Then

After a particularly unpleasant week, the weekend brought me rest and work and numerous small satisfactions. The summer clothes are put away, the winter clothes brought out. The pellet stove is operational, the bosque is bright with fall. I spent both Saturday and Sunday in full-on cooking meditation.

Like meditation, cooking requires a focus on the present: 1/4 tsp this, 1/2 cup that, oven preheated to 350, cut, stir, blend. When the mind wanders, bring it gently back to the task at hand, to the present moment. Here are some of the things I made:

Blueberry-apple pies
Cauliflower mushroom soup
Butternut squash soup
Cauliflower planks, oven roasted with panko-parmesan crust
Tatsoi, simply sauteed with garlic

Unlike sitting meditation, cooking meditation is a dynamic form of the art. With the body continuously engaged, the mind can stay in the moment, can set aside discontent and desires equally. When the chatter starts, bring the mind, the breath and the body back to the spatula, back to the onion. Focus on the smooth texture and the warm orange color of the of the soup as you stir. By the time dinner is served, I am happily mindless (or is it mindful?) and completely present. And with meals-ready-to-eat for the entire week to come. What a deal!

I find that I often need to remind myself to be grateful for weekends (thank you, unions!), for my beautiful home, for the bosque as it changes and the cranes as they circle overhead. I am grateful also for my own common sense and for stopping my whirling stressy thoughts for awhile. Stand, breathe, cook. Not a bad mantra, really.

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