Lately, I have been cooking a lot. Don and I have moved to plant-based eating. My kitchen is full of vegetables and new cookbooks. Cooking had become routine and boring to me. Now I am excited to make new recipes.
There are many reasons for this choice, staying well and the health of the planet are the two most motivating factors. It’s one small contribution that can make a big difference. As I prepare, cook, and serve our food, I am “in love.”
Sadly, love is missing in so much of what surrounds us these days. When I read Laura Jane Mellencamp’s blog I felt her words express what I also feel. “My outer self is being bombarded with profound images and sounds of hatred, provoked by the extremes of radical thought. It is taking greater effort to come back and delink from my reactive habit of presenting anger and rage.”
When I feel “bombarded” it’s hard to keep my heart soft and open. My brain clicks into survival mode. My options become limited. Irritation grips me. My intolerance of others clouds my mind. My thoughts begin to loop around fear and anger. I build a wall around my heart.
I lived through the upheaval of the 1960’s. Tumultuous times are with us once again. Forty-seven years ago, fear flooded my thoughts. Me, a young mother, fretted over the world my children would inherit. My worried mind can still stir, but now it often settles with meditation, prayer and yoga. Acts like these keep our souls shining and are not “happy face solutions.” They cultivate steadiness. After practicing countless balance poses in yoga, I see that my focus determines if I fall or not.
Political discourse and action on social issues are important to me. Being a social worker has encouraged sensitives about the struggles many of us face. Reading about issues, ferreting out information and working for candidates is something I’ve done throughout my adult life.
Still the bigger challenge for me is, how do I hold a place of peace when fear boils over?
I want to bring the love I feel in my kitchen into the world. I want to take the caring present in the women’s circles to larger circles of people. These pockets of love need to expand to many other places. Sharing love has never felt more urgent to me. “In a world where you can be anything, be kind.” I read this quote the other day. It implies a choice. I want to be kind as I listen to others. I won’t let these times turn me into a hateful woman, even though I detest some of what I see.
I will keep cooking.
I’ll resist feeding hate.
I’ll feed love.
Whatever I feed will grow stronger.
Photo of Spicy Roasted Ratatouille with Spaghetti: Link