March 22, 2014

The Mindful Act of Preparing a Meal. ~ Rachel Eisenberg


Cooking: I have come to realize I love this laborious act for its mindful attributes and the ways in which it lends itself to the act of living in the moment.

How one single minute overdone is a moment too late, a moment burnt, a pot overflowing with its boiling contents, a root withered away, unable to withstand another second of the heat.

In the kitchen, it’s a delicate balance. And honestly, if we cried our salty truths into the pasta water, all the better, all the heartier: A blend of the human senses working methodically together, starving for resolutions coming together in glorious feasts of individual moments.

Sight: Lush colors of the foods strewn across the small cold granite counter. Sound: Hear the rhythmic chop of the knife on the block. If I could only live and love as raw and organically as this. Feel the growl deep in the hollow of my own stomach and the utensils and peels and poultry and cool water on my flesh.

I hunger for more.

Inhale the dirt earth of where vegetables once were and garlic deep in pores. And tender taste to lips and mouth. The kitchen walls whisper and hum and simmer secrets to a life deliciously lived. Outside these hot walls, fiery anxieties can starve my most intentional attempts of mindful living and wholehearted loving.

Complex relationships, a drive to be perfect, balancing teaching jobs and an overall heightened sensitivity to life cause me to turn to mindful practices for guidance—cook it like a meal. Sauté gently. Take little bites. Savormorsels, bringing life and nutrients to each cell of your body. Chew the moments slowly.

Put your fork down every now and again and put the knife to the side. Break out the fancy. Try new foods. Have preferences, but don’t be a picky eater. Be raw. Live unpeeled, flesh exposed and open to the vaporous air.

Some follow recipes, both in the kitchen and out, and in the past year I have found even with recipe in hand there is a certain amount of letting go one has to allow for the ingredients to come into the meal naturally. And when the sauce boils over and the onions sting our eyes shut tight, we just make an adaptation and move forward. There are people to feed. There is yourself to feed.

If life was cooked as intentionally as a meal and our relationships and our work—adding each delicious spice, adding garnish because it’s special, reaching for just the right utensil for the right job, simmering gently for flavor, understanding time and temperature, delighting in the sweetness and the savory, harnessing the bitter and the bland as equals—we would realize regard all ingredients as necessary and sacred in their own right.

I love the blessed meditative practice it provides. The process is as nourishing as what it reaps. The sequential clarity I feel standing on the woven, rumpled rug alone in front of the lights of the stove cause me to feel ignited.

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Editorial Assistant: Melissa Petty/ Editor: Jenna Penielle Lyons

Photo: Elephant Archives

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Rachel Eisenberg