I recently came across a story that I know was placed right in front of me on just the right day. I was reading up on the concept of "detachment" as I got ready to teach my yoga class. I wanted to convey the message of the concept of letting go of the results of the practice such as the need to nail the perfect pose, the desire to stand on one's head, the pressure to do what everyone else seems to be able to do, etc. This search actually became the exact lesson I needed.
The tale I found is rooted in the way monkeys are caught in some cultures. The story is a perfect metaphor for life and the lesson of letting go.
In some cultures, monkeys are caught by using a hollowed coconut or a bottle with an opening in which a monkey can reach through. The bottle is anchored down to the ground and then a small banana or some other treat is placed inside. When the monkey approaches, it eagerly reaches in to get the banana. The issue? He is unable to pull the banana out with his fist closed. Now that's a problem wouldn't you say? As the captor approaches the monkey, the easy solve is to simply let go and run away, but the monkey is typically so focused on the banana that he is unaware of any danger and in the end gets caught.
From the outside looking in it seems so very simple. Just let go, right?! Easier said than done and so many times in our lives we are the monkey and we don't even realize it.
I have certainly been that monkey over and over and over again.
My biggest issues have always been letting go of the need for perfection and control. The perfect body, eating "perfectly," being the perfect daughter, the perfect student, you name it. If there was something that I thought needed to be perfect then you know darn well I wasn't going to stop until I was there. The need for control probably doesn't need a whole lot of explaining. I want things to happen in my time and when it doesn't I do everything I can to try to make it happen. But at the cost of my own livelihood, my own health and my own freedom. How is this living?
It's not. It's not living at all.
This simple tale of a monkey brought me quite a bit of enlightenment if I do say so myself. So often I find myself holding tightly to that banana and refusing to let go, but so often it is at the cost of my happiness. Perhaps there is something you need to let go of as well? Maybe this story has stirred something inside of you, maybe there is something you are holding onto that is keeping you from your own freedom. Go ahead and give it a try! Just let go!
Wow. It really has been one of those weeks. For a list of reasons not even worth getting into, but you know those kind of days/weeks. They seem to be the ones that go by so slow and yet at the same time there doesn't seem to be enough time at all. How does that even happen?
Whether we like it or not, it happens. For some, more often than not. And you know what happens during these kind of weeks? We don't get enough sleep, we don't fuel our bodies well, and overall we are just not the most enjoyable to be around. I sure know I haven't been this week.
The one thing I DID do right this week was in the department of food prep. It really does make a world of a difference and if you put the time and energy into it early in the week, then the rest of the week is so much more of a breeze--not perfect, but much better for sure. There is certainly something to be said about a happy belly!
My belly was happy all week because I made a huge batch of this Almond Thai Stir-Fry at the beginning of the week and then brought it to work for lunches and even had it for dinner one night as well. That ended up being about 5 meals for the price of cooking one. And I froze a couple servings for a rainy day or two!
The beauty of this and many stir-fries is that they act as "clean out the fridge" sort of meals. You can pretty much toss in any veggie or protein that you like and add the sauce for a perfect meal. I don't think I have ever made this recipe the same twice and I have made it at least 4 times over the past month or so.
For so long I was stuck on adding peanut butter to my stir-fry sauces, but my husband is not the biggest fan of peanut butter and veggies. I tried using almond butter instead and got much better reviews with him. He preferred it a little spicier than the recipe calls for but you can easily add more spice--you just can't easily take it away so be careful!
Try this Thai Peanut Quinoa Stir Fry as well!
- 1/2 c creamy almond butter
- Juice of 1 lime
- 1 tsp toasted sesame oil
- 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
- 3 T liquid aminos/soy sauce/tamari
- 1 1/2 tsp grated ginger
- 1-2 tsp maple
- Water to get to desired thickness
- 2-3 Garlic cloves minced
- 1/4 tsp chili powder
- Dash cayenne optional
- 1 large head broccoli
- 5-6 carrots
- 2 celery stalks
- 5 green onions
- 1/2 cup edamame
- 1 red bell pepper
- 1 head Napa cabbage optional
- Protein of choice optional
- In a small bowl, whisk together ingredients for sauce until smooth.
- Chop green onions, carrots, and pepper. Cut broccoli florets off of stems. If adding cabbage, chop as well.
- In a wok, heat 2 tsp sesame oil or coconut oil over medium high heat.
- Add carrots, celery and onions and stir-fry until carrots begin to soften a bit.
- Add in all other veggies and fully cooked protein.
- Cook until broccoli is cooked through and softened.
- Turn heat to low and stir in Almond sauce.
- Heat at low for about 5-7 minutes.
- Serve over your favorite rice or grain.
If adding a protein, more sauce may be needed.