I got a call from my uncle this week. He let me know that a family member of ours, who lived overseas, had passed away.
Another loss. This one wasn’t entirely unexpected, but I was still surprised to hear it. My heart ached for the family of my cousin, who was gone. I’d thought she would have more time.
As my uncle and I chatted a bit, I was aware that he was in no hurry to get off the phone. We don’t speak on the phone often—I’m not a phone person, so I don’t catch up with many people that way—and our chats are typically short when we do call each other.
This time, we spoke patiently, with a lot of long pauses. We veered off into weighty topics, which was perhaps no surprise given the nature of his call. We talked about anxiety and fear, the preciousness and precariousness of life.
My uncle and I had an interesting, candid back and forth about gratitude. How does one strike a balance between giving thanks for what is, while honestly acknowledging suffering and unhappiness?
My uncle and I have different approaches to our spiritual lives, but we’ve always been able to speak about spirituality and faith. There’s a lot of overlap between my practice of yoga and mantra and his own practice of prayer.
We talked a little bit about prayer. I haven’t prayed in a formal way since I was a kid, enveloped in a religious tradition that I no longer connect to directly. But lately, this year especially, I’ve felt the impulse to pray, without even knowing what prayer would look like at this point in my life.
At one point, a little while before we hung up, my uncle took a long pause. He told me that he’s always thinking of me, even when we don’t speak for a while. He said he’s sorry that he doesn’t call more often.
I had to chuckle: I’m terrible about picking up the phone, and if anyone’s to blame for infrequent calls, it’s me. But I knew what he meant. He was saying that I’m on his mind, even when we’re not in contact.
I told him that I feel the same way. And while it’s most important for us to know and understand that we’re always thinking of each other, we should really voice that more often. You never know what the future will bring.
2020 has me thinking about the many things that I leave unsaid, assuming that there will always be more chances to express them. It makes me consider the experiences that I keep delaying—places I’d like to go, things I’d like to learn, parts of myself that I’d like to express—as I try to manage my everyday life.
I’m not sure what would need to change for me to become a little better at acting on feelings, desires, and plans. I know most of what needs to shift is internal. It won’t hang upon a change in circumstances or timing.
But the losses of this year, coupled with the travel and social restrictions of Covid, have been an important catalyst. They’ve compelled me to think about living in the present, being a person who has, in the words of Mel Robbins, a “bias toward action.”
I can’t help being the considered person and slow processor that I am. But life moves quickly, and I want more than ever to live mine with a spirit of fullness. That effort can begin, as most change does, with baby steps.
So, here’s to a week of doing at least a few things each day that feel a little new, a little uncomfortable, and a little off script. It won’t be a great adventure, but it’s the place to start.
Happy Sunday, friends. Here are some recipes and reads.
Always delighted to have more inspiration to try new things in my air fryer! Amanda’s garlic herb butternut squash looks so good.
Francesca’s hearty seitan comfort stew is the winter food of my dreams.
I’ve been meaning to try Brandi’s no oil roasted Brussels sprouts for ages now, and the upcoming Thanksgiving will be a perfect opportunity.
Another holiday classic: scalloped potatoes. Marly’s version is vegan and looks so good!
Finally, why choose between something chocolatey and something pecan pie-ish? Hilaire’s double chocolate pecan cookie bars are both.
1. Eight chefs and food professionals reflect on the meaning of Diwali this year.
2. Could the Chilean soapbark tree help human bodies to respond more strongly to vaccines?
3. Space junk. Who knew?
4. Via The New York Times, one writer’s moving essay about connecting to her father through song as his Alzheimer’s Disease takes over.
5. On the same theme, a meditation on grief from writer Matthew Bremner. This observation stuck with me: “Grief starts off as a fear of absence and then becomes the acclimatization to it.”
Some low-key Thanksgiving inspiration coming your way, this week and next. Till then,
I read Rachel O’Meara’s article on the importance of pauses—especially as a tool for reevaluating professional direction—about a month ago. I took interest in the piece because I’ve been working to slow down these days. Not too long ago I mentioned that I tend to force decisions, or make them too precipitously. My intention—to be proactive and not overthink things—is sensible enough. But when I act too quickly I often regret it; I end up wondering whether I might have come to a clearer and more…
Happy Sunday and happy Memorial Day, everyone! I spent a night of the long weekend in New York, so that I could have a lovely dinner with my soul sista JL, and now I’m back in DC, preparing for a mellow day tomorrow. Here are some of the scrumptious recipes that caught my eye this week, and the links that gave me food for thought. Dreena’s walnut pecan balls look fabulous–what a nice alternative to lentil or wheat balls! Susan’s beet and quinoa…
Morning, all! I hope that everyone has had a restful weekend. I’m reaching the last push of my summer class, gearing up for my Serve Safe exam on Thursday, and scrambling to finish up meal plans for my clients today, so it’ll be a productive Sunday. No matter what, though, there’s always a little time for food blog tourism, and here are the recipes (and the reads) that caught my attention this morning. Let’s start with breakfast. I’m in love with the electric…
When I was a kid, according to my mom, I used to spend hours at a time lying on the floor and staring up at the ceiling. She was the sort of parent who gave me plenty of space to do my own thing, but this habit was so pervasive that she finally asked my pediatrician about it. “She can stare at the ceilings for hours at a time,” she told him. “Should I be worried?” My doctor—an older Greek gentleman whom we…