By Lori Henderson
I recently made a pot of soup. I often make soup, but this soup was different. Not because the ingredients were unique, but because I was engaged in the preparation. The recipe instructed me to mince the onion, slice the carrots, dice the squash, chop the asparagus, and grate the zucchini into “noodles.” I found myself enjoying each step and appreciating the colors, textures, aromas, and flavors of each vegetable. I felt the pleasure of having grown some of them in my garden.
I pondered the path of the others involved: the farmers, who cared enough to plant organic seeds and grow the vegetables in a healthy and earth-sustainable manner; the soil pulsing with life and life-giving minerals; the water, which enabled the little seeds to grow to maturity; the sun, generously warming the soil and sharing its light for the plants to grow and for us to witness the miracle of plant life; the honeybees, drawn by the colors and scents of each tiny blossom to pollinate and awaken the vegetables to life. Pondering all the potential inherent in each tiny seed is exhilarating!
I put all the vegetables together in a pot of broth (vegetarian, in this case) and let them blend to perfection. Infused with energies of joy and gratitude, I knew this would be a happy, healthy meal.
While the soup simmered and filled the kitchen with lovely aromas, I prepared the salad with the same mindfulness as I had prepared the soup: a beautiful mix of fresh greens of varying shades and textures, topped with a fan of pear slices, chopped walnuts, a sprinkling of dried cranberries, and a drizzle of homemade poppy seed dressing. The final adornment: a trio of red, orange, and yellow nasturtium flowers, edible, with a mild radish flavor.
Now it was time to set the table. I set out some pretty plates and bowls and thought tenderly of my sister, who had recently passed away. These dishes had belonged to her, and she offered them to me shortly before her passing. I filled the glasses with purified water—something I am grateful to have access to. I put out a plate of natural yeast sourdough bread with homemade butter, then I hurried to my herb garden and filled a vase with flowering peppermint and lavender stems. The bees were buzzing on the tiny blossoms—music to my ears.
As I completed all the preparations, I thought about a new friend who would arrive shortly to share this modest meal. What would we talk about? What would we have in common? Would she appreciate and value the same things—organic, healthful foods; nature’s gifts; simple beauty; pretty dishes?
Indeed. As we sat, she asked if she could offer a blessing on the food. She expressed gratitude for the colors and beauty and healthfulness of the foods we were about to eat and for the blessing of friendship. As we eagerly feasted, she asked: “Have you ever practiced mindfulness?”
I felt my heart smile!
Friendship is born at that moment when a person says to another: “What! You too? I thought I was the only one.”
“Mindful Soup” Recipe Mindful Eating Empowerment Cards