“The world is full of magic things, patiently waiting for our senses to grow sharper.”
The past two years of re-learning life, and food, have been exhausting for this mama.
Three years ago, a doctor in ICU told me this: “There is a very real possibility that your son won’t live.” Fuelled by this, and after a year of recovering from my son’s near-miss, and learning not to check his breath at five-minute intervals or less— I pledged to have faith; and get on with living. I also pledged to get rid of toxins in my family’s home and lives.
A quest that began in the pantry. You see, toxins played a huge role in putting my boy in hospital in the first place. He now has a lifelong, incurable, autoimmune disease.
Re-learning food into my forties has been for me, a feat bigger than oceans. It’s like wading through a jungle for soggy months, faithfully following a compass—only to find, six months in, that you are not back where you started, but worse: utterly depleted and lost.
A whole year in to:
- no refined sugar,
- no grains,
- no Processed Substances Resembling Food,
- no vegetable oils,
- grass fed butter or ghee (if you know what I mean),
- home grown eggs,
- locally sourced raw honey,
- coconut oil, coconut butter, coconut flour, coconut everything,
- ethically grown everything,
- certified organic everything, and
- gods, I’m broke and tired…
I realised that my efforts had resulted in one thing: a diet for my family based on the chemical cocktail of our mains water supply. That truth rendering all other efforts benign.
To put it in a cliché way:
Everything I’d done so far had been for nothing.
I collapsed to the floor, exhausted. Nape of my neck in hands.
Have you ever been there?
Crying on the floor, feeling like you’re lost in a forest, slumped against a tree trunk, in a place that’s too thick to navigate?
Let me offer you a little bit of magic. Bear with me, we’re delving into imagination, but only for less than a minute… Keep imagining being in that forest:
There above you, it’s leaves softly singing, is a tree. The boughs are laden with fruit. A fruiting tree… but wait… inside the fruit are beans. Is it a bean tree? No, you still haven’t reached the essence yet. Inside of the beans, though you can’t see it from where you sit, is butter. You are looking at Amazonian chocolate butter, my friend. Food of the gods.
Snap back to reality.
No, that wasn’t a metaphor for stop crying and have a square of chocolate. What I’m trying to relay with that small delve into visualisation is: Every nourishment on this lush earth is available to us, even when we’re lost.
Life is full of sweet magic. Chocolate trees are real. Who knew!
Again, I’m not promoting indulgence therapy here. I didn’t have a square of chocolate; or even a circlet of my hand-made with raw honey and cacao, certified-organic chocolate, in my crisis. But I did remember that life is sweet. Even the tiring climbs. I did remember that life has a bounty. And that I’m putting effort in for the very worthwhile possibility of tasting that bounty. I’m working hard to reclaim my family’s pantry back from the harmfully processed substances it used to hold, into the abundance of fresh, whole, harm-free foods that nature has to offer. A long process, yes, but a privileged one.
We were born into a close connection with nature’s abundance. A connection we’ve lost.
We get to find it.
We can, if we wish, reconnect with our ecological web, and reignite our knowledge of living closely with nature.
You can, if you keep going, find clear water. Even from the middle of one of life’s mires. Even from the bones of giving up.
Yes, these bones can be made of far more devastating stuff than exhaustion over cooking, and being mama. But if you’re feeling a huge weight over something seemingly small, like I was, that’s okay. It happens—especially for mamas and papas. The emotion we feel is real. Whether it’s from a mountain or molehill. Overwhelm and over it, is a state we all sometimes face.
You can choose a different possibility to despair, the way my child did, when he chose the very real possibility that he would live.
You can find the essence of things: the chocolate of this life. And you can eat it, too.
Because, like I said, it grows on trees. You just have to know where to look for it.
Look up, even when you’re down.
Never forget the world is magic.