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Enjoying doing the dishes.

by Lisa on August 27, 2012

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.

6am on the pier...just me and a few fishermen :-)

 

More farmer's market loot...

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?

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  • Heather (Where’s the Beach)

    This is a wonderful post. I often forget to enjoy the little things, the simplicity in things as well. I know that when I view cooking dinner as more than just a chore, it’s enjoyable. I get really into what I’m doing. Otherwise it’s a chore and I find myself getting frustrated or flustered.

  • Jess

    Wow, I absolutely love this. Reading these words from you: “Because I wasn’t trying to rush through anything to an end result, I found myself slowing down to just enjoy the process.” <–I NEED NEED NEED to do this more often, WAY more often. Incredible observation my friend, as usual. I LOVE how your mind works, seriously.

  • purelytwins

    Enjoy the whole process of food making :)
    I adore spending time with my family in the kitchen, love the conversations and memories we create over food!

  • http://www.cottercrunch.com lindsay cotter

    i live in the kitchen. i feel at ease there. I think i need to get this book. wish i could come cook with you.

  • Brittany

    I lovee to cook, I thrive off of it. I love to cook for others just as much as I love to cook alone. I don’t mind dishes either, I find it therapeutic. I love the sound of the book you read, sounds like my kind of read!

  • Alexia Kulterer

    I have truly come to enjoy my own free time and try not to “race” anywhere anymore. i used to plan out even my free time.. my dopamine levels must have been through the roof!!! I enjoy going for long walks, farmers market and doing the dishes just as much as you do… doing it calmly and minfully… such a different thing once you are actually doing everything more consciously!
    i dont really have a person I enjoy cooking with, but I do enjoy cooking for others! I am quite busy at the moment that food preparation is just part of the routine and not a speciality or occassion to cook with a friend! hope this will change one day though!

  • cathy@1970kikiproject

    lisa, that is a gorgeous pic of the pier at 6 a.m.
    you are already experiencing so many a-ha moments – amazing! i so so hope that things come together, and if you wish to stay in santa monica, you will. hugs!!
    i loathe and detest cooking…so yup, definitely a chore! i’d much rather go for coffee!
    have a fab day, i’ll look forward to seeing/reading (twitter!) what you’re up to.

  • Gen

    great post! when I cook, it is relaxing for me…..that’s why I love to choose things that take a while to complete! sometimes i like cooking alone, but I also loove to cook with my mom and sister! it gives us time to chat, hang out, and unwind a bit.

  • Susan

    I read this and think that I used to be that person that loved spending so much time in the kitchen. I still do but things have changed. My real goal lately has just been to get out of there asap. I used to find washing dishes by hand meditative but now I just throw everything into the dish washer so I can get to bed earlier. This is a great post!

  • http://www.thefitnessdish.com/ Laury@The Fitness Dish

    I love cooking and spending time in the kitchen. I hate the clean up though. That book sounds interesting and I really think it’s an awesome concept. I am one to rush through things and always think about what I should be doing next. Lately I have been trying to remind myself ot enjoy the little things and the moments as they are happening!

    It sounds like you are settling in there just fine. I am enjoying seeing all of your pictures and updates on FB & instagram! I wish I could come visit :-)

  • http://twitter.com/CaitPlusAte Caitlin Croswell

    Your farmers’ market loot looks super delish and that pier, ah! I want to live in CA one day! I am envious of the time you’re spending there.
    I really need to work on being “present” in everything I do, I am def rush rush rush. But I am always present in the kitchen at night when I’m packing my lunch for work the next day. I always make a huge salad and chopping the veggies and then chopping up the finished product is therapeutic to me. I so enjoy it!

  • Allie @ PickyEatingRD

    This –> “I am equally happy and content in the presence of people and by myself.” -That is me to a “T”. Though I will say, I can’t stand doing dishes. I guess I need to try turning it into something more therapeutic but idk if that is possible!

  • spabettie

    I LOVE THIS! seriously. my life is so busy and hectic, there are things that many people complain about (juicing + cleaning the juicer, peeling chickpeas…) that I SAVOR. I find it meditative to peel chickpeas, I really do. and the whole process of juicing has become a ritual to me, a ritual that ends with amazing juice…

  • claybaboons

    There’s something to be said for work as meditation. Anything done mindfully is worth doing, right? I have to admit that I have a very hard time slipping into that state, but when I do, the world just feels calm and everything flows.

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