If you celebrate Christmas, I hope you had a wonderful one! And if you don’t, I hope you got to enjoy a day of rest and relaxation.
We spent the afternoon using our new dog treat maker, which got me thinking about mindfulness in the kitchen. It didn’t take long to find advice online:
“Be as accurate as you can in recognizing the different smells, fragrances, flavors, and foods as they cook. It is as if you are trying to pick up every last scent, every last nuance,” say the meditation experts at Headspace on the topic of mindful cooking.
My personal meditation experts, Rico and Roxy, agree.
You want a lesson in mindfulness in the kitchen? Forget about reading. Observe your dogs. I don’t know about yours, but mine are always tuned in to kitchen occurrences. No small activity goes unnoticed. I’ve yet to figure out how they can be upstairs and know I’m opening the pantry door and not a closet door.
I used to suspect Rico’s sensitive ears could pick up the sound of moving air molecules courtesy of a falling crumb. Now I think the force is so strong in this one, he can look in the future to see exactly where to park himself to catch falling crumbs before it happens.
I don’t care to go through the process of training them to stay out of the kitchen, although they will leave if I tell them to (most of the time and at least for a little while). So my mindful cooking practice is as much about not tripping over dogs or slipping in drool as it is about smells and flavors.
Now that I’m writing about it, working in the kitchen reminds me a little bit of sparring, but not in the obvious “fighting for space” sense.
One of the hardest things about sparring (besides getting up the nerve to do it in the first place) is keeping your eyes on your opponent’s chest area. In doing so, your peripheral vision can detect motion of both her hands and her feet. You really want to make eye contact, but if you do, her feet leave your field of vision and you won’t know to block that painful kick coming in.
If I focus too much on the food, I’ll miss what else is going on. Someone could actually get hurt. So instead of focusing on the food only (looking at the eyes), I try to be aware of the entire kitchen (looking at chest level).
Maybe that’s how Rico can be in the living room and still know where a piece of popcorn hits the floor in the kitchen. Maybe he maintains an open awareness. I hope someday the force is as strong in me as it is in him.