What’s Cooking?

dance 3
There’s been a whole lot of ground shaking and things a-flying going on. As I live in the northeast, I’m not only referring to the recent earthquake and hurricane, but also my 18 year-old son – my oldest child – moving out and moving on, all within a week! I’d been saying I needed a change. I even considered relocating to another part of the country, but like mother earth going through her changes, I noticed these changes reflecting within me. Over the past two years, between splitting with my husband to spending more time and energy working outside the home, I found it difficult to devote my time to cooking the homemade meals my family had grown accustomed to. My kids complained about the increase in takeout and frozen (though organic!) dinners. Juggling home, work and single motherhood took on a life of its own and the home cooked meals we savored, along with our family time together, diminished. Even our cherished Friday family game nights, which we enjoyed religiously for over 10 years, had become obsolete. These days we play a game of “catch me if you can” to get family time. I anticipated my son moving out, but thinking about this next stage of my family’s growth has been a bit unsettling. We are a family in flux and, believe me when I say, “resistance is futile!” My work naturally eases up in the summertime and I usually can relax and rejuvenate as I plan what’s next. With the changes going on around me I found it difficult to stay focused. I began looking through my recipes, making more trips to the farmer’s market and enjoying planning my meals around the fruits and veggies in season! I have always been passionate about preparing delicious, nutritious food for my family; from making my shopping list, handling and smelling the fresh produce, to knowing that we were enjoying good, healthy food! But now I was cooking to escape. I realized it was, and is, a creative diversion. Washing, chopping and cooking the ingredients together is a meditative exercise for me; a relaxing activity to engage myself in the moment – helping me to relieve stress, lift my spirits, feed my body and soothe my soul. Life’s changes and challenges can be draining, mentally and physically. We all need time away to avoid burnout and take a break to recharge. We can even grow weary and tire from an over-active social life. There are times when doing nothing can revive us, but when doing nothing at all won’t do, create a diversion! So as I go and prepare my watermelon, cucumber and feta cheese salad for lunch… What moves you?