Meditation: like putting money into savings, it’s one of those things we know we’re supposed to do for a plethora of benefits, but life gets in the way, and sometimes it’s just hard to get your butt on the meditation pillow. Closing your eyes and taking some big breaths has it’s perks; getting in touch with our inner-selves, keeping calm, deepening our breathing, which will increase our mental focus and make us generally happier people right?
Easy peasy right?
Except if you don’t have time to meditate. If your house is anything like mine you might be really excited to wake up before the kids, make some green tea then get your butt to your meditation spot, you settle in…breathe in… breathe out….
Then comes the pitter-patter of little feet accompanied by whining powered by empty bellies demanding breakfast. Total meditation time – 12 seconds. I figure, you have to cook at least once a day right? Or once a week if you’re a batch cooking mama like me.
So why not meditate while you cook?
You have to pay attention anyways so you don’t slice your fingers off. When you’re NOT present you do things like put salt in your coffee, or add cayenne instead of paprika to dinner and end up with a fiery mess.
If you’re not a huge fan of cooking, being present while you’re cooking will make you enjoy it. If you’re present, there’s only happiness.
Here are seven practical tips to meditate while you measure, mix and marinate:
1. Put your phone away to minimize distractions.
Treat cooking as the only job you need to do right now. You’d turn your phone off to meditate or do yoga right? Without Facebook checking, Twitter notifications, and other noise you’ll get better focus.
2. Start with a space that makes you feel good.
If your kitchen counters have mail and dirty dishes all over, you might feel a sense of overwhelm. Integrate the clean-up and prep work into your meditation practice. Focus on one task at a time before moving to the next one.
3. When your space feels good, begin.
Take a few deep breaths, look around to make sure you have everything you need then make a mental note of “now I’m beginning,” and begin.
4. Use all your senses; look, listen, feel, smell, taste.
Listen to the sound the stove makes when it clicks to light the gas. Feel the shape of the onion, close your eyes and smell it. Roll it around in your hand, and take note of how it feels in your hand – soft, hard, a few soft spots, peeling skin. When you peel the skin, notice the sound it makes.
5. Close your eyes to enhance your other senses and really smell your food.
While the mirepoix is sweating or garlic is sautéing, close your eyes, part your lips a little and inhale with your whole face.
6. Focus on the task at hand.
Stir the pot, flip the potatoes, open the oven, add salt. Try to do this while not focusing on the other things you’ve got going on in the kitchen, or in your head.
7. Make meals special.
The meditative practice shouldn’t end when dinner slides onto that fresh white plate. Light a candle, unplug, sit down and enjoy your food using all the senses you used to prepare the meal. Pick up a bite of food on your fork, close your eyes, inhale. Take a bite, stop and notice what the food feels like on your tongue.