Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Mindful cooking

We try to eat organically grown foods, buy locally grown produce, and avoid overly processed items. I'm not above the treats and sweets, however. Still, there is a joy in cooking.

The key to mindful cooking, a teacher recently told me, is preparation. Get all your ingredients ready. For us that might mean gathering garden vegetables and herbs together, or going shopping at the farmers market. Spend time chopping all the vegetables (I do mine Sunday night with conversation! Kids can help!). Decide what you will make - simple one-pot meals, rice dishes, stews, soups and lots of no-cook sides are good to please all palates. Prep ingredients by measuring them out into bowls in advance.

Now you can get to cooking. Breathe, put love into it. I like to sometimes have calming music, but it's not necessary. I pour and mix, I listen to it sizzle, smell the aromas, look at the colors, stir, feel the heat, sometimes taste. I try to stay present instead of daydreaming.

Sometimes I use the oven. The kids press the light button to take a peek. Sometimes we cook in the solar oven - they watch the shadows and turn it. Sometimes we use a rice cooker or toaster oven or dehydrator or waffle iron or cake pop maker or some other fascinating device.

Usually, we cook on the gas stove. Electric or something else might be more eco-friendly, but for now this works well. The kids come and pull up a chair to stand on. They pour in the premeasured ingredients. They stir and sprinkle, drizzle and saute. They inhale, they lick fingers. We ooh over the bubbles, aah over aromas, mmm over sips. We dance while we wait, or they go play while I stand and breathe and the water gets ready to boil, the sauce simmers, the rice cooks.

Finally, with a flourish, the stove is turned off. Dinner is served.

Friday, July 22, 2016

Mindful on the plane - again

Another plane ride. We are sitting. He child asks constant questions. I listen, and answer. The announcement goes. The rain pours. Buckles click. A cacophony of sounds and it all registers, comes and goes. This is a lesson in attention, I tell myself. This is a lesson in acceptance, and in patience.

Soon we will be above the planet. A lesson in perspective. Moving but not moving, a lesson in change. Landing - a lesson in courage, in patience again, in impermanence. Here we are, fasten your seatbelt!

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Mindful crying

Sometimes things can send me over the edge. I'm generally a dispassionate person, though the right movie sends me into tears. In real life, I rarely cry due to pain or suffering, but it happens occasionally, as it did recently when I encountered a day packed with constant tantrums and language that really hurt.

After a good cry, I managed to stop and just feel how I felt. So this is sadness and this is anger. This is self pity. That dull ache in my heart, leaky eyes, a semblance of headache, jaw clenched, body drained.

I gave my daughter some loving kindness. Then I remembered myself - this is so hard. It's ok, you're human. I hope you will be safe and happy.

A good night's sleep and the world rises anew.

Friday, July 08, 2016

Minding the laundry

Drying clothes on the line is meditative, too. Take each item, wring out if necessary, flick to straighten, hang, clip.

Each piece placed, considering the sun, the organization of the clothes by size and type, pairing socks, and I am focused on this task, not daydreaming. I feel the sunlight on my skin, see the view, hear the sounds of the city,  smell the nearby flowers, taste the breeze.

The laundry, too, smells lovely, feels cool and damp. On the sunniest days, I watch the first nearly dry by the time the last are hung. I take a deep breath and exhale, then turn to survey the clothes.

I'll be back later to rotate, move some in if it drizzles, collect the dry ones and fold. By for now, this is complete as it is.

Saturday, July 02, 2016

Car meditation

A long ride (when you are not the driver) is perfect for a nap, but also meditation, because you can be alert for the driver and kids but not knocked out!

I sit, and the kids squabble, but eventually they settled down with a snack or gazing out the window or a little game they have invented, or a song they like. I get a few minutes to close my eyes or stare out the window. Eventually one falls asleep, and I am here, quietly, breathing, letting the landscape pass, the road sweep under me, the silence pervade the car, no longer inside a vehicle but the vehicle itself, no longer watching the view but immersed in it.

I'm jolted by a crying child, but I can go back to this quiet when I get a moment, seeing with new eyes.