I was just watching an episode of TED Talks. This gentleman spoke on positive psychology and how he studies the links between happiness and success. I won’t butcher his lecture/information by trying to quote him, but I will tell you about one section of things people could do to participate and “train our brain.” He gave the assignment to do five things everyday for 21 days:
1. 3 Gratitudes: (different ones each day cause the brain to get in the habit of scanning the world for the positive instead of the negative first.)
2. Journaling: writing about one positive experience that has happened in the past 24 hours causes the brain to relive a happy moment.
3. Exercise: it teaches our brain that our behavior matters. (I loved that.)
4. Meditation: allows our brain to learn how to focus on the task at hand. (Which is a beauty since our society praises multi-tasking.)
5. Random Acts of Kindness: praising or thanking somebody in our social support system.
I loved his presentation and felt if I wrote you, I could do all five at once. It has also always been easiest to talk with you. I then used typing as “exercise,” laughed hysterically and began squatting while typing. I lost my balance and figured I will do 4 of the 5, thereby proving meditating on what to say to you should in fact be my only goal.😄
1. I am thankful for the weather. I am thankful for silence. I am thankful for chocolate.
2. I have been very quiet since you passed away. There’s not much to say & when there is, I want it to be of importance. Plus, not many get my humor. Jokes are even less funny when you have to remind people to laugh!
3. Speaking of funnies, I tried sharing hilarious memes with others. It wasn’t the same, so now I keep them in a treasure box of randomness I will share with you when we meet again.
4. In an effort to be romantic, I asked a gentleman his favorite color. He answered, “The color of money.” Probably the worst color for cookies, but he stole my heart nonetheless with his answer. 🙌
5. I have a newfound culinary admiration! I call him my virtual mentor. (BTW, Chef S is currently doing his thing around the country and it is so wonderful and inspiring to see!) This chef I recently discovered is named Eric Ripert. He is from France & went to culinary school there, but now lives in NYC and is one of the greatest chefs. His flagship restaurant is named Le Bernardin, which I believe opened in 1986, specializing in seafood and is in the heart of the city. He and the restaurant have won so many awards and he has also gone on to open other dining establishments; but what stands out to me is his humility & passion for culinary arts. I also enjoy his uniquely elegant approach to cuisine, and also being child-like in his learnings yet still being able to explain proper classical techniques. . .I found out about him from re-reading Anthony Bourdain’s book Kitchen Confidential. There he mentioned Chef Ripert (something along the lines of how Chef Ripert wouldn’t be calling him for ideas on tomorrow’s fish special) and I put the book down and began my research. I am still learning, but he is fantastic, and extremely talented. And get this shit: THEY ARE SUPER GOOD FRIENDS NOW! Chef Ripert called him and as Mr. Bourdain said, “Things were different, boy, I could see that now. My heroes were calling me up.” 😊 The entire moments that lead me to finding him are a beauty. I actually watch television now too because of him, ha! God is funny.
6. I found the land of love. I’ve landed…love still eludes me. Or perhaps I’m not great at expressing it. We shall see.
7. On your birthday, the word of the day was xeric. It means characterized by, relating to, or requiring only a small amount of moisture.
8. Culinary wise, it has been very difficult to get back into the kitchen. All kitchens. So I have found ways around being in the kitchen yet still lovin’ on food. I think you’ll be proud of my decisions and shifted goals, but I hope that when it all comes together, I will be able to share my love and knowledge of food in the way you & I shared our professions with one another: with genuine enthusiasm, wildly entertaining and with respect of the craft while dishing out relevant/relatable information.
9. Imagine a WORKING lottery ticket. Yasssss.
10. The world is a lot colder with you not here. The thought of you warms me up. You are missed.
The last portion of the exercise was random acts of kindness. Send a thank you letter, email or call someone and tell them how wonderful you think they are or they made you feel. So I will close with this photo I took about a month ago. Our brother’s birthday I believe, but don’t quote me on that. I saw some purple shooting through the sitting room window, ran outside and looked up: A RAINBOW! Where the hell did it come from?! Grabbed my camera, took some shots and then as the sunset, grabbed me another. I like to think it was you. So here I am. Thanking you for your random act of kindness. You’re a beaut & I am grateful.
*Italy’s been calling me every night. It whispers, “Hey Sicily!” 😂🙏😂*
Until We Meet Again,
The Smitten Chef 😘