hallmark of our intelligence as sentiment creatures is the ability to internalize what we’ve experienced and use it to make decisions in the future.

This can be both a blessing and curse. We learn from traumatic experiences as well, and healing from that is as much a (re)learning process as a spiritual/emotional practice. When things happen that really and truly shake you to your core, you can’t always just dust yourself off and go again. If you think you can, I congratulate you on your compartmentalization and/or sociopathy.

The truth is that, even if you think you’ve recovered from a difficult experience, there is no returning to the person you were before. It’s a “what is known cannot be unknown” sort of thing. Before, you didn’t know you could be hurt like that. You didn’t know you could fail that hard. You didn’t know whatever it was could hurt so much. It’s the price we pay for being thinking, feeling, loving creatures- but it’s a price we never consciously think we must pay until it happens.

When it does, we learn. We learn to wake up the next morning and keep trying. We recover, we hope, and we carry on. We also need to mourn the people that we were- because that is never coming back, and it’s something I’ve been wrestling with a lot recently.

A young woman sits cross legged with a hand to the side of her face in sad introspection
Continue reading

Sitting In Others Sadness- Depression and Connection

If you want to know how strong a person is, see how they handle feeling weak.

Last week was a long and miserable one, not least because when I woke up on Monday morning it felt like the color had drained from the world. Nothing tasted good, I had no energy or will to do anything, but all the guilt of doing nothing. As I dragged myself around the house in the early morning, half-coasted my bike to the shop and turned on the ovens, I knew that I was in a depressive episode.

I reached out to others- not for help, or even for pity, but connection. Lots of people responded, and I was grateful for that- but not everyone knows why or how to be helpful in those situations.

How do you help someone manage depression? You just be there.

Continue reading

Living With Your Limits

It’s another of the best worst bits of advice you can give someone. It means well, it’s true, but it’s also false and ignoring it can lead to ruination, pain, and injury.

”There are no limits.”
”The only limit to what you can do is what you put on yourself.”

You see them all the time on motivational posts and calendars- and the annoying thing is that it’s true! In a lot of cases, the only thing holding us back from what we want most is just a couple decisions that we make for ourselves, with no gatekeepers other than ourselves. As soon as you realize that, you are a monumental step closer to living the kind of life you want.

In some cases, though, pretending there are no limits to what you can do can lead to serious, painful problems. Let’s be real here: winners quit all the time, and successful people know when to take (and give!) “No” as an answer. They know their limits. They may test them, even stretch them, but they respect them- because they know that failing to do so can lead to self-destruction.

Continue reading

The Pursuit of Coziness

Do other people get prescribed time in a rocking chair with a blanket and a cup of tea, or is it just me?

Not too long ago, as the holiday season was winding down and we were getting ready to shut down the bakery for a week, my therapist asked what I intended to do with my time off. I rattled off several writing projects, new daily exercise goals, travel to see my family… and my therapist asked “Ok, but are you going to rest?
“Um… yeah? I mean, I intend to but there’s plenty I’ve been putting off because of the holidays and…”
“Matt, are you familiar with hygge?”
“Yeah, that’s something like ‘coziness’ right?”
“Yes, but intentionally. Find time to deliberately make yourself as comfortable as possible and be okay with doing nothing.”

Well… doctor’s orders.

Animated Gif of a bottle and glass of Jack Daniels whiskey with some one playing guitar in shadow in the background
Continue reading

Gratitude in the Kitchen

Sorry for missing last week, friends and neighbors. We landed the metaphorical plane on Thanksgiving, but the cost was completely wiping out my personal energy reserves. Last Friday, I literally spent half the day sleeping.

I’m feeling a bit more together now, and I really wanted to get this post out there before Thanksgiving was too far from our minds. Appropriately, I’d like to start this post off by thanking you all for your patience.

So… what does gratitude look like in the culinary world?

Animated GIF of Winnie the Pooh and Piglet carrying a text balloon that says "Thank You" and then bowing.
It’s not usually this cute… but it’s my blog and I love Winnie the Pooh.
Continue reading