Really Cooking

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    Have you ever noticed how busy the mind can be when you’re cooking? Whether you feel cooking is a chore or really enjoy the creativity involved, you might want to consider using cooking time as an opportunity to practice being aware in the moment. Smelling the fragrances of herbs and spices, feeling your arm as you stir or chop, test tasting as you go, voices in the next room. All of what’s happening can be taken in and let be. Focusing with the task-at-hand, without getting caught up in thoughts about what’s next, how tired you feel, or what happened earlier in the day, allows your whole being to be present with what is. You may actually find you have more energy to enjoy your meal when you’ve prepared it with awareness!

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    Try this the next time you are aware that you feel stressed and want to quiet down the inner chaos quickly. Walking, driving, standing still or sitting, quietly say while breathing in, "I am breathing in, and I am at peace." Say while breathing out, "I am breathing out, and I am at peace." Focus attention on what happens. If you become distracted, simply return your focus to your words and notice what's happening within. Repeat until you notice a shift, and are ready to stop. The cells of the body receive thought as instruction, and they are willing followers to whatever we think. Saying we are at peace allows the body to shift from feeling rushed around, to slowing down, so we can feel quieter inside. With the goal of maintaining balance in all things, use this practice with care, and let awareness be your guide. Sometimes this practice is helpful, and other times, it can be used to distract us from exploring mistaken beliefs that keep us rushing around. Remembering awareness is a gift to yourself and others.

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