Monday, October 6, 2008

Cooking Mania, and why it's helping me become more Intentional

Check out my fridge (right) after I went grocery shopping for my "cooking extravaganza," and before the cooking began.  Can you believe I cooked it All?!

I mentioned to a few of my friends and family that I spent most of the Thursday cooking 30+ meals and freezing them for the months to come.  And they universally replied with one question: why?

"Because I felt like it" seems like kind of a lame answer, even though that is partially the truth.  "Because it is a domestic experiment" is also partially true.  But the real intention behind it is...well...intention.

I've been writing a lot about the concept of intention during this fall.  I didn't intend to dwell on it so much when I started my "back to the basics" challenge, but somehow it keeps coming up.  As I've explored new ways to get organized, and tackled unflattering chores, it has become clear to me that besides the immediate benefits of order and sanity, this notion of intentionality has become the common thread.

So what do I mean when I say "intentional?"  I guess I mean that I want to practice mindfulness.  And when I say "practice mindfulness," I mean that I want to make sure I'm taking the time to turn off the "auto pilot" (aka consumerism, conformity, culture) and really think about what I'm doing.  Especially as it relates to my resources--my money, my time, my home, my health.  And the goal of this intention?  To be responsible with these resources--to decrease waste, save money, and increase health.

So how does intentionality apply to my crazy day of cooking?  Well, in a number of ways, I suppose.  First, it is one of the few times when I've purchased a lot of groceries and actually used them to good purpose, rather than let them go to waste.  Two, having "supplies on hand" (aka frozen meals) dampens my desire to eat impulsively, which by default keeps me eating healthier and saves me money.  Three, I'm better prepared to weather the unexpected by having food stored up (assuming, of course, the unexpected doesn't include an electrical failure!).  

Naturally I went to the extreme in my experiment.  I have a tendency of doing that.  Fortunately for me, though, the principles apply on a smaller scale (say 10 meals rather than 30!).  And beyond food, the principles of intentionality and mindfulness can be applied almost everywhere.  Rather unexpectedly, this application has become my new goal.  

Who would have thought my domestic to-do list would have led to that?

Stay tuned later today to read Heather Davis' (from Pink and White Design) story--She's this week's Marketplace Maven!

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