The F Words

If you are even thinking this is going to be about that word you are wrong, it is really about a few other F words – fear, food, and faith. There are a few lessons, which have shaped my perspective and understanding of fear. One lesson was that fear is an acronym, which stands for FALSE EVIDENCE APPEARING REAL. As I thought about it, most of the things I feared were based on evidence that did not exist or had been constructed in my head. Another lesson I learned came from sociologist Allan Johnson,[1] who wrote about how our fears are based on what we think we know, whether they are true or not. Then there is what Franklin Delano Roosevelt said during his first inaugural address, “the only thing we have to fear is fear itself.”[2] That is not to say that we do not ever experience fear, even the most enlightened of spiritual leaders experience fear. It is not whether or not we experience it, but what we do with it.
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Are you ready to go through the door?

There is a Chinese proverb that teaches, “Teachers open the door, but you must enter by yourself.” Cookbooks, culinary classes, recipe websites, are awesome and can be a great source of inspiration when cooking. I have learned a great deal about cooking from these sources. For me, these have all been teachers. Even watching the Food Network and The Cooking Channel have and continue to be teachers. However, one of the things I have had to remember is that I cannot depend on the teacher for my wisdom, knowledge, and understandings. To do so, keeps me in a prison where I sacrifice my adventure, freedom, and creativity.
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Freedom and discipline

Gary Snyder once wrote, “Zen aims at freedom, but it’s practice is discipline.” When I read that, it immediately reminded me of how my mother used to say, "Practice makes perfect." As I was thinking about this quote more it reminded me of the teachings of Don Miguel Ruiz in The Four Agreements. He writes about how we have spent so much time in our lives practicing certain emotions that we have them down to an art form. Most of us have no problems with emotions like anger, jealousy, resentment, fear, etc. yet the emotions that make us feel loved and are positive in nature like love, peace, calm, etc are the ones we have yet to master.
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It’s a macaroni and cheese kind of story

When I think back on my life, I cannot remember a time when I was not cooking something. I remember as a little girl my mother would sit me on the floor with a pot of water and a spoon and tell me to stir. It kept me busy, but instilled in me a comfort in the kitchen. As I grew older, she would let me experiment more and more. The funny thing is that while my mother could out bake me on any day, I by all family accounts am the much better cook. To this day, my brother and I still laugh about my mother’s dry turkey, meat that was either still mooing or shoe leather and spaghetti sauce made with ketchup, water, and cream cheese. So I think I began cooking for my family because I could not stand my mother’s cookingJ. When my mother cooked the old time Jewish foods like kasha, kugel, knishes, blintzes, and the list goes on, they were awesome and we fought for the last bite. But the rest of the time, well let’s say my brothers and I were glad we had a dog.
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Going with the flow

For the last few weeks, well four now, I have been on this spiritual writing adventure. One of the techniques we have been using is called streaming. It is literally just writing from your stream of consciousness, letting the ideas flow through you like water through a creek bed. This whole notion of streaming has reminded me of a quote by Chuang Tsu, who wrote, “flow with whatever may happen and let your mind be free. Stay centered by accepting whatever you are doing. This is the ultimate.” Over the last few weeks, this whole notion of going with the flow has kept appearing in my life.
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