with Walnut Italian “Sausage”
So I might have recently likened myself to a Buddhist monk. It might have been a stretch. The only trait I can confidently say I mirror to that of a monk is the desire for people to give me food. Except that probably doesn’t even count because I will gladly beg. No shame. Hm. I should have likened myself to a dog. Oh, and also there’s been this mystery animal living in a tree outside our front door that I’ve wanted to violently silence. And that’s not very Buddhist either.
Mystery animal squawks deafeningly like a big old eagle with the disposition of an angry Italian grandmother. Or a misplaced tropical rainforest parrot trained to act as a neighborhood alarm system. Mystery animal squawks in said manner all the live long day. After much consideration, Scott and I settled on what Mystery Animal must be: a baby pterodactyl. Without a doubt, that is the prime explanation for what could possibly create such an ear-splitting noise.
Then Scott witnessed an incident that took place in a tree he often passes on his bike route. The incident involved our familiar squawk ringing aloud and a squirrel mouthing the lyric. A squirrel. Um… since when do squirrels make sounds? Squirrels squawk? Oh, and I suppose rabbits bark? And deer roar? Great. I’ve lived my whole life until now believing that some animals are just mute. My entire understanding of the silent animal kingdom has been contradicted. Invalidated. Demolished. Look. Delight your eardrums by clicking on “Eastern Grey Squirrel.” Yeah, it’s official: I fail at squirrel facts.
But Buddhist monks? They would know about squirrels. Considering all that meditative observation of the world around them, I bet they see squirrels shrieking away every day. I’ve got a long way to go. Still, do I believe I’m evolving? Yes. I’m no guru, and I’m certainly not becoming any more “saintly.” I’m just changing. Evolving.
The craziest thing is that my evolving hasn’t meant gaining any information or knowledge I didn’t have before. If anything, the opposite has taken place.
I know less.
I don’t even know what sound squirrels make.
I know very close to nothing.
And I’m actually, weirdly, really okay with that. In fact, I actually, weirdly, really love it. I love living having relinquished any expectations of what living should be for me. I love not knowing what is coming next for me. I love not even planning what is coming next. I love being so lost that I’m driven towards adjectives rather than nouns, eclectic bouquets of words rather than career-related labels, to unearth what truly makes me Me. And of course, I love having my pterodactyl theory be so wrong that the mystery squawker turns out to be not even a similar species.
I’m not going to claim that this newfound peace and joy means I know anything at all. That’s the number one mistake we all make, I think: trying to make intellectual sense of something that is not meant to be understood intellectually at all. So instead, I’m simply going to continue not knowing. Not knowing is good. Not knowing is my new safe haven. It’s scary at first, but I invite you to give it a try. Why? Here’s the coolest part: Not knowing includes not knowing limits. And no matter how “open” you’ve believed yourself to be, you’re still closing yourself off to potential miracles, joy, light, opportunity, and love if you claim to “know.”
Take it from me. Except: don’t. Because what do I know?
Raw Stuffed Peppers
makes 4 pepper halves
*I submitted this recipe to “Diet, Dessert and Dogs'” Wellness Weekend
2 red bell peppers, sliced in half down the middle (Optional: dehydrate at 105˚ for 4-6 hours to soften slightly)
1 1/2 cups raw walnuts (I use soaked and dehydrated!)
2 Tbsp coconut aminos
1 Tbsp filtered water
1/2 Tbsp fennel seeds
1/4 cup spinach, basil, or parsley (or combination), finely chopped
1/4 tsp crushed red pepper
1/4 tsp garlic powder
pinch of himalayan pink salt
1) Process raw walnuts and fennel seeds in food processor until it resembles finely ground meat.
2) Add remaining ingredients to walnut “sausage” in a bowl and mix well.
3) Fill red pepper halves with walnut “sausage.”
4) Refrigerate for a few hours to allow flavors to meld and settle.