The Messy Path Of Alchemy

Nicole Beaudin sits with her dog
Nicole Beaudin

Those of you that cook or flex other creative muscles know that generally the process is messy, no matter how organized you are. Alchemizing a series of ingredients that start separate but are meant to blend to create a masterpiece, often leads to lots of dishes to clean up, amongst other potential messes. The result is usually worth it, and so is the learning that happens in the process.

Right now I’m in a mid-alchemy life stage. It is messy. Change is messy. Pivoting into something new does not come with instructions. The recipe is verbal, advice passed down from generations, and missing a few key details. I’m at the “boil until thick part” of the recipe asking myself how long does it really take and constantly wondering how thick is thick?

There have been many days in this part of the process when I have not been OK. When I have questioned what I’ve done and where I’m going, and speaking unkindly to myself along the way. When I pause in the center of these storms and remind myself to find joy in the journey, I see someone who handles hard things with much more grace, and who, underneath it all, believes in herself and the journey she has embarked upon.

There comes a time in all of our lives when we have the ingredients of our past, but find ourselves needing to make something new out of it. It takes bravery to make lasagna when we’ve always made spaghetti. There is a lot of trial and error, soggy noodles, teary eyes, things thrown out, as we learn our way down this new path.

I would argue that this messy unknown, this confusion, is always worth it on the path to a happy thriving life. If you find yourself feeling how I was a year ago – not fully happy most of the time, having a hard time getting up in the morning, wondering what the purpose of all of this is – it might be time to find a new recipe to try. I mean this literally and figuratively.

Studies have shown that when we’re feeling stuck, even so much as taking a new route to a place we always visit can start our brain thinking and firing differently. What’s one new something you’ve been curious to try? My challenge for you this month is to take one baby step in that direction, and see what it opens for you.

And if you are finding yourself in an unhappier, messier time in life, please also feel free to email me. I am here for you as you find your way through. Please feel free to share your story with me by emailing

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