One of the things I am so grateful to my mom for is the time we spent in the kitchen together! 🙂
She made it fun!
We all got to get involved in whatever was being cooked up–from blanching and peeling peaches and canning them, to scraping corn off the cob for freezing, to mixing up dad’s birthday lemon meringue pie, to doing kitchen experiments like making tofu before you could barely find it in the health food stores and using the okara (the soybean meal leftover from the process) in pancakes… She wasn’t overly controlling, but let us all have a part to play in the creation of yummy, nourishing food.
My childhood kitchen was a place of nourishment, exploration, and even joy! We not only cooked up food in the kitchen, but when a good tune came on, mom was known for scooping us into her arms for a waltz, a polka, or a schottish around the “iron horse” in the middle of the kitchen.
So, in honor of my mom as we move toward Mother’s Day this weekend, I offer this recipe for cooking up joy with a link to a real-food, gluten- and dairy-free scone recipe as well!
First things first.
Clear your counter—or if you have a well-used space that has everything you might need nearby, at least make some room for the mixing bowls and other utensils needed!
We’re mixing up Joy, so consider the ingredients you need for the recipe today. You can make another version another day. What do you need right now?
My Ingredient List
Creating Sacred Space
- Create sacred space for this time in your kitchen. You may want to light a candle or say a little prayer or intention for creating Joy. It could be as simple as taking a breath and saying, “May I open to Joy.”
- Take a look at your ingredients. If you want to mix these particular ingredients together, what mixing bowl will you choose? Make sure you choose one that has MORE space than you think you need. You’ll need room to stir the ingredients together—and, who knows, there may even be some kitchen magic from the combining, so you’ll want to save space for that!
Preparing Your Joy
- Gather a healthy measure of Sacred Time and add it to the bowl first. Breathe it into your being, taking all the time you need. You’re starting with this on purpose.
- Next, add a generous helping of Spiritual Practice and Intimacy, and gently cream them together against the side of the bowl. Mix them well, knowing that they provide the base and foundation for the richness and sweetness of your life. Without practices to support your awakening and your deep connection with your Self and with the Self within others, Joy is rare and short-lived.
- In a separate bowl, scoop up a handful of Self-Care and a rounded tablespoon of Friends and combine them well. Let them leaven, enliven, and wake up your life, helping you stay available and open.
- In a different bowl, lovingly whip together Music and Dance until they are frothy and light in color. Add them to the creamy mixture, stirring well to make a more fluid and mobile batter. A life that is all about practice and internal time can get a bit habitual and prescribed. These ingredients help to infuse, lighten, and add spaciousness to your life.
- Now add the dry ingredients to the wet, using a rubber spatula to fold them in with care, scraping the side of the bowl as you go. Be mindful of how the mixture changes shape, color, and texture. Fold the dry ingredients in gently, being careful not to over-stir. Notice how the batter gets fuller and stronger, how its integrity takes a more solid form in response to this new addition.
- Pour the batter into a well-prepared loaf pan. This structure is necessary to hold your creation and give it space to transform, to take on new form. Sprinkle Play on top, letting it fall where it may, enjoying the random and surprising patterns it creates.
- Take a moment to savor your creation, as if you could breathe it in through your eyes, letting it wash over your soul, and inhaling its particular aroma. You are taking in this present form of Joy. Do you recognize it?
- When you are ready, place the loaf into a preheated oven and bake according to Sacred Time. Set a timer for the minimum amount, but also trust that you will know how long is needed and can let it bake a bit longer if necessary. When it’s done, it will be golden on the top, and inside the batter will have magically cohered into a soft, fluffy texture.
- Once out of the oven, gently remove the loaf from the pan, and let it cool on a rack. As it cools, notice how it has changed in the process of baking, how the steady heat for just the right amount of time has allowed a trans-formation into a nourishing, mouth-watering loaf, a new experience of Joy to savor.
- As you slice into your loaf, look, touch, smell, listen—take it in mindfully, all of your senses wide awake. When you are ready for your first bite, keeping all of your senses engaged, slowly bite, chew, and swallow Joy, sensing how it nourishes you inside and out, how it becomes your body, infusing you with new life.
- To finish your kitchen time, whisper “thank you” and offer yourself and all who will partake a blessing such as this one: “May I be showered and blessed with goodness and joy. May all beings be showered and blessed with goodness and joy.” Bow inwardly and/or outwardly, letting your joy accompany you into your life and into the world, sharing it freely.
- Know that you can practice Joy in any moment by simply returning to your senses and mindfully savoring the moment life is generously offering you.
What is your recipe for Joy?
Has it changed over the years?
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* The image of the woman bursting out of a flower is from a painting by Melissa Harris. Check out her beautiful work.
p.s. Thank you to Literary Minister Karen Hering, who introduced this form of writing in her presentation on Ingredients for Joy at the Women’s Retreat I attended on January 30th, 2016 at Unity Unitarian Church.
p.s.s. Do you have friends who would love support in creating more joy in their lives? I’d be so grateful if you would share this post with them on Facebook!