Wednesday, July 23, 2008

What I Learned from Spiders

What do I want in life? Since cooking and the restaurant takes up a vast majority of my life I have to ask what do I want from it? I have no desires for fame or wealth, never have. I don't want an empire of restaurants. I really just want to cook and enjoy my time doing that. But with these simple desires there is another side I fight against constantly and that is the pressure to keep going, to keep getting bigger. This pressure comes not from within but from without of myself. It's the under current felt by everyone living in America. It's the push to be ever busy. It's the "need" to go faster, make more money, to have a full schedule. People ask me all the time when we are going to out grow our small, bread box size restaurant and get into something bigger. My reply is always the same, "We're not". I'm perfectly happy. I would be content to live out my days cooking my simple fare in our little restaurant. Fate has not granted me the power or ability ( or the desire for that matter) to move mountains or create a new type of cuisine or be a major mover and shaker in the food world. The other day while drinking a pot of tea down by the river I was watching a spider working on it's web. While watching this industrious little guy I got to mussing about what I'm writing about now. You see, this spider was working on it's web. It didn't care a hill of beans about anything but it's web. It was being a spider and being true to it's nature. I would like to quote the entire of chapter 80 from the Tao de Ching because it has become for me such a paradigm for living and my desires for the restaurant and my food. It goes:
(Let there be) a small country with a small population, Where the supply of goods are tenfold or hundredfold, more than they can use. Let the people value their lives and not migrate far. Though there be boats and carriages, None be there to ride them. Though there be armor and weapons, No occasion to display them. Let the people again tie ropes for reckoning, Let them enjoy their food, Beautify their clothing, Be satisfied with their homes, Delight in their customs. The neighboring settlements overlook one another So that they can hear the barking of dogs and crowing of cocks of their neighbors, And the people till the end of their days shall never have been outside their country.
I wonder how much happier we all would be if we just lived within our nature. How much more content we would be if we accepted who we are and lived within those lines. I, like the little spider, am happy working on my web and I will continue to fight the pressure to act against my nature. I like not being overwhelmed. I like being able to drink a pot of tea by the river.

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