As I was finishing off washing a kitchen floor at a boutique lodge by a lake in Portugal, tears came down my face in quiet fury as I posed the question to myself – ‘What is really bothering me here?’ I’ve long learnt that any upset has more to do with me rather it being of another, but the other people involved aid me to see what needs to be worked with or released.
It had been a long day with lots of minor frustrations along the way, not knowing how many were eating for lunch which needed to be served by 1pm and the numbers only being confirmed at about 11 am – a daily occurrence which actually is quite an insane way of working, especially if your are orderly like myself and like to be prepared and marinate things ahead of time.
The robot coop (catering chopper and blender) as old as the business itself, had lost ability to alter blades and fittings, so we only had the use of one chopper, and when it worked without it jacking itself off the base, the mixing bowl remained stuck until you practically fought with it to remove it and get its content out.
Now when I say yes to cooking work, I usually question the clients thoroughly to find out what pieces of equipment they have, and or if the geography allows it, I go and check the kitchen before taking on a task or job. The amount of times clients have expected foods of a certain kind or for the number of people and expect through their own ignorance, a chef or cook to produce foods from a kitchen that is ill equipped is quite something. I have often thought to myself – ‘They don’t want a cook, they want fucking Genie’…Often it’s not until you are actually on site do you discover what really works or not.
It was I who had written to Denise & Fred back in late January in Portugal asking if they wanted any assistance in the kitchen over the summer having sourced them off the internet. That led to a reply from Denise, which I did not receive initially, so Denise rewrote to enquire if I had received her email. Much to my delight and horror, I replied that I hadn’t. That struck a cord of connection and within days I was on a plane to meet them at their lodge in Portugal. I was determined not to be in London for the summer, and was glad of the opportunity to serve and use my skills as their cook – The offer Fred made was way below anything I have been paid in any job to date in 25 years, and five times less of my daily rate for this kind of work. But as it got me to be out by the the most glorious landscape and country side in Portugal one of my intentions and dream fulfilled…I agreed to work for them during the summer – their high season.
Here in lies the first big fat lie. Which off course I ignored, with rational and logical thoughts.
- ‘Oh, I’ll be somewhere I want to be, so I’ll be fine’
- ‘Money is not everything’
- ‘I’ll meet people… you got to do these things to stretch your horizons’
What I had naively not considered was that the time in the kitchen would be super hot, with no fan, air-con or heat extracting vent (summer temp 39c outside) therefore in the kitchen 50c or more… the ovens so old that each time you opened its door it would release such toxic gases that your eyes would burn, not to mention the lack the temperature range, having to guess at best that it started 190c – 230c the temperature scale only on these two..so anything from any baking and or roasting was done on instinct and careful timing and monitoring. Which in event added more pressure to the food prep, cooking and delivery of timing.
The lack of mixing bowls, often meant I had to juggle and rewash bowls to reuse for the same cake recipe adding more work than necessitated and working overtime that took the joy out of things, not to mention the numbers were forever increasing, to 17-19 for lunch a 2 course (with it increasing) which consisted of a large buffet of salads and meat dishes and a 3 course for dinner for numbers up to 26/27 and still going up! All guests to be served at the same time.
This was meant to be done on the whole with an assistant, but sadly and general sods law, the volunteers who came to the lodge while lovely were often were ill equipped to be in a kitchen, some with such basic kitchen know how, (youngsters in these days are not primed to be efficient this way) and with no knowledge whatsoever, it made the work more tasking as every bit of work had to be explained, redone, and or slowed down the production. Which is what you never need. Quite frankly, I was not there to train anyone on top of everything else.
Save for the time Denise had come to help me, she has been and is the main cook at the lodge amongst other roles and hats she puts on for the business. Without her love and assistance, I do not know how I would have managed on occasions.
Each day though, a miracle would take place in that kitchen. Each shift was preceded with prayer and gratitude, before I had set out to cook. I believe in prayer and it works. I also kept an opaque opal crystal angel a friend had given me for my 50th, (see picture on the last post) close to my heart, in my yoga bra. I would put my hand on it to give me strength and or whatever I may needed on the day.
I churned out food that wowed and brought pleasure for the large table of guests day after day on my 5 day on rota, until one night when the odious reality of my lying to myself smacked me in the face.
This night, booked guests whom were to arrive hadn’t for dinner at 8pm. The lamb cooked and accounted for them were given to the dogs in haste during clear up by Denise, and few minutes later this was followed by a phone call from the family of 4 announcing their arrival in 15 minutes. So back in the kitchen I prepared for the late comers. An hour nearly gone by (by now this was after 10pm) saying that they were lost. The lodge is based at the end of a 5km dirt track with no lights. or well posted signs, so it easy to panic and get lost.
The hot food once again, cooked was now sitting waiting to be served on the hob. It eventually went out to the tired and wrought out guests, only for Fred who by then was sitting with his guests announced that the children did not want to eat, waved the plated food back into the kitchen, which then went into the bin.
That and finishing a long shift beyond 11pm ignited a trip switch in me that had me release burning tears down my face. Couldn’t believe here I was again. This rotten feeling of working for others, that seemed to undermine my own intelligence and value, one that I seemed to do over and over again.
Throughout my time there, Fred had been throwing tantrums for one reason or other, and somewhat difficult with his food, of not eating this or that so all foods had to be catered for. I usually made a side portion for him in order as to not compromise the integrity of a food or recipe. He wasn’t allergic to things, just didn’t like to eat certain things when it suited – generally the kitchen accommodated to his whims in order to keep the peace. One night he came bellowing into the kitchen, while my arms deep into the sink washing the remnants of food production, ‘I DONT’ EAT CHICKEN LEGS, I ONLY EAT BREASTS!’
I was so stunned by his outburst and lack of mention of any appreciation and gratitude for all the substitutes I had already accommodated him with, not to mention the stellar foods I produced day after after day, (his wife Denise had not warned me of his issue with chicken legs otherwise I would have gotten one out of the freezer).
I replied back, ‘I have been making lots of substitutes and this is NOT A ONE WAY STREET!’ a bit of thanks would go a long way you know!’
He stared at me speechless and walked out.
I knew I pointed out the truth, but he was my employer after all. Oops! I’ve done it now!
And so at the moment at the end of the night, as I scrubbed the floor with the wet broom I cried hot tears.
How did I get myself into this? I had come to see clearly that I couldn’t do this day in and day out. It was soul crushing. All for a paltry 40€ a day! That’s not £37.00 a day even. Until then I did not want to make my agreed pay an issue. But it had become one. It had gone too far and I could not live this lie anymore.
The other issue that became clearer was that I no longer wanted to work for anyone else where I boosted their business and was not valued or remunerated well for my input toward it. In short any employer or organisation. I simply could not. I was to work for myself fully from here on.
It was time to head home, take my learning with me. I had gained awareness, owned my power, and respect my value enough to know, that this situation I had gotten myself into was not going to change.
I wanted to honour my word. But I couldn’t, because the truth was I had lied to myself that 40€ was okay, and I knew deep down that it was a pittance amount of money and completely undervalued my ability in the kitchen and and as a cook. I off set it with making new connections and building a link with a future possibility of running retreats. This I have done and established and secured with Denise – whom by the way I let down off course as she relying on me to help her, to alleviate the work load she found herself in each year. This was the first year she had gotten some one with the skill-set like mine who actually turned up to work the 5 days so she could cut right back from her annual insanity.
There lies proverbial paradox we live in both truth and lies constantly.
We cannot get to a lie without being in our truth at the moment of choice. – Rafah Sabbagh
The choices we make are frequently based on our wounding, value and rational we give it. And it is only through our truth in the moment that we learn that we no longer can live in and with this particular lie.
Most of the time we bypass the murmurs of inner knowing, followed by discontent, abuse or whatever else we put up with. Sometimes the truth trickles into a huge realisation.
How fast we realise this depends on our own self, and awareness. We come to it, when the pain becomes unbearable and by our soul communicating to us. By paying attention and listening, we can hear our inner promptings.
Four weeks in and at the crux of a high season, I clearly got that I was not going to lie to myself any more and therefore others, despite that I going back on my word. I was not to do a job that in essence was a job for two and do it mainly on my own.
It meant that I was leaving all of them in the shit, and essentially mid term of my planned stay. My original plan was to stay until the end of September, But I couldn’t care, because I had to care about myself. I couldn’t go back to the person where I had made the original decision and choice. Things had changed.
It broke my heart leaving behind the friendships I forged and most of all leaving Denise in a predicament I would never want anyone to leave me in, but the question I was faced with, ‘Can I continue to lie to myself?’
The answer in short was NO.
We do this all of the time when:
- We agree to be with anyone in a work or love relationship knowing that we did not want to to begin with or just know that ‘they’ are simply not the right fit.
- We bypass the warning signs and red flags to people and situations.
- We dowse down the voice of truth ignoring our next step because it’s scarier to venture into the unknown.
- We stuff our creativity as we can’t leave our tribe or place of work or commitments that no longer serve us.
- We listen to another’s opinion or advice over our own.
- We keep friendships that do not nourish us.
- We hang out with people and places that really doesn’t resonate with us /anymore.
- Stay in relationships that are frightfully unequal and filled with abuse of some kind, in submission to circumstances, so we think.
- We contemplate leaving a relationship and or marriage but stay and don’t make a move because we are afraid of might happen.
- Justify our pay and monthly security of a job that has well gone its sell by date.
- Get into an affair or agree to a blind threesome, as its better to have someone then fully own what we really want.
- We have another drink when we know we’ve had enough.
- Say to ourselves that our weight or health issue is not bothering us when in truth we cannot but think about it and do nothing to aid its change or sabotage our efforts.
- Have the extra dessert.
- Laugh off our hurt.
- This is a classic. When we say yes in instead of a NO.
- Declare we are fine when we are not.
- Put another’s importance of whatever over ours.
We lie to ourselves when we do anything that no longer serves us nor makes us feel good.
This is your barometer.
However, I believe we lie to ourselves in order for us to grow. This is the whole point of growth! You must catch yourself ideally before you enter into a situation knowing that it is not right.
But off course our soul has a different agenda to ours. You know you flunked when you feel the pain sear into you.
Being in touch with our values and what is important to us will get us there, and in fact help us to avoid the pitfalls in not being there for ourselves. This is change made in progress. However, our innate being is to always change and thrive and hopefully through growth, we can move through life with more ease, congruency, and joy.
Ask anyone, and there immediate reply to what do you want? Is almost always to be Happy, or have happiness. That happy and happiness is not marked by our outward achievements but our truth and congruency of what we know to be true for us. We forget this and walk down a path of shadow and darkness, blinkered by our proverbial lies.
Most of us cannot even spell out what we really want. Somehow, it scares us shitless to be so honest. We have gotten so used to live a masked life, our own truth behooves us, hidden by what we have been doing, where and who we have committed to, riding another’s path while we let ours delay, while we watch our own from the sidelines of wishful thinking.
That said, there are no mistakes, and we are always on path.
Every step we take will be a see-saw of truth and lies.
Aiming and listening to our truth, giving it attention to and heeding it – will actually have us live a vibrant life.
Claim your truth and your power by being in your seat of alignment in your CORE. This is related and attuned to the solar plexus, so if you are in need of core power, draw your attention to your navel and see the colour yellow getting clearer and brighter. Stay in this breath work around the navel as long as you can for a few minutes.
‘Centre Of Right Energy’ – Core living is what we are asked of. No point living out of your heart if your power centre is not steering your life. You become a martyr and this is the old paradigm of living.
Core living is one that has you in your power with your heart – in loving yourself to take the action that benefits the whole. The ‘whole’ being the inclusion of your actions to fulfil the self. No matter how difficult an action, you will take it. This is love in action.
Ask Spirit, to guide you and give you strength in whatever does not serve you and to make clear the actions needed to make a change.
NO matter what vibe another gives out of your decisions making, you stand in your own sovereign because you know you stood by you, no longer living a lie, but in your truth. This then puts you back in neutral where everything feels right and calm.
This is what this powerful energies have been bringing us to and calling us out on. Listen to your own being.
It can be a difficult conflict, one that calls for sacrifice and the other to honour you.
Which will you choose?
The truth or the lie?
The Solar Eclipse on the August 21st 2017 will jump us into course correct and so if you are holding on to outmoded ideas or ways of being, trust that you will be seeing it all so clearly now.
And so it is.
© Rafah Sabbagh 2017
If you are having any issues around this article in your life do contact me for a private session or sessions. I offer bespoke sessions according to your needs and issues. I also offer relationship coaching, with or without your partner.
Copyright (c) 2017 by Rafah Sabbagh. All rights reserved. You may quote, copy, translate and link to this article, in its entirety, on free, non-donation based websites only, as long as you include the author name and a working link back to this website. All other uses are strictly prohibited.