Yesterday I was reminiscing through some old photo books when I came across my daughter’s performance in the Pittsburgh Ballet House production of Cinderella. It’s been several years now, but those images reminded me that life, as in art, is about vision and transformation.
Like Cinderella, the girls and boys who trained for that performance were transformed into amazing dancers. But unlike Cinderella, it didn’t happen with the wave of a magic wand. Nothing worth having ever does.
During the ballet, rags in the hands of creative mice become a gown, and a fairy godmother disguised as a beggar reveals her true self. She then goes on to fix Cinderella’s dress, turn a pumpkin into a coach, and mice into horses. She took the ordinary things around her and made them extraordinary. That’s vision… and it’s the key to everything - because life is not about what we see, but rather HOW we see.
Everything begins with a vision… the vision to become a dancer, a chocolate maker, or an advocate for cacao farmers. As I looked through those photographs I couldn’t help but think that the artistic director at PBH was a magician and these photos were the equivalent of him pulling a rabbit out of his hat.
Few people get to see the hundreds of hours a dancer spends stretching and training, just as few people get to see of the extent of hard work and skill behind their chocolate. But it’s there.
In a small band around the Earth, no more than 20 degrees North and South of the equator, adept farmers tend to trees from which football shaped pods grow. Once ripe, the pods are harvested and cracked open to reveal their sweet white pulp (called baba). The baba along with the seeds are removed, fermented, and dried. Upon completion of this fantastical process, those magic little beans are sent to chocolate makers all over the world where they go from beans to bars. Abracadabra? You betcha!
So on the first day of this new year I am reflecting on my vision. Whether we’re creating a home, career, chocolate company, or all of the above, we all begin the journey as novices. But as we make our way, those of us who are brave enough (and stubborn enough) to stay the course are rewarded in the most remarkable way. Somewhere along the way we become transformed - we have something that didn’t exist before... something only we could have done.
Paulo Coelho said, “Everyday, God gives us the sun and also one moment in which we have the ability to change everything.” I believe that’s true. Abracadabra isn’t just a magic word. It’s passion, and perseverance, and knowing this little secret: you, too, have the power to pull a rabbit out of your hat.
Wishing you love and magic in the new year - and world changing chocolate, too.