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Cooking for Clarity

Monday morning. Blog posting day. Crap. My friend Michael sent me this haiku when I described the problem to him:

Busy, busy week Blog post simply passed me by These few words still count

Exactly. It did pass me by this week. And as I sat pondering what to write today, nothing came. Or, rather, everything came. So many ideas and thoughts and half baked beginnings of something. And nothing concrete. So I decided to do something else for a bit and see what surfaced. It’s several hours later now and in between I have checked some things off my to do list and had several brilliant conversations with some friends and colleagues resulting in even more additions to the half baked beginnings of future blogs. As I flipped back to my blog writing screen meaning to finally get this done, the beginnings of a thought began to take shape…and then froze. Stuck. Again. Still. Maybe it’s time to start some food cooking.

I start chopping ingredients while the blog thoughts spin in my mind, synchronized with the onion I’m turning around in my hands and peeling. Cooking starts, lovely smells fill my apartment, and jumbled thoughts coalesce and reduce, mirroring the tomato sauce I am making. And I realize I’ve been doing this a lot lately - cooking and thinking. Watching my thoughts come together as I craft meals, unrelated yet intertwined. I’m also cooking more creatively - trying new things both with and without recipes and reveling in culinary exploration. Go back in time a bit and it wasn’t working this way. I would sit in front of my computer screen trying to work and going nowhere until ultimately time would catch up with me and I’d give up and go make some quick food to appease my growling tummy. Disconnect and despair dominated as I made no progress on my work, didn’t really enjoy whatever food I had hastily thrown together at the last minute, and lamented that I had no time left to engage in some mindful or reflective activity. I was missing the point. I’ve been thinking a lot lately about how we do things. We tend to talk a lot but we’re never quite there until it impacts how we work. I have colleagues whose work hinges on mindful presence and space, and yet it’s hard to find evidence of this in how they manage their organization and staff. The ideas shared on this blog and that live at the core of what Space Bangkok is about are not just ideas to me. They are practice. They are opportunities to really look at how we are doing things and find ways to do them better. How can we take regular activities in our lives and make them more than just that thing we need to do? I think it has a lot to do with intention. When I shift to purposefully connect things I come out with both good food and a better idea of what I’m doing. I wonder what other activities and thoughts I can connect. What are those activities for you? How can you connect them to the problems and challenges you are facing? How can you use your daily activities to seek clarity and solve problems? For me, it’s time to post this and enjoy my meal. Up next, mindful dish washing…

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