with Melinda Rodriguez

Archive for October, 2012

A Kitchen Is A Church

My wonderful sweetheart Luis is installing laminate flooring this weekend in our family room which is right off the kitchen.  We are both very excited.  In fact, yesterday afternoon after working a full 8 hour day which began at 4:00AM, he decided he wanted to tear out the old carpet and get a head start.  That bold act soon revealed a dusty, dirty mess that neither of us were prepared to deal with that late in the day.  Well, I should say I wasn’t prepared to deal with it, but I wanted to support him and be of use.  I wasn’t being of much help though.  Maybe it was a subconscious effort to get out of the chore?  If so, it worked.  My honey lovingly looked at me and said “babe, you go do what you do best and I’ll do what I do best.”   And so off I trotted only a few feet away into my sanctuary to whip up some magic – my kitchen.Image

Now, for those of you reading this that have known me for more than five years, and known me well, I know you re-read that last sentence in shock.  The kitchen has not always been my sanctuary.  I used to look upon that room as a torture chamber.  A place I was obligated to enter every day to prepare food for my pets and family (yes, I cook for my pets.)  For most of my adult life the kitchen represented a place of discomfort, creative obstruction, frustration, time consumption and dare I say…hatred.  Heck, when I finally moved out of my dinky apartment of 12+ years and into a house, the family Christmas gathering torch was passed to me.  When my mother asked me what we should make, my answer was “Make?  Let’s get a Stouffer’s lasagna and call it a day.”

Then I began to study herbs, wellness and nutrition from a holistic or whole-person perspective and was beginning to realize the immense importance of food and its connection to health.  I had also transitioned from 11 years as a vegetarian back to an omnivorous diet and felt a little more creative freedom as it related to meal preparation.  With a desire to age gracefully and keep myself and my family healthy, I was inspired enough to shift my perception of the kitchen and cooking and began experimenting with creating delicious, truly wholesome dishes.  With a few successes under my belt and rave reviews from those I was feeding, I actually began to take pleasure in the process.  Well, I must be honest; sometimes I open a bottle of wine while I’m cooking which along with some good music transforms food preparation into an art of delightful enjoyment.

The kitchen, next to the bedroom, is the most sacred room in the house.  Not only is it a place where family and friends congregate, but it is the place where we create nourishment for the body – and if done right, the mind and soul as well.  Surely you’ve had the divine experience of tasting a meal infused with love by the person who prepared it.  It is where our perception of “comfort food” originates.  What we consider comfort food is often a yummy dish that was prepared for us in our childhood by someone we loved and who poured love into the food they made which in turn filled us with that total nourishment.

Every meal we prepare has the ability to deeply nourish our body with vital nutrients that creates lasting wellness.  When we view our kitchen as a sacred space and engage in rituals that create enjoyment for cooking we infuse our food with healing energy that has the power to repair and restore our natural state of health.  With all of the challenges our modern food sources confront such as soil depletion, pesticides, hormones and GMO’s, we are faced with taking our wellness into our own hands…literally.  By invoking Spirit into our kitchens and cooking with intention and awareness I believe we can diminish, if not completely eradicate the harmful effects of these food challenges.  We can work with the elements – Air, Fire, Water, and Earth to make our food whole and nutritious again, and most importantly, love.  Love has the power to heal and uplift.  Pouring that essence into the food you are preparing can transform molecules.  If it can do it to water, it can do it to food!

A kitchen is a church – a holy space filled with Spirit.  Put an alter space in your kitchen to remind you of its divinity.  It can go anywhere- on the countertop, a shelf, on top of the fridge…anywhere!  Do a search for “Kitchen Alter” on Google images for inspiration if you like.  Say a brief prayer or invocation as you begin to cook.  Invoke a cooking angel to support your efforts or connect with Hestia, the Goddess of the Hearth.  No matter how small or large, how old or modern your kitchen is sacred.  Beautiful moments can be cherished there as you breathe love and healing into your food and then delight in the joy of eating the scrumptious morsels you have created.

ImageRemember it is ok to make mistakes there.  If you’re not much of a cook, don’t get discouraged.  Experimentation is essential.  Scour the internet for cooking blogs, videos and websites, there are a slew of resources available to help you.  Pintrest can be a great resource for inspiration.  My advice is to keep your recipes simple.  The fewer the ingredients the better.  It’s ok if your meal takes time to prepare.  Think of meal preparation as health insurance…that does not rely on government intervention!  If time is an issue then insert creativity.  Take a few hours on your day off and do some pre-prep.  If you have kids older than a toddler get them involved.  You will find a rhythm.  If you are not the cook in your family, share this blog with them.  You can still create sacred space in the kitchen and invoke helpful, healing spirits to partake in the process.

We can even take kitchen healing to the next level and plant our own food garden.  That’s next on my journey.  I’m going to start with a window herb garden on my kitchen alter and then graduate to some veggies planted in my front yard.  Why not?  My inspiration there is a home in Diamond Bar called The Growing Home.  Check them out at http://thegrowinghome.net.  They are open to the public for tours, which I’m itching to take.  I’d love to have you join me.  Contact me and let’s set up a time.

Blessings to you on your sacred culinary journey.  Do share your comments and questions as they are vital inspiration to me and others!

Harmoniously Yours,

Melinda Beth

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