This is the second post in our meditation series from Kristen Hedges!
Last Monday, I contributed a post about the sweet little moments you can soak up in the morning. Now, it’s time to move on with the day. To stretch arms out wide and rub all the dreams from your eyes with a warm cloth.
We’re moving into the kitchen. A sacred space. If you allow it to be so, this is where the magic happens. Where spices and vegetables come together in pots and pans to feed a family. Here, like anywhere else, you can create sweet moments. You can focus that lens of your life and settle into that ever-elusive thing we call now. But even more importantly, you can transform your food into medicine with an intention alone. Loved food is nourishing food.
These moments are a few of my own. They are bits of time and ritual that work for me. They pull me into the present and shake the worry from my bones. Maybe they’ll work for you, too. Or maybe you can create sweet little moments of your own.
It begins, of course, with the brewing of coffee. Dark beans ground into a powder. Sleepy fingers fumbling at the filters, trying to only pick one. Water boils on the stovetop. There will be a moment of stillness. When the water hasn’t quite begun to rumble, but the beans are ground and the mug is waiting. In this moment, close your eyes. Breathe in to the count of 4, and out to the count of 8. Sigh. Then, find the handle of the pot, and pour. To me, coffee is sacred. Find what’s sacred to you – whether tea, or crumb cake – and honor it in the kitchen.
In the evening, you may find yourself with a cutting board, a knife, and a bag full of rough-skinned vegetables. Often, in these seemingly mundane moments, we lose ourselves. We allow our minds to wander. But here, we’re presented with a choice. If we accept the moment – in all of its unexceptional familiarity – we can transform it into something made of magic. Each evening, I make chopping vegetables into a meditation. Inhale, knife up. Exhale, slice through thick stem and dirty root. Repeat. Smile.
Explore the bubbling microcosm of your kitchen with your fingertips. Feel steam, and ice, and cookie dough alike. All things can become a meditation when touch is involved. For when you bring awareness to the sensitive tops of your fingers, you can’t help but bite your lip and smile. Build a relationship with your food and stuff it full of love by preparing it with your hands. Even mashed potatoes – when they’ve finished boiling and have cooled off a bit, plunge your hands into the bowl like a child and feel the steaming middles squish through the webbing of your fingers. Close your eyes. Fall in love with what you’ll soon be eating. Challenge yourself to find more ways to use your hands. Knead bread. Spread out a pie crust like play-doh in the tin. Roll cookies into perfect circles with your palms.
When it’s time to eat, please take a seat. Whether alone, or with a loved one. Sitting down while you’re eating will benefit both mind and body immensely. Light a candle, and thank whoever pieced together the meal – even if it’s yourself. Eat slowly, and with care. Use all of your senses. Allow your nose to drink in the food before you rest it on your tongue. Try eating with your hands. Dig up your childlike wonder, and enjoy.
If the time is right and if life allows, open your home and your hearth to friends and family. Alone, it might be difficult to bring your attention to the things that matter. And meditation doesn’t always have to be a solo sport. Allow a community to build in your mindfulness. Have a dinner party. A game night. A shared supper. Adorn the tabletop with folded cloth, cut flowers, and pretty placeholders. While you’re in the company of guests, focus on giving them the best gift of all – your absolute presence.
The day draws to a close. The sun zips back up into its sleeve on the horizon. A sink full of dishes waits for you in the kitchen. They call. They whisper. You peek your nose around the corner and frown at them. You wish they would go away. But smile, dear one. This is an opportunity for absolute mindfulness! You can spend each second washing dishes in sweet gratitude for the moment. As if each fork and spoon is a miracle. Feel the warm water push the day from your fingers. Soak your hands in the suds with the cups and plates. Rub each stain away and smile. Be here, now. With your dishes. With your heart.
Above all, make your kitchen lovely. Cut fresh flowers, or pick some up at the market, and arrange them in a jar on the counter. Keep your space tidy, and decorate with things that make you feel at home. Use warm colors. Sing softly to yourself and stand in the kitchen with bare toes. Hang curtains, and open a window. Invite light in. This in itself will help you to become more present – more sensitive to the sweetness of the moment. With a bit of love, your kitchen can become a sacred place.
More from the 10 sweet little moments series.