As a young chef, you tend to add to the plate. To add, to add, to add! And as you get older, you start to clean up, clean up, clean up the plate! Until you are left with the essential thing: that tomato right there, that olive oil, at that temperature. It’s a function of life. An artist is going to clean, a kind of a purification. You go through a process to get more to the essential of whatever you are working on. -- Jacques Pepin
When you are young, it is easy to believe that you are the centre of the world. Whatever consumes you in this moment is the biggest and most important thing in the world, because it fills your vision, overwhelms your awareness.
People have told you the wisdom of “this too shall pass,” the idea of keeping things in context to keep your life in balance but when sensation swamps you, it is hard to have a wider view.
Drama becomes a most compelling force, sweeping you in and keeping you there. Drama seems to be at the heart of vitality, of living a hot life where more is more.
As you get older, though, you have to have a different kind of vision and understanding, taking a longer, more reasoned view. Instead of going for the gusto choices must be made, trade offs created.
Purification moves to the heart of your life, a sense of quality over quantity, and understanding that momentary indulgence is often not worth the price. As much as you kick and scream against losing that gluttony, that showing off, when you do let go of it you find your life coming into balance, clean and pure in a good way.
“I read your stuff,” Shaman Gal said to me,” and I see a katana blade, folded and hammered, folded and hammered until the layers become something new, powerful in the way that they are melded to create a pure strength.”
“Sometimes, I think that it is a such a shame that you don’t make your work more popular, more pop, full of the kind of drama that grabs the spotlight today. But then I understand that wouldn’t be your work, wouldn’t have the precision and elegance, and I understand it’s my shame speaking, my ego that still calls me to the shiny cheap drama.”
The great thing about moving to essence is that it brings out the powerful and intense flavour of life in a way that you can experience anew and deeper every time you come across it, your own awareness intersecting with it to provide a new opening.
Sometimes it is challenging that the limits to my effective expression seem to be the limits of your understanding, but in the end, I know getting to essence is always worth the effort and a great goal for a good life.