October 27, 2012

Friends with Benefits

“You are the average of the five people you spend time with the most.” – Jim Rohn

I read this in this beautifully written blog that a friend turned me on to, and since then haven’t been able to stop thinking about it.

But Jim Rohn's proclamation makes me wonder if those are the people that we're actually the closest to or not, especially given the 9-plus hours a day most of us spend at work where we have little control over who we're spending that time with. I suppose it makes the statement that much more important in a way, because if the sum of who we are is partially the result of people we are not electively choosing to be spending time with, we have little control over who we are. And I disagree with that.  I believe it's ultimately up to us who we choose to be.  To that end, I choose to interpret the statement (because I can do that, right?) as to who we elect to spend time with, which can include certain work relationships, particularly if those happen to be people you choose to include in your circle of five.

Having always been pretty selective about my friends myself, Rohn's statement also makes me feel a little more validated, especially since for years I’ve always felt a little guilty for only wanting friendships that were of the cerebral and soulful sort.  What can I say?  I am a sucker for that intimate connection.

I count my very closest friends on one hand – that is not many – and that is intentional. I want to be the best friend/person I can be to these people, to have the time and energy to nourish these deep relationships, because you need to consistently put forth that level of effort in order to maintain that sort of depth with someone.  I don't deny that my desire for these kinds of relationships is also self-serving because these are the kinds of relationships I prefer to have, that I need to have.  I would take one or two people who I had a deep connection with over numerous surfacy connections any day, but that is just me.  (Although I will say that I'm learning that surfacy relationships can be valuable in their own right, which is something I realize more and more as I navigate through the acquaintance pool in my community.)

Regardless, relationships with our partners, friends, and family members all take time and effort for them to be rewarding and satisfying, because they help shape who we are in a very fundamental way. On a personal level, because all my closest confidantes generally contain values similar to me, it makes sense that I am the sum of the five people I spend the most time with.   There's a reason that birds of a feather flock together, right? 

I believe we are most well-suited by those who bring out the best in us, those who help us become  the best possible versions of ourselves and to unleash our greatest potential, which is why it's not a bad thing to be picky!  The ideal kind of people for us are not necessarily universally amazing; they’re the kind of people who are right for you, to help you attain your life’s purpose and to be the best you you can be. Life’s too long and too difficult to go about it alone – we need others to make it through -- and to help our light shine a little brighter.

October 14, 2012

Simple Sunday Soup

It is fall here in Maine, and I spent a dreary Sunday nesting as I often do on days like these. 
The world outside my window.
This generally includes making a big meal that will provide a few leftovers for the workweek, along with a couple different kinds of vegetables.  While cooking so much food is generally a bit of a production, doing so alleviates a lot of stress of planning and time preparing lunches during week.  Since it was such a cold and dreary day, I had a strong hankering for soup, in particular, a lighter version of a curried squash soup I had eaten at a restaurant earlier in the week. 

While most of the food that I make is healthy (okay, so I may be guilty of baking an apple pie on Friday night loaded with Crisco), I find that some recipes dubbed as low-calorie, vegetarian, vegan, etc. wind up severely lacking in the flavor department, which, let's be honest, can make eating in such a manner a bit boring.  Well, this recipe I found for curried cauliflower soup delivered in a big way: it has a nice kick, a subtle creamy texture, and is both filling and satisfying.  By far one of the best ("healthy") soups I’ve ever had, and bonus -- it was so easy to make! Also, doubling the recipe didn't seem to affect the proportions at all. 

(from Vegetarian Times)
  • 2 Tbs. olive oil
  • 1 small onion, chopped (1 cup)
  • 1 medium tart apple, such as Granny Smith, peeled, cored, and coarsely chopped (1 cup)
  • 1 Tbs. curry powder
  • 1 clove garlic, sliced (1 tsp.)
  • 1 large head cauliflower, chopped into 1-inch pieces (6 cups)
  • 4 cups low-sodium vegetable broth
  • 1 tsp. honey or agave nectar
  • 1 tsp. rice wine vinegar (Note: I used balsamic vinegar here, and it lent a nice flavor.)
1. Heat oil in large pot over medium-high heat. Add onion, and sauté 5 to 7 minutes, or until soft and golden. Stir in apple, curry powder, and garlic, and cook 2 minutes more, or until curry powder turns deep yellow.

2. Add cauliflower and vegetable broth, and bring to a simmer. Cover, reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer 20 minutes. Cool 20 minutes, then blend in food processor or blender until smooth. Stir in honey and vinegar, and season with salt, if desired.