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What I Learned from Vegetarian Chili

Today I decided to make vegetarian chili. I got all my ingredients assembled, my crockpot ready and I started chopping. There’s something very soothing about listening to music on a Sunday and getting your hands on the veggies and being mindful of each step of the process: Reading the recipe, assembling the ingredients, rinsing the vegetables, chopping the peppers…

Wait…what’s that? Part of the green pepper is bad! I bought a beautiful large green bell pepper and I need all of it for the chili! A little less than a quarter of it is black and can’t be used. I need pepper in my chili! Now what do I do? Stop everything and go to the grocery store to buy a new pepper? Ditch the whole vegetarian chili idea? Or do I cut away the small dark part and use the beautiful pepper that’s in front of me? 

And then it dawned on me. The same thing that we do with this pepper is what we do with people in our lives. If people don’t live up to our expectations and they have a part of them that we don’t like or is considered “bad”, what do we do? We throw them out. We throw the whole person out of our lives. If they can’t be who we want them to be… Boom! They’re gone. 

But what if we’re all like this pepper with a black spot. We each have a part of us that is diseased and that we’re working on and that we’re trying to heal. We’re all here to learn and grow and work through lessons. We’re all here to evolve and become a better version of ourselves. Instead of cutting people out of our lives because of their diseased parts, how about we ask the universe to strip away, to cut away, that part of the relationship and only reveal to us what’s left. 

Now, what’s left may not be what we want it to be. It may not be the love relationship we so longed for. It may not be that we engage with that person daily. That person may not be the most understanding boss we wish we had. However, what’s left will be a person who’s just like us. Someone who’s seeking happiness in their life. A person who has known sadness in their life. A person who is learning about life. When we look at others with compassion and gratitude for their “good” parts, we begin to see with different eyes. We don’t change, they don’t change, but the relationship changes. 

And so it is with life. We all have diseased parts of ourselves that we are working on and trying to heal. If we can give that part of ourselves and others to the universe for cleansing and purifying, we can then join together and build well balanced relationships. Relationships that, when thrown together in a big crockpot, get better with time. Relationships that are just like vegetarian chili. Healthy, wholesome and restorative. 


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