I recently took my kids to Orlando, Florida. Normally my kind of holiday is a mediteranean beach with only rocks for company but my kids are about to outgrow each other so I thought I would bring them on their kind of holiday. The added bonus for me was hanging out with an inspirational, creative and gorgeous friend I havent seen in a long time.

There are so many people in the parks at first I found it overwhelming. The first day at Universal Studios my heart was pounding for most of the day. The Harry Potter Quiddich Ride is exceptional at creating thrills but the sheer number of people in Hogsmede all rushing to experience various exciting sensations was overpowering.

At the end of the day I was exhausted and I didn’t feel like me. At first I thought it was because I was experiencing things that just weren’t my everyday cup of tea but when I looked a little deeper at how I felt and how I was acting in the park I was not very comfortable. I found myself constantly judging everybody and everything……. Oh I like this, she shouldn’t be wearing that, that’s a rip off, he shouldn’t be doing that, they shouldn’t have put that there, I want one of those, they’re very fat, she’s very skinny, I like that dress I wonder what it would look like on me… Constanly swinging from like to dislike, judgement to judgement to keep my own ground. By making judgements I was able to define who I was in this vast sea of souls but this constant pinning down of my reality was exhausting, I had three weeks of this so by the end I was going to be a control freaking nervous wreck. There had to be another way. So I looked to my language of Chinese Medicine to help me find and answer.

The universal truth in Chinese medicine is that everything is energy, constantly changing, constantly flowing. This includes solid objects such as rocks and tables. Eventhough they look unchanging, they are transforming all the time. Rocks change shape and erode over time and my kitchen table wont be here in 200 years. Through our short experience on the planet things look solid but only because our perspective is short-lived and therefore limited.

How we understand that universal energy is through Yin and Yang, which in our western language we would understand as relativity. We understand what is new because we know what old is, we understand hot because we know cold, we know up because we know down. Everything is described and understood through our own unique perception of reality, our own sensation of cold, our knowledge of up and our experience of old. We are our own, unique bundle of Yin and Yang, our perception of reality being relative to our earthly experience.

Within my swinging yin yang judgements I was trying to find a sense of me, who I am in this wave of theme park energy coming at me. In my everyday life I surround myself with the familiar, my comfort zone of quiet home living where I don’t have to re-establish who I am in relation to new incoming sensations or people. Most things under control in a regular pattern of family life but the reality is that everything can change on the turn of a dime. This safe and secure home life is only because I can’t see the bigger picture. There is no pinning down my energy, no securing who I am. There are new unplanned experiences approaching, unscheduled events will appear, I will wrinkle, I will change and I will die. So there really isnt any point in trying to define who I am in relation to the world because it changes all the time. When I delved a little deeper into the feeling I could sense the fear that drives the judgements so rather than constantly trying to make things safe and trying to define myself I chose to open up to the thrill of the unknown and enjoy the ride of life. Just like the rollercoasters that surrounded me in Orlando there would be dips and turns, ups and downs but I have to ride them, exhilerated, excited and open hearted in the knowledge that there is no ground, there is no stability.

While I was in Orlando I couldn’t help but spread the word of Conscious Cooking so my wonderful friend Faith organised a talk in the amazing workspace of Catalyst, where many creative and enthusiastic bodies share a working environment. I demonstrated a few of my favourite recipes, one of which was Watermelon & Feta salad which is fantastic for reducing summer heat and clearing any uric acid which may accumulate at the joints causing gout, heat and pain. Quite a few people bought the book but where disappointed to find that this recipe wasn’t in it, so here it is for all you lovely people who are in hot sunny Florida and in need of the watermelon from a girl sitting on a cold beach, under a grey sky with a cozy fleece on.

  • medium watermelon
  • 100g feta cheese
  • 1-2 red onions
  • handful of fresh basil leaves
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

Choose a watermelon that has wide spaces between the dark green lines – theyre sweeter that way. Chop it up into bite size pieces, I think triangles work well. Slice the red onions into thin half moons and sprinkle them along with the crumbled feta onto the water melon. Scatter the basil leaves and drizzle olive oil over the top to finish.

This is such a delicious salad for barbeques but it also goes well with thai curries and an indian dahl as the fruit, salty flavour combines well with spices. It also keeps well refridgerated in a tupperware – enjoy