Quinoa clementine honey almond cake

The reasons I’ve been tentative about posting this simple yet sophisticated cake have nothing to do with taste, expense, or prep/effort required. It’s scrumptious. Elegant enough for dessert, yet nearly wholesome enough for breakfast. At least, chances are a slice could take down the average coffee cake with no contest. And it’s easy. The two hours prep time is completely hands off–all you’re doing in letting oranges simmer in a pot.

Clementine cake 3

The real reasons behind the hesitation revolve around self-consciousness and second guessing. Since this recipe was created for Ancient Harvest, there’s an extra link to click through; and the extra step requirement makes me feel weirdly guilty. Also, with regard to the creation, it was almost too easy. The inspiration, this gorgeous Nigella recipe, was so sublimely perfect, the little adaptations were rather effortless. More guilt. And lastly, who hasn’t been moved to tears by the images of the drowned toddler and the plight of the Syrian refugees that is driven more acutely home by recent visuals and personal accounts? To spend time waffling over what to put in a personal food blog…luxury oozing guilt.

Then. Something marvelous happened this week, and it was sorta kinda connected with posting this cake. I faced guilty feelings, and I told them I didn’t care. Actually, the really marvelous part was, I got to experience what it feels like to not care in a loving, trusting and compassionate way.

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There is too much apathy in the world yet not enough acceptance. Despite regular clashes of egos and the appearance of arrogance, we so often lack self-love for who we are. Somehow the serenity poem is inspiring, ubiquitous, and dismissed.

But one afternoon this week, there was a moment of wonderful. I caught myself in the throes of a conversation with myself that involved a good dose of the usual self berating. And, I heard myself respond, “I don’t care.”

-You’re not training enough. You’re losing too much fitness.       -I don’t care. 
-The house is too messy.                   -I don’t care.
-You aren’t finding enough time. You’re losing friends.  -I don’t care.

-You’re losing your musical self. You hardly play.    -I don’t care.
-You’re losing your literary self. You aren’t reading enough.   -I don’t care.
-You’re a small fish freelancer and have no secure future.    -I don’t care.
-You’re getting old.  -I don’t care.

If that internal dialogue seems like a paltry cause for celebration, that’s because it is. Reading it back, there’s childish sullenness and worse. But it was a stepping stone.

Felix & Mummy strider2For once, this week I listened to myself, and in an authentic moment of epiphany, truly re-framed the thought patterns. Same conversation, only replacing each “I don’t care” with “I’m OK with that.” Which was really, I’m comfortable with things as they are right now and the reasons for them. And, I trust myself to bring the best version of myself to each phase, stage and season as it comes.  

The feelings of release and contentment that came with what felt like this unique pause in time…I can’t even begin to describe. It was like being wrapped up in a blanket of grounding love and reassurance yet soaring in the sky. I never give myself so much sweeping permission to just be, and I loved it. What’s more, that acceptance didn’t feel anything like apathy. If anything, I felt more motivated and aware of opportunities to improve and to make a positive impact even in small ways…without all the head clutter of comparisons.

OK, I’ll admit, two days later I was feeling cranky, overloaded, and lacking in sleep, and a whole lot of self-doubt and inhibition came tumbling back. My newfound zen was alluring and elusive. But I got a taste of it, and I know it’s there.

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About this cake. Lightly honey-sweet, citrus-y delicious, simple to make, and played a role in inspiration in more than one way. Click here for recipe. 😉

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