The Art of Solitude

Army of One!

Unlike cooking.  Where one has the latitude to throw in a few more spices.  To add a guesstimate of a handful of herbs.  And to literally play around with the ingredients until one arrives at a desired taste.  Where mistakes during the process can be fixed easily without any real consequence.  Which is, in itself, an art.  Baking is a science.  Where one has little or no room to play around with the ingredients.  To get that cake perfectly right, one must perfectly balance the ingredients.  Because if you get the balance wrong.  Then you’ll have to start again.  No question.  So, to arrive at this place requires trying and testing.  Mixing and matching, but always within the confines of the stated quantities.  But thankfully, once the cake is baked, then one has the room to play.  To unleash the artist inside you and create the most beautiful designs.  With the complete freedom to do as one pleases.

However, a sight : bite dichotomy exists.  Where one must also balance the science of cakes with the art of cakes.  That is, to get the sight : bite relationship just right and ensure that both the inside and outside of the cake are equally matched.  All too often, it’s love at first sight but disappointment at first bite.  Or disappointment at first sight but love at first bite.  And many times, it’s about compromise.  Where one settles for one over the other simply because attaining both seems too high a standard.  So, if the design is what you opt for, you’re left with cakes that impress on sight but are hardly eaten or enjoyed.  And in the case of the opposite.  One accepts disappointment with the design for the pleasure of being left with no traces of cake at the end of the day.  Either way.  Whichever you choose.  You’re sometimes a happy, but not completely satisfied, customer.

It’s in my musings of this dichotomy that I have coined what I call ‘the art of solitude’.  With the mind that to produce effective results at this level, it’s important to receive your inspiration and function from a higher level.  That instead of getting caught up with and primarily focusing on both the science and the art of caking, which we all accept are fundamental to the success of the process, one should firstly focus the mind at a higher level.  That is, before you do, think and imagine the process from beginning to end.  This is what has worked for me.  In my moments of personal meditation, I ponder on what I expect to see and how I intend to get there.  With a view of the production line from A to Z.  As I reflect, I play with flavours and textures in my mind, I create designs in my mind, I imagine what success looks like and what it’ll take to get there, and then I complete the picture in a single thought.  I ponder on what could go wrong, who I need to take with me on the journey, and how to be the best version of ‘me’ that can sustain the vision I’m carrying.  Of course, it’s not possible to see and cater for every eventuality in the mind.  But it’s in these quiet moments that I prepare for what I want to see, and then create and build.  And once I am comfortable on the inside, then I know that I’m ready to go for it on the outside.  Backing myself completely.  Once the substance is established in my heart and in my mind, then I’m able to translate this into both the science and the art that is required at the lower level.  That’s when I pick up my baking tools and use my hands.  Simply put.  I start grinding.

However, to do this successfully one must be able to spend time alone.  And also know how to use that time to your advantage.  The more time that you’re able to spend with yourself.  The more that you’re able to pull out from within.  If you’re more inclined to the ‘noise’ – to people, places, things and so forth, if it takes constantly being on the go to keep you going, then you’ll struggle to effectively connect with this inner part in you.  Because it’s only in the quiet that you’re able to hear beyond where those who are consumed by the noise are able to hear, and to travel to spaces in your mind that only a certain level of consciousness can discern.  To perceive that which is heard in these special moments, and then to translate those instructions into something tangible for the world to see.  When you operate from this place, your strength does not come from the numbers following or agreeing with you.  Or from what has been done successfully before your eyes.  But, rather, from your very core.  It’s about harnessing the power that is deeply within you and producing success in the physical realm using that power. 

I believe that to succeed in one’s endeavours is to firstly master this art.  That it’s not only about the cakes or what we are able and gifted to produce with our hands.  But that it’s also about how we get to that space where we’re able to build a vision, go for it, and translate it into something tangible that can be sustained for generations to come.  Were it that easy, and if it was only about the gift, then there would be many more people out there building and creating.  Because the world really is full of amazing and talented people. But something continues to stop men from chasing their dreams.  And it’s more than just fear. 

I believe that you’re your most powerful when your power comes from inside you and not from external factors and circumstances.  That you’re your most powerful when your drive is independent of what others are doing or saying.  And that you’re your most powerful when you’re doing what you do not to compete with others but to run your own comparable race.  To do something unique and specially designed for you.  But I also believe that it’s not possible to do this fully without mastering ‘the art of solitude’.

I didn’t start Tsim & Bibi with my hands.  It was in my mind.  And so, as Tsim & Bibi continues to serve you with our delectable treats.  I will continue to dream and ensure that we always have something tangible to give you.  That we get the balance between the science and art of baking perfectly right.  And that we provide you with an overall experience that imprints something positive in your heart.  Without compromise or the need to choose between one good thing and another.  This is the vision and the subject of my meditations.  And the foundation of the Tsim & Bibi story that we are writing.

May you be inspired to do even bigger things from the power that is already within you.  Let’s challenge ourselves and see just how far everyone in the Tsim & Bibi community can go, as we write our individual stories and leave footprints on the earth.

Yours in caking-it,


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