Wednesday, April 27, 2011

cooking a life

cross-processed fuji sensia 400
when we moved my friend michelle sent me a little book that she picked up at her local library sale - it's a slim volume and well-loved in appearance by all of the hands it passed through. it's a pleasure just to hold it and think about all of those who held it before me and ponder the durability of words for a moment. all of those words, waiting there for so many people to read them, resting comfortably in themselves, sure of who they are. what a profound thing.  i'm not sure why i didn't read it at the time, but i was in such a haze with all of the changes going on that i didn't even remember to email her and thank her (i did eventually, don't worry). or maybe it's just that the right time to read it hadn't yet come.

the book is called instructions to the cook: a zen master's lessons in living a life that matters by bernard glassman and rick fields. and it's not really about cooking at all, but about living. i'm not normally a big fan of the platitude-ridden self-help book, but this one is different. it's not so in-your-face, it's more subtle. more storytelling without being preachy or full of obvious and overly-positive mantras.

they talk a lot in the book about the importance of the daily practice of meditation. and i think about how sometimes all of those voices in my head seem so LOUD. and how i wish they weren't obsessively counting (seriously, i find i'm at 78, 79, 80, before i even notice i'm doing it - does this happen to anyone else?). well, i tried to meditate and i cannot make it work. i can't sit still, i can't stop wiggling and i most definitely can't clear my head and think of nothing (and their instructions to count slowly to 10 just do not help with that whole counting thing). the only place i can come close to meditation is at the sewing machine and sometimes in painting stones. but maybe that's ok.

but i love the notion that we cook a life...the metaphor somehow captures what happens...combing various ingredients (people, places, experiences) into a life well lived. and considering that some of my most content moments occur when i'm in the kitchen, cooking a life is an appealing notion.

so now, i wonder what's for dinner.

1 comment:

Loredana said...

First, I'm picking up the book ASAP! I LOVE it already.

Second, I swear everyday i'm going to meditate and when I actually get to it i feel whole, really.

It is hard, very hard to quiet that noise (counting) in your head but it can be done. I actually can't meditate without mantra music on (usually I need to hear it through my iPod with my earbuds). Some good meditation to listen to 'Brian L. Weiss M.D.-Healing Meditation-Regression to Times and Places'

The music on this can be a bit 'church like' (the only way to describe it) but how he gets you to the place you need to be is pretty darn good!

Then once you feel comfortable enough i like to listen to 'Mercan Dede'...YouTube it...amazing!

Lastly, i too believe that meditation does not necessarily need to be in the cross legged position, eyes closed, repeating a mantra a million times. I think being quiet and doing something enjoyable is meditative as well.

Can't wait to check out this book!