I’ve been trying to write something all day, without much success. Events of the past week have left me at a loss for words.
I was thinking that I’d post a weekend pause, telling you that I’d be back with regularly scheduled programming next week. But in the back of my mind was an exchange that I’d had with a friend earlier in the week, on Monday.
For some reason, I can’t stop thinking about it. And I thought that there must be a reason it keeps coming back to me. Maybe that’s a signal that I ought to share, that someone else reading will find meaning in it, too.
I’d been chatting with my friend about some personal struggles, some low points. He told me that the low points made his heart heavy for me. And then he asked me to do something. He asked if I’d please let him know when I had moments of moving in the other direction.
It was such a beautiful thing to say, really. It was an expression of care, one that showed a real understanding of how depression works. One of the hardest things about having depression, for me, is managing the feeling that people I’m close to are waiting for a linear trend upwards, or even for the day when poof! I don’t have depression anymore.
That’s not really how it works, which isn’t to say that I’m down all the time. I’ve felt pretty grounded this year, in spite of everything. But it’s a flux. Things move in different directions, as my friend suggested. Some stretches are long, some are short. I’ve learned to make peace with the motions, whether I’m in a bright spot or a darker one.
But it’s all too easy to dwell on the difficult moments, to focus on the darkness. And it’s so important to acknowledge the happy times, too, to give them the same attention and focus that we give struggle.
I was reminded of the time that a yoga teacher shared words that her mother had said to her. It was something to the effect of, “don’t only pray when you’re despairing or in need of help; God wants to hear from you in good times, too.”
My friend understood this. And now, I understand it, too. I’ll share the next completely random, joyous moment with him. And I’ll be sure to share it with all of you.
Commitment to recognizing joy, peace, and contentment doesn’t mean pretending that the feelings are there when they’re not. It simply means that we give them our awareness when they show up, refusing to let them be outweighed or shadowed by suffering.
I’m celebrating the next joyous moment that’s possible for me, for you, for all of us. It’s coming.
Happy Sunday, friends. Here are some recipes and reads.
I love the looks of Tieghan’s ginger sesame noodles with caramelized mushrooms.
A beautifully, wintery pumpkin hummus salad.
This vegan sausage borlotti bean stew is calling my name right now.
Finally, I’d love to devour this whole stack of Constanze’s vegan stroopwafels!
1. Apparently a 2,000 year old snack bar was unearthed in Pompei. Pretty incredible.
2. A short history of peanut butter.
3. Ed Yong considers what the US will face as we head into the second year of the coronavirus pandemic.
4. An alternative to resolutions, intentions, or goals: choosing a word for a new year. (So far, I don’t have one.)
5. I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about roads not taken this year—blame it on all of the quarantine solitude. It was interesting to read this meditation on regret and the allure of our unlived lives. Joshua Rothman writes,
Just as the past year has gotten me thinking about what ifs and should haves, it’s also shown me the importance of living in the here and now—no matter what else might be, or could have been.
On that note, I’m signing off. I always feel a lot of love when I publish these posts, but I’m sending out extra heaps of it tonight.
Happy Saturday, all. It is a beautiful spring morning here in New York, and I’m looking forward to savoring a little sunshine today. Tomorrow is the Just Food Conference at Teacher’s College, an event that gathers food justice advocates to talk about creating a more sustainable and equitable food system. I’ll be doing a presentation and demo on cooking with pulses as a sustainable, inexpensive protein source, and sharing some easy recipes from my kitchen and Food52 Vegan. I’m excited to connect with…
At some point this year I realized that I was reading too much self-help. As constructive as all of the books, articles, and podcasts I was consuming were, at least in theory, the accumulation of advice was starting to stress me out. I made that decision in December, just in time to avoid the “new year, new you” rhetoric. But I’ve dipped my toes back into the self-help genre this week. This time, the wisdom I’m looking for has nothing to do with…
The first time self-soothing was explained to me, it was by a friend who had her hands full taking care of a new baby. Self-soothing, she said, is when a baby develops the capacity to calm his or herself down. It’s seen as being key to uninterrupted nights of sleep for parents, since it allows babies to get back to rest if they should happen to wake up during the night. A little while later, when I was exploring resources on coping with…
Happy Sunday, friends. A lot of you have already tried this past week’s curried tahini pasta salad and given it a thumbs up, which makes me so happy to hear! I’m already excited to make it again. I’ve spent the last two days catching up on all of the stuff I didn’t take care of while I was wrapping up my spring semester: unanswered emails, chores, errands, cleaning, that sort of thing. There won’t be much of a breather this year, as my…
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Dear Gena, can I just say that I’m amazed and impressed you wrote a post at all and that I love what your friend said to you. He held both things so beautifully. May we all do as well if we can. Love you