I’ve been needing my own battle cry of sorts these days. It seems like I’m great at making plans in my head & not the best at making them happen. I have ideas for my blog, side business or activities with my friends that always just slip through my hands. Time feels more like sand than ever. I’ve been running long distances & spending more time on my mat. In yoga last night, my chest finally touched down in anahatasana. I got a little too excited and held the pose until I felt like moving. I think the rest of the class moved through at least three poses before I got up from my mat.
I just needed to be there. In it. I don’t know if anybody else experiences yoga this way, but I’ve been getting more flexible the more I let go of my mind. The more I concentrate on the present moment and stop worrying about the next pose or the proper alignment, everything seems to just melt away. Running, yoga, writing, baking, cooking all have the same thing in common – they quiet my brain. I feel awake, like everything is meant to be just the way it is.
A lot of people in my life have been going through big changes, including myself. New careers, businesses, children, marriage or evolutions in how they see themselves. It’s hard when everything is in flux to feel rooted in something true, even if those changes are positive. Five months ago I decided to take on a new adventure, teach myself a new skill – and I did it. It worked. I left the crummy place I was at and finally started to do something I enjoy.
I still find myself ballooning with doubt on the days I expect to be most confident. I find myself awkward, unsure & stumbling more days than I find myself on even feet. The difference now is that I’m not running away from these feelings as often as I used to. I’m trying to meet them head on. To make friends with my fears rather than hide in a corner and stare in the opposite direction.
The other night I was at a dance party and all my limbs felt heavy. I can’t be the only person who’s terrified of dancing in public and then can’t control themselves when they’re alone in their underwear. It doesn’t make any sense. Luckily, out of nowhere my boyfriend whips out some combination of Michael Jackson & Posh Spice, which reminds me that my legs and arms and chest and stomach and feet are all meant to move. So I found myself laughing hysterically on the dance floor giving all whatever kind of forest-child-moved-city realness I can. I had fun. I wasn’t afraid of the people staring at me or whether my body looked ridiculous dancing my life away to Single Ladies. It was a moment where everything was ok. I knew that I was going to be ok.
Tonight, I had two conversations with loved ones about their dreams. They’re unsure of the next steps. In so many words, they said that some days it all feels like just too much. And it does. I know that some days I’m split between so many things, I feel like I spend more energy just trying to put my head on straight than anything else, but I’m not allowing myself to be negative right now. I don’t have time to stay in bed with old doubt. I hope that talking helped them see their own beauty. That they can and will make their dreams come to life. I hope they know if they can just be with what is for a little longer they will find in themselves everything they are looking for. I will be here holding their hand through it as much as they’re holding mine. We’re in it together, holding this pose just as long as we can. Not worrying about our next move or the ten things we didn’t get done even though we wanted to. Trusting that with enough determination & love, we will get to where we need to go.
– Pistachio & Cashew Chocolate Cake –
1/4 cup pistachios, ground
1/4 cup cashews, ground
1 2/3 cup whole wheat flour or white flour
1/2 tsp sea salt
1 tsp baking soda
1/3 cup cocoa powder
1/2 cup sunflower oil
1 cup honey, agave or maple syrup
1/2 cup vegan sour cream
1/2 cup organic sugar
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1/2 cup vegan butter
1/2 cup almond milk
1 tsp vanilla
1/8 cup pistachios, chopped
1/8 cup cashews, chopped
Preheat the oven to 350°. Spray an 8″ x 8″ baking pan with canola oil & set aside. Grind the pistachios and almonds in a food processor or blender until they have the consistency of almond meal. In a medium bowl, mix the ground pistachios & cashews, flour, salt, baking soda and cocoa powder. Set aside.
In another medium bowl, blend canola oil, honey and sour cream together until it is creamy. Add water and continue to mix until completely combined. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients one cup at a time, mixing slowly. Pour the batter into the prepared baking pan.
Bake for 30 minutes or until you can remove a clean toothpick from the cake. While the cake is baking, blend all the frosting ingredients in a food processor or a blender. Place the frosting in the freezer while the cake is baking to make it more firm.
If you do not have vegan sour cream, then you can combine 16 oz firm tofu, 1/2 cup almond milk, 1 tbs olive oil, 4 tsp lemon juice, 2 tsp apple cider vinegar, 1 tsp sugar or honey and 1 tsp salt in a blender. Blend up and use in this recipe & keep the extra for vegan nachos or quesadillas.
Remove the cake from the oven and let cool for 20-30 minutes. If you are having difficulty removing the cake, then you can always run a knife along the edges. Fortunately, if you grease the pan then the cake should slide out of the baking pan without a problem. Once the cake has cooled, frost the tops and sides of the cake and sprinkle extra pistachios & cashews as garnish.