I recently watched the documentary "Won't You Be My Neighbor" about Mr. Rogers. If you haven't seen it yet, as soon as you finish reading this post, grab a box of tissues (trust me), get cozy on the sofa and watch it. It is an outstanding film about an extraordinary man. In one scene, Mr. Rogers talks about space and how in his program, he created space by using silence. For example, he set a timer for 1 minute and then... silence... so children could experience how much time 1 minute is and what that time feels like. He would engage in simple activities like feeding the fish (remember those fish?) or stacking blocks without saying a word. It felt calm and peaceful just watching it. These scenes were juxtaposed with flashes from the fast paced, chaotic and loud cartoons of the day. Seeing the two side by side... what a contrast.
It made me think about how we approach meal preparation. How many times do we fly in the door from work, throw open the fridge, throw ingredients on the counter, fire up a pan and start chopping and tossing veggies into the hot pan? Have you ever cooked with shaking hands because you only have so much time and want to get it done so you can scarf your food and get to the next activity on the schedule? I have. Have you ever had your knife slip on the slippery part of the onion because you were in a hurry and didn't bother to peel it properly, thus cutting your finger? I have. Does this actually save any time at all? Especially when we have to stop to bandage said finger? As I write, I can feel that frantic feeling. It's in my stomach and it doesn't lend to calmly and properly digesting a meal.
On the flip side, when we create space to take our time, we can enjoy the experience of cooking and preparing our meal. Even when we only have 30 minutes to cook, we can take time to breathe, massage the veggies as we wash them, chop with care and cook mindfully. Creating rituals around meal prep can help mentally shift from frazzled to focused: playing soft music or chanting mantra, reading through the entire recipe before starting, gathering ingredients, remembering to breathe. Through this process, we turn cooking into a meditation. I invite you to imagine what this mindfully prepared meal will taste like, how it will feel to enjoy it and how much more easily your body will digest it. When you prepare your next meal, just take a moment, create space and breathe.
I am an animal loving-Vegan runner, I practice and teach Kundalini Yoga and I love to cook and eat flavorful plant-based food.