As someone who absolutely loves to travel (for fun, NOT work), I have had the opportunity to go on several trips accompanied by others. My most frequent travel partner is naturally my husband, but I have also traveled with friends and family in recent history, some relationships more closely knit than others of course. And I’ve seen that it can be interesting to learn what certain people value or consider a vacation. For some people, doing as little as possible aside from sitting poolside in the sun is ideal. For others, it’s not a holiday unless that means drink in hand at all times. There are beach goers, there are adventurers, and there those who love a good city break. Thankfully Jonathan and I are very closely aligned as to how we like to spend our time away, which often includes a good mix of visiting new studios for a workout or doing something active, a little downtime to relax, and lots of sightseeing and touristing. During our recent trip to Colorado for my brother-in-law’s wedding, we had the chance to do all the above including a trip to tour one of the old silver mines in Georgetown Loop. It was a bit unlike anything we have done before and mining is not something I am all too knowledgeable about. It was an enlightening experience, which got me thinking about misguided priorities or times when we are so focused on a goal, that we miss the point.
It was very interesting to see and hear about the systems that were developed, through trial and error, to run the business side of things and to extract as much silver from the mine as possible. To say that the working conditions were harsh would be a tragic understatement. There were “powder monkeys,” boys as young as 7 years old responsible for carrying and detonating the dynamite to clear the tunnels. The men worked 10 hour shifts in constant 40 F/4 C damp conditions. There were countless injuries or death. It was a dangerous profession and one with shockingly low reward for the common laborer. And then there was the “widow maker” – a man-operated machine which was able to drill much more powerfully and quickly than the manual pick-and-axe method. It was a privileged position to operate the widow maker, because it came with increased pay, but as you may be able to guess by the name, a decreased life expectancy. As I listened to our tour guide’s preamble, I assumed that was because of increased risk of death by accidental injury. Come to find out however, those that ran the machine were expected to live only up to two years after this “promotion” because of the sheer amount of dust and debris they were exposed to; inhaling it and filling their lungs. As she said, in taking on this job – death was not really a risk, but a certainty.
My immediate thought was to question why anyone would value that relatively small increase in pay over his own life. In fact, why were any of these men (working in such a dangerous and poorly paid position) willing to literally forfeit their lives for money? The tour guide continued talking about the need for these men to take the jobs in order to support and provide for their families, saying that it was very common for the women to continuously remarry after being repeatedly widowed. I felt bewildered, thinking to myself that surely these families would have preferred to have the husband/father alive and with them (not mention, being able to continuously provide for them) than to receive such a death sentence, but as we walked away, I felt some conviction about the things that we all trade our lives for. It’s no secret that most of us have suffered the ill effects of misguided priorities at one time or another, whether that was making sacrifices to our physical or mental health, our relationships, or compromising our values for more money, more fame/popularity, more success or whatever else. There’s also a tendency for some of us (ahem – ME) to become so focused on a goal, that we miss the point.
I personally have a proclivity for legalism and pursuing a resolution or goal to almost no end. It’s not too challenging for me to do or not do XYZ if that’s what I decide I’m doing. However, I very often fall into the trap of thinking at if a little is good, then more is better, which is definitely often not the case. And I also often lose sight of the ultimate purpose by getting caught up in the miniate or checking the box. We can get so focused on a goal, that we miss the point. And thus, I’m trying to take a little step back during the time we have left this year to consider what I am doing and in many cases, why. I don’t want to just go through the motions, or lose touch with what really matters, or just DO at the expense of living.
While there’s certainly plenty on my plate at the moment, I’m trying to slow down and challenge my assumptions about “needing” to do something. While it was true that men in the mines running the infamous widow maker were making more money, they were certainly losing a lot in the process. Continually checking in with ourselves and those of more wisdom around us can help us to identify blind spots and when or where we are so focused on a goal, that we miss the point altogether.
And as I do just that, I’m going to enjoy one of the tastiest little treats I’ve made as of late – Paleo Strawberry Cashew Truffles which are completely dairy-free, gluten-free, and refined sugar-free little bites of goodness!
Serves: 12 each
- Coconut Oil 1 cup (157 g)
- Raw Cacao Powder .25 cup (60 g)
- Maple Syrup .25 cup (85 g)
- Sea Salt ⅛ TSP
- Prepared Paleo and Vegan Chocolate or Dark Chocolate 1 cup (150 g)
- Raw Cashews .5 cup (75 g)
- Unsweetened Shredded/Desiccated Coconut .25 cup (20 g)
- Freeze Dried or Dehydrated Strawberries .25 cup (8 g)
- Coconut Oil, Solid 1 TBSP
- In a small saucepan over low to medium heat, melt the coconut oil.
- Then stir the remaining ingredients into the melted coconut oil until completely smooth.
- Pour the mixture on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and refrigerate until chilled (about 1 hour).
- Chop and use or enjoy plain as desired! Keep refrigerated to maintain solidity.
- Soak the cashews in bowl just covered with water for 2 hours.
- Drain and rinse the cashews and then place in a food processor or high speed blender along with the coconut, strawberries, and coconut oil blending well to combine and make smooth and creamy and then set aside (if the consistency is overly soft you can add a bit more coconut oil and then place in the fridge to solidify a bit).
- Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and then scoop about a tablespoon of the Strawberry Cashew Cream into your hands and roll into small truffle sized balls and placing on baking sheet.
- Place in the freezer for about 30 minutes until relatively solid. Meanwhile break the Paleo and Vegan Chocolate/dark chocolate into small pieces and place in a small glass bowl. After then 30 minutes, melt the chocolate using the double boiler method - placing the glass bowl over a small saucepan of water. Bring the water up to heat which will allow for the chocolate to become melted and smooth.
- One at a time, drop the strawberry cashew cream truffles into the chocolate and roll around to coat evenly. Use two forks to remove the ball and place back onto the parchment paper.
- Once the truffles are coated in chocolate, place the baking sheet back into the freezer for 30 minutes and then enjoy!