“Perhaps, though, the real point is not so much to find the holy places as to make them. Do we not hallow places by our very commitment to them? When we turn our home into a place that nourishes and heals and contents, we are meeting directly all the hungers that a consumer society exacerbates but never satisfies.”
-The New Laurel’s Kitchen
True nourishment begins when we recognize the kitchen as sacred space. It is where we create life from life, a place dedicated to nurturing our body and soul. In yoga, the breath is called prana, the life force itself. We use the breath during our practice to connect with something greater than ourselves, something divine and universal. We can think of the food we eat the same way. Not only is it nourishing and life-giving, it is a means of connection. Connection to the earth, to the people around us, to whatever source of life we believe in. If we think of food as sacred, suddenly our kitchen becomes a temple, our time spent cooking and preparing food not a chore but a meditation.
A deep awareness of this idea is where it all begins, but practically speaking, here are a few ideas for bringing this sacred energy into the kitchen:
- Tidy up. It is difficult to feel centered in the midst of chaos. Begin by really giving the kitchen a good overhaul, wiping down shelves, sinks and cupboards, eliminating clutter from countertops and giving them a good scrub. A clean and sparkly kitchen is a nice place to be.
- Eliminate gadgets, equipment and ingredients you don’t use or need. Simple is best when it comes to mindfulness in the kitchen.
- Light an unscented candle. Allow the candlelight to sanctify the kitchen space as holy each time you are cooking or preparing food.
- Take a moment to really “be” in the kitchen. Find a comfortable place to sit, light the candle and breathe, slowly and deeply. Really allow yourself to enter the space fully, mind body and soul. Leave everything else outside this sacred space and find yourself in the present moment, here and now.
- Once your mind is quiet, take a moment to give thanks for this space to prepare food, for the life that passes through your hands to create nourishment and to sustain your life and the lives of those you love.
- Set an intention. Not so much a goal but more of a present tense statement about how you want to feel as you go about the preparing and eating food. Maybe something like, “I create peace, nourishment and connection, “ or, “I nourish my body, soul and spirit in this space,” or “I create and sustain life from life in this sacred space.” Choose something broad that evokes an eagle’s eye view of the space you want your kitchen to be.
- Let it go. Life is chaotic. Our kitchens are never going to be in a constant state of gleaming perfection. We will not churn out inspired organic food every time we cook. Our intentions will not always be realized the way we hope they will be. This is part of the natural flow of life. Living and cooking are very much about learning to peacefully coexist with the imperfect on a daily basis.
And so, we embody the peaceful energy of our intention as often as we can. We cook and make choices from that space as often as we can. We visit this space whenever we need a reminder of the holiness of the kitchen, regardless of it’s current state of tidiness or disarray. And we let the rest go. We do the work in front of us…chopping carrots, roasting a chicken, kneading a loaf of bread. By doing so we give ourselves the gift of peace, acceptance and, most importantly, the infinite potential of the present moment as it exists here and now.