Cooking in the Moment

It’s been a tough couple of weeks. Between extreme craziness at work (more extreme than usual) and my husband traveling a lot and this gruesome weather and not getting enough sleep, my energy has been drained. Each day feels like I am being constantly battered by ocean waves taller than me. When I get home from work, all I want to do is lie on the sofa and watch Top Chef. I do not feel like cooking.

As a result, I have been eating “dinners” of hummus and pita, scrambled eggs or — worse yet — McDonald’s. It has not been a healthy time for me, even with the mound of fresh tomatoes from my garden sitting on the countertop, screaming at me with their juicy redness.

What I have to remember, though, is that when I do force myself to get up off the couch and into the kitchen, the act of cooking itself has the power to heal what ails me. Cooking puts me in the moment, that effervescent place where Buddhists are always striving to be, where what happened before and what will happen later do not matter. All that matters is what you are doing now: the tomato you are slicing, the onion you are sauteing, the sauce you are stirring. My mind and body focus on that one physical act in a way that recharges me and banishes the tiredness. And then I get to sit down to a meal of what I have made, something healthy and wonderful that nourishes me. Cooking helps me take care of myself when I am absolutely demotivated to do that, but when I need it most.

The hardest part is to start. To not talk myself out of going into the kitchen because I am just too worn down. Once I start, everything falls into place. Everything makes sense again. I just have to get up and do it.

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