“There is an innocence in admiration:
it occurs in one who has not yet realized that they might one day be admired” ~ Friedrich Nietzche
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Over the past few years, I’ve done my best to jump on board, figure it out, keep it in perspective, and make it feel like a comfortable place to be. But inevitably (if I'm not careful), in the wee hours of the morning, I’ll find myself hopelessly lost on the internet
I've always been a creature of the night, finding the hours when everyone else is asleep, and the house is quiet, the most peaceful and productive time of the day.
While usually, I know better, while usually, I use these hours wisely, while usually, I spend them writing, ending the day with my own thoughts, my own direction, my own path, my own prayers, sometimes I'll catch myself doing something else instead
I'll click to social media (just a few minutes to see pictures of my grandson) and quickly find myself taking in images of
Could it really be true?
Somehow they've discovered the secrets to living soulful lives filled with friends, family, adventures, and pets that never throw up on the carpet. They're living in amazing houses, and are full of wisdom, which they share in witty comments on everyone else's pictures and posts.
They make exotic superfood-filled smoothies for their husbands on hot summer days, and homemade gluten-free Play-Doh for their children (or grandchildren). They're the epitome of zen, have well-behaved teenagers, their skinny jeans always zip, and they handle all sorts of conflicts with impeccable
style and grace
“This is a curated version of their life. No one has it all. You know this”
I close my laptop
“But maybe it really IS true. Their lives are perfect. They're perfect.”
And slowly make my way to bed
What I've come to realize, is that if I absorb enough of it, no matter what I intellectually know to be true, I'll feel a shift in my spirit. Before long, I'll realize that I've started to believe the subtle lie that everyone has it all figured out but me
“I know this; truly I know this.”
(Why is it so hard to believe)
Step away from the screen
Maybe it's wisdom that comes with age, but lately, I've noticed in myself a deepening admiration for many of the people around me. I'm constantly surprised and amazed by stories of their lives, and the incredible things they've done
They haven't worried about the draws of the world, crafting a perfectly orchestrated picture, pithy response, or how many the cheers (and likes) they get from the crowd. Instead, they've quietly gone about building beautiful and authentic lives that are perfect for them.
She was born in India to a family of incredible privilege. There was never a question she'd have a comfortable life, with a high-paying job waiting for her (if she'd wanted to work), hired help to respond to every whim, and a carefully chosen upper-class husband
Instead, do you know what she decided to do? She packed two suitcases, boarded a plane, and came to the U.S. to go to college. At eighteen, she found herself all alone in a foreign country. A short, brown woman (as she refers to herself), with no friends or family to lean on
She went on to earn her Ph.D., become a pharmaceutical professor and wrote the textbooks students learn from today. In the meantime, she met and married her husband, with whom she raised a very accomplished daughter.
Forty + years have passed, and she's lived a quiet, prosperous, happy, and peaceful life.
“I didn't want comfortable. I didn't want servants. I wanted to be my own person. Find my own way.”
Last weekend at a dinner party I sat completely mesmerized as she talked. How many years had we been friends and this was the first time she'd shared the breadth of her back-story. Certainly, I was captivated by her words, but underneath I caught glimmers of
While she spoke, I could tell she had no regrets. She'd built a life that was perfect for her. Her hands flapped wildly as she spoke of it, a certain buoyancy filling in each word. Her smile traveled up into her eyes, and her entire face
You know what's extra cool about the story?
Because she followed the call of her heart, she set the example for her three younger sisters. All of whom followed her lead, each in their own way. One went on to become a provost at a major university here in the U.S., another started a family in Australia with the man she loves, and the third is a widely known performer in India.
And just for the smallest of seconds, I couldn't help but want to turn back time, pack a couple of suitcases of my own and start over somewhere else. Maybe this might have been the right path for me too.
But it wasn't; the story is hers. A gem of a gift she holds inside. I hope she has the level of admiration and respect for herself that I do for her
I love these stories from people who listened to their gut. Following the faintest of whispers from their inner voice, decisions that propelled them on an entirely different trajectory
I sat back and listened while she was answered everyone's questions. How she'd built a career, family, and wonderful circle of friends.
That the culture, the family, and the circumstances she was born into weren't her destiny. The capacity from which she was expected to serve the world and shine her particular light. She will be <fill-in-the-blank>. Yes, this is right
And instead, she said, No, this isn't right.
The whispers from your gut aren't about a profession, a career, or a life chosen for you by someone else. Instead, they're your character; they're who you are. They're what you treasure, what you practice, and the fruits you produce.
Last night as I sat on the sofa with a kitty snuggled in beside, curiosity got the best of me, and I clicked. Certainly, there were pictures of others, and they were still beautiful and fun.
But this time looking at them felt somehow different. That the perfect-for-them, or perfect, or wrong, or wrong-for-her, or perfect for him, or perfect-for-me, or wrong-for-all, didn't seem to matter much anymore
Instead, I thought of her and remembered the places from which I choose to draw on for inspiration
Nicely done my friend; so nicely done(!)
The next time you're in need of a salad, this is a recipe to have close to the top of your list
It's a bit of extra effort (not much), but the combination of both raw and roasted beets makes it special. The flavors of oranges, fresh parsley, and pine nuts bring elements of the unexpected, with tastes that feel fresh and alive.
Black lentils for texture, protein, and fiber.
Beet Party Salad with Lentils + Pine Nuts
- ½ cup black lentils, soaked (overnight if possible)
- fine grain sea salt
- 6 mixed beets, ~ 2 pounds red, golden, white, Chioggia
- ¼ cup olive oil
- 3 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
- 1 Tbsp maple syrup (or honey)
- zest of 2 organic oranges
- ½ cup flat-leaf parsley, roughly chopped
- ¼ cup pine nuts, lightly toasted
- freshly ground black pepper
- Preheat the oven to 400° F
- Prepare the Lentils
- Drain and rinse the lentils, put them in a saucepan, and cover with water.
- Bring to a boil, reduce the heat, and simmer until tender but not mushy (~ 10 to 20 minutes) depending on the soaking time.
- When the lentils are almost cooked, add a ¾ teaspoon salt and continue to simmer until tender. Drain, and rinse under cold water to halt the cooking.
- Put the lentils in a large bowl.
- Roast the Beets
- Wrap 4 beets in aluminum foil and put them on a baking sheet.
- Roast the beets until they are cooked through (~ 35 to 50 minutes) depending on their size.
- Remove them from the oven, let sit in their foil for about 15 minutes
- When they're cool enough to handle, unwrap the foil and slip the skins off.
- Chop the beets into bite-size pieces and add them to the lentils.
- Raw Beets
- Peel the remaining 2 beets.
- Using a mandoline or a sharp knife, slice the beets into thin rounds; then slice the rounds crosswise to make matchsticks.
- Add the raw beets to the lentils and roasted beets.
- Make the Dressing
- Whisk the olive oil, vinegar, maple syrup, and a pinch of salt together in a small bowl, and pour this dressing over the salad.
- Finish and Serve
- Add the orange zest, chopped parsley, and pine nuts, and season with salt and pepper.