Posts Tagged ‘mindfulness’

Cooking with Cast Iron

That is absolutely someone else’s beautiful cooking–but the cast iron is even cooler with food in it. ūüôā

I got a set of cast iron pans from various family members for Christmas–from the darling tiny egg pan to the big-daddy grill pan. ¬†These pans are my first venture into the world of cast iron cookware. ¬†And at first, I will admit that I was a little intimidated. ¬†Cast iron is not quite the same gig as your average non-stick pan. ¬†Cast iron has rules. ¬†Cast iron needs care and attention. ¬†You can’t fill a cast iron pan and leave it to soak–unless you are fond of the taste of rust.

I noticed in the first week or so that I was kind of dodging the cast iron. Mind you, I asked for the cast iron.  This was an experience I opted into.  But I found myself overwhelmed by the idea of the cast iron care steps: let it cool, scrub it out, dry immediately, warm and add slight coat of oil to build seasoning.  And so I waffled for a bit.  But finally I decided to dive on in.  I challenged myself to only cook with my cast iron for a week.  No backsliding to the old, beat-up pans that I had.  In fact, I threw away several damaged pans, just to avoid the temptation to use them.

And I realized something interesting.  When I was using the cast iron daily, I started to really appreciate the routine that felt so overwhelming at first.  With each use, the cast iron is better seasoned, so it is easier to cook in. I appreciate how it translates the heat from my old electric stove into a smooth and even cook surface.  I like the process of tending to the cast iron when it is cool, the satisfaction of feeling as though I am investing time in something my kids might cook in in 20 years.  I like the way the neediness of the cast iron keeps me present and connected to this daily task.

What I recognized is that the cast iron is taking me through a regular mindfulness practice.  Because it requires some routine care, I have to show up and engage when I cook with cast iron.  I have to pay attention as I go through the process of cleaning up and putting my kitchen in order.  I have to be present for the routine tasks.  And there is a richness in mindfully participating in that routine.

Now, maybe you don’t want to sign up to cook with cast iron (but it’s amazing!). ¬†That’s fine. ¬†However, I would invite you to be curious and challenge yourself to find some things in your life that create a mindful experience for you. ¬†That force you to slow down and participate, instead of rushing through to the next challenge.

I’d love to hear what your “cast iron moments” are. ¬†Please feel free to share in the comments.

In the Moment

So, if you follow me on Facebook or Twitter, it might have been hard to miss the fact that I am from Kansas City, and that our baseball team, the Kansas City Royals, just won their first World Series in 30 years. ¬†If you are a baseball person (or you watched my tweets through nail-biter games that stretched to 14 and 12 innings), you know that the Kansas City Royals have built a reputation for being a team that doesn’t quit, doesn’t get discouraged, and that will keep on working to create opportunities even if they are down late in the game. ¬†Now, it might be hard to believe from my social media presence lately (or from the fact that I have now referenced the Royals in two separate blog posts), but I am not a huge baseball fan, normally. ¬†I’m not a huge sports person, normally.

However, like so many others, I have found myself absolutely pulled in to the experience of this particular Royals team. ¬†And, last week, I was able to recognize one of the factors that I appreciate the most about how they play. ¬†I was listening to an interview about the Royals, particularly about their success in come-from-behind victories. ¬†And the interviewee said something like this, “These guys aren’t focused on making up for a mistake, or on their image. ¬†They focus on what needs to happen right now–the pitch, the swing, the catch, the throw. ¬†They are fully in the moment, and that keeps them in the game.”

In that moment, a bell rang for me. ¬†The Royals players are practicing baseball mindfulness. ¬†Instead of listening to the relentless peanut gallery–in the stands or in their heads–they are completely engaged in the task at hand. ¬†They are in the moment. ¬†And being in that moment allows them to succeed, even when the odds are fully against them. ¬†Because the odds don’t have any pull when you are creating your own experience from moment to moment.

So, my invitation to you today is to be in the moment.  Set aside your distractions.  Hit the mute button on your inner peanut gallery.  Allow yourself to focus on what needs to happen right now.  Then do that.

Feel free to let me know an “in the moment” experience in the comments!

Image Credit: Kansas City Star

Balance Roundup 14 November 2013

It has been ages since I did a balance roundup, and I feel a tiny bit like it is cheating to do one during the challenge, but there have been some fantastic things I have run across recently, and I wanted to share them.

The first thing I wanted to share was this incredible post from Dr. Susan Silk and Barry Goldman. They write about the “Ring Theory of Kvetching” that they developed during Susan’s experience with breast cancer. This model is how they hope that people will respond to an illness or to other crises. I’ll let you read their story, but here’s one piece of wisdom: “When you are talking to a person in a ring smaller than yours, someone closer to the center of the crisis, the goal is to help. . .Listening is more important than talking.”

In a similar vein, Rea Ginsberg wrote this piece about the importance of compassion at the end of life. I think that the piece offers valuable insight to people in other situations as well, because compassion is a hugely important element, and one that all of us could offer more–to ourselves as well as others. I also appreciate the resource list.

Dr. Allison Andrews writes for parents of quirky kids, but her post about the “shoulds” we all subject ourselves to is useful to parents of all kids–or people who aren’t parents.

Because I can’t resist a good coping tool, here’s a “mindfulness meditation starter kit” from Dr. Elisha Goldstein.

And this last link is a new experience for me. I don’t know much about Tumblr, and I have never shared a Tumblr feed before. But I got a chance to talk with Christopher Snider, the creator of the My Diabetes Secret Tumblr, and I am so impressed by the power of this blog. It offers people with diabetes the chance to share a secret they have been carrying about their experience with diabetes. And the secrets provide a window into some of the pain and shame that many people living with chronic illness (diabetes and otherwise face). Sharing secrets can be a powerful tool for healing and for reducing isolation, so I hope that this project continues. And maybe it will be the inspiration for other communities to create similar projects.

In the spirit of sharing–please feel free to share your favorite resource of the week in the comments.

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