Green Pepper Meditation

It was one of those ordinary days, when I moved from one routine experience to another. Going through the motions of picking up papers, doing the laundry – all the things a woman-wife-mother needs to do on Sunday before the week begins again.

Sitting in the car on the way to the grocery store, I slowly realized how numb I felt. No emotion, no thought, no connectedness to anything around me. Noticing this did not change the experience one bit. Walking into the store felt like being in a cloud – buffered and insulated from the outer world. I was alone in an inner world of emptiness.

Entering the produce section, the green peppers caught my eye. Moving closer I gasped. The sight of these peppers was breathtaking. Their depth, their vividness their deep greenness was stunning. I had never seen peppers like these before. I must have them. After filling three plastic bags I realized I had no idea what I was going to do with all these peppers. On the heels of that thought a new thought arose instantly – Peppers and Sausage. My heart responded, YES!

Quickly throwing a few onions in a bag I headed to the meat counter, selected some beautiful fresh pink Italian sweet sausage and headed for home – totally neglecting the rest of the food shopping.

Eagerly opening the bags in the kitchen the green peppers tumbled playfully all over the counter. I laughed. The cloud was gone and the relationship between me and these shiny misshapen orbs was growing more intimate. A feeling of reverence arose as I realized the subtle uniqueness of each pepper chosen to be washed next. Every detail became a focus for my attention – the smoothness of skin, the sensual curves of shape, the light fragrance…

As I cut into the first pepper it revealed an amazing uterine like cavity filled with tiny white seeds holding the potential for hundreds of progeny. In this moment of deep feminine identification with the pepper, I connected to my mother and grandmothers and every woman through time who had cut into a green pepper preparing this traditional dish.

This gathering of women led me to all the special occasions that brought family together around food, especially ‘Peppers and Sausage’. I recalled my first communion, confirmation, bridal shower and the joyous arrivals of my son and daughter. Smiling broadly I was back in Grandma Rose’s kitchen on Sunday mornings as she stirred the gravy, turning with delight to see me run in and throw my small arms around her soft, comforting body. As tears flowed down my cheeks, I looked up from my own kitchen stool to see the large wooden goose on the wall. My sister had made it for me for Christmas. It had my favorite word written across its chest. The instant I saw it I also saw Grandma Rose rise exuberantly from her chair and proclaim that word with great expression – Abbondanza! With that, I arose from my kitchen perch saluting her loudly - Abbondanza! Abbondanza! Abbondanza! I cried out over and over.

Falling back onto the stool it became clear that the relationship with these vibrant vegetables had awakened feeling, sensation, thought and connection with not only the past, but the present moment. Everything around me was clearer, and stunningly beautiful.

There was a sense of gratitude for the pungent fragrance they shared as I continued to slice them into thin strips. Appreciation arose for the offering of the peppers to this dish and everyone who contributed to their presence in my kitchen – the farmer, the picker, the grocer.

Placing the thin slices in the pan, I sprinkled them with extra virgin olive oil and spread the oil with my fingers through the peppers. I felt it all - the oil, the peppers, my fingers, and my heart open and flowing with abundant love for everything including my family and myself. In that moment deep awareness revealed the profound connection to a vast divinity which threaded love through all the elements that were drawn together – now, today, and always.

Weeping and slicing the onion strips to add to the pan, it was clear that the onion had its own message. Layer upon layer of experience becomes integrated imperceptibly into one whole. Slicing into those layers releases tears – some painful, some cleansing, all connected to a heart that holds wisdom the mind can never fully understand.

Sliding the pan into the 350° oven for roasting while watching the sausage simmer in the pan of water, I savor the blending of smells and experience.

Serving the Peppers and Sausage that night was a pure act of love. Since no one knew what had transpired in the preparation of this meal, everyone wondered what the special occasion could be. “Just dinner with you”, I said. My son and daughter proclaimed that it was the most delicious meal they had ever tasted. My husband smiled as he ate. I secretly vowed to be more conscious in doing mundane daily activities, especially preparing the food that enters another’s body. And thanked the Divine Grace for blessing me with this special lesson and myself for being open to receiving it.

© 2005 Aila Accad

Recipe for Peppers & Sausage

For every lb or so of mild or hot Italian sausage use about 4 peppers (any color you like)and 2 onions (I think). Change proportions to suit your tastes.

Core and Cut peppers into 1/2 to 1 inch strips
Cut onions into 1/2 to 1 inch strips

Put peppers and onions into a roasting pan with some oil to coat at about 350 to 375 degrees. Roast until soft, about 45 minutes or so.

At the same time you can boil the sausage in a frying pan. Just cover the sausage with water to start, then let it simmer until the water is evaporated. Pierce the skin of the sausage and turn the sausages once or twice during the simmering. When the water boils off, the last few minutes, the sausage will brown in its own fat. Slice the sausage into 1/2 to 1 inch rounds.

Combine the peppers, onions and sausage.

Serve with rice, pasta or on rolls

Aila Accad

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