Becoming “WE”

A flower does not think of competing with the flower next to it. It just blooms.

— Zen Shin

I always have flowers in my kitchen as well as on my table. They bring the knowledge of nature indoors, spreading beauty in a calm, accepting way.

Sometimes, when I am in my kitchen with my friends, laughing, sharing stories, or even cooking together, I remember this quote. It reminds me that women need to think of each other as flowers in the garden, coexisting as we do in a kitchen, each one sharing what is special about her. A “We-ness” grows this way, when women gather around what is comforting and creative – the natural “soil” of the spirit. One of the things I love best about cooking is that it brings my female friends and I together to celebrate our uniqueness and beauty as women.

Last week one of my most amazing friends came over to help me make a special dish for a last minute gathering. When she arrived an hour before the party, she found me still finishing up in the kitchen, with a fussy daughter on my hip. My usual jovial spirit had turned completely frantic. Seeing my friend in the doorway was instant relief for me. She had always been the one I called when I needed last minute help or wise advice. She bolted straight for the kitchen, and 10 minutes later, we were side-by-side, right on schedule.

Then came one of those moments in life when I felt as if a person’s voice became recorded for all time within me. She placed her hand on my arm and said, “I need to tell you something right now. First of all, you are a truly amazing friend, who sees past my short comings and cares for me anyway. I go through so many ups and downs, and I always know I can count on you as a friend. Even with everything on your plate, you somehow always have it together. And I want you to know that I appreciate you.” I felt instant tears of appreciation, because before she said that to me, I felt like a hot mess. That moment taught me that more often than not, the kind thoughts that you feel about someone should be spoken.

What she said to me was so timely, as I really needed words of reassurance and didn’t even know it. We are so different, but my admiration for her makes me sometimes, deep down, compare myself to her. I wouldn’t compare us in a superficial, envious way (what we owned, our achievements), but in a way where I felt I had to be better within myself. That “inner comparison” is sometimes a good thing, but we have to be mindful to make sure that we’re not doing it because we are devaluing ourselves. In that moment, our differences did not matter. We were each unique, strong, creative women, standing side-by-side in our friendship, growing together.

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Gardens teach us so much about thriving together without competing. When we garden, we see fruits, veggies, and flowers all just growing gloriously. They don’t seem to worry about what the other is doing. Using the same water and soil and sun, they humbly just flourish, sometimes all in the same pot.

It’s so much easier to think of each other as a “WE” this way. “WE” power can start by simply expressing empathy for the other women in our lives, and through celebrating each other’s achievements – no matter how small. Women become part of a greater “We” when we help each other, even without being asked.

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Life Recipe:
Becoming "WE"

  1. Start your day today by smiling and greeting every woman you see. Smiling has a way of softening our hearts, and the hearts of those who receive the message that we are each a uniquely beautiful part of the greater “We.” If we all remember this, it will change the way we interact and help us remember the female “We Power” that is our birthright.
  2. Don't compare. Compliment. Co-create. Share.

Recipe:
Cabbage Cutlets

  • 1 cup cabbage (grated)
  • 1 tablespoon ginger (chopped)
  • 1 cup Onion (chopped)
  • ½ cup cilantro
  • ½ lemon (juiced)
  • ½ teaspoon of sugar
  • ½ teaspoon turmeric
  • breadcrumbs
  • 2 slices whole wheat bread
  • 1 green chili (optional)
  • coconut oil
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tablespoons of milk
  • ghee
  • ¼ cup Ghee
  • 2 ½ inches of ginger (fresh, chopped)
  • 1 whole Cauliflower (chopped)
  • 1 ½ tomatoes (chopped)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • ½ teaspoon paprika
  • chili powder to taste
  • 1 cup frozen peas
  • cilantro (to garnish)
  • 2 tablespoons tamarind paste
  • ½ cup of water
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon black salt
  • ¾ teaspoon cumin (ground)
  • ½ teaspoon red chili powder
  • ½ teaspoon Life is a Recipe® Garam Masala
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 1 cup cilantro (fresh)
  • 1 cup of mint (fresh)
  • ¼ cup lemon juice
  • 1/8 cup of water
  • 1 medium green chili
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon cumin seeds
  • ½ teaspoon red chili powder