shedding externalities

a lot of what i've been working on over the past couple of years has to do with simplifying, getting to the heart of things, and letting go of what's unnecessary.  

in terms of the pop-up, it's been about experimenting with what it means to cook really high-quality food and share it with the folks who want it.  do we have to do it in a restaurant?  does there have to be a "fancy, white tablecloth" sort of narrative around the whole affair?  how many people have to come between the cooks and the customers?  this has been a project completely bent on stripping down the food chain to its simplest possible form, and it's been really interesting and rewarding.

in terms of my classes, it's about encouraging folks to get into the kitchen, get their hands dirty, and let go of whatever preconceived notions they have about what it means to cook a certain way, or at a certain level.  when we abandon the idea that we need a bunch of fancy tools, expensive ingredients, formal training or whatever external elements we've been conditioned to believe are necessary for a good meal, we can really tune in to the brilliance of the experience of cooking, of connecting with the food, understanding where it comes from, and sharing it with people we care about.  just doing that will make your meal more delicious and satisfying without even picking up a knife.

in the tartine dinners, it's about letting go of what ideas we might have about what it feels like to cook or dine in a restaurant.  we challenge people's comfort levels by smushing them cheek to jowl at communal tables, force them to interact by making the food family-style, and ambush them with generosity to do our best to make them feel loved.  because it's not set up to be a business, we have the luxury of taking really, really good care of the customers without being concerned with how much money we're going to get out of them.  a lot of the artifice and theatricality of restaurant dining is left behind, and instead replaced with a spirited sense of authenticity.  it's an experiment--one that's not exactly financially viable, but incredibly rewarding nonetheless.

whether consciously or not, it's been relatively simple for me to bring my work into focus in this way, but somehow in the secret corners of my heart and mind that determine who i really am, and how i really feel and think, i haven't been able to replicate this lens.  it's such a subtle thing that i haven't noticed it until just now, perhaps the most deeply reflective period of my life.  

let me break things down: yesterday i had a moment of clarity wherein i realized that i have always burdened myself with worrying about what others will think.  that worry has controlled and directed pretty much every action and decision throughout my life.  coming to understand this so clearly while simultaneously examining the central themes of my work has been pretty disconcerting.

the formula:

    aversive personality (buddhist psychology)
enneagram type 3 (the achiever)
enfp (mbti)
  samin: incredible potential to achieve success, but also crippled by an obsession with what others think  

the past few months have been some of the most challenging i've ever faced.  though the successes i've had and opportunities i've been given have been wonderful, they've made me ever so acutely aware of how many more eyes are on me.  it's weird, because i don't really shy away from attention (that's putting it mildly) and i am pretty darned comfortable as a public figure.  but the part of my psyche (or ego, if you will) that's so consumed with worrying about what others think of me and my every action has really been triggered into overdrive lately, and it's been a cause of great anxiety.  coming to realize this on a deep level is the first step toward loosening its shackles on my heart and mind.

i spent the afternoon with a sweet friend yesterday; she has the gift of making me feel totally safe around her, and i deeply appreciate that.  i told her of the many ways lately in which i've been paralyzed by these worries, like to the point that i'll write an entire blog post but then not post it because i'm worried about what one certain person might think or say.  i don't want to do anything that anyone could perceive as hurtful, narcissistic, egotistical, or mean, and in consuming myself with dreaming up all of the possible scenarios of what people might think, i lose the joy of the experience itself.

i'm committing myself to relaxing a bit around these fears, to trying to take things a little more lightly, and to shedding the externalities in my every day life.  i want to let go of the inner/outer narrative that binds me in my thoughts and actions and instead return to a place of living from my heart, with the purity of intention and experience that i value so much in my work.