gluten-free, dairy-free, egg-free, vegan, soy-free, sugar-free
A new year, a new person. Is that not the unspoken expectation that politely knocks at our doors each January 1st? It seems strange to me that we assign one day per year to renovate our personalities or characters as we would a kitchen. I love resolutions, but I’m not sure I particularly like new year’s resolutions. I like year-round resolutions. That way, we grow and change like a butterfly over a slow, organic metamorphosis. We change when we feel the urge to change. We change when instinct tells us to do so. Or destiny. Or divinity. Or whatever it is you’d like to call it. Deciding on one day each year to tackle a list of resolutions affecting our natures and habits seems unnatural. Don’t get me wrong, I am a goal-oriented person. I, like most individuals in this country, succumb to that omnipresent expectation that instills in us a need to feel “productive,” to “accomplish,” to fill our days so densely that we find it unusual if we’re not racing from one place to the next, guzzling Starbucks in our cars to “fuel” us as if we, too, are composed of processors and circuits like the ever-advancing machinery surrounding us. The amusing truth is that I literally am a different person than the person I was last year, whether I like it or not. You are too. Our cells are constantly regenerating and dying. We are physically not the same people we were at birth. Weird, huh?
What a surprise. Desi’s first paragraph of her first post of the year, and she’s already roped you into her latest existential dilemma. Sorry about that. I blame it on the whole “New Year” hullabaloo. Since I went there though… how ’bout that latest existential dilemma of mine?
Here it is, plain and simple. I am at a place in my life where nothing is solid but my relationships. My job, my purpose, my direction, my geography. None of them have shape. And it just so happens that a project to which Scott and I were devoting much of our attention and love has just fallen apart. Yesterday. We’ve been planning for months, hoping to bring our little venture to fruition this coming summer. However, it seems like every step along the way has been more of a chin-up. The kind of chin-up where you’re climbing a mountain, hanging by your arms off a ledge, and you need to pull your entire body onto that ledge just so that you can do the same thing over again to get to the next one. Nothing has been easy. Nothing has fallen into place. And despite everything we have nailed down, our exploit has still remained somewhat shapeless as well.
We finally found ourselves wondering yesterday if, all this while, we’ve been ignoring signs telling us to turn around. Should everything worth doing be a challenge? Or does challenge signify that we may not be on the right path? I ask this because there is a very, very fine line between fighting the flow and being persistent. Perhaps there is a point where you should stop being persistent and open yourself to the possibility that this isn’t what you should be doing. The problem is that when I ponder what people label as “achievement,” there truly is evidence for both arguments. Look at it this way: The Beatles are one of the greatest rock and roll bands of all time. Their union and following journey was as seamless as the music they played. They found themselves in the flow, moved right along with it, and it took its course. But what about the ongoing journey to human equality? Anyone who has fought for any achievement in civil rights would say it was exactly that: a fight. So do these different styles of achieving make one greater than the other?
I know what has spurred this dilemma for me. It comes from the unrest I feel caused by my two strong beliefs in destiny and in our power to create our own reality. This is one case in which they seem to oppose each other. And I am yearning for reconciliation.
I do have one thought that might help, and I wonder if it could be an answer. Here goes. I’ve discussed two opposing paths towards achievement: going with the flow and fighting the flow. What if these journeys are determined by the “traveller’s” intention? Having a goal vs. not having a goal. Living for the future vs. living for the present. Maybe going with the flow means listening to one’s heart at the moment and seeing where it takes you. Fighting the flow could mean doing not for the joy of doing, but solely for the joy expected in its result. Both lead to achievement. It’s just a choice of how one wants to live. Struggling or harmonizing?
Yes, I am a goal-oriented person. Lately, I feel like living that way is just making life too much of a struggle. I choose to harmonize. And though it’s a new year, it’s also a day just like any other. It’s a day in which I feel inspired to change. It’s a day in which I’ve set a new goal for myself: to not have any goals. To live for now. To do simply because I want to do. I’m not claiming this should be the way of life for everyone, but for me, it is exactly what I need right now. Otherwise, life might pass me by as I plan and wait for the next aspiration I’m working towards. As long as I’m doing what I’m doing because my heart tells me so, there’s no doubt life will lead me to extraordinary places, right?
This present (The Present) is what I give to myself today. To you I give “Detox Dal.” Don’t be intimidated by the long list of ingredients. It’s just a lot of spices. That’s what makes Indian food delicious… a.k.a. worth every teaspoonful. And after it takes you to appetizing ecstasy, maybe you’ll find yourself unknowingly headed to extraordinary places too…
Happy New Year, Lovely Readers :)
2 Tbsp unrefined coconut oil
2 tsp mustard seeds
1 medium onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 Tbsp fresh ginger, peeled and grated
1 head of cauliflower chopped
a few handfuls of kale, chopped
2 carrots, peeled and chopped
1 1/2 tsp garam masala
1 1/2 tsp turmeric
1 1/2 tsp cumin
1 1/2 tsp crushed red pepper
1 Tbsp sweet/mild curry powder
2 cups yellow split peas
6-8 cups water
2 Tbsp tomato paste
salt to taste (I used about 1 Tbsp)
1) Toast the mustard seeds in coconut oil over low/med heat until they begin to pop. Then add onions, carrots, garlic, and ginger, and sauté until onions are transparent.
2) Add spices, stir well, sauté another minute, then add cauliflower and stir.
3) Add water and split peas and bring to a boil.
4) Once boiling, lower heat to a simmer, and add kale. Cook uncovered for 40-50 minutes, until peas are tender and falling apart, and the dal has thickened.
5) Stir in the tomato paste and heat through two more minutes. Adjust salt to taste.
6) Serve as is or over your cooked grain of choice. I served this over coconut millet and it was heavenly.