It’s been a great week here in Santa Monica (I’m on day 7). I have been walking so much, exploring and just being outside at most hours of the day. I was determined to spend a few days relaxing, and although I did think about my “plan” a bit, I did let things go and just enjoy my time/exploring too. I’ve had the opportunity to cook for people, and that has been fun. There have been times when I felt like cooking and dealing with meals/food was more of a chore, something that sucked away my time and just left me with a mess of dirty dishes and leftovers that no one really wants…
But I’m reminded right now of a book I read several years ago called, “The Path of Practice: A Woman’s Book of Healing with Food, Breath, and Sound,” by Maya Tiwari. It’s an interesting book, and it had a great impact on me at the time I read it. I recommend reading the summary though, before you buy it, because it involves the author’s journey with terminal cancer and ayurveda…and a whole bunch of spiritual stuff. One of the main things I got out of the book was that life is so much better if instead of resisting the process of your tasks, you become immersed and present within them. So, for me, this translates to kitchen tasks, walking to the store (3 times in one day sometimes), taking the stairs instead of the elevator…etc.
Americans are always racing somewhere, trying to reach a destination, only to get there and race through the processes of life to get to another destination. I had a little extra free time this past week, and really only focused on walking around, going to farmer’s markets, planning, shopping for, and making meals for people…and cleaning up. Because I wasn’t trying to rush through anything to an end result, I found myself slowing down to just enjoy the process.
Chopping things into tiny pieces, making food that had multiple steps (not my norm, for sure), and washing lots of dishes became almost meditative. Tiwari talks about how to tie together food, breath, and sound, and how that is healing (or at least, how it can be healing).
I have one friend who I’ve really shared this experience with in the kitchen—Jena. When we’re together (which is not often because she lives in SC), we spend hours in the kitchen together, usually with coffee or wine, and just share/enjoy the process rather than looking at it like a chore leading to dinner. I’ve never actually felt this way in the kitchen when I was alone, until now.
I am stepping up the pace a little bit in the work department this week—after all, if I’m going to stay here, I need to make a living. But my goal is to keep the slow reflective parts too. My cousin is going to Sardinia from Wednesday to Monday to see her man, and I’ll be primarily on my own (I am hoping to connect with a few people for coffee or yoga dates, but I think I know approximately 5 people here, who probably have their own Labor Day plans). My cousin asked me if I’d be ok alone
One thing is for sure about me—I am equally happy and content in the presence of people and by myself.
Just like it’s possible for me to be happy and sad at the same time about things—I’m exploring a great place, but I’m also not near people I love—it’s also possible to be with people and alone all at once. Especially here—I can go out and have coffee alone at the end of the pier in almost complete solitude, or I can walk down there during the day and be completely surrounded by people.
Everything is going great here so far—I think I’m getting out of this experience exactly what I was looking for, and I have no conclusions yet (which is also something I needed)!
Do you look at food preparation and other processes in life as “chores” or do you just enjoy them as you go along?
Do you have people you really enjoy cooking for or spending time with in the kitchen?