Change and Balance

I was reading my blogs this morning when I came across a post which really spoke to me.  It may be found on Balance In Me.  I was especially struck by how it applies to my new efforts to heal myself by taking on my own cooking.  The author was writing about feeling stuck and I don’t know that I am feeling that, but I have been wondering what to do as my next step in my healing process, so I guess that is a kind of stuck.  Anyway, the author suggests 5 steps, and I’ve done them all today (and no doubt will have to do them again and again as that’s what it takes to heal).

I’ve already written about my big step in deciding to learn to cook and to cook for myself rather than having someone do that for me.  That was an absolutely huge step for me which I took over the weekend.  So in this blog post I read, the author says the first step is to convince yourself that it is possible to make the first step.  I am now working hard at convincing myself that I can do this.  A friend just told me that the very act of taking time out of my day to make myself nourishing food is an extremely powerful way to look after myself, something which I definitely need to do.

The next step according to Anastasiya, who wrote the post “Feeling Stuck?  Get Yourself Free in 5 Steps,” is to be prepared.  For example, in learning a new skill (as I’m doing), be prepared with support.  I have talked with friends, e-mailed friends, and visited with friends who have all said they would help me, and you wouldn’t believe the number of “really easy” recipes which have come my way already today.  I’m getting lots of excellent advice and encouragement and I’m also working on being prepared with the right tools.

Step three is to do something which I’m reluctant to do and I’ve sure hit that one running.  I’ve been extremely reluctant to do any real cooking (as opposed to my many years of cooking from box mixes, TV dinners, etc).  My reluctance is understandable given how much criticism my cooking has brought down upon me over the years, but still, I need to get past that.

Step four requires me to do something which I am afraid of.  Well, the entire concept of cooking terrifies me in the first place, so I sure am meeting that requirement.  More than that, I had to go to the market today to purchase some basics so that I’d have ingredients to cook with and it has been nearly 1 1/2 years since I’ve marketed.  That was a very frightening experience, but I did survive and I now have some veggies, some tofu, some grains, some spices, and we shall see where that takes me.

And finally, step 5 requires the changing of routines, which I’ve also certainly done.  I now have to plan ahead, think about what I want to fix, make time to fix it, etc.  Tonight I still have food from my friend who cooked for me, but not a full dinner’s worth, so I’ll need to supplement it with some steamed veggies (although after all I’ve done today I may settle for steaming a package of edamame).  By tomorrow I will be on my own, but that is when will be delivering (actually it is UPS and FedEx) my kitchen stuff, including a 2 burner electric cooktop to use until my gas cooktop can be installed.  So my tools will arrive tomorrow and I can then begin the adventure in earnest.  And since tomorrow I will be at appointments, yoga lessons, and Study Zone from 12-5PM, it had better be something simple that I attempt for my first dinner.

Anyway, I am now definitely overwhelmed and more than a little frightened, but still rather excited and I think this journey will be good on a number of levels.

8 responses

  1. Go for it! You'll do great. And I think it's important not to be critical of yourself as you embark on this:Remember, even professional chefs have screw ups in the kitchen! I'm not saying you're going to screw anything up, but if something doesn't turn out exactly as you thought, don't sweat it! It's all part of the learning process and, it happens to all of us!Steamed edamame sounds good! Happy cooking!

  2. Yeah, what Rose said! :-)Some advice I was given once that I try to remember when I feel fear or trepidation about doing something is to ask yourself, "What's the worst that can happen?" In this case, probably a recipe that, as Rose said, doesn't turn out as you'd thought or hoped, but that's just part of any new learning experience. Be gentle with yourself and realize that as with any new skill, there's a learning curve. We're usually far worse critics of ourselves than anyone else could ever be.The other question to ask yourself is, "What's the BEST thing that could happen?" In this case, lots of stuff! Tasty, healthy meals; less expense; increased self-sufficiency; increased self-confidence; being able to prepare food as a gift for friends; learning new things about gadgets, nutrition, veganism and all the various plant foods and seasonings; meeting new people through the many vegan blogs (among other places); new books to read (vegan cookbooks can be really inspiring and entertaining reads!); new toys to play with (I do love a kitchen gadget!); food experiments that turn out great; better nourishment; the thrill of discovering your inner chef… the list goes on! I didn't have to deal with criticism of my cooking as you did, but my bugaboo was my mother's horrible attitude toward cooking. She despised it (and still does) and was always very vocal about it (and still is). Meals at my house weren't prepared with love, they were prepared with a terrible, negative, complaining attitude and it taught me that cooking is a dreadful chore and burden. I'd overcome some of that while on my own, but it wasn't until becoming vegan that I embraced cooking as creative, fun and nurturing, and usually think of it now as not a necessity but a pleasure. It's also a great opportunity to practice mindfulness and lovingkindness. I took a free course very early on when I was learning how to cook as a vegan, about preparing and eating food mindfully and with loving intention. I'll see if I can find the source of it, you might really enjoy it. I remember they talked about an experiment that was conducted in which the same dishes were prepared with either negative intention and emotions (my mom could have been a volunteer for that group of cooks, lol), with neutral intention and emotion, or with loving intention and emotion. The dishes were then fed in a blind study to test subjects, who overwhelmingly preferred the taste and experience of eating the food that had been prepared with love. So don't leave out that ingredient! :-)Enjoy your new kitchen goodies and truly, have fun with this! No reason it can't be fun! πŸ™‚

  3. I meant to ask you if you prefer spicy or mild food, and any cuisine(s) in particular? (Italian, Chinese, Mexican, Indian…)

  4. Laloofah, those are wonderful questions to ask oneself. I'm going to start using them when I'm anxious about the future. Thank you. :)Daphne, I'm rooting for you. It sounds like you're off to a great start!

  5. Hi, Lydia, how sweet of you to let me know you found those questions useful! I find that little exercise is usually quite helpful and hope you will too. πŸ™‚ Sounds like you've got loads of great support, Daphne! πŸ™‚

  6. Hi Rose, Laloofah and Lydia,Thanks so much for your support, and yes, those are great questions to ask! I thought your post, Laloofah, about making sure that love is an ingredient was wonderful, and certainly that's what I did with my first dinner last night (posted a new post about that). So practicing mindfulness will be a big part of my cooking. And I know there will be a learning curve also and that not everything will be as successful as last night's but I'm going slowly and taking small risks, and most importantly, I'm enjoying it all. And it means so much to me to get the support from you all as I attempt this. I'm not sure what kind of cuisine I prefer, but generally, not really spicy and I probably would lean more toward Italian or Chinese, rather than Mexican or Indian, but my favorite things are just plain old steamed veggies over rice or a hearty mushroom/barley soup. But I suspect my palate will grow as my cooking adventure expands. Today it is hummus as my first use of my new Vitamix.

  7. I'm tickled (but not surprised!) that the idea of making sure that love is an ingredient resonated with you, Daphne, and your other post makes it clear that you did just that! Your approach to this sounds great, and it's wonderful that you're enjoying it all! I look forward to reading a post someday about how you made a delicious dish to take to your therapist as a surprise! :-)Italian – atta girl! πŸ™‚ And you're right, your palate will no doubt grow. Ours sure has ~ and still is! ~ and we're not unique in that at all. It's a fun and tasty journey, that's for sure! πŸ™‚

  8. Yes, Laloofah, I realized this morning that I'm looking at my cooking the same way I do my quilting and my weaving–creatively, going my own way, and filling it with lots of love and nurturing! Great idea about sharing with my therapist, but I suspect that will be a ways out. Still, you never know!

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