Thursday, August 29, 2013

Welcome to Chez Shinae

Those of you who've been with me since that very first blog post know that the past few years have seen me through lots of big changes.

Welcome to Chez Shinae where the vases
are repurposed and the flowers pilfered.

From a very long and harrowing mental and emotional breakdown, to a startling awakening that the life I had so meticulously built for myself for 13 years was not meant for me, to a nasty divorce in which I forfeited just about everything from that life in order to be able to move forward, to a self-imposed exile from it and all the external influences and pressures that kept me from living authentically, to finally and completely rising from the kind of deep and gradual grave in which we find ourselves when we proceed to dig an underground path to China for 13 years, knowing from the first shovelful that China was not where we wanted to end up, but unable or unwilling to stop ourselves for fear of recognizing what an ill- (and self-) conceived project it was in the first place...

And in so doing, finding a true life partner who wanted to be with me - despite the frayed and worn luggage I carried, empty of all the material goods I had left behind - and building a beautiful life together, with our family, that I could not have known how to build and appreciate were it not for the hard won lessons of my past.

I titled that blog Ridiculous Hungry because my life at that point had long taken a turn for the ridiculous, and writing the blog was the beginning of the hard but rewarding work of being honest enough with myself to be able to laugh (and cry) at, and learn from, the choices I made that took me down that path.

And the hungry part - well, food has always been therapeutic for me. Not so much that I tend to eat my feelings as much as that everything about food - from selecting ingredients, to working with all my senses to prepare them, to savoring the finished product - grounds and centers me.

Ridiculous Hungry was my cheap and best talk therapy to work through the accumulation of my mostly very well-intentioned wrong decisions, the weight of which almost killed me psychically, and literally.

But you're not supposed to stay in therapy forever. And if you want to be in perpetual therapy, you might just prefer wallowing to wellness...

It's been seven long and short years since I began that journey back to me. And I don't regret a single moment of it - certainly not the good, and perhaps especially not the bad, which was often more heartbreaking, terrifying, disenchanting, and downright awful than I ever imagined it could be before I lived it.

Because it was the bad I observed, both in myself and others, that tested my strength, my values, and my convictions, and forced me to decide whether I would have the courage going forward to live with authenticity, integrity and peace of heart and mind, or turn back around and keep digging.

This new blog is not only the first page of the next chapter. It is the re-affirmation of the most important lessons of my life - that I must endeavor to be authentic and have integrity in all that I do, that I must embrace the consequences of the choices that my soul and conscience dictate, and that I must be mindful and grateful through all.

So while the food will always be a big part, I've chosen to start afresh in a format that allows me to express all that matters to me and that I believe will make my size 7 1/2 footprint on the interwebs and the Universe a good and worthwhile one. If I lose certain audience or opportunity because of it, so be it. :)

As for the name, let's just say it's the intersection of Brainstorm and What Hasn't Already Been Taken, which, if you've ever tried to claim a domain or blog name, you know is a pretty small one.

Welcome to Chez Shinae.

May we start you off with a glass of wine? Perhaps some Oceanside tap while you're deciding? :D