Raise your hand if you remember sine waves from high school math class? I’ll refresh for all of us. A sine wave is a mathematical curve that describes a smooth repetitive oscillation. It occurs often in pure and applied mathematics, as well as physics, engineering, signal processing, and it also occurs in our daily lives! Life doesn’t move in a straight line. It moves in waves. I’ve had some recent news flashes around these curves: There is no total success or total failure. There is no 100% good choice or 100% bad choice. Our progress oscillates between ups and downs. But there is a middle line that it will always cross on the way back up as well as the way back down. This is good news! That midline is our true self, our core, our center. And as life presents these waves, we are continually given an opportunity to check in with ourselves and affirm who we really are.
ALL or NOTHING. I’ve been so stuck in extremes this year. I’m leaving myself no room for middle ground or exceptions to rules and frankly, it’s not very much fun. So many parts of my life are usually fun — my relationships, my jobs, my accomplishments, my adventures. It’s good to be me on many, many days. But lately I’ve scooted myself into a corner of naming and categorizing things of one extreme or another. Good/Bad, Success/Failure, Loved/Unloved, Rich/Poor. I’ve lost my own center because I’m paying too much attention to the broad strokes of these highs and lows. None of us, no matter how perfect life seems or how catastrophic our circumstances are, live our lives under the titles All or Nothing. We always have Something, that's our midline. Sine waves.
I keep trying to remind myself to savor the highlights of my life and to not be mired by the lowlights. One of my favorite artists, MC Yogi, recently posted the words All Of This Is Temporary. What a great reminder! Life continues to move, the waves are constant and we’re going to be flattened by some of them. We’ll also be given sweet opportunities to be carried by the waves and just float. All of this is temporary. We just need to pay attention, go with the flow - literally - and not try to fight the current. Because the thing is, a sine wave changes speed: it starts fast, slows down, stops, and speeds up again. I’m learning to stay connected to my midline – my center, my truest self, so as the waves come I’ll have a lifeline to hold onto for stability. My true self is permanent, not what is happening around me.
I love that the definition of sine has the word smooth in it. The bumps in the road, the summits we climb, or the depths into which we occasionally plummet are all parts of our lives and we can learn to enjoy them like an amusement park ride. It may seem terrifying. We may even feel like we have to throw up, but the motion will eventually smooth out and we can catch our breath before taking the next plunge. We’re at an amusement park, let’s be amused! Here’s to life being more fun and appreciating the Something we all have in between All and Nothing. Here’s to riding the waves of life and remembering who we are in the ups and downs.
I found these beautiful, yet polarizing ingredients in the farmers market: French breakfast radishes and kumquats. The contrast of the bitter radish against the sweet kumquat makes for a perfect combination. And what I really love about these ingredients is that they can take on each other’s qualities. Sometimes you can bite into a radish and get an earthy sweetness. Sometimes you can bite into a kumquat and get a sour citrus burst. Kumquats and radishes are riding some sine waves of their own. I’ve combined them into a salad that looks and tastes like an amusement park in your mouth. And if you can’t find these particular radishes or tiny little citrus fruits, sub in an easily accessible red globe radish and open up a can of mandarin orange segments. It’ll still be a tasty ride.
Radish and Kumquat Salad
- 10 small french breakfast radishes, halved or 5 red globe radishes, quartered
- 5 kumquats, sliced and seeded or 1/2 cup canned mandarin orange segments, drained
- 4 cups stemmed and shredded lacinato kale (or your favorite salad green)
- 1 cup shredded purple cabbage
- 1/2 cup shredded carrots
Dressing: equal parts lemon juice and olive oil, mustard and honey to taste.
Combine all the ingredients in a large salad bowl. Toss with dressing until well coated. Season with salt and pepper.