It occurred to me this morning while washing dishes, my daily meditative task, that I am, by nature, a reformer. I am constantly looking outside of the conventional matrix to find a better way. From religion, to education, to diet and exercise, I've departed from the traditional or common path to blaze a trail that better suits my beliefs, and, at the risk of sounding corny, follow my heart.
In search of better health, I recently followed an online rabbit hole and fell into a wealth of information about Gut and Psychology Syndrome, or GAPS for short. It started with a picture of a GAPS family on Pinterest, and ended up with me boiling bones for breakfast. I went to the library, hoping to find the Gut and Psychology Syndrome book by Dr. Campbell-McBride, but my library search took me down a different path, and I picked up U-Turn by Bruce Grierson.
The subheading spoke directly to my inner reformist: What if you woke up one morning and realized you were living the wrong life? (It was probably the following sentence inside the book jacket that connected this book to GAPS: "The 'second brain' in [the U-turner's] gut tells them their life must change.")
A U-turner is someone who makes a 180 degree change in their life, following a course of self-reinvention. Such change often come at a big price: loss of family, friends, wealth, reputation, power, but as Grierson writes, "The price paid is worth it, because the U-turner is now, at least, living an authentic life - perhaps fulfilling, to some extent, Mahatma Gandhi's notion that 'We must be the change we wish to see in the world.'"
Sitting at dinner the other night, eating meatballs, I told George about an example from the book of a professor who wrote a book supporting animal experimentation, who, just months after publishing his book, made a U-turn, retracted his well documented and published beliefs, and became a hardcore vegetarian. I wondered out loud between bites, will I one day be morally opposed to eating meat? Was giving up grains and sugar a U-turn or just a detour? Taking the question further, is there something I believe today that I will absolutely not believe in the future? Is there a U-turn up ahead?
(For some reason, I am reminded of the 1999 Gallup poll in which 18% of Americans polled believed the sun revolved around the earth. Hopefully some of them made U-turns.)
Anything is possible when you are open to reformation. And so I re-invent, re-create, and re-form when I see an opportunity to make a change for the better, from personal theology, to curriculum for my children, to adaptation and simplification of recipes, which is how this celery salad was born. After all, a salad is not just a salad; it is an opportunity.
(adapted from Simply Recipes)
1-2 bunches of celery, chopped
1/4 cup of sliced almonds, toasted
4-6 dates, diced
zest and juice of 1 lemon
2 tablespoons olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
Combine chopped celery, toasted almonds, and diced dates. Mix the lemon juice and zest, olive oil, and salt and pepper in a small bowl. Toss the salad and the dressing. Salad can be served immediately, but also keeps well refrigerated for a day or two.
Please feel free to reform.