Every time I sit down to write lately I’ve been met with an empty brain, an empty heart. I tried to describe my feeling but only came up with a handful of symbols, a few words only close to the real thing: loneliness, boredom, busy-ness, impatience. A grab-bag of contradictions does my current state make.
I’m doing all I can to prepare for the months ahead, but there’s only so much packing and researching I can do in advance. I’m trying to enjoy living here, living now, but it’s a daily struggle when my friends are states and countries away, and part of me is already acting out the adventure in Hawaii. I’m already nostalgic for this place I call home, even though we’re nowhere close to leaving yet. I can feel my health and the state of my body declining is barely perceptible ways as I spend more and more time in my head and less time on my feet, taking care of movement, feeling, nourishment.
(What is more frustrating is that whenever I write here it always comes back to moving. My horizons need expanding.)
It’s funny how we can get so good at living, so good at doing all of the right things at the right times, and then a season of abnormality can shake us out of our orbit and send us spinning out of control. (And by us I mean me.)
This is as reflected in my daily routine as it is in my writing. How can I stir up meaningful representations of life lessons, sift through them to create coherent thoughts and put them on a page when I can hardly sit still enough to write an email? When I feel the anxiety of not-writing rise up within me my first inclination is to read something by someone else; this may or may not be a healthy coping mechanism. The range of emotion when I click through favorite blogs or skim a favorite passage in a favorite book runs from inspiration to self-dispair — how am I ever going to make it when everyone else is writing like this? Am I not deep enough? Is my life so shallow as to not even warrant artistic interpretation?
All this, in my brain, all at once, is too much. Sometimes I am just too much. So.
The next few weeks are going to be spent taking care of mind and body, heart and soul. I will be present, take deep breaths, stretch, listen, engage, savor. I will stop being so hard on myself and enjoy the fruits of my labor. I will get out and explore, because it is the very act of seeing new things that keeps my life from feeling too small. I will keep it simple.
And so, a simple recipe. There may be more of these popping up: beautiful, easy dishes to share without the pressure of a story alongside, while life goes on being lived abundantly.
Maybe this will bring back my inspiration. Let’s hope so.
Kale Caesar Salad with Lemon Chicken
I large bunch kale, washed and trimmed
assorted vegetables – carrot ribbons, bell peppers, cherry tomatoes, radishes…
parmesan cheese, freshly grated (optional)
2 chicken breasts
juice and zest of a lemon
1 Tbsp. coconut oil
1 tsp. mustard
1 clove garlic
salt + black pepper
dash of fish sauce
1 Tbsp. coconut aminos
1 ½ tsp. anchovy paste
¼ c. olive oil
Roughly chop kale and reserve in a large bowl. Massage olive oil into raw kale until the leaves begin to soften and the volume of the greens decreases. Chop, dice and peel assorted veggies and toss to combine with kale.
In a small bowl, mash together anchovy paste, garlic, mustard, fish sauce, coconut aminos, salt and pepper (and parmesan cheese, if that’s your thing). Stir to combine and pour over salad.
Salt and pepper chicken breasts and sear in a hot pan with melted coconut oil. Reduce heat, pour lemon juice and zest over each side and cover to steam/poach. Cook for 5-10 minutes, or until chicken is cooked through. Slice on the bias and plate over tossed kale Caesar salad.
To this you could add more grated parmesan, or some toasted sunflower seeds, or even a drizzle of fragrant olive oil. This makes for a light dinner or a vegetable-laden lunch with enough salad for leftovers the next day. Serves two comfortably.