Dill Cauliflower & Creamy Tahini

When I was in college I had this notecard taped to the side of my desk that read, “Live like a duck: be calm and collected above the surface but paddle like hell under the water.”

I also drank Jim Beam by the handle and applied to work as Chester the Cheetah handing out Cheeto samples at Walmart. So I’m not saying I was exactly the voice of reason at the time, but the notecard’s sentiment still resonates. (I never did get that Cheeto job. Overqualified, I like to tell myself.)

Recently I’ve been reading a collection of Rumi’s poems translated and edited by the brilliant Coleman Barks, and once again I find the duck returning to teach me metaphors for life.

“One day a falcon invited a duck to leave the lake and see the high plateau. The wise duck said, “Water is my source and fortress, my peace and joy. Don’t tempt me with where you love to be. You have soaring gifts. I love this low marsh.” The duck stayed in the stronghold where it felt complete. And you, be patient where you sit in the dark. The dawn is coming.”

I love this. Everything about it.

I’ve been sharing it with my yoga classes this week with the lesson that comparison is a trap not always easily avoided on our mats or in life. When we watch someone else’s super advanced practice or seemingly flawless life (as everyone presents their existence on Facebook, we know) and compare it to where we are, it’s easy to assume that that’s where we should be, too. That we should abandon what feels right to us to try to keep up with someone else. To leave the marsh for the plateau, essentially.

Let’s stop doing that, yeah? What the world needs is not another someone mindlessly trudging through the motions. It needs you. As you are and in your element. Doing things your way whether it’s down in the marsh or up on the high plateau.

As Danielle Laporte says:

“YOUR WAY. Slightly reckless, downright defiant, uncharted, seat-of-the-pants, make it up as you go, not a leg to stand on, what will your mother say? You could bomb. You could become so successful that your friends won’t recognize you. (Your real friends always knew you had it in you.) You could break through.”

So do your thing and don’t worry about where everyone else is or where you’re “supposed” to be. Do this and a break through is imminent. Do this and the dawn is coming.

Dill Cauliflower & Creamy Tahini
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 

Serves: 2

  • 1 head of cauliflower, roughly chopped
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons dill, fresh or dried
  • salt to taste
  • 2 tablespoons tahini
  • lemon wedges, optional
  • sunflower seeds, optional

  1. Roughly chop your cauliflower into small pieces (you could also do this in a food processor)
  2. Warm olive oil in a large skillet over med-high heat
  3. Add cauliflower and saute 4-5 minutes until it starts to get crispy and brown
  4. Add dill and salt and remove from heat
  5. Top with tahini (sesame seed paste), lemon wedges and sunflower seeds

I feel like I’m slowly (slowly) learning to be a bit more duck-like. I’m learning to care less what others think about what I should be doing and more about what I know to be true: That what I am on this planet to do will not be bound by job titles or degrees. That I am in the stronghold where I am complete when I’m doing things that light me on fire. That I am patient. And that the dawn is coming.

“The Master in the art of living makes little distinction between his  work and his play, his labor and his leisure, his mind and his body, his education and his recreation, his love and his religion. He hardly knows which is which. He simply pursues his vision of excellence in whatever he does, leaving others to decide whether he is working or playing. To him he is always doing both.” 

14 thoughts on “Dill Cauliflower & Creamy Tahini

  1. Oooh this looks yummy! I love cauliflower! I don’t comment much here, but I was in your yoga class last night when you read this gem about the duck. I LOVE it. I have been letting too many opinions outside of my own, impact my thought process lately. But last night, by savasana, I really felt a million pounds lighter. Leave it to a duck to make me realize that if I’m happy, and safe in my own marsh, that’s okay. Thanks Katie!

  2. My favorite quote as of late is from Ralph Waldo Emerson: “Finish each day and be done with it. You have done what you could. Some blunders and absurdities no doubt crept in; forget them as soon as you can. Tomorrow is a new day; begin it well and serenely and with too high a spirit to be encumbered with your old nonsense. ”
    My best friend gave it to me, and it’s a good reminder to be gentle to myself. Your cauliflower looks tasty!

  3. I love that message! It reminds me of the story of Icarus and Dedalus (I have two English degrees — nerd alert!) And I also love when my yoga teacher has “lessons” for class. I try to do the same thing when I teach — but I mostly teach toddler and baby/mom classes — and little kids are already so present and full of wisdom!

  4. Thanks Katie, I love Rumi and I so needed that message – it reminds me of another quote: “If you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid” (supposedly attributed to Einstein but I’m skeptical that he actually said this). The only way to be successful in your own skin is to live your life – not try to live someone else’s.

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