Do you know the feeling when you’ve just finished cleaning out the hallway closet? For me, that stack of old sweaters bound for the thrift shop is much more than a closet cleansing and it leaves me energized and feeling remarkably satisfied. I experience the same sensation at work when I hack through the items on my desk so that I can actually see the surface again.
In some strange way, letting go builds confidence. Purging the old and unused to create a sleek, clean space causes me to sleep better and to be more efficient. And you know what? It’s not just those old ugly Christmas sweaters. It’s a great time of year to lighten up in many ways whether it’s the shedding of an unfitting relationship or the hairy tub of sour cream from the back of the fridge.
I’m not advocating for a minimalist approach but I am suggesting that there is a benefit to discerning the difference between wants and needs. For me, it’s not just about stuff but also about commitments. It’s so easy to believe in one more cause or to squeeze in one more activity. After spending time with Deepak Chopra in November, I realized that I need to create a filter for my activities. In keeping with the theme of lightening up, the filter has to be simple. I ask:
- Is it fun?
- Are the people with whom I’m engaged having fun and passionate about what they’re doing?
- Am I making a difference?
In a similar manner, we can purge other areas by simply asking, “what do I need?” – which can apply to spending and eating. After a robust holiday filled with family and food, I find it a great time to focus on plant-based meals; green smoothies, spinach enchiladas, bok choy soup and this one. It not only uses up the final spaghetti squash of the season but also uses my (very-underutilized) microwave to get a meal on the table fast.
Simple Moroccan Spaghetti Squash
adapted from Epicurious
- 1 (3 1/2- to 4-pound) spaghetti squash
- 1/2 stick (4 tablespoons) unsalted butter, cut into pieces
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
- 1/8 teaspoon cayenne
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
- Pumpkin seeds for garnish
Pierce spaghetti squash all over with a small sharp knife to prevent bursting. Place in a microwave oven on and cook on high powerfor 6 to 7 minutes. Turn the squash over and microwave until squash feels slightly soft when pressed, 8 to 10 minutes more. Cool squash for 5 minutes.
Carefully halve squash lengthwise and remove and discard seeds. Working over a bowl, scrape squash flesh with a fork, loosening and separating strands as you remove it from skin. Toss with spiced butter and cilantro. Sprinkle with pumpkin seeds.
Where can you lighten up in 2013?