I saw this quote on the website True Activist – and I’ve been thinking about it – trying to work out if it’s really true or not….
For what it’s worth, I think NOT following your heart can also mean losing your mind.
And no offence intended but losing your mind for a while might be underrated.
While you’re busy trying to relocate it, you could find a whole lot of other stuff – insight, empathy, depth, emotional capacity, new paths, new friends, tree-hugging. You might just figure out a few things like the importance of dogs or the meaning of life and better understand that thing we refer to as the human condition.
A couple of years ago I was on a long, solo drive to Northern Ontario when I heard an ancient, crackly interview with McKinley Morganfield, aka Muddy Waters. Muddy was a blues musician – considered to be the father of the Chicago blues.
It was an interview that left me spellbound. I cranked it up because of the static on the old recording. I didn’t want it to end. I just wanted him to keep talking. He had this deep, raw voice and soothing drawl. He spoke slowly and carefully and every word was like poetry.
The interviewer asked him why he chose to play the blues, he answered something to the effect that, “I lived the blues. And because sooner or later – we all know the blues. If you haven’t lived the blues yet – just keep living. And if you haven’t known great joy yet – just keep living.”
I love this answer. I’ve thought of it many times. It’s so honest and real and powerful. And somehow incredibly encouraging.
At his funeral in 1983, it was said of him that, “Muddy was a master of just the right notes.”
So this weekend, while I was busy thinking about following your heart and losing your mind, and living through blues and great joys, I had family over and did a bunch of cooking. Amongst other things, I made a couple of batches of this soda bread. It’s so fabulous because you can have fresh home-made bread in half an hour. Slightly less if you’re really well-organized. It takes 5 minutes to mix a batch up and then about 18 minutes for it to cook. And it’s SO good. Honestly.
I made two versions – one with raisins and cinnamon – and one with rosemary, olives and sun-dried tomatoes. There’s no added sugar here – and you won’t miss it.
Cinnamon Raisin Soda Bread (adapted from a recipe in Canadian House and Home)
1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
3/4 cup whole wheat flour
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 cup raisins
1 cup buttermilk (I used 1/8 cup vinegar and 7/8 cup of milk – and I also made a dairy-free (vegan) version using almond milk and vinegar – worked perfectly)
Preheat oven to 400 deg F.
Mix together the flours, baking soda, salt and cinnamon. Stir well so that the baking soda and salt are evenly distributed. Add the raisins. Pour in the buttermilk and mix gently.
Turn onto a lightly floured board and roll the dough once or twice to coat in flour. Form into a ball. Slash top with a sharp knife to make an X. Place in a well buttered Pyrex dish (1 quart should be fine) or on a pie plate. Bake for about 18-20 minutes or until browned and crusty. Cool on a wire rack.
Sun-Dried Tomato, Olive, and Rosemary Soda Bread (pictured below)
Make as above but omit the cinnamon and raisins. Cut the salt to 1/2 tsp. Add 1/4 cup chopped black kalamata olives, 1/4 cup chopped sun-dried tomatoes (the kind in oil) and 2 tsp fresh, chopped rosemary (or 1 tsp dried rosemary).