Only from the heart can you touch the sky. Jalaluddin Rumi
Senza il pane tutto diventa orfano.
Without bread everyone is an orphan Italian Proverb
When you undertake to dance the tango you become ready to move beyond life’s fears. You acquire a way to celebrate life’s romance. You dance of dreams: of passion, tension and release, frustration, conflict, and of resolution. You dance of your destiny in the making. Unknown
Chapter One, A Prologue of Sorts
It is a truth universally unacknowledged that most people would prefer familiar misery over unknown joy.
It is another truth both universal and unacknowledged that falling in love, or better yet, love itself is the most hungered for food; it is the bread of our souls. Without love, without a resonating passion, regardless of source, we are empty. Yet we fill up the gap with everything else but. A sadder truth I do not know.
As a baker, I know a lot about bread because I am its handmaiden — an intimate of wheat. When it comes to hunger, I am too well acquainted with this too. As for falling in love, or perhaps harder still, being loved, I’m not entirely sure how this is done. But if you spend enough of your days coaxing stubborn sourdough breads to rise and perfecting the perfect oucho on the tango dance floor somewhere, somehow, in this alchemy of flour and dance, you also figure out something about love, which is at least putting balky doughs and imperfect tango steps in service to life lessons. Unlike the secret to melting white chocolate properly or making vanilla extract that is more elixir than ingredient, the recipe for love really needs to be shared.
Despite the fact that I live with a lot of Inertia and Doubt, who, for their seemingly passive personas, are special breeds of Hell, I also know something about the joy thing, that thing that few even dare whisper about.
There is joy out there; it exists. I’ve seen and tasted it and it is not a UFO phenomenon that only a few people know about but can’t prove. Also it doesn’t end with strange creatures poking at you with stranger instruments in a space ship. And yet it’s ever so much harder to get people to believe in joy than that. And yet that is why I have to tell you what I have to tell you. It is Joy Quantum Physics at the soul level.
Now, there are those fighting the good fights: rice shortages, global warming, gluten-free baking, and safer silicone implants. I, on the other hand, seem to be destined to sleuth out how we live in-between the spaces where no one sees — how we connect to our own hearts minute to minute, sewing our souls, much like Peter Pan, back to our spirits. We are most definitely sheared off at the seams. How on earth did such a split ever happen?
Seems clear that this global hunger is not about rice shortages or gluten, but it is about lack. I know this as a baker; I have lived it as a woman.
On the other side of this chasm is the fire of the spirit that fuels those other good fights. It’s not popular and I often look like an idiot. More than one person has said that I wear my heart on my sleeve. But I believe so strongly that someone ought to stand up for Love plus I don’t see Jane Austen in the room (and those that do put down poor Jane for dying young and dying untried)
There’s that old saying:
Be careful what you wish for
The implication to this is that we often don’t want the things we say we do. So, when they do eventuate, we are still vaguely discontent. Maybe it’s just that what we wanted doesn’t look and feel like we thought it would. But I think it is all about something else entirely.
It’s not yearning that leaves us lonely and in lack. It’s post yearning: getting to and being there that is the problem. For like that elusive, perfect tango — when you stand still and reverberate on the spot with that other person, yourself and whatever god/universal power you’re prepared to accept — and you are resonating in sheer presence — that might be the challenge.
In bread, we bakers know it as the moment when the bread sings in that spectacular choir of the crust. You take it out of the oven, hot, hissing, and alive — and the whole thing is all crackle and spit. It doesn’t last long; it isn’t loud, and you have to bend real close to listen for it but oh (!) — the sound of bread done right, exploding into life in hot/cold fusion, splintering tiny shards of crust, leaving the rest in a complex mosaic — it’s what we live for.
This being At Happy — finally arriving at this divine place is strangely, incidentally — as scary as hell.
Now who would ever think love could be like that? But it certainly explains why million dollar lottery winners go from poverty to wealth only to return to poverty in as much time as it takes to shoot an extreme reality show and voted off your own island.
Maybe that is the real reason why so many of us have grown adept at being hungry and questing and dispute the Joy thing. It’s not famine we fear — it’s feast. Feast of love, here and now — a flood, a river of joy and sweetness we claw towards but really have no idea of what it is like to reside there. Love is the heart’s manna and yet few of us seem ready or able to drink this nectar. So we thirst; we starve. We are hungry from within and shrinking inwards. Which is why some are anorexic and some are obese — all evidence to this epidemic famine in Heartland.
So be careful what you wish for. Because one day, you will get to happy and you’d best have a better vision of ‘you’ ready to work with. Because both Happy and Love will find you — even as you kick and scream — they’ll find you anyway.
And then what are you going to do?