{the new year} Be More Mindful

Never tell your resolution beforehand, or it’s twice as onerous a duty. – John Selden

I have always believed that once you put your intentions out in the world, you are twice as responsible for making them fruitful. And because of this, perhaps they are more likely to. Whether through cosmic intervention or personal obligation, we become more determined to prove to ourselves and those around us that we can be better.

Since I have lived on Silly Goose Farm, I’ve followed the same New Year’s tradition. I write down my resolutions for the coming year, as well as the resolutions of the previous year, on a piece of paper, and then throw it into the blaze of the woodstove. My words and thoughts and intentions become ash and smoke. The weight of the past year burns into feathery ash, allowing the goals of the next twelve months to transform into smoke that permeates the air around me –I breathe it in, it becomes part of my being. What remains floats into the atmosphere to dissolve into the cosmos.

A little hippy-dippy? Sure – but it works for me.

2011 was a very trying year for me and I’m glad it’s done. There were a lot of great things that came from it (like joining the amazing FSC team!), but overall it felt like a storm cloud followed my every move. I welcomed 2012 with open arms. I have lots of resolutions for this year, many of which revolve around food. I’m launching a new food-related business in 2012 that’s been a work-in-progress for many months. I’m excited to see it finally come into fruition and share it with others. But many of my food goals for 2012 are more personal, including:

Be more mindful of and creative with my pantry staples. Usually by the time dinner rolls around, I’m exhausted. While I try to prepare a from-scratch dinner at least five nights a week, it can often be a challenge. I’m hoping to learn some new cooking techniques and incorporate some fresh ingredients into my shelf-stable stash so that dinner doesn’t seem so boring and arduous.

Cook with meat less often. I tend to base meals on a meat protein, and I’d like to break out of that habit. I’m working on taking old-standby recipes and transforming them into meat-free entrees (especially some of my Italian and Indian favorites).

Make time in the kitchen a more fulfilling experience. Sometimes I get mired down in the process of cooking and baking. Yes, it’s certainly pleasurable, but the day-to-day process of creating meals can be a little mundane. I resolve to fix this by putting a great podcast on or jamming out to some funky music while I cook. I’m forever whining about not having time for “me,” so why not try to bring a personally fulfilling pastime into my chores and everyday necessities?

Continue to offer thanks. Around Thanksgiving, I decided to make a secular grace part of my dinnertime routine. It’s easy to overlook all the work and resources that go producing that which sustains us. Growing/raising my own food over the course of my life has perhaps made me more observant than many, but it doesn’t mean I’m any less susceptible to taking it for granted. Incorporating a kind of “grace” before dinner means I’m taking a break to recognize the efforts of the earth and the hands that contribute to the items on my plate.

Incorporate my kids into cooking. My kids are young toddlers, and sometimes they just don’t have the attention span or motor skills to help with cooking. Other times, I don’t have the energy and patience to allow them to “cook” beside me. When I look back on my own childhood, I realize that a lot of the great things that made me a productive and empathetic adult weren’t things that were necessary “taught,” but rather, “observed.” There wasn’t always an explicit lesson in everything I saw from my parents and other teachers, but there was always something to learn. I have moved all of my kids’ food and cooking toys into a spare cabinet in the kitchen. On those days when they aren’t right next to me cooking, they can still mimic my own actions. Even just letting them run around in the kitchen while I cook (though sometimes a little irritating!) still allows them to observe and absorb my epicurean pursuits. I hope when they are on their own, they will look back fondly on the important correlation between good food and family time.

I’m also hoping to incorporate some of the other FSC resolutions into my own habits. I love the idea of baking more for my neighbors, becoming more mindful and appreciative of food through fasting, understanding how food affects my body and mood through eliminating certain things from my diet now and then, and who knows, I might even embark on my first cleanse.

I’d love any tips and advice on how to succeed in my goals for 2012. Got a favorite way to cook a stand-by pantry staple (I’m working on incorporating more quinoa, farrow, and other grains into my diet)? Any favorite vegetarian meals that a meat-lover can get behind? Or maybe you’ve tried a good cleanse lately that is simple enough for a first-timer to try? If you’d like, tell me about your food resolutions for 2012 and maybe we can check back with each other in a few months to see how we’re progressing (maybe we can debunk the opening quote and take resolutions from being onerous to being gratifying together!). Your comments and thoughts are so appreciated!


3 Comments Add yours

  1. Ona says:

    John Selden has quite a different view than Henriette Anne Klauser (Author of “Write it Down, Make it Happen”). Her book also tells of the power of writing down your desires, and then more power is added when you say them! As the book cover writes – by writing down and sharing this with us, you know what you want and are prepared to get it!

    I admire that in what you are doing.

    After I read Klauser’s book over 10 years ago my roomate and I decided to make a list of everything we wanted in “our perfect guy” (yes, I know, not very altruistic). My list was 3 legal sized pages! I tucked it away in a journal. After I met and married my husband, I found the list – low and behold he possessed EVERY quality on that list except ONE! That one item was financial and not as important to me when I met him.

    So more power to YOUR list and I know that it will all happen as it should!

  2. Christine says:

    I love these resolutions & I love your “hippy dippy” resolution ritual. Cheers to 2012!

  3. @Ona – I think Klauser hits the nail on the head! I’m trying to take her (your) approach in 2012. As far as your “man list,” I love it! I do similar things with what I want – in my home, in my relationships, in my life in general. I tried to get down to the root of “what makes me happy” – not just superficial happiness, but what’s the real motivation to work and achieve my goals. Sounds like you’re several steps ahead of that game! Thanks for the e-Support 🙂

    @Christine – reading your blog and FSC posts has made me more aware of many things, so any success I have in my resolutions I owe in part to you!

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