I have never been able to sit on a cushion and stare at the wall. I’ve tried, trust me…over and over again. I thought it “would be good for me.” Finally a teacher told me that there are many ways to meditate, many ways to practice mindfulness. Perhaps I would do better with a moving meditation?
I haven’t sat still since!
I used to bake fresh bread as a form of relaxation and meditation…kneading the dough until it was as supple, smooth and soft as a newborn baby’s ass. The whole kitchen smelled of yeast, honey and love! I’d set aside a whole afternoon, it was like a vacation day for me. Then I developed a wheat allergy, and all of that was out the window. (deflated sigh)
Last Tuesday I was at my friend Gina’s house for lunch and a confab, and while we talked, she made Gumbo. I have never made it…ranking it up among the things I deemed too difficult; like an elegant Crown Roast or a Buche Noelle. I have lived this long without needing to cook any of them…and then I tasted her gumbo. Holy Gina Marie Lucia!
I had been watching closely, asking questions and taking notes as she cooked. And as she did, we sipped wine and caught up on each other’s lives (yes, we were day-drinking…but it was wine. Doesn’t count) and when she finally put a garnished bowl in front of me – I was hooked on gumbo. This stuff is the ‘Crack’ of the soup world!
This Tuesday, I made my first pot of gumbo. I overcame my fear, and when it was finished and ladled into bowls with some fresh steamed rice, I was thrilled! (I had to substitute a gluten-free baking mix for the flour in the roux, yet it was still delicious.)
I realize that I am rewarded every time I take steps to overcome a fear. And I’m reminded that cooking is a lesson in staying present, a form of mindfulness meditation. From organizing the shopping list; remaining patient through all of the cutting, chopping, and measuring; and slowly, slowly browning the roux. The payoff is not just in experiencing a delicious meal, but feeling both love and gratitude as I sit at the table and eat. Gratitude that I have such healthy, delicious food to eat. Love for the partner I prepared it for (who adores gumbo), and for the dear friend who shared her expertise with me.
I can’t wait to make another batch! Want the recipe? Let me know in the comments!