My Eats | A 5 Minute Lesson

Tonight, I cried at work. I was in my office, and I finally let it go when I was sure no one could see me. I haven’t done that in a long time. My feelings were hurt, and I felt unappreciated. These are feelings I’m usually able brush off. One, because I know better, and two, because they simply aren’t worth crying about.

But tonight, it got to me. And sadly, it got the best of me for a moment. Even with my superhero strength, I am sometimes reminded that I am only human.

It was a situation that I wish had been handled better. I should have been assured all will be fine. I should have been told, “it’s ok, we can fix it,” or, “no worries, I will help you with this,” or “it’s ok, you didn’t know,” or, “I should have heard what you were saying, thank you.” But I didn’t hear anything.

“This is not me at all,” I thought.

I am not a needy person. I know I’m tougher than this, but I think my recent (insane) workload had finally gotten to me. (It could have also been hunger pangs affecting my emotions. It was 6 p.m. and all I’d had was a cup of coffee and a fig bar!) It could also be the hormones…I heard that along with an uncontrollable attraction to gin martinis, one of the several side effects of turning fifty is sensitivity. Work is nothing personal, and it should be simple: Get it done. Get paid. Go home.

But there I was, sitting in my office, crying.

I finally packed up my things at 8:30 p.m. and drove home. As I hit the freeway and had a moment to revive my crushed soul, I had a revelation! Life has its unique way of giving me lessons. That awful five minutes that deflated my heart was a message telling me to stay grounded. It was a reminder of what NOT to be. A reminder to not be the person who crushes other people’s spirits or is quick to judge. To not be the person who doesn’t recognize value or doesn’t appreciate effort. To not be the person without empathy. It gave me the hope to improve. To be the person who takes a different path. To teach. To be the person who supports and understands. To be…BETTER.

The lesson was profound.

I don’t want anyone to feel the way I was feeling. I am analyzing my moves and will tweak the way I approach situations. I will be mindful. I will be present. I will be more understanding. I will be kinder. I will read between the lines. I will be attentive. I will be a good listener. I will be generous with my time. I will pause before I speak. I will be more respectful. I will always give the benefit of the doubt. I will always put myself in other people’s shoes. I will remember my humble beginnings in the industry. I will support. I will speak with truth and honesty. I will lead. I will guide. Most of all, I will be grateful.

Someone said to me the other day that human perfection does not exist. I was aware of this truth but hearing it from someone else made me stop and think. I will always give my best. Some days I will succeed, and some days I will learn. Some days I will need to remember to give myself a break.

When life is hectic and noisy, inspiration is hard to see. It’s difficult to find peace when silence is so distant. It’s challenging to notice the beauty around us when our vision is blurred by overwhelming realities. It’s hard to be inspired when we are sad. It’s tough to inspire someone when we feel defeated. But what I realized is that inspirations don’t always have to be grand. Anything and anyone can spark inspiration. It can happen anytime. There are many “motivation moments” happening around us every minute, no matter how bleak the day may seem. Just this week, I was inspired as I watched a team member teach their group about a project. I was motivated by another manager’s positivity and fighting spirit during a week that was full of challenges. I was inspired by a chef’s determination to do their job despite the challenges they were facing. I was inspired by a cook’s passion for the food they were proudly presenting to a customer. I was inspired by our clients’ understanding and support. I was inspired by a Sous Chef’s ability to adapt at a moment’s request.

I was even inspired by “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever.” Not only because it was exciting and empowering, but because it gave me two and a half hours of time where I wasn’t thinking about anything but the film, its story, and its characters. For 161 minutes, I was “in the moment.”

I was lifted. I was moved.

As much as I disliked how I felt during that undesirable five-minute interaction, it gave me clarity and the motivation to write. It cured (or at least wiggled) the writer’s block I had been battling for weeks. It prompted me to look around and put things in perspective. It made me realize how lucky I am to have been able to learn from it. It reminded me to be mindful. It motivated me to continue to take care of the people who support me every day, and to always remember all the things in my life that are truly of value.

During uninspiring times, what would you like someone to do for you? Whatever that may be, do it for someone. Inspire them. Lift them up. Be hope. Be the sun. Be the force. Be Yoda. This world could use more Yodas! Maybe, just maybe…the recipient of that good gesture pays it forward, and someone else will get inspired!

This Thanksgiving, I am thankful for inspirations big and small, and grateful to belong to a community that promotes kindness and understanding. I embrace mistakes that help me grow as a chef, a boss, a wife and mother, and as Mayet.

Apropos of the current seasonal mood, I thought it fitting to feature one of our chef’s recipes for an amazing Thanksgiving dessert course.

We are all familiar with the traditional Autumn desserts: pumpkin, apple, and pecan pies. The classics are classics for a reason! But this year, we changed it up a little on the lot with some “soon-to-be” classics: Pumpkin Basque Cheesecake, Apple Crumble Pie, and Chocolate Chess Pie.

Chef Charmaine Macrohon’s recipe for Pumpkin Basque Cheesecake is superb. I love the perfect sweetness, the heavenly texture, and the lingering spice finish. Chef Charmaine is one of the several team members who joined us in the Disney kitchens this year. Just like me (and many others on the team), Chef Charmaine is in a role new to her. On this team, we learn together, we grow together, we support each other, and we give thanks. I am proud of the community we are perpetually building.

I hope you get to make this recipe with someone who supports and inspires you. I hope that your community sees you and appreciates you for all that you are. Because you are perfect just the way you are, Yoda.

Happy Thanksgiving and Bon Appétit!

CLICK HERE to download the recipe