You know those weeks where you feel like every day is just another test of your patience, another drill in perseverance, another lesson in learning to stay calm and keep your cool?
That was last week for me. To a T. I’ll spare you the details and just leave it at Mega Downer.
I’ll be the first to admit that when the going gets tough, I’m not that glass-half-full person that pulls up their bootstraps and faces the day with a smile no matter what. Frankly, those people kind of irritate me. It’s because I wish I were more like them. It irks me that glass-half-fullness doesn’t come easily to me, that I’m naturally inclined to have a more realistic (read: empty glass) outlook when life gets a little rough.
Last week got in my face in a big way. In some respects, my active mind got the best of me…but it also raised important questions that I’ve been needing to answer for a long time. I did some serious thinking, nail biting, and talking with others. I don’t have all the answers, but I definitely feel like I’m on a better track this week. More importantly, I’m okay with not having all the answers right now.
Someday, when this weird but really kind of wonderful stage of life is behind me, maybe I’ll fill you in on the details of what’s been going on. For now, though, I’m good with just knowing you’re here reading every week and that we can share some great food together.
When I find myself doing serious thinking, I almost always end up doing some serious cooking, too. In the midst of last week’s roller coaster, I chopped to my heart’s content and ate tons of salad. It’s what I do when I’m nervous and wired.
Through the cooking comes peace, clarity of mind, and the small but comforting promise that everything will be okay. Food speaks to me in subtle ways that make life more bearable, even when it seems like it’s two inches away from falling apart.
I’m planning to make more of this salad this week to keep me fueled and nourished as I make positive strides in the right direction. I call it “Power Salad” because that’s literally how you feel after you eat it: strong, empowered, and super duper healthy.
My dad knew that I was having a tough time last week, so he gave me a little something to cheer me up. It’s a magnet that reads:
“Courage does not always roar. Sometimes courage is the quiet voice at the end of the day saying, ‘I will try again tomorrow.’” (Mary Anne Radmacher)
I’m going to keep it at my desk as a reminder to live my days as the courageous person I know I can be. And although I may not succeed every time, I will try and try again. I will remind myself that life is not about getting from Point A to Point B as fast as possible. It’s not about racing through the day-to-day in the fleeting pursuit of greener grass.
It’s about finding joy in the journey and hope in life’s quiet promises. I will remind myself that peace is not the absence of conflict, but rather the presence of joy that flows from within despite my circumstances.
It takes a courageous heart to hold on to peace. And an even more courageous one to say this: I’m up for the challenge.
Raw Power Salad
3 cups finely chopped kale (stems removed and discarded)
1 cup broccoli florets, finely chopped
2 medium carrots, peeled and shredded
1/2 cup chopped bell pepper
1/2 cup thinly sliced scallions
1/4 cup finely chopped parsley
2 tablespoons raw sunflower seeds
2 tablespoons raw sesame seeds
2-3 pitted Medjool dates, chopped
2-3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon Grade B maple syrup or honey
1 tablespoon finely grated ginger root
Sea salt, to taste
In a large mixing bowl, combine the kale, broccoli, carrots, bell pepper, scallions, parsley, sunflower seeds, sesame seeds, and dates.
In a small bowl, whisk together the lemon juice, olive oil, maple syrup, and ginger to combine. Pour the dressing over the salad and toss to coat. Season to taste with salt. Let salad stand at room temperature for at least 15 minutes before serving.