Category Archives: Soul

How I cured my “fear of God”

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I was not born that way. I was raised in that way. “There is a God up there who sees everything you do and punishes you when you misbehaved” was a standard reprimand. This did the job. It instilled the purest form of abstract fear into a young soul, surrounded by many others who dared not think in any other way.

When I was 14 I took part in a nation wide French language competition. A teenager one-two years older than me interrupted a colleague’s prayer for good luck with a sharp “There is no God. If there is one he would strike me with all his might as I speak no”. I still remember his cynical laugh. That was probably the first non-orthodox and up-front view I have encountered on the matter, which raised a question deep in my mind.

Years later I was on the verge of a love affairs, which smell of danger. I was asked back then if I wasn’t afraid to enter into this relationship. “No’ was my answer, fast completed with “I am only afraid of God”.  That was a rather strong belief, rooted in my childhood and early education.

My journey of self-nurturing brought me a fundamental personal appreciation of the ‘fear of God”. I read the Bible in my late teenage years, a time when I begun practicing independent thinking. I processed this reading years later when I read Solomon’s Proverbs and Ecclesiaste.

My mind came to appreciate the following: God (with whatever name he is known or called by his followers in whatever region of the world)  is the Creator and as such is a Parent. Parents love and nurture. So does God. He gifted us with minds, souls and hearts to choose and accept or not the consequences of our choices. Blaming it on Him or stopping doing something out of fear of a Supranatural Repercussion is a strategy, no doubt, but with such a limited learning for personal growth impact. Is fear an ally to your growth? is a question with a very personal answer.

Fear and belief may go hand in hand. Up to a point though. The turning point is when the feeling of light is fading or, to the contrary, is brightening you, your life and the life of others.

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Do you garden?

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I would not bore with advantages of gardening. I am a novice rooftop gardener. Started with a kitchen herbs garden: pots of basilic, thyme, mint, chilly pepper and strawberies that actually produce a heavenly tasting berry. 

I love the connection to Earth that this kitchen garden provides me with. Bigger and busier the cities I live in, greater my attraction to gardening and micro-scale farming by my kitchen window.

A touch of green to spoil my vision. A flavour of nature to spoil my senses.

A tribute to my grandmother who’s garden was an Eden.

My kid learns about causality: you plant, you water, they grow, you eat. Kids learn about planning, sharing and carrying for.

These are useful skills for some adults, me included, some times, as well.

This could actually be a good question at job interviews: „do you garden?”.

May tell quite something about people, don’t you think?

Coffee, chocolate, wisdom: combined

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I should be working on an assignment on inter-institutional coordination in complex emergencies. My mind took a break. A coffee and chocolate break. And not even feelling guilty about it. Love my mind!

I have two addictions – dark chocolate and wise people. Love them combined.

Every Friday morning it’s my beauty hour. Friday is the “day of Frige”, an Old English goddess, cousin with Roman Venus, goddess of beauty. It is kind of an explanation I give myself for indulging  all kind of beauty treatments on Friday. It’s also a nice prelude to week-end days.

So every Friday morning I go to a beauty salon to my beloved cosmetologist whose hands are beautifying my face for the last decade or so. She just turned 70. Before her divine massage she orders coffee. We chat about everything and nothing. This is The best coffee I ever had and hope to continue having for the next decade or so. It smells and tastes like no coffee on earth.

The feeling is similar to having a bottle of wine with a great person and still feeling alcohol-free as opposed to getting drunk from a sip of wine in an inappropriate company.

To make it even more magical I bring her chocolate desserts I bake, for us to celebrate these special moments. The way she tastes my desserts and appreciates the flavours stays with me for another week. Untill next Friday morning.

So why is this coffee so different? ….It’s the wisdom and gestures of this lady. The way she graciously puts the coffee on table, takes a first sip, ponders to feel it’s warmth and asks about how I have been. Her eyes are always illuminated by a magic internal light. She is always genuinely interested in conversation and in spite of her enormous life experience she is never in a hurry to give advice.

Such an organic and holistic approach – body & soul & mind – wrapped in an aroma of coffee & chocolate, with the fragrance of a facial masque, enriched with seven decades of life wisdom and served in a nonchalant and elegant way.

From the love of beauty and with the beauty of love.

French dessert – a confession of an aficionado

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I am a sucker for French dessert. Coulant of chocolat, marbre au chocolat et banana, chocolate mousse, éclairs, fondue, truffles, crème brûlée, savarin, sorbet, crepes, gâteau aux poires et pépites de chocolat …. needless to mention croissant, pain au chocolat and escargot.

This is my mood booster, with a cup of hot Turkish coffee with a bit of cinnamon, sweetened cherry and a spoon of cocoa.

I do not only enjoy eating them, I love to cook them. Such a sense of magic happening under your eyes: eggs meeting butter and melted chocolate to form a creamy marriage, flour creating white clouds on the kitchen’s ceiling, cinnamon, vanilla, etc. to spoil senses, fingers feeling the softness and delicacy of the cream ….

Cuisine is an art – remember Gusteau’s famous “anyone can cook”?! (“Ratatouille”). It is also a therapy. Nothing relaxes me more than finding a new recipe, testing it and seeing the dessert baking in the oven: growing, mounting, getting crispy or moist. In 60 minutes you’ve got the result. In another 30 minutes you’ve got the impact – mouths full of yummy-yummy and smiling faces around the table. Now talk about “result-based management”! And there is more. Guests asking for the recipe and, after having tried it themselves, returning calls with “wow, my guests were all “wow wow””.  Double impact and … cascading! The other day, my good friend told me her grand kids baked one of my recipes for her birthday, as a b-day surprise. You should have seen her sparkling eyes when she was telling me how delighted she was about the dessert and the efforts her grand kids made for her! … Oh, love!

Give it a try: it works well for both body and soul. Well…. when done with moderation… some sort of moderation…any sort of moderation that works well for you, today and ever, with love and beauty, for body and soul.

Ready? Go! http://www.famousfrenchdesserts.com/, www.joyofbaking.com , http://www.delish.com/recipes/cooking-recipes/classic-french-desserts-recipes and many others. Please do share yours.