gluten-free, dairy-free, egg-free, soy-free, vegan, sugar-free, ACD friendly, gum-free, raw
“Muffin, in life there are always, like… struggles.”
Behold the words with which Marian began our latest weekly skype date. I couldn’t have said it better myself. But then, that’s to be expected. Marian and I are cut from the same cloth. It’s a dish cloth. And that dish cloth is most likely a delicate, flowery, provincially vintage dish cloth you’d find in some weathered woman’s kitchen in the French countryside of La Dordogne. Or, like, this one from Anthropologie. Details aside, Marian and I mirror each other. Right down to our nicknames (I call her “Muffin” as well). And the mirroring never ceases – even when she is on the other side of the planet, as far from me as she could possibly be. Which is where she happens to be right now.
As strange as it may sound, there’s something comforting in hearing Marian say this. There are always struggles in life. It’s not just me. The mistake I often make is thinking that dealing with the “struggle du jour” means happiness is out of the question. But who says struggle and happiness are oil and water? Who says we can’t experience the struggles we’re evidently going to experience and still be happy simultaneously? Who says we can’t take struggle the way we take mosquito bites?
Yes, struggle might harden us. It might be a source of frustration or anger, but both frustration and anger are nothing more than reactions. They aren’t who we are. They’re emotions we wear like badges. We can take those badges off any time we want. Happiness, on the other hand, is a state of being. We don’t wear happiness, we are happiness. And it can never leave us if we never ask it to leave in the first place.
Do you ever find yourself having a day where everything seems to be going wrong and yet you are still strangely happy without knowing why? It used to happen to me every once in a while. Now it happens more regularly. I think that’s because I’m somehow learning how to keep from completely surrendering my state of happiness every single time Life happens to kick me in the shin. I am evolving. Buddhist monk style, yo.
It’s so easy to find yourself comparing your everyday grind to that of someone else whether that means you assume that person has it worse or has it better than you do. But what makes one person’s suffering worse than another’s? Am I the only person who thinks it’s pointless to play the comparison game? The truth is that for each of us, what is most difficult for us in our individual lives is exactly that: what is most difficult. And we never, never, never really know what life is like for the homeless man outside of Best Buy, that seemingly ever-smiling receptionist, or our best friend all the way in New Zealand.
Whether it be through initiating that comparison game or simply planting that dreaded question of “Why me?” in some pocket of our brains, struggle seeks to divide us. It endeavors to make us believe that we’re all separate, that we’re each alone. But the more I realize that life’s curveballs hold only the power that I give them, the less power they seem to have. The more deeply I accept my battles and the less seriously I take them, the more room I leave for myself to feel happy.
Marian and I made a pact to play a more active role in cultivating and protecting our own happiness. We’re currently in the midst of intense list-making! Short term goals for our souls! Activities we remember loving as children! I’m sharing this with you because I’ve found this bit of self-exploration to be profoundly empowering. We don’t have to wear our suffering girl-scout style, counting up our numbers of badges as if they contribute anything to what defines us. I’m trading mine in.
So, in the words of Maid Marian: Yes, there are…like…. struggles.
But so what?
Raw Nori Nachos
Inspired by and adapted from The Fitnessista’s Nori Nachos. If Gina had provided exact measurements to her secret recipe, I probably would not have started experimenting myself! I’m so glad her post inspired me to hit the kitchen. Thanks, Gina! You rock. :)
1 package raw nori
1/2 cup raw cashews, soaked 4-6 hrs
1/4 cup coconut aminos
1 jalapeno pepper, seeded
1 small red bell pepper or 1/2 large, seeded
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp chili powder
1/4 tsp ground cumin
2 Tbsp lime juice
1) Using food scissors (is there an official name for these?), cut each nori sheet in half.
2) Place remaining ingredients into vita mix or other high speed blender. Blend until completely smooth.
3) Spoon a bit of mixture over each half-sheet of nori. Spread to corners. Divide mixture evenly.
4) Place nori sheets in the dehydrator. Dehydrate at 105˚ for 12 hrs.
5) Use food scissors to cut each half-sheet into four triangles (nachos!)
6) Return nachos to dehydrator and dehydrate for another 12 hrs, or until nachos reach your desired crispy crunchiness!