It's easy to forget that we are all perfect in our own design. Sometimes we muck it up with habits and choices that do not serve us.
Last night I dreamed I was applying to universities and had been rejected from every single one. However, hidden underneath the pile of rejection letters, I found a small envelope offering me a free ride to a school in the Caribbean, even though I hadn’t even applied. In my dream, when I went to visit the tropical island that was home to the university, I inhaled the scent of plumeria and heard the gentle sea breeze rustling the palm fronds, and I realized that sometimes what we least expect far surpasses what we plan for.
Many years ago I applied to PhD programs in French literature at Stanford and Berkeley. I didn’t particularly have a burning desire to be an academic or even a professor, but up until that point I’d either been in school or teaching school since the age of five, so it seemed like the logical step after receiving a masters degree in French Cultural Studies.
I still remember exactly where I was standing when I read the rejection letters.
Now, when I look back on this, I’m filled with so much gratitude. That thin piece of paper that said, “we regret…” opened the door to a completely different life. I quit my job, moved to Switzerland, and began to step out of my comfort zone.
If you’d asked me back then if I thought I’d be doing what I’m doing now, in a million years, I wouldn’t have guessed that this would be my life. And, you know what? This is so much better than what I’d dreamed up for myself.
Often when we dream of the future, we’re stuck within the confines of what we already know. It’s only when we’re willing to let go of the reigns and ride the wave of life that we can end up somewhere so much more miraculous than we could have ever imagined.
What in your life is better because you didn’t get what you thought you wanted? How would your future be different if you allowed for alternate routes?
The same can be true with cooking. Some of the best dishes are created when we let go of expectations and allow creativity to flow. I came up with this recipe on a cold, autumn day when my cupboards were seemingly bare. My fingers were on the keypad of my phone to order takeout, when suddenly I realized that I could change course and make something healthy and delicious with what I already had. This soup adds a bit of sunshine to an otherwise rainy day, but I love it anytime! Use whatever you have on hand and see what culinary magic you cook up!
2 Tbsp. olive oil
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, chopped
1 lb. carrots, peeled and chopped
1 whole celery, chopped
½ green cabbage, rough chopped
1 large bunch Italian parsley, chopped
1 28-oz. can diced tomatoes in juice (or about 10 fresh Roma tomatoes)
10 cups water
½ cup cider vinegar
½ cup lentils
salt and pepper, to taste
In a large stockpot (at least 6 quarts) over medium heat, sauté the onion and garlic with the olive oil and a pinch of salt and pepper until the onions are soft and translucent, about 5-10 minutes. Meanwhile chop the carrots and celery and add them to the pot. Chop the cabbage and parsley and add them to the pot. Stir frequently to make sure nothing sticks. Add the diced tomatoes, water, and cider vinegar, and another small pinch of salt. Increase the heat to medium-high. Once you attain a gentle boil, reduce the heat to maintain a simmer. Cover and gently simmer for about an hour. Add the lentils, cover, and simmer until the lentils are soft, about 45 minutes. Add salt to taste.
The Mystic Cookbook: The Secret Alchemy of Food
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