Choosing To Enjoy Cooking

Growing up, I had no interest in cooking. My mom would make us home-made meals, and I of course loved them (except weirdly, I was not into Chicken Pot Pie at the time) but I had no interest in how she was making them. I feel bad for not appreciating them as much as I should have. I am trying to make up for it! Now and then she would call me or my brothers into the kitchen to husk corn, or when we were older, chop carrots or peppers or something, but other than that we weren't really a part of it.

In college, I learned how to do the basics of cooking, like making scrambled eggs, or making a pizza out of flour tortillas, but it wasn't something I enjoyed. It was just a necessity because it was cheaper than having a meal plan, or eating out. 

And then 6 years as a New Yorker, I still hadn't gotten into cooking... Though it would save me money, I simply did not typically have the time to spend in the kitchen. And as a novice, everything takes a much longer time, as I don't know my way around a kitchen, or how to use a "lemon zester". I was truly a Carrie Bradshaw when it comes to cooking... storing non-seasonal clothes in the oven and ordering Thai food every day. (for everything else, I'm whatever is between Miranda and Charlotte).

Well, on January 2nd this year, I started Whole30 for a variety of reasons: detoxing from my sinful holiday eating, eliminating various foods to see if I feel better without them, and just to try it! Doing Whole30 pretty much requires you to learn how to cook, unless you just want to eat scrambled eggs with salt every single day. One of my new years resolutions is to have purpose and intention with everything I do, and commit, so it's easy to see how to apply this to Whole30!

I decided to try a paleo chili. I've made chili before: you just throw a ton of stuff in a pot and cook it for 40 minutes, and it's great.  I followed a strict recipe on some lady's food blog, and meticulously executed every instruction. It took me 3 hours, and it was tedious. I had Netflix's show "Big Mouth" on in the background to entertain me.

The paleo chili was honestly... amazing... BUT I can't be spending 3 hours everytime I wanna make something! I knew I would get faster the more I learned my way around, but it was just so daunting.

Next I made a lemon chicken/asparagus dish. The blog said 30 minutes, and it took me 2 hours. There were very few crossover instructions between the paleo chili and the chicken/asparagus. Ok, so now I've surely covered all the different types of cooking instructions...? 

The chicken/asparagus and the paleo chili both lasted me about a week... so I was almost due to make another pot of something... I found a Moroccan Chicken Stew recipe. I love Moroccan food and I love stew...and chicken... ok I'll try this.  I had to spend a fortune on getting an assortment of non-western spices, but I figured it was an investment. The ingredients sat in my fridge for a few days as I kept procrastinating.

Finally, I knew it was the day. My chili was officially gone. I knew it would take me forever-and-a-half, so I got up 3 hours earlier than I normally do. The first thing I do every morning is meditate, so upon waking up, I meditated and asked for advice on how to get through this... I pulled a card from my Gabby Bernstien "The Universe Has Your Back" deck, and it said "The Universe works fast when I'm having fun." 

"the universe works fast when I'm having fun..." I contemplated that...  What if I just decided that cooking was fun? Would that work? Could I just make that decision? What would make it fun? Also, how can I cook with purpose, intention, and commit to it?

1. instead of having a tv show on in the background, I just turned on some music I love. (mid-career Michael Brecker!). This allowed me to bop around, but not be focused on people talking, or following a story

2. Really think about each ingredient I am preparing. Like while cutting an onion.. Ok, this onion is going to provide lots of juices and flavor to the meat in the stew, and its going to be a great source of Vitamin C and chromium!  These dates are going to be such a sweet surprise in every spoonful.  (i know how corny this sounds... but it worked!)

3. Just deciding to not be glum. I had a slight smile on my face and was just thinking about how I'm learning, I'm making something for myself, it's healthy, etc.. just all the positive things about the experience. I thought about everything I can be grateful for as I made it too.. grateful to have a working stove, to be able to afford the ingredients, to have the morning off so I can cook, to have made it 9 days into Whole30 without cheating! 

This made the process FLY by. The blog said the recipe would take 1 hour. It took me about 1.5 hours, but it was so fun, I learned a lot, and stew is INCREDIBLE. It will probably last me 4-5 days. I'm now excited to try something new. Cooking is...okay! :) 

 

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choose to have fun!

Error Vs. Truth

"Error cannot really threaten truth, which can always withstand it. Only the error is actually vulnerable" -A Course In Miracles

This is powerful. We often search for shortcuts to get out of conflict. We find an easy way out, or say or do something we don't mean. If we search for the truth in every conflict, and really examine our intentions, then we can find the most effective action to take.

Error (conflict, negativity) is a disturbance in the natural flow of love. It is unstable, false energy, and adding more errors in an effort to quell the original error is just making the house of cards more precarious. The obvious example is when we tell lies to fix errors. This happens all the time, and we've all seen enough episodes of children's television dealing with this moral lesson to know that these lies add up and create huge messes. This isn't just about lies though, it's also about those times we choose hate or negativity over love. When we send that sassy email, or shit-talk somebody to make ourselves feel better, or give up our own power to impress someone else. 

Truth is what is REAL. And only REAL things can create solutions. Finding out the real intentions of ourselves and others, through contemplation and compassion is how we uncover truth, and when you put truth up to any error, truth will reign as champion. 

I see so many of my friends who essentially have the same views and opinions arguing over minutia on social media. Instead of seeking truth with one another, they add more error by testing each other's intelligence and always trying to come out on top, no matter what. Well, this will never be truly successful for either party, because negativity is an illusion. It's not real. And only real things can create. TRUTH is real. The truth can create.

Another side of error is when we disrespect ourselves and actively give away our power.  This is another ego-protecting waste of time because we are believing the illusion that other people are better than us, and that we are not all equal beings of light. We are ignoring our own truth. This will never create real solutions either. We must take a moment to set our real intention for ourselves in any given situation, and make that intention clear to the appropriate party in a compassionate way. 

If we could put aside our egos more often and seek truth with one another, and especially with ourselves, we could create so much more. If we could just accept that truth will always win over error. Truth is not threatened by error. 

 

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"The Ever-Luminous Sun"

"Just as the ever-luminous sun reveals its real nature with the help of night and day, even so the light of the self reveals its real nature by revealing both consciousness and ignorance"
-Yoga Vasistha

 

This is a quote from "Vasistha's Yoga" which is a really long (and amazing) book that is attributed to the ancient poet Valmiki, but is not technically authored by any "one". Historians say this text comes from between the 6th and 14th century India. I've been reading it for a few months now, and it has been life-changing. 

The quote is so beautiful to me, and it's going to be hard for me to express this stuff eloquently, but who cares! The sun truly is "EVER-luminous". It's shining brightly 24/7, 365 days a year, and has been for about 4.6 billion years. It's never stopped!  Every day our world is lit by the sun. But were it not for NIGHT,  we would never really notice the sun, because we would just always accept that it is...what it is... We wouldn't realize the sun is there...if it was just always "there". Night time and darkness is what makes us appreciate the sun. It's what makes us come back to it every morning. Without the darkness, we would not recognize the light that the sun is giving us. Light wouldn't be a thing, because we wouldn't notice it's existence. It is because of the lack of light that we recognize that light is a thing. WOW. I dont know if you've ever thought about that... but I guess I hadn't...

SO, this quote? Well it's saying that there is a light inside each of us (a light that we all share, of course!), and it's always there, shining. It's always full of love, compassion, and a sense of unity. This light is consciousness. When we are living in consciousness we are connected to our source and we know that love is the only real energy, and it is also the energy that connects us all... YET... despite this wonderful feeling of connection, we still somehow fall into moments of darkness, negativity and self-doubt. These problems can come up when we are dealing with relationship struggles, money issues, or health complications.

These things will happen our entire lives in this physical world, and that's okay. In fact it's good... whenever we are faced with darkness, it is a reminder and/or opportunity that dawn is coming. A new day is coming. The night will be over, and we can be grateful when the sun comes back up and we can live more powerfully than we did the day before. Let me say that again, the darkness is always a lesson for us to embrace our own inner light more powerfully than we did the day before. 

I had a really rough day a few days ago. I was worried about money, as I have some big expenses coming up. I allowed the dark side of my ego to drag myself down to a really low place. I let myself sit in that dark place for a moment... and then once I had cooled down, I meditated, and slowly found an immense appreciation for the paid work that I do have, and saw my inner light waiting for me. It wrapped itself around me, and kicked me in the ass (in a very loving, beautiful way) and I got back up and started to figure things out again. Going to that dark place wasn't fun, but that glorious moment when I remembered my light propelled to a new place that I had never been before.  Everything is going to be fine :)

I am an ever-luminous sun, and so are you! 

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A Country's History

I just spent 8 days in Germany and didn't see ANY statues of Hitler. In fact, the public display of swastikas is strictly prohibited in Germany, (except for historical purposes, like a MUSEUM). 
I even did an audio walking tour of Berlin, and when I got to the location of Hitler's bunker where he committed suicide, there is just a small sign explaining the location. The entrance is now a parking lot, and buildings have been strategically built to make the location appear insignificant.

More importantly, a couple streets away is the incredibly sobering and compelling "Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe" which takes up an entire city block. It very deliberately uses the word "murdered". While walking through this seemingly endless laberynth...the message that Germany is sending about this extremely dark part of their history is crystal clear. (see pic below)

There is NO need for us to glorify the people who fought to defend slavery. They should only be in text books as a way to educate people on these disgusting parts of our history, and the horrors of white supremacy, racism, and slavery.

It is of course absolutely important that we know this history and that it is not "forgotten"-- but purely as a way to learn, grow, better ourselves. These confederate statues symbolize hate.

Spread love, not hate. Be love.

For every confederate statue that is removed, put up 10 statues of African American civil rights heroes. When kids on field trips are being guided around their city centers, let them see statues honoring people that fought for racial equality.

 Deutsche Welles photo

Deutsche Welles photo