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If you like to cook, playing in the kitchen can be a great time to practice mindfulness. To get the full experience, choose a time to cook when you can spend an hour or two without rushing. In advance of this special time, choose a recipe or two that you would enjoy making, and assemble all the ingredients. Make sure you have what you need, including the right cutlery, bowls, etc. Put your full attention on the cooking you are about to do, no multi-tasking. If need be, send your family to the movies so you can be alone with your pots and pans. Go slowly and enjoy each step. Allow your senses to participate fully.

Feel the knife in your hands as you slice the carrots.

Smell the aroma of the garlic roasting in the oven.

Hear the sizzle of the oil heating up in the pan.

See the colors of the spices you toss into the mix.

Taste the blend of flavors as you sample your efforts with a spoon.

Pay attention to thoughts and feelings that arise. Notice any restlessness or impatience that shows up. Are emotions present? Are you feeling joy or sadness? Excitement or regret? Be with whatever is present without judgment. When you are finished, clean up mindfully. As the famous Vietnamese Buddhist monk Thich Nhat Hanh advised, “washing dishes to wash the dishes.”

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