Life just GOES, ya know? These last few weeks have presented some profound ups and downs and thrown me for a few loops too. My days have been full of extreme contrasts - I’m grieving, I’m celebrating, I’m confused, I’m focused. I’m experiencing growing pains in my 40’s! I’m cleaning up old relationships and embarking on new ones. Digging deep into new passions and letting others go that aren’t serving me anymore. Someone recently compared life to a roller coaster and I didn’t really give it much thought in the moment, but as I’m settling back into New York City from my time away, I keep returning to that comparison.
As a kid, roller coasters freaked me out. The safety bar locked in over my lap wasn’t keeping me safe, it was trapping me into a situation where there was no way out. I always thought something horrible could happen if the bar needed to be that tight. How could something be fun if you actually needed to be locked in? The ride would start out slowly and I would have a little breath of, “Oh this isn’t so bad, I can handle this.” And then the car would jet off like a rocket on the rails! My stomach would land in my throat, my heart would beat out of my chest, and I literally would lose my breath. I felt tricked and betrayed.
You know the part that was the worst. The Hill. The ‘tick tick tick’ of the cars climbing up the never ending hill that would drop down a jillion feet or go upside down 3 times in a row as soon as you got to the top. I think that is what really got me about roller coasters. Knowing my fate was on the other side of the hill, and there was no turning back, I had to face it. Even if I thought I knew what was coming, that ‘tick tick tick’ erased all confidence. I was terrified.
Life presents profound ups and downs, just as a roller coaster does. Sometimes they are thrilling and sometimes you are left with your insides turning flips. Life gives us hills that seem eternal. The climb often feels torturous, perhaps because we know what’s on the other side; the hard conversation, the apology, a diagnosis, the break up. Those hills are the worst, I tell ya.
My time in India changed me. I haven’t felt this good, this clear, or determined in a long time. I want to extend this feeling, sustain it, feed it with good choices and actions that support my goals. I’m strapped in and I’m ready for the ride. I am a courageous rider and I welcome the extreme highs and lows. When I’m thrown for a loop, may I remember that my car will stabilize at some point, even if it is just preparing to go upside down again. May I surrender knowing that my safety bar (my faith, my relationships, my spirit, the universe) will keep me inside the car no matter what and I can afford to throw my hands up in the air and let the ride be thrilling!
Life just GOES. Before you know it, the ride is over. We don’t get to jump out when things get scary, we need to stick around and see what’s on the other side of the big hills. That adrenaline rush - that’s living! I often forget (and I never seemed to remember on roller coasters) that I have to look for moments to coast, catch my breath, gain momentum for the next challenge ahead of me. I don’t have to sit in a constant state of fear. I can sit in a constant state of possibility and excitement for what is to come.
It’s finally Springtime and New York City is getting ready to show off its forsythia, redbuds, cherry blossoms and sun soaked afternoons after its own roller coaster of what seemed a never ending Winter. I’m celebrating with these Collard Green Spring Rolls. Okay, so they’re technically Summer rolls because they are raw and Spring rolls are cooked, but people pay too much attention to labels anyway, right? They wrap up in neat little green packages full of all sorts of surprising textures and flavor. Aside from blanching the collard green leaves, there is no cooking! And you know what that means? More time to get outside in the springtime weather and LIVE!
Collard Green Spring Rolls
with Pesto Yogurt
- 8 collard green leaves, blanched, with thick vein removed, remaining attached ½ way up
- 1 cup shredded carrots
- 1 cup shredded beets
- 1 cup julienned zucchini
- 1 cup julienned cucumber
- ½ cup pickled sliced red onion (let sit in equal parts water, vinegar, and sugar for 15 minutes, drain, and squeeze out moisture)
- salt and pepper
- ¼ cup basil pesto
- ½ cup Greek yogurt
Create an assembly line. Lay the blanched collard green leaves flat, overlapping the seam. Begin making a little pile with a bit of each vegetable. It is easy to do one ingredient at a time. Once all leaves have their completed pile, season with salt and pepper. Begin rolling one at a time, making sure the cut seams stay closed. Roll once and then fold in the sides, continue rolling like a burrito. Mix the pesto and yogurt together for a dipping sauce.
Thank you Cheryl Stockton for the beautiful food pictures! I'm so glad we're in the same car on this ride!