There are certain losses in life that remain incomprehensible no matter how much we may try to assign meaning to them. Some come too early, some don’t follow the natural order we expect, and others should never occur at all. When they happen, something in our foundation shifts, and although we may remain upright, we are aware that we may never feel rock solid again. Other losses follow a more predictable order; we know that they are coming and have a lifetime to prepare for them. Yet even so, the punch they throw at us may be staggering in its ferocity, and it may be quite some time before we have our equilibrium back. Sometimes we aren’t coping with the loss we’ve suffered as well as we think we are, and despite our mantra of “I’m okay, I’m okay,” we come to realize that we really aren’t okay at all. Other times the loss we feel comes with a large measure of regret that we can struggle with for a very long time, before realizing that all the things we wish we had done would never have changed the outcome. We simply don’t have that kind of power or control.
Power and control. I’ve come to think that these may be the two things that we fear losing most in the world. As I said in the blog post I called A Leap of Faith, we have a tendency, as human beings, to try to orchestrate our lives. A person or a job comes along, for example, that we want so badly to be right for us, that we refuse to listen when our intuition tells to be brave enough to wait for something different. We convince ourselves that maybe it’s just that we want too much. Or maybe the perfect fit really doesn’t exist. Or maybe what we desire is simply not going to be possible. We allow our heads to take control and we silence the voice in our hearts. It’s so much easier that way. We dig in our heels, put our heads down, and tell ourselves that we have the power to make it all work. Sometimes it does for a very long time, and we may even be blessed with so many beautiful things that we feel certain that this is how our lives will remain, until there comes a day when the universe sets events in motion that allows the voice in our hearts to speak again. And this time we’re not going to have any choice other than to listen.
When we make the decision to willingly let go of something or someone, we can still feel a tremendous loss, even though there may be some people who don’t necessarily agree. And yet all the same emotions are there: fear, resistance, sadness, grief. The process of surrendering is always followed by the process of rebuilding, which in and of itself can be so very intimidating. We grow comfortable, whether it’s in a relationship or in a job, and it’s within that comfort zone that the clear and distinct lines of our identity begin to blur. We define ourselves in terms of our significant other, or our children, or by the way in which we meet our job descriptions, and when any one of those roles change we are forced to examine who we really are. The process of sitting alone in that place of discomfort, sadness, and loss is where all the work takes place, and the universe will keep us there until we figure it out. We will emerge on the other side armed with understanding and a new sense of wholeness. As we’re going through it we may make mistakes, even when we think we’re coping well, or we may obsess over how we could have done things differently, but we will find our way by putting one foot in front of the other. At times the journey will seem impossibly long, but peace will come, and joy will follow, when we find what the universe always intended for us to have, and what our hearts only glimpsed so very long ago.
For today’s cocktail, I began with the idea of creating a simple syrup that was unlike anything I’d ever made before. This past Monday was National Mushroom Day and I became so intrigued with the concept that my wheels have been turning ever since. I began by making an extra strong cup of Reishi mushroom and cocoa tea from The Republic of Tea. I then added fresh and dried black cherries, and a blend of shiitake and maitake mushrooms. I allowed this mixture to come to a boil before adding just less than an equal amount of sugar to create the actual syrup. I cooked it down until it thickened a bit and the flavors intensified. As it was cooling, I threw in two rosemary sprigs. An anything-but-simple syrup such as this required an equally complex base spirit. I decided to go with three ingredients that had the same kind of funkiness to them as the mushrooms: Espolon tequila, a Pinot Noir from California, and Rivesaltes 6, a dessert wine from France. The end result was a match made in heaven that only required some lemon to bring it into balance. In terms of symbolism, my thought process was that loss, whether it originates from outside or from within, has a way of forcing us to seek what grounds us. We have to find our roots again, and connect back to our deepest sense of who we are in order to find our way through. Mushrooms, cherries and rosemary are all things of the earth and they created that sense of grounding for me in this drink, with the base spirits echoing their individual flavors. Cheers everyone. Happy Friday!
Lost and Found
Add all the ingredients to a shaker tin with ice and shake until very cold. Double strain into chilled Nick & Nora glass and garnish with a cherry and a mushroom. Enjoy!