Happy October! I feel as though I’m constantly making remarks in these posts about how quickly time is flying, so I should probably just accept that pace as the nature of things. But, seriously: time is flying. I can’t believe September has already come and gone.
In looking back on this month, I can definitely see that some of the overwhelm I was feeling this week is due to my having been a lot more open and social than I have been in a long time. Yes, there’s school and work and the usual things to do, but I’m also out and about a lot more often.
It wasn’t until last week, when I was reflecting on Rosh Hashanah this year, that I realized how much anxiety about leaving the safety of my home space had been weighing on me. So much was alien and unfamiliar after my breakup with Steven that my apartment became more of a refuge than it ever had been. I needed my home space to keep me tethered to something constant and steady, but at a certain point I think I started leaning on it too heavily, enveloping myself in solitude because it felt less scary than engaging with the world around me.
Now I’m pushing myself to have a more open posture. I’m not pushing too hard: I’m still giving myself plenty of time to feel safe and grounded and rooted down in my space. But I am trying to get out more often, to see and do new things, to connect socially, and to see how it feels not to stay alone with myself quite so much. Prague was a step forward, a literal and figurative adventure. And since my return, I’ve kept the momentum going by making more plans, being more spontaneous, and gently challenging my routines.
For the most part, it feels good. In the last two weeks, I may have taken it a little too far, and by Friday of this week I was feeling a sense of dizziness, an eagerness to be in my home and to rest. I heeded that urge, and for the most part I’ve had a calm and quiet weekend. The week ahead feels balanced: some time with friends, some new people to meet, and space for myself and my work, too.
To avoid extremes is never easy work for me. I’m getting better, but my natural inclination is always to dwell in intense spaces. I respect my passionate temperament, but I’ve learned that my mental and physical health depends greatly on my striving for equilibrium as best I can. I’m feeling proud of myself for venturing outside of the comfort zone lately, but also for having had the good sense to heed the signs of overwhelm when they hit me this past week, so that I could recalibrate a little.
I hope the week ahead brings you a balance of everything you need. Here are some of the recipes and links I’m enjoying this morning.
I love a good sheet pan of roasted sprouts, don’t get me wrong, but I have to admit that I’m almost as partial to them when they’re shaved and sautéed (as in this hash) or simply added to a salad (like this tasty kale and Brussels sprout salad). Now Steven’s got a recipe for Brussels sprout fried rice that I’m dying to try.
I’m always looking for quinoa burger recipes that will be sturdy and toothsome (lots of the ones I’ve tried are tasty, but fall apart easily). This pumpkin and quinoa burger looks like it fits the bill. (The site is in Dutch, but you can use Google translate to see the recipe in English.)
A bright, vibrant flatbread for fall. This one features roasted butternut hummus, chickpeas, Brussels sprouts, and apple. So much flavor and texture!
A protein-rich, nutritious vegan pasta supper: smoky tofu bolognese. I’ve seen vegan bolognese recipes with legumes and mushrooms, and I love this departure.
I can’t wait to make a giant pot of Traci’s harissa stewed black-eyed peas with okra and collard greens, and then to eat it on a cool, autumn evening. Yum.
1. A rising global demand for meat is good news for the pharmaceutical industry, but it enhances the growing threat of antibiotic resistance.
2. My post-bacc experience taught me so much about the value of “failure”: not just experiencing it and learning from it, but also talking about it, and thereby creating a culture where we celebrate the value of rejection and wrong turns along with triumph and apparent successes. I really like this article, and I think it applies not only to the sciences, but to other professions as well.
3. Speaking of professional life, a really interesting article on the tremendous toll that incivility takes in workplaces.
4. Research suggests that a punishment-oriented, ultra-disciplinary approach works poorly with challenging kids. A new approach—one that underscores kids’ sense of their own competence and problem-solving skills—shows a lot of promise. This article has the details.
5. Mozambique has the eighth highest global prevalence of HIV infection. Mosaic tells the story of a group of female sex workers who—in spite of political and financial challenges—are proactively helping thousands of people on the margins of their society.
Enjoy the reads. Coming up this week, a hearty, perfectly seasonal stew recipe, courtesy of awesome vegan cookbook author Celine Steen. I can’t wait to share it, along with news of her latest work. Till soon!
Happy Sunday. It was a cold, then a rainy, weekend here in DC, but I managed to spend some quality time with friends, scribble some holiday cards, work, and sip hot cocoa nearly nonstop. For the last few years, I spent the month of December huddled in the library in a pair of grungy sweatpants, nervously studying for finals and waiting for the verdict of my end of semester grades. I couldn’t give much thought to the holidays, which made me sad, because…
My voice is hoarse from singing, and lots of it. I was at a kirtan last night at my yoga studio, basking in that awesome community and the friendships I’ve made within it. The kirtan featured mash ups of Vedic chants and contemporary songs: the Beatles, Magnetic Fields, Madonna. The kirtan purist in me was a little affronted when I heard that the program would work this way, but I’m glad that I kept an open mind. It was wonderful. Kirtan and yoga:…
Spontaneity has never been my strong suit. I’ve always admired it from afar, nodding my head approvingly at the idea of carpe diem, going with the flow, and all of that. But acknowledging its value and actually welcoming it into my life are two very different things. I know that my resistance to spontaneity has to do with my attachment to control, or the idea of it, which is something I’m trying to let go of. It’s not easy to let go of…
Many of you have been following along with me this week as I make my way through the SNAP challenge–an assignment for my community nutrition class. If you’re just reading about it now, the challenge is to spend a week on approximately the same budget as a SNAP recipient, which is adjusted by state and by the number of individuals living in a home. We were given a budget of $40 per person, which is reflective of benefits in New York, and Steven and…