Greetings from the White Rabbit and yes, I’m at the compost heap about to reveal a crazy story of how the Change Matters website began and the role a packet of chocolate-coated peanuts played in our entering the stratosphere around Planet Web.
Before I begin my tale I want to tell you more about Miranda. She uses cooking as a form of meditation. I guess she got her inspiration from a book she read in the 70’s called The Tassajara Bread Book by Edward Espe Brown, published by Shambala Publications. There is a chapter called ‘A Composite (that word again) of Kitchen Necessities’. Here is what it says:
A COMPOSITE OF KITCHEN NECESSITIES
Bringing food alive with your
To have compassion, to have respect
For fresh foods, for broken bowls,
For dirty napkins and little bugs.
To take care of leftovers,
Not saying, oh that’s all right, we have plenty
We can throw that away.
Because everything is saying love me,
Have compassion, hold me gently.
Please hug me now and then
(we’re really one, not two),
The bowls and knives, the table, the teapot,
The leftovers, the molding vegetables,
The juicy fruit,
Everything is asking this of you:
Make full use,
Take loving care
The cups, the glasses, the sponges,
The sticky honey jar,
All asking to fulfill.
Just to make deepest love all the time,
Concentrating not on the food, but on yourself:
Making your best effort to allow things
To fulfill their functions. In this way
Everything is deliciously full
Of warmth and kindness…
If you must cook,
Please offer yourself
A substantial piece of emptiness,
Hold back nothing,
Until you experience offering,
‘Eat me! And be nourished.’
Homage to the Perfection of Wisdom,
The Infinite, the Holy:
Everything is leading you, pushing you,
Instructing you, bugging you to supreme,
Perfect enlightenment. This means
There are no mistakes. You might do it
Differently next time, but that’s because
You did it this way this time.
Perfect, even if you say
Too much this too little that.
It’s you and please be yourself.
Feels good O.K.?
Cooking is not simply in the tongue,
In the palate.
It is in the whole body
Flowing out of the groin and chest
Through arms and hands.
During Miranda’s journey of recovery and healing she came across this book again sitting in her friend’s, Bar’s kitchen cupboard. Miranda had been invited to share Bar’s house when her world crashed. At the time Miranda couldn’t pay much to cover the cost of living there, so she offered to barter cooking on Tuesday nights when Bar and their mutual friends got together, had a meal and then did some pottery. You can now see some of the dishes they ate in our Pottery Night Meditation Cookbook but a few months before the website established itself Bar had an exhibition and Miranda offered to make the dips.
This was a very special occasion as it was not only a collaboration of four potters’ works depicting functional pottery but they had been invited to exhibit at the prestigious Irma Stern Gallery. Miranda decided to provide a spread to remember. There were three types of Hummus – Beetroot, Butternut and Original and two Lentil Pates – Savoury and Curried. Bread baskets were interspersed in strategic positions so that the huge crowd of potential buyers, well-wishers and family members who had flocked to the opening could access the food without too much of a ‘bun(ny)-fight’ ensuing.
Miranda was tired, she had worked hard. She decided to sit on the edge of the patio and look out into the garden with her back towards the laden table. As she admired a bush in the middle distance someone blocked her view. Medium height, as slim as a garden rake, shoulder length pure white hair and a pair of keen eyes caught her gaze. It was Valda, a brilliant pianist that Miranda had heard about but never met. Valda wanted to know what Miranda ‘did’. At that time Miranda wasn’t ‘doing’ anything much after completing her series of ‘Quest for Zest’ workshops, except recovering from a cooking marathon but she realised that she needed to say more about herself, so without thinking she told Valda about her dream of creating a website that would not only illustrate her impending counselling services but also some of her thoughts on her own recovery and healing.
What Miranda did not know was that Valda had come in disguise, yes her persona on Planet Earth played and taught music, but actually she has a second home on the Planet Web as a webmaster where she is known as ‘Maverick’. When Valda revealed that she was actually ‘Maverick’ and offered her services to set-up a website, Miranda had laughed and said she was not in the position to pay for such an offer, and this is where the story gets crazy. Valda said, ‘I will set up a website for you in return for a packet of chocolate-coated peanuts!’
Miranda thought she hadn’t heard right. She thought someone who makes an offer like that must be nuts, after all nobody in their right mind would…. There must be a catch. ‘Are you serious?’ Miranda asked with both eyebrows raised. ‘Yes,’ said Valda, looking steadily back at her.
By this time Miranda had learnt that whatever ‘ball’ The Universe throws, albeit it curved or straight between the eyes, if you can trust that the outcome is for your personal growth and receive its impact with grace then glorious opportunities reveal themselves. This was such a moment, so she said ‘Thank you, I’ll take you up on your offer.’
In our next chat I will reveal how Change Matters got its name and how I get to feature as a pin-up on their home page.
Until then, nibble on the fact that opportunities sometimes come in strange packages.
The White Rabbit
At this point Dr Hollywood would like to contribute a memory and a recipe:
Early on, Jana recalls, Miranda gave her some soup.
“I’ve got some Cep,” Miranda said. “A fiend gave me some Cep.” (That was a typo, I meant to write friend.) Even without the typo, for a moment I was not sure what she meant. I thought she meant psilocybin. In fact she meant she was going to make some mushroom soup. Cep, or Sep as Miranda prefers to spell it, turns out to be Porcini. I had to Google it to write this paragraph. “A witch’s brew,” she said, winking, as she ladled some into a Tupperware for me and sealed it lovingly.
I ate the magic potion (for breakfast, as it happens) and now I am pondering the meaning of this blog. It is about healing food, among other things. Our journey begins from a point of pain: Once Upon A Time, I found myself in a great sea of nameless pain. I was willing to try what Miranda offered. If you are in a similar boat (or all at sea), be warned and take heart: There are no magic cures here. But there is definitely magic.
Doc Hollywood says:
The etymology of the word Cep comes from the Latin, “cippus”, meaning “stake”. The Cep, we are told, is easily distinguishable from its poisonous relatives by the colour of its stem. It is also to be distinguished from its relative, the psilocybe magic mushroom. Some people, I am told, upon taking magic mushrooms, experience a “stake in the heart”, that is, they feel the weight of their emotional pain in their bodies. This is heartache in its purest form. People, unlike Miranda, who use psychedelic substances for therapeutic ends, find this a useful experience in that it points out to them that they are, in fact, in a great sea of nameless pain. Or, there is a great sea of nameless pain in them somewhere around chest level. And, it hurts incredibly much. Some people, believe it or not, need an experience like this to realise that they are, actually, in pain. This is the power of repression. Miranda just makes mushroom soup. Here it is. Eat it.
Sep Soup (Miranda likes to spell it so because the two s’s go nicely together)
Chicken Stock → Boil Chicken thighs, onions, carrots, garlic and 1 whole chilli →→Take out Chicken + Whole Chilli. Liquidize/Blend the rest with fried Seps
* Wipe the Seps clean, slice, and fry in butter
* Make a sauce using butter, garlic, flour , stock + Seps
* If too thick add milk to acquire creamy soup texture
* Add a dash of Soy Sauce, salt and black pepper – a dash of hot Worcestershire Sauce as well.
Use the Chicken Thighs to make a pie- add a bit of Sep Soup whilst still thickish (before the milk). If there are vegetarians visiting instead of Chicken Stock use Veggie Stock + then make a VEGGIE PIE (use Ready Dough Pastry-Cheese + Herb as your topping) → Roast your Veggies then add some thick Sep “Soup” as sauce.
PS While Change Matters does not prescribe the psychedelic experience, we do believe a change in consciousness/perception is necessary as part of the personal growth process. At times we have used meditation, yoga, deep relaxation, visualisation and dreaming as tools. Chiefly, however, we advocate STREET YOGA – which is where the principles of enlightenment inform your ordinary, daily existence. Read on!
If you would like to find out more about perspective-shifting, check this out