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The Wonder Years


"Youth calls to age across the tired years: 'What have you found,' he cries, 'what have you sought?" 'What have you found,' age answers through his tears, 'What have you sought."

-Dylan Thomas (

While I have expressed many attributes of my spiritual life, and a brief introduction to who I am, I thought it best to go into a little more detail as to whom you are reading about and partaking in this adventure.

I won't bore you with the basics. I was born a baby and grew up a child in the 80's and a teenager in the 90's. I always viewed myself as an outsider. Someone who often thought outside of the bubble that held the minds of others in my small town. It was that mind that brought me down my spiritual belief wanderings. However, it was my mind rooted in this reality that drew me to my mundane career paths as a chef, nutritionist, and brewer.

As a child I loved playing with pots and pans. Later, one of my cousins received a kitchen playset at our grandparent's house as a holiday gift. I think I played with it more than she did. I loved the sounds the pans made clanking together. The wooden spoons hitting against the sides of steel haunted me and soothed me at the same time.

At the age of four or five my mother taught me to make scrambled eggs on our gas stove. I was forever in love with gas stoves. From this point on I began trying to make other things. Helping with holiday cookies and other meals like Thanksgiving. I still make a variation of her stuffing, which was also her mother's stuffing recipe.

In early elementary school I had discovered cooking shows on public television and by middle school had several favorites. I began writing down the recipes, picking up cook books from the book store, and soon found myself asking for money to be left out so I could ride my bike a few miles to the grocery store and back to purchase ingredients for dinner. I would make things like chicken cacciatore, German chocolate cake, gnocci, roast pork, and so forth. Whatever I saw on those shows I would do my best to try to make at home. I learned about all sorts of different foods, techniques for preparing them, and blending of flavors. It was around my freshman year that I decided I wanted to go into the culinary field.

I began working in restaurants as a dishwasher. In a little Italian upscale restaurant near my hometown I was moved to prep cook and garde manger (salads and cold appetizers). I was excited and scared shitless. And with good reason. I sucked at keeping up with the pace of service. I was slow, clumsy, and defeated on a daily basis. For some reason I stuck with it. I loved the food, the people I worked with, and I loved the feeling I got from having a successful night of service. This was my launch pad into an amazing adventure in life and career.

I worked at this restaurant throughout high school and upon graduation left almost out the gate to head to New York to attend the Culinary Institute of America at Hyde Park. It was a dream come true and I was excited to learn and meet like-minded individuals, some of which I still remain friends with today. I pushed through classes, determined to do well and terrified that I wasn't. I'd over analyze everything I did, ask questions that didn't need to be asked, and in a sense, caused my own sense of defeat and decay. I remained determined no matter how often I thought about quitting. I was still having a great time, regardless of my mental health.


I also had a tarot reading done by a well known medium and reader, who passed shortly afterward. I still have that reading today, and although I'm disgusted at my 19 year old self, there has been some amazing value and verification that has come into fruition. My wife enjoys teasing me about several moments in the recorded reading. I typically tune out at those parts and allow her to translate what she pulled from the cassette recorded words.

Another encounter occurred while I was looking into a shop window downtown at some Hopi Kachina dolls. These beautiful dolls are hand carved, and painted from a single piece of cottonwood. They are amazing works of art and to this day still baffle my mind at the skill these artists have in creating this work of art. As I was admiring one an elderly gentleman swooped in from behind and spoke to me. He said, "Its not that difficult, and it doesn't have to be literal!" I caught a glance of him before he all but vanished. He could have either been of native descent, or of Hispanic descent. I'm not sure, and it doesn't matter as the words were more important than anything else.


I finished my internship with high praise, and returned to school to finish my degree. Working in the world and experiencing all I had changed me. I had more confidence and inner strength. I felt better and took the reins more often than I had early on in my education. I graduated with high marks and began searching for work. From there I worked in Florida where I worked in both a small restaurant as a sous chef and later a chain restaurant where I would learn consistency and speed. I took that chain restaurant job to Maryland and a few other places which would lead me to my education in nutrition.

My time in Florida woke up even more of my spiritual sides as well as my culinary prowess. I would meditate by the ocean and listen to what it had to teach me. Patients. I found a little metaphysics shop and purchased a set of Ogham cards and took on trying to learn to read them. I had a channeling done where I met my spirit guide, the gray wolf, for the first time. I learned a lot, and also hated where I was living. I was unhappy and set myself back to the drawing board of Pennsylvania.

During my time in the corporate restaurant world I found myself in a dark and depressive state. I fell into some friends (good people making bad choices) and took on some negative traits and experiences. I lost my job in the restaurant and decided it was time to take a break from that world. I took on a job in a vitamin supplement company and found myself really enjoying the experience. It took me to Philadelphia and started a journey into a degree in nutrition and dietetics. I met many people while there and fell in love with my now wife thanks to an ex-girlfriend. We fell deeply in love over many things. Food, beer, anime, Final Fantasy X just to name a few. We started as friends, but it wouldn't be for several years after we met that we would decide to get married. To this day I question why I waited so long. It really is one of the best decisions I'd ever made.

As I became disgruntled in my job, even though I had moved quickly up the corporate food chain, I found myself getting back into food and oddly beer. I say oddly because I never really liked beer. I had been trained on wine while in culinary school, and beer had never really been discussed.

I began home brewing with a friend and within a few years I had picked-up a job (thanks to my wife) at a local brewpub where she had worked for many years. I began waiting tables and cooking. I also spent time volunteering in the brewery and was offered an assistant brewer position a year or so later. I loved it. I still do! The magic of brewing, the alchemical processes, the spiritual high I get from brewing, and the connections to earth, air, fire, water, metal, and spirit all fuel me daily.

A few years later I wanted to see what more I could learn and if I was ready to run a brewery, so I decided to apply for some positions and interview, just to gain some information on where I needed to improve. I ended up being offered a job opening a brewpub a few states over. I accepted and moved the family to the mid-west. The move was worth every bit of the stress and life changes it brought.

So, that is a quick and condensed version of my Muggle life. I'm looking forward to blending these journeys of mystical and mundane and manifesting great things along the way. I'm looking forward to your company as I partake in this adventure. Keep following along and living this path with me. Come into the steam...or mist...or whatever you want to call it, and embark on this quest at my side.

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