To Be Kind

be kindOne way you could say it, is that 2013 was a year. Or you could delve into all the gory details and say it was a giant year of change, growth, discovery, setback, heartache, realization, and so much more. Pick either and you’d be right, 2013 was  a year.

Actually, 2013 felt like it began for me in October 2012 when I started cooking for a client full time. Yes, I was his chef- but when someone is eating food you are preparing for them to try to reverse a terminal, untreatable condition, it becomes so much more than being just a cook. Cheerleader, supporter, confidante, friend, teacher. A conveyor of brutal honesty and a shoulder to cry on. We cooked together (while he told amusing stories)  in his home once a week, and I delivered his meals on the other days. We listened to music- lots of Beethoven along with R&B- and he talked to me about everything. I offered what I could and honestly, often more than I could. I was so angry after seeing him some days that I’d have to sit in the car and have a good solid cry before I could come back into my home.

The whole deal was, if I’m being brutally honest, really fucking hard and what I took from it all is that every single person on the planet is here to have their own singular, unique experience and learn the lessons that they chose/choose to learn. I could provide my client with everything I could, but he had to live his own life.  That, my friends, is a big lesson to learn. I feel grateful and immensely lucky to have been part of his journey- Thank you, K.

He fought like one tough son of a bitch, and to me at least, his passing last October was unexpected. I won’t get into all the messy details and conflicts of emotion I had during the following weeks. Let’s just say it wasn’t pretty, and involved hours of binge watching netflix. After that?

I soul searched. Who am I? What am I supposed to be doing with my life? And one day in late November, when all hell was breaking loose, Hubs walked me through the park and we talked and I cried and we talked some more and I likely cried some more too. Then in the midst of the emotional wildness, I experienced a moment of epiphany. Standing still, the feeling of being completely at ease and alone with myself, the little thought came to me. “you tell stories” it whispered and everything became clear. When I performed in orchestra or as a soloist, it was all about the story- the experience for the audience. The push and pull of sound and silence and the power to control it and carry everyone along. Through photos it’s the same- to try to create a mood, an atmosphere- to encourage the desire to make delicious food. As a writer the challenge is how I want to say things, how words form together… how much to write- a little? a lot? How personal do I get? Do I just skim along the surface? Should I swear like I do in real life? And just how much do I want to share with the internet???

In discovering that I tell stories, something blossomed and opened- a little swirl of bravery and acceptance of ME. That I am, and of course can only be, purely ME. The fear of publishing something, thinking “What if they don’t like it? What if I don’t know enough? Is it good enough? Is is macro enough???” started to slip away. Now it’s scary and incredible and freaking crazy liberating  to write and post what I want- being accountable to…. only ME!

Of course it makes sense that during all of the turmoil of last year my eating habits were also chaotic. One extreme leading to another and a craving for yet another. I ate wide. Very, very wide. I can’t say that I ate an entirely vegan diet. I ate a little meat. I ate baguettes and cheese and drank (a lot of) red wine. I felt so much pressure and I rebelled against and sought relief of that pressure with more alcohol which led to more extreme choices…. it’s a vicious cycle, folks. My body changed. My emotional discomfort, of course, morphed into discomfort in my body- clothes were tight. I felt bloated and tired. My digestion was horrible. And oh the guilt!!

Yet here and now, all I can feel is thankful. For all the hardship, beer, wine, baguettes and everything else. Because if it hadn’t been for all of that, I would not be where I am right now. And I am one lucky, lucky girl. Hard and horrible as it is, it is pretty freaking amazing to see and feel your body reacting in direct correspondence with your actions, and be able to learn from it all- then watch it find a healthier balance in time. The human body is an amazing thing.

Which leads us to 2014. Instead of resolutions to work out more, eat better, do yoga, have better chi kung practices,  eat out less, conquer the world, travel as much as possible, blah de blah blah blahhhhhhhhh, I want to focus this year on one thing and that is to: Be Kind. No more cursing at the ‘cupcakes’ that currently poureth over the sides of my too tight pants. No more self deprecating fat talk in my head. No more I should have done better, self doubt or self abuse. 2014 for me is about developing and maintaining habits that will serve me well- which can all fall under the cozy cashmere blanket statement: Be Kind.

Some interesting career opportunities have come up and I’m carefully dipping my toe in the water to see what will come of them. You can expect to hear more about them all as the year unfolds. And of course, there’s the macrobiotics!! Primarily this site focuses on the food aspect, and it will keep doing so- although I would like to talk more about the energetics of food/plants too. In this spirit of being kind, Hubs and I are being a little kinder to our bodies and starting a 100 day macro-challenge this week. If you want to come along, I’ll be posting some menu plans, grocery lists and some yummy recipes. Look for the first instalment next week. Keep in mind- this is about making better choices and not about complete rigid control and perfection… I plan on fully disclosing my stories as we go through the process!!

Last, you’ll likely be wondering about the lead donut image…. In early December I was in Edmonton doing some photo work for a very inspirational woman and her lovely vegan donut company. (She even makes a macro donut!) Everyone (well, almost everyone) loves donuts, and when they are this beautiful and prepared so lovingly by hand and with such quality ingredients, well, I had to share one of the shots from the shoot. Thanks all, for coming along on this wild ride- and I look forward to an exciting, creative, yummy and kind 2014 with you all. xo

The Dainty Pig - January 6, 2014 - 2:28 pm

So much love for you, and for all of this :)
I know what it’s like to be thrown in & out of the loving arms of Macrobiotics, swinging from miso to baguettes & cheese and back. <3
It's all good, and it'll all be okay.
Happy monday friend,
xoxo Jess

Blaine - January 6, 2014 - 3:18 pm

Wonderful! And hats off to keeping it real. I’ll join you in your ‘be kind’ resolution.

Happy new year, wishing you so much growth & happiness in 2014!

Christina - January 6, 2014 - 5:18 pm

This is a beautiful piece! Authentic and moving. I wish you all the best in the year ahead!!

Mandy - January 6, 2014 - 9:45 pm

I am so proud of you… this was so beautifully written, so beautifully honest and so very amazing. I have nothing but love for you my dear and I know that you will be outstanding in your new ventures. Xoxo

Edit - January 7, 2014 - 3:21 pm

I completely understand you, 2013 was for me roller coaster and my decision for 2014 is same, be kind, rest more, accept myself as I am.

Teresa@sweetveg - January 8, 2014 - 7:13 am

Lovely! I look forward to reading more words from your heart in the upcoming year. Since starting my imperfect macro practice I am becoming more and more compassionate with myself. It’s a wonderful journey. I am so glad you are sharing yours with us.

Noe - February 11, 2014 - 7:23 pm

Thanks alot cause you reflect me! Aceptance…

Cristina - October 17, 2014 - 1:25 pm

Shauna, I hadn’t browsed your website for a while… since I took one of your macro classes probably.
I found so much empathy and relief in your article as I went through… or still going through a similar situation after a very loved person in my life passed. I haven’t been eating as I should and the worse, like you say, is the “guilt”… even more so now that I’ve completed my certificate as a holistic nutritionist!… so ironic!
So it was very comforting to know that I am not the only one that makes those kind of mistakes and that they also help us to grow and make us better persons.
Thank you for sharing such an inspiring stories!

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