I’m finally getting to the beginning of my story regarding my decision to quit my job and go to the Ballymaloe Cookery School Ballymaloe Cookery School or “How did I get here?” I am always amazed by the twists and turns of life and depending on how you look at it, you could either say that I pay attention or that I read into things. The dreamers will say I pay attention. The more cynical among us–I read into things.
Professionally, I’m a therapist. Cooking is what I “just” do. I’ve always known that cooking is therapeutic (just ask any chef). I understood that after a stressful day coming home to make a delicious meal was very gratifying, but I hadn’t realized just how therapeutic cooking has been until this past summer when I went to my Reiki therapist for an end of academic year tune-up. The year had been particularly draining for me and for the university community, in which I work, as a whole. Kelley Glass, my Reiki therapist began the session by sitting with me to discuss my reasons for coming to see her. I filled her in and mentioned that I had asked for a sabbatical to accompany my husband who also works for the same university to Ireland for the spring of 2016 as he would be teaching our students, but that my request was promptly denied. Kelley offered consolation then instructed me to lie on the massage table. I honestly don’t know how Reiki works, but I could feel electrifying energy shooting up my from the lightest of touch from Kelley who was at my feet as she used words like “depleted,” and phrases like “you’ve lost your voice.”
Kelley moved to my head and shoulders. She said, “Michelle, I see you in Ireland. You’re going, but you’re going for you. You’re not just going to hang out with Gerry.” In my mind I was thinking, “Sure I am.” In that moment, I was unable to imagine how that could be possible especially because she warned me that I wouldn’t be supported by my workplace.
When we finished we sat back down. Kelley writes up lists of things to implement into your daily life or really important messages she does not want you to forget. To me she said that I needed to find my voice. She instructed me to wear a turquoise necklace and she asked, “What do you like to do where you can sing while you do it?” My response was automatic–“Cook,” I said. “I love to sing while I cook.”
Here’s where I’m either paying attention or reading into things. The next day I was at the gym lifting kettle bells. I went down into a dead lift and as I pulled up I thought cooking therapy. I remembered that the summer before during a visit with my friend Chef Mary Sue Milliken Border Grill I’d taken a picture of the name of a cooking school in Ireland from this cookbook she had raved about. Mary Sue and I were discussing healthy eating and its impact on physical and mental well-being. She pulled out a cookbook that she said was so good that it was one of the only cookbooks she has carried back home with her from her many travels. I took a picture of it and left it in my phone. One year and three days later. I put down my deposit for the twelve week program. Here’s the picture.