STEWPOTS AND RAINBOWS
I’ve been asked, “Why stew?” The answer is rather lengthy, but well worth the read. Indulge me a little…
The Story of A Girl Who Found Herself Amid Rainbows and Olive Trees
I am reminded of a day last fall when I awoke in the early morning hours in the most perfect riad behind the walls of the Old City in Marrakesh, Morocco. It was my last full day in the beautiful country and I was determined to take a solo day trip to hike Ouzoud Falls. I ate a simple meal of tea, bread and honey, then navigated the dark alleys of the traditional derbs to find a cab to take me to the New City where I boarded a bus with several other adventurous strangers. Off we went, traveling winding roads through the Atlas Mountains, to a quaint Berber village a few hours north of Marrakesh.
I decided to take this trip to Morocco one night last May when the pains from a recent surgery interrupted my sleep. My kindred Spelman sister posted an invite for several women to join her in getting “Lost & Found in Marrakesh”. It surely sounded like my type of travel. Booked! In planning the trip I decided to make the most of the journey by adding a day in Istanbul, Turkey and several days in Madrid, Spain.
I had anxiety on the days leading up to my departure. I could not put my finger on it but my spirit was not at peace. I remember telling a good friend that something was about to happen. Two days later two things happened that left me feeling breathless, betrayed, defeated and debilitated. But, God is still perfect. As Divine would have it, while what could have been my shit storm was developing in DC, I was headed across the globe to lose myself, then find myself again, in three amazing places. My first sign that everything was working for my absolute good.
Ouzoud Falls turned out to be my gift and my savior. Ouzoud means olive in the local Berber language, and the Falls were surrounded by beautiful olive trees. There is a spiritual lesson in olive trees and to encounter them in Ouzoud was my second sign that everything was working for my absolute good. No matter the condition, albeit hot, dry, cold, wet, or rocky, the olive tree will LIVE and PRODUCE fruit. The olive branch is a symbol of peace and victory. Sliding down a steep, muddy cliff I grabbed hold of a familiar unconquerable spirit named Farida. Farida from France, pictured with me above, was my angel in Ouzoud, and my third sign that the Divine had my back and everything was working for my absolute good. We supported each other down, then up the mountain, and were inseparable for the remainder of the day.
While descending to the Falls, Spirit spoke to me about forgiveness. She said: “There are no rules to it, Marcia. It doesn’t have to be pretty and neat, and packaged with a big red bow. It doesn’t have to be humble and self-sacrificing. It can be raw, and messy, and uncouth. There is no mandate that you be nice about it, neither must you be mute. Your only objective is to get there, by any means necessary. And when after all the scratching and bearing you finally make it to the top of that mountain of shit, you can very well scream the most sincerest ‘F&$! YOU!’ you can muster. It’s your right and privilege. And when you’ve breathed it all in, and exhaled it all out, you can dance and play along the dusty Berber trails in the mountains of North Africa with your new soulmate Farida, a few wild monkeys, and a clean heart in tow.” There I was merely hoping to find release, but instead I found VICTORY. Following the crowd, I climbed into a little river boat at the mouth of the falls with no clue of my destination. A few minutes later I found myself going THROUGH the waterfall. I was dipped, washed, and baptized (click to view) in the muddy waters of Ouzoud Falls, and a perfect rainbow kissed me on the other side. The rainbow was my fourth sign that everything was working for my absolute good. Before climbing back up the mountain, Farida and I shared some fresh picked olives, tagine, bread, mint tea, and sour oranges at a cafe at the mouth of the Falls. It was church. We did not share the same language, but we shared the same laughter, the same baptism, and seemingly the same love for really good food prepared in clay pots.
Soon after my return to the States I was scheduled to do a healthy cooking demonstration for about 200 women at the Whole Woman Symposium in Washington, DC.
But as life would have it, I contracted a bad case of traveler’s sickness somewhere between Ouzoud and Marrakesh. It was so intense that it felt like my entire solar plexus opened up. No, my solar plexus DID open up. It was only by grace that I made it through the long flights home. The days following I was in a fetal position begging for relief. I had to surrender. I had two days to heal my body and come up with a plan for my presentation. I loved when my Daddy made stew for me when I was growing up. I can still taste the love and care that he put in each pot. Spirit spoke to me again and instructed me to brew a couple of my own pots for my healing. Still intoxicated by the flavors of Morocco and with a few bags of traditional spices in hand, I began brewing stews filled with cumin, turmeric, ginger, pepper, and a few other healing herbs and spices. There was the answer! I decided that the focus of my presentation would be the healing nature of stew. I called my good friend and forever muse, Sharra, and we came up with the idea of branding my segment “Sweet Mossie’s Stew Pot Spot”. I had no intention of selling stew or making stew an integral part of my business. I just wanted to share my story, my delicious pots of love, and some good healing with the women who came seeking their own particular wholeness. Instead, I encountered the fifth sign that everything was working for my absolute good. The numerous calls and requests for stew that came after the Symposium was Divine instruction that it was time to do something a little different with Sweet Mossie’s. So began the journey of Sweet Mossie’s Stew Pot Spot. A journey of obedience.
When you surrender to and trust the teachers and transitions of life, God has a miraculous and amazing way of showing that She is sovereign. The surrender is deep, and may at times be painful, but it is so worth it.
Cheers to freedom, healing, great hikes, amazing travel, being lost, being found, and a really great pot of stew!
Until we meet again,