Friday, September 3, 2010

Center Salad (or Chicken and Watercress Salad)

We trotted through the woods at an even pace, like two horses tied to a cart. Every so often we would have to break stride and flail our arms out to the side in order to navigate through squishy puddles of mud, which were left by the rain that had dragged through the woods earlier in the day. Mud hurled itself up the backs of my calves and dried there, stowing away for an adventure out of it's wilderness home.

"Actually, I consider myself to be more of a Buddhist" my running partner said, thoughtfully, as we discussed our thoughts on religion. We silently chose between two paths of what would be the first of many forks.
"I like meditating. I find that it is a lot like running." He continued.
"I meditate while I run" I said, excitedly. The conversation topic had turned from descriptive religion (as in 'I am a Buddhist', or 'I am...fill in the blank', to practical religion (as in 'this is what I do to help me feel more connected'). We passed another fork, where we had the option of whether to shorten our loop, or go the long way. We chose the long way. My running partner had his five fingered shoes on, and he commented on how he could feel the mud squishing in between his toes. I wiggled my toes, which were wrapped in socks and squeezed up tight inside little leather cages. I regretted not bringing my five fingers along.

"Do you still go to the meditation center?" I asked, turning my attention from my feet.
"No" he replied "and I find it is really hard to keep a regular practice going without it." I was reminded of what someone told me once, about how they remembered to meditate.
"You could try throwing your shoes far underneath your bed at night. That way, when you get up in the morning and go to put on your shoes you will have to get on the floor. While you are down there, you will be reminded to meditate!" I said, trying to be helpful.
"Ha ha that's funny" he replied "It's strange that I forget to meditate. I find it to be so useful when I actually remember."
"Useful how?" I asked.
"Well, it's kind of like this. All day long, we go around telling ourselves stories about what is happening. Someone doesn't like us. Something needs to be finished. Something needs to be organized or controlled. The world is dangerous, or scary, or wonderful. People are mean, or kind, or vindictive, or needy. The story may change, but the reel plays continuously. When I meditate, I get a chance to watch the reel and see it for what it is. A story. A drama. Meditation gives me a perspective in my life that I can carry out into the rest of my day."

I smiled inwardly, thinking about my own little dramas, and the times when I have seen them as illusions. We blew passed the final fork in the path, and completed the circle around the island. Then we turned and climbed the long hill back to work.

Chicken and Watercress Salad
1 split chicken breast, bone in, both halves (drizzle with olive oil and bake in the oven at 400 degrees for 25 min. Remove skin and cut into bite sized pieces)
1 cup chopped watercress
1 Tbsp mayonnaise
Mix ingredients together. Serve with fresh heirloom cherry tomato wedges or sliced cucumbers.

Christina's vote: "This salad made me want to prune a bonsai tree"

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