“I spent uncounted hours sitting at the bow looking at the water and the sky, studying each wave, different from the last, seeing how it caught the light, the air, the wind; watching patterns, the sweep of it all, and letting it take me. The sea.” – Gary Paulsen
The sea. It took me and it shook me and it made me feel alive. More alive than I thought a salty body of water was capable of making me feel. In the afternoon we’d swim at depths much too deep for me to stand, and I’d float on top of the water – staring into the infinite blue sky – trying hard not to think about the creatures that could be dwelling below my buoyant body. In the morning I witnessed the sea at its finest hour: calm and content. I ran along the edge of the island and watched, almost in hypnosis, as the water rippled toward the shore. I read somewhere that you feel happiest when you’re near the sea. Because the vibration of our bodies tries to sync with the rhythm of the waves and, in turn, releases hormones that create a sense of fulfillment and happiness. And when I noticed a half smile creeping across my face, I’ve never known anything to be more true. Watching the low tide made me forget that my legs were pounding the pavement at a speed much faster than is enjoyable. Watching it made me feel alive.
After my long run I’d sit along the craggy coast and continue to be taken by the waves. Wondering about life down there and up here and all of it had a funny way of making me feel so small and vulnerable and insignificant. But not in a bad way. In a good way that makes you want to get up and shake off all your inhibitions and send them out into the deepest parts of the ocean. Because, in the grand scheme of things, I really don’t matter that much. In a way that makes you want to take off all your clothes and jump into the starkly cold water because, despite what I’ve been told for most of my life, naked bodies aren’t offensive or shameful; naked bodies are straight up fucking beautiful. In a good way that makes you want to dance through the aisles of the grocery store when a funky jam comes on just because music has a tendency to make people move. But we suppress that movement because we’re self conscious creatures with big egos who swear that all eyes are on us. That at that particular moment in time everyone is watching and judging and certainly not carrying on with their own lives because the haphazard shifting of your body is causing an outright scene at the grocery store.
FYI, it’s not. No one cares. Except maybe Robyn who would be seriously disappointed if she found out that Dancing On My Own came on the radio and you didn’t bust a move. So this is the point where I’m supposed to give you unsolicited advice and tell you to stop letting your self-consciousness control your every decision and blah-blah-blah. But I’m not going to go there because you’ve heard it all before. Well, that and because it took traveling halfway across the world and being in the presence of a giant body of water – a body of water in which I was previously terrified (bad case of thalassophobia, yo) – for me to realize how fucking small I am. How small we are. So all I’ve got for you is this: Live wildly and unabashedly and swim naked in the sea – or dance at the grocery, if naked swimming just isn’t your thing. I promise you, your life will be better for it. And chances are, your presence will be so infectious that the people around you will be better for it, too.
PS – High fives and hugs and cheers to all of you, as your kind comments and emails enriched our engagement beyond belief – I wish you could have seen our big ass smiles as we poured over them together. They were huge. How lucky I am to have all of you. Thanks for being awesome and supportive and – some of you – equally as excited as we are. Big love.
Notes: I haven’t tried it, but I assume cashews would work well in this recipe. Peanuts, walnuts, and pecans probably will not as they’re extremely flavorful and will detract from the coconut/cacao flavor. If you don’t have dates, you can try using raisins – but they’ll add a bit of a molasses flavor to the cookies (which isn’t necessarily a bad thing). If you want your cookies to mimic those of a real macaroon, let they dry at room temperature for 6-8 hours. The outsides will harden while the insides remain moist and chewy and flavorful.
RAW CACAO MACAROONS
1 cup raw almonds
1 1/2 cups unsweetened shredded coconut, plus more for coating
1/4 cup cacao powder
Small pinch Himalayan salt
12 Medjool dates, pitted and soaked for 15 minutes
In a food processor fitted with the S blade, blend the almonds, coconut, cacao powder, and salt into a fine meal. Add the dates and process until combined. Using a 1 1/2 tablespoon cookie scoop, drop the cookies onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Freeze for 20 minutes then roll in shredded coconut. Transfer to an air tight container and store in the freezer. Will keep for up to 6 weeks.
Yield: 25-30 cookies