Cooking, Rugby and Departures

Who would have thought that my wonderful birthday prize of a Cape Malay cooking course with the enchanting Cass Abrahams would be a lot more than a Babotie (which is a delicious quintessentially Cape dish of mince and spices covered in a savoury custard)…. in fact it was like I walked into someone’s life as a witness to their story… her daughter got married on Sunday and is soon to be spirited away with her new partner and her three-old grandson to Bristol, and Cass’ son returned to England while I was there and watching the heartache of a mother farewelling her son was a little overwhelming – the story of South African migration has touched all colours and creeds… her delightful husband is part of the Western Province Rugby administration and we spoke about my dad who he remembered as a front-rower from Villagers – I felt quite teary hearing the names of men I remember from some distant past of my dad’s rugby-life… and of course in case there weren’t enough threads, Cass had worked with my friend’s late dad on creating an aloe chutney … so in amongst these stories… I also cooked in this grand dame’s kitchen – Babotie, Butter Chicken bathed in cumin and coriander, a fish marinated in freshly ground spices and then soaked in lemon, and a noodle and sago dessert that had the hallmarks of comfort food swaddled in kassia and cardamon… a cherished day today 🙂

The courage of the feminine

Today was a day of generous women… I had several meetings with a bunch of different women – all of whom are courageous and aware and inspirational. What a treat to witness their stories and their thoughts and emotions – a real gift. No surprise that my powers of listening and being present are so much more acute without my own constant internal chatter of stress. So in honour not only of these women but everyone who has momentary insights I came across this beautiful piece by Robert Louis Stevenson:
Give us grace and strength to forbear
and to persevere…
give us courage…
and the quiet mind…

A tentative new skill

There is one continuous theme for me… GRATITUDE… It is like a discovery for me. As soon as I feel awkward or anxious I try somatically to feel gratitude in my body… Every yoga practice, I dedicate to Gratitude… every moment when I wish for something more, I dedicate to Gratitude… every time I ponder on what is lacking in my life, I dedicate to Gratitude… It is a new skill for me and I am not very good at it so I bought an app for my iPhone recently, a Gratitude Diary… and I have been keeping this conscientiously in an effort to ground the smallest of detail into an attitude of thankfulness and deep awareness of all that is so present in my life… What is it about focusing on what else, what more, what lack… I think part of being present and conscious for me is Gratitude and the realisation that there is way more joy and lusciousness in what is and not what I silently and often unrequitedly wish for…