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The Sweet Joy of the Journey

I read this quote recently from Mike Dooley: “Sometimes one can learn much more about life, love, and happiness when they’re single rather than in a relationship…when they’re looking for work rather than when they’re working…when they’re confused rather than when they’re clear.”

This speaks volumes about the value of being in the journey…about how balancing it is to accept yourself along the way, to keep plugging forward through doubt, and to keep following your passion, whether you’ve mastered it yet or not.

For months I’ve been obsessively binging The Great British Baking Show. It’s been years since I’ve cut out gluten and sugar, so you would think watching this show would be torture, but I absolutely love it. Why? Because for me it’s about the joy of the journey.

All of the contestants are amateur bakers who hold professions that often feel leagues away from baking. They feel tremendously doubtful about their abilities at times and experience both epic fails and amazing triumphs. What I love is that they have to be in the moment—they focus on the current task and can’t concern themselves with the next challenge or what the following episodes will bring. They know if they fail at one bake, they have to excel on the next one, and they set out to do that. And they always feel pride for stretching themselves beyond what they thought they could do.

I’m often most amazed at how, when one contestant is done before time’s up but his neighboring baker is scrambling to finish, he’ll lend a hand to help his competitor.

And then I love to see them rely on their intuition to determine how long to knead the dough or when to pull the pastry out of the oven. Their instinct kicks in because they’re in the moment and doing what they love.

At the season finales, it always hits me how powerful the journey is, when the winner is gifted with a glass cake plate and some flowers. That’s it—no big cash prize. These folks embarked on the journey because they loved baking, and that’s that.

The toy our kitty Calla loves most is a foil ball. Nothing fancy, nor expensive. I can make one whenever I want, and she doesn’t care how big or small it is. Her favorite thing to do is chase it when I throw it from the bedroom to the hall or vice versa. But the thing is, she usually runs right past the ball, never bothering to touch it. It’s the racing at full speed, the getting her ya-yas out that’s the point. That’s what gives Calla the most joy—the exhilarating movement, not the stopping to catch the prize.

There’s freedom in the journey. You can choose to allow growth, learning, and thriving through failures and steep climbs; you can choose to dive into your passions, whether you do them “well” or not. Dooley says allowing rather than resisting is what leads to transformation—and, as Netflix has shown me, a beautifully good bake (that we then savor in the moment, and it’s on to the next challenge).

It’s the gratitude for all the ingredients that make up the experience, the patience while wisdom rises within, the joy in celebrating what’s unfolding—that’s where the sweetest spot is. 🧁✨

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