I’ve decided that there are no coincidences – only opportunities for me to open up and learn.
Last night I found myself with unexpected time to myself. I’m sure all you single parents of teenagers understand exactly what I’m talking about. I had no plans but was utterly delighted with having no plans. My blog post was written, my to-dos all done, my day complete. I happily whipped up an egg salad sandwich and paired it with a cold glass of pinot grigio (an odd but inspired summer combo, if I do say so myself) and parked myself on the couch, remote in hand, intent on finding a movie to watch.
A movie that I picked. Me. For me. No compromising on comedy when I wanted drama. No action when I wanted love. It could be anything I wanted. Anything.
Ah, the delicious freedom.
There were hundreds of free options. Feeling all giddy, I only perused high definition films. Ha! Still hundreds to choose from. Then I stopped. “Babette’s Feast.” I had seen it. Hadn’t I liked it? It was free, so I thought, “Oh, I’ll just watch a little and if it’s awful I’ll watch something else!” [imagine the power!]
Darlings, in just a few moments, Babette’s Feast became Michele’s Feast. I was utterly drawn in.
Do you know the movie? Based on a story by Karen Blixen, the Danish writer also known as Isak Dinesen, the film follows the two daughters of an austere pastor as they deny themselves joy, love, pleasure and opportunity in order to support the work of their father. Over time, they quietly become old women, living together in rigid self-denial, keeping the memory of their father alive.
Into their lives blows Babette, a refuge from political upheaval in France. For fourteen years, Babette lives with the sisters, caring for them and for their small fishing community, mirroring their simple, unadorned life, until one day she wins the French lottery – 10,000 francs – and asks if she can prepare a real French dinner in honor of the deceased pastor’s 100th birthday.
Here’s where it gets really good.
After fourteen years of cautious living, Babette pours her heart and soul into the meal. She carefully obtains fresh fruits, exotic meats, fine wines, exquisite cheeses. She prepares the feast with care, with joy, with creativity, with expertise.
And when the meal is served, the reserved, anti-sensual, closed up, bitter, sniping guests become transformed – they actually taste their food. They enlarge their senses. They are drawn together. They find that they love one another, and themselves.
The meal is a triumph.
And Babette is broke, having spent her entire lottery winnings on the meal.
When one of the sisters laments that Babette will now spend the rest of her life poor, Babette replies, “An artist is never poor.”
Got me right there. An artist is never, never poor.
Then, Babette reveals that she had been head chef at a remarkable Paris restaurant, shrugs and says, “I was able to make them happy when I gave of my very best.”
Not only did Babette make others happy – she made herself happy when she gave of her amazing gifts. But wait – Babette’s final words in the film: “Throughout the world sounds one long cry from the heart of the artist – ‘Give me the chance to do my very best.'”
It’s no coincidence that I watched this film last night, because I needed a reminder that my best is all I want to do. My very best. As a woman, as a mother, as a coach, as a creator, and, yes, as an artist.
You, too, are an artist like Babette – even if you aren’t conscious of your creative power. Every day you have the chance to do your very best. Every day you have the power to live via your senses. Every day you have the opportunity to create something new. Every day you can serve others with your creativity. Every day. Remember that.
And, you artist, you – remember that the true richness in life is truly and utterly your own creation.
Speaking of creation, I’ve developed a new, powerful tool – 5 Questions That Can Change Your Life. It’s a 12-page workboook designed to explore your hidden strengths and preferences and reveal purposeful action steps toward a happier, healthier, more creative life. Best of all, it’s only $5.95! To purchase and download your own copy, please go to: https://michelewoodward.com/products