The Zen of Soup-Making: Monday Meanderings


Photo: cincinnatiwaldorschool.org

Photo: cincinnatiwaldorschool.org

Most everyone who has visited my blog knows that my husband is the cook. I’m the housekeeper and laundress, but he is the chef. That does not mean, however, that on occasion I’m not drawn to the kitchen.

The “occasion” began yesterday when I had the bone of a turkey breast to dispose of and decided, instead, to begin a pot of soup. I tossed it in a pot, added finely chopped celery, onions and carrots, water and chicken broth and left it on its own over a low heat. Soon the house was filled with an appetite-inducing aroma. I waited for the Master Chef to do his magic with the spices then, after it stewed some more, allowed it to cool before relegating it to the fridge overnight.

This morning, as it began to warm up again on the stove, I took it a step further. That was when I came to realize that soup-making could, indeed, become a sacred moment and a powerful tool of the creative muse.

As I cut chunks of carrots, the sounds of the blade against the cutting board wed the song of finches eating from the feeder outside the kitchen window. Two dogs sat, ears pricked, eyes fixed on my every move, hoping I would notice and reward them with a tiny morsel. When I switched to celery, their interest waned.

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A few minutes later, a mallard couple stealthily made their way up from the pond, planning, no doubt, to encroach upon the smaller birds seed. I waved them off, reminding them that I would toss what was left onto their turf when the finches and sparrows had finished.

My chopping continued followed by clean up as I contemplated the wonder of simple tasks completed with awareness. It was a time to surrender to the stillness, to trust. A time to gestate.

Such is the magic of simple tasks, a spiritual discipline, an uncluttered mind.

On another note, I find I need to take some time to bring a couple of projects to completion. Although I will continue to post, my participation will be more limited for a while. I’ve made the difficult decision to step away from hosting a dVerse for a few months (after this weeks Meeting the Bar)–however long it takes me to publish a novel that’s sitting out there waiting for my attention. I’ve decided to go the route of self-publishing on this one. I will continue to share on-line, but in a more limited role. And I remain committed, of course, to comment on those who visit my work.

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17 thoughts on “The Zen of Soup-Making: Monday Meanderings

  1. Jamie Dedes says:

    Very Brother Lawrence actually ~
    “We ought not to be weary of doing little things for the love of God, who regards not the greatness of the work, but the love with which it is performed.”

    Sacred moments. Sacred space.

    Love it ~

    Like

  2. souldipper says:

    A post to be thoroughly savored for many reasons, Victoria. Mindfulness has crept into my awareness a great deal lately and this is one of the best descriptions yet.

    I ordered “Winter is Past” on Thursday – so you’ll be very much “with” me as I read your words. Good for you – going on to the next book.

    I’m also pleased to see you are taking back some of your time. It’s hard to step out of the stream, but as you clearly state, you aren’t leaving the river.

    I don’t know if you have “met” blogger Vivienne – she’s the wife of an Anglican minister. They live in England and Vivienne does some sort of work with students which used to mean she accompanied them on tours to France.

    Since Zen showed up in your post, I am compelled to share an older post from Vivienne’s blog Zen and the Art of Tight Rope Walking. I often have to stop and consider which of you two gave some lingering concept – you both self-published about the same time. Here’s the link: http://zenandtheartoftightropewalking.wordpress.com/2010/06/02/miracle-at-mont-saint-michel/

    Vivienne has sent manuscripts to many publishers over the years. She decided one day to take a cherry branch and, in her words, “Using a soldering iron, I burned some of the phrases onto a piece of cherry branch I had stripped and polished, so that I had something solid to hold onto when despair bit.”

    I’ll be in touch!

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    • Viv and I are very much connected, Amy. Somehow I missed the book though. Thank you so much for the link. Both Viv and I are at an age where the writing is pure pleasure. Most publisher don’t really want to publish older writers because they won’t get much more work out of them. Sad, though, since there is wisdom that comes only through living, don’t you think?

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      • Viv says:

        I’m not sure I’m at *that* age, Victoria, not yet, but I take your point. I’ve published 3 novels so far, with some success, and two collections of short stories (ditto) and have a nice big back catalogue to work on getting into the world.
        I’d never touch a publisher now, unless they offered me a print only deal. Publishing myself means I have far greater control of both the finished product and the whole process, so I can stay true to my own vision and not lose it. I have little time for the traditional process these days; they lost my respect many years ago.
        You are right about wisdom coming from living; the cult of youth misses this entirely. Every line and scar tells a story, eh?

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  3. grapeling says:

    Soup is an excellent metaphor – throw in stuff headed for the heap, spice it up, and voila! Best wishes as you dive into the book, Victoria ~ M

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  4. claudia says:

    there def. is magic in doing those simple tasks cause we do something while the brain comes to a rest and we’re much more aware of the sounds, scents and what’s going on around us – enjoy the break victoria – and thanks so much for all you’ve done

    Like

  5. Good luck to you these next few months as you work your way through the joys of writing a novel. I look forward to the finished product.

    Like

  6. Susan says:

    Wonderful. I could smell the soup. I’ll watch for your novel.

    Like

  7. brian miller says:

    have you ever read ‘practicing the presence of god’ by brother lawrence…he focuses on finding god in those ordinary space…his was washing the dishes for the monastery….so i think the sacred can def be found in those places.

    thanks for all that you have done v…and i look forward to celebrating your book…and your return.

    Like

  8. K. A. Brace says:

    Will miss you Victoria. >KB

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  9. The daily tasks actually become interesting when we pay our due attention to the living environment around us.
    Have a good time writing. 🙂

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  10. I hope the soup was good, and that it nourishes your novel-writing brain cells. Bon courage.

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