Monday, June 25, 2012

'The Cooking" a recipe for living in the "NOW"

Sometimes you remember doing things that, at the time, when you were perhaps young and unexperienced, were life changing. Or were relevant to your relationship with a person, place or time. Marking it, as it were, with a stamp of memory. A mark so strong that even when it is pointed out to you later in life, that it was perhaps, "different than you remember it", you still hold onto the memory as truth. It has become your truth at least, and thus the will be way you remember a place a time a person or even a meal, forever.

Nostalgia is a funny thing in that way. It colors things with that rosy fuzzy hue and patina that makes the common and ordinary somehow sweet and magical. I think we do that as humans because we live so little in our present. Maybe because right now is scary, and real, and it demands we pay attention. We would rather bask in the glow of yester-year , or even dream about a magical tomorrow. Leaving today for dross and not realizing that the only time that is ever really ours and real to us is our Now. Not our yesterday or a tomorrow which may never come.

People who face life changing adversity, sickness or trauma know that "the Now" is real. It forces them to confront the Now and the HOW and the WHY in a way many of us thankfully may never have to until the end when all is done and life and time grow silent. But we live in the meanwhile. We often live in blissful ignorance of the beauty of our immediate NOW. It can be paralyzing a little, this looking back. I have oft thought that perhaps the story of Lot's wife in the Bible had another meaning. One which teaches us that life is meant to be lived looking forward, marching now. Not looking behind us at a yesterday which exists only in our memories and when focused on can stop our forward motion with it's soothing and yet paralyzing charm. Turning us into a pillar of salt as it were. Motionless and unable to go forward.

Am I saying that I think that Nostalgia is bad or silly. Absolutely not! Why what would life be without the basking in the afterglow of so many wonderful moments we have lived in and loved in. I am only saying that we should be careful not to let it get in the way of enjoying and being present in our NOW.

For the  Now can be a scary and difficult place to be even in the common life. That is one without high drama ( war, disease, pestilence). Just the everyday stresses of money, family, relationships, work etc. But even the common stresses of life and the everyday wear and tear can take a toll on our souls and with good measure push us into the space where dreaming or looking behind us is preferable to dealing with the problems of today. But we have to live in the NOW. no choice about it. Even if we long for tomorrow or yesterday the only way to get their is by going through the Now and the day upon us.

It's one of the reasons I like "The Cooking". Cooking can be an immersive experience which pushes us toward what will be another wonderful experience, "The Eating"! For it is done in the moment. And done with wonderful ingredients in the kitchen, and with people and fellowship around the table. The Cooking/Eating experience is one which we will repeat and enjoy and be present to all of our lives. I wish always to be able to prepare meals whether simple or complex and to enjoy them with people I love or whom I have just met and hope to love! That to me is living.

So if you find yourself overwhelmed in your life and there is too much on your plate. Resolve to find a way to take a moment and savor what life has brought you, bitter or sweet. And live in the moment. Live "it", whatever "it" is. If you have to rest do so fine. But don't "look Back" and get caught up on the yesterday, or get dreamy about tomorrow ignoring where you are.

My father had a great saying about those times when life was overwhelming and you thought you could go on, or move forward. He told a story about a Prince, who led his troops into battle. Struck down in the fray he was removed from the field by his men. When asked if he would withdraw from the battle he waved them off and declared, "I will lie here and bleed awhile, but then I will rise and fight again!". So let it be with us.

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