Who knew that such wise people travel in business class?
It may not surprise you that I believe that everything happens for a reason—it may not be clear at the time, and some reasons are small whilst others of great import, we are all connected.
Indeed, the most important part of this journey I am on, or for that matter, any of us are on, is to become more connected to these threads that bring us together. The more spiritually aware I become, the more in tune with my body and the world around me, the more these “chance” happenings seem to be taking place.
One small example
I went on a meditation retreat not long ago. It was one that my ex-Mistress had recommended to me. Imagine a large hall with meditation mats around the perimeter. There were 30 such mats going completely around the room. When you arrive, you choose your place, the place where you will meditate for the following days. As one of the first people there, I had total freedom of choice. I looked around the room and imagined myself where I would feel comfortable and chose.
A few days later, in conversation with ex-Mistress, it emerged that I had chosen the same mat as one of her subs had chosen, when they had gone together. And the woman on the mat that had been Hers? She became very nurturing to me over the course of the weekend. Just like ex-Mistress had played a Mommy role.
Back to the Plane
Anyway, I got on the plane, wearing a long white linen skirt and a blouse with a very ornate set of folds on the bodice, a kind of cloth flower, also white. She was on the aisle, was large, elderly, she was a dark-skinned indigenous looking woman. In her way, she was striking. She was somewhat plainly dressed, but also a little “ethnic” in style, and surrounded by the conservatively dressed aging men in business class and the one very attractive woman in yoga pants and a straw hat I had been flirting with in the lounge, she was a standout.
I didn’t used to speak to strangers so much, but we got to talking, and talked about all kinds of things.
As it happened, she’s a vegetarian. Her conversion on the road to Damascus happened when she was 18, when she experimented with Ayahuasca, an Amazonian tribal medicine, used in religious ceremonies. “I did many things in those days, I was a wild child,” she said. She was near pure Inca, a little mestiza, but she looked it. “One day I just stopped wanting to eat animals. It didn’t feel right.”
I told her that I was experiencing something similar, that I had just been in Argentina, and before I went, I thought I would be eating steak every day, but even though I walked and walked to various of my favourite old restaurants, I never actually could bring myself to eat meat. I seemed to have lost the desire.
“You are already on the path,” she said.
My Inca seat mate was a professional baker and pastry chef, and had made a storied career in some of New York City’s top restaurants. She had now retired to live in Florida, and was flying home. I immediately pulled out my notebook and peppered her with questions.
You see, my ex-Mistress put a cat amongst the pigeons when she told me that she didn’t much care for dairy, for gluten, and certainly not sugar. And as a cake-loving, bread-loving, cake fairy that I am, this forced me to look at so many things I held dear in a new light. Some of that journey has appeared in recipes on this blog, though truthfully, this learning process has only just begun.
What did I learn from her? A school that I can go to in New York that teaches dairy-free, gluten-free, sugar-free baking. I have a lot to learn. I will enroll.
We talked about sugar and sweeteners, monkfruit, stevia, agave, honey, Splenda, but also banana puree, dates, and applesauce. We talked about the structural value of sugar in baking and in creating air in some cakes and how to create that in other ways…we talked about how sugar turns to liquid, and how to decompose a recipe and an end-product and put it back together again.
I loved too that she tapped into my submissive energy, my learning energy, my desire to please, and while she was amused the first time I pulled out my notebook and pen to write down what she was telling me, after that she enjoyed saying, “get out your notebook.” Bliss.
We also spoke about flours, and her favourites. Bob’s Red Mill gluten-free flour she reckoned, but she adds ¼ almond flour to the mix. She talked about using cashews to make cheese, and aquafaba to make meringues. Cashew milk was her favourite alternate to dairy milk, though coconut and almond also work, but convey more flavour…this was good. All current “science” experiments in the queue in my kitchen. And with my cake-eating children on the horizon for an extended stay, I will have plenty of chances to experiment.
I told her of my failed experiments with rice flour and potato flour, and she made helpful suggestions. I agreed to visit her for a cooking class one day, and she asked for me to give her one in return in a particular method and national cuisine familiar to me. I told her of the best donut I had ever had in my life, a potato flour donut in Tokyo.
“Really, where in Tokyo, I know the city well. I worked in a restaurant there for a while.”
I described the famous all-way intersection that is featured in the movie Hachiko, Shibuya station. I described how to get there, and she could see it, knew the other shops all around, but had never stopped there. It is a tiny café, and since the doesn’t drink coffee had never thought to stop in.
“I’m going in May; I’ll make sure to stop in and try the donuts.”
“We loved them so much that we took the subway for an hour each way to eat them again. Not just me, but my whole family—and we never all like the same things as much. You have to get there early, because they sell out quickly and don’t make more.”
“I will,” she smiled.
We talked of spirituality
Her opening to me on Ayahuasca was an interesting one, as one of my therapists thinks I would benefit from it. That it is a medicine in tune with nature, with the earth, with the divine feminine. We spoke of this and this woman told me of her deep and long-standing connection to a tribe in the Amazon region, and how her closest life-friend has a daughter who has gone to live amongst them. She showed me pictures and agreed to effect an introduction.
Were I to do this, I should like to do it in the jungle, in its natural setting, with a tribal shaman. She warned me of charlatans and people with bad magic, and those who were after money and power, and who would steal my energy, and that I needed to be careful of such things. This was welcome. One never knows…and as with all things, it is good to go back to source.
Becoming a Witch
I shared with her that I was taking my first steps to becoming a witch. I told her of my desire to buy a business that supplies witches with the ingredients for their spells, and that I had made friends with two witches near her who were helping me learn more on this topic.
She told me of her own work in this area, her plants, her garden, her beliefs. I shared my frustration that the business owner I am speaking of does not want to sell to me because she wants to sell to a witch, and she regards me differently. We laughed over my story of going to visit the business owner with a friend of mine, and how I dressed as close to a witch as my current wardrobe would allow, and that I wore a dress. “Did it work?” she asked. “I don’t think so, but at least she knows I’m an oddball now. That’s got to help.”
“She has another buyer?”
“Yes, sort of.”
“And she’s a witch?”
“Probably,” I said. “But I’m learning. Plus, I’m descended from the last woman to be burned at the stake for witchcraft in the United States. My direct matrilineal line.”
“You are a witch then. It is already inside you. That should be your calling card.”
“I will go and see her again soon. I can only keep trying.”
We talked on.
“I have been sort of apprenticed to a witch for a while, but she let me go. She sort of opened the doors to my cage and let me fly free…well, she might have given me a helpful nudge!”
“Oh, you see, you have started.”
“Yes, but I feel as if there is a reason that connected me to her, one that I haven’t understood yet.”
“It is not in your mind. Don’t think it. Feel it. Go with the flow.”
“What do you mean?”
“She’s in the past now. Let her go. Sometimes people come to us and all they do is open a door, set you on a different path, make you ask a question. That has happened, she has served her purpose.”
“Hmm”, I thought, so wistful and brimming over with beautiful things never done, never tasted.
Clothes, fashion, Peru, India, Meditation
She complimented me on my shawl and blouse.
“I like soft things,” I confessed.
“I can see that.”
“I have a friend who has a wonderful clothing business, very successful, and she goes every year for a month to India.”
“Me too, every November.”
“She goes in February.”
“I like November for the festivals.”
“She goes to Kerala”
“Oh, that’s beautiful, all the massage and Ayurveda.”
“Yes, she loves that.”
“You should go. Here is a place for you to look at,” she said, writing down an unpronounceable name.
“I struggle to meditate.”
“I’m not surprised,” and she made pinball gestures with her hands and smiled.
“Yup,” I agreed.
“I used to be just like you,” she said, “my mind everywhere at once. And I was so in charge. I told this man who was organising it, you won’t tell me what to do, I will do this, I will do that, and two days later, everything was different, and I relaxed for the first time in my life.”
“Wow, I think I could use that.”
“India is really far out.”
“Yes, very exotic.”
“Spiritual on a whole different level. Poverty on a whole different level, but so much more bliss.”
“I’d love to go and try that. I love the clothes too.”
“Go with your friend.”
“Maybe I will. I’ll ask her.”
As we were landing, I said, “thank you for making this long flight seem so short.”
She smiled, “everything happens for a reason.”