Salute to Spouses Blog

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Pancake Zen

Pancake Zen. Yes, it’s a thing. Or it is now because I am going to make it a thing. I am going to teach Pancake Zen. It is going to be my intro to meditation through food class. I just came up with it this morning, while making breakfast. This blog is going to touch on two seemingly different topics but I promise that they are really speaking to the same theme. Those two are meditation practice and creating the space in your business for creative process.

I am days away from graduation from my intensive year-long programs. I have been working really hard toward this goal of completing this step. I have been so focused on this date, this end, that I sort of lost sight of the fact that this end is also a beginning. I realized this last week when someone asked when my first real class opens because she wants to sign up for it. I didn’t have an answer.

Thus began a week of bouts of frantic research into what graduate school has a program that meets my state’s online accreditation requirements, peppered with moments of sheer panic at the possible necessity self-employment, altered with deep drops into the universal Pandora’s Box of entrepreneurial possibilities. Frankly, I was a mess.

In my research for follow-on graduate studies I discovered that the program I had intended on using to get my Masters doesn’t accept students from my state for distance learning conferred degrees. In English that means, New York’s Board of Education won’t certify the online degree from the school in Maryland. Which means that I have to either find a school in New York that will accept my certificate credits, or I have to figure out how to spend one weekend a month for the next eighteen months in Maryland.

Don’t get me wrong, I love Maryland. I have lots of terrific friends in Maryland who I would love to hang out with once a month. I even have an RV I could travel and live in for the weekends away. But that doesn’t solve the ten thousand other minor details about this plan.

I had three very interesting prospective jobs come up this week, two of which are not going to pan out for me right now. The one prospect that does want me isn’t really the best option for me either and I think I am going to have to rescind my application. It was a disappointment to be on the verge of something then to realize it wasn’t the right fit.

I had more success working on my long-term options over the week. I was able to connect in person again with a few people who work for the organizations I think I want to focus my efforts on. I discovered a few new opportunities I can volunteer with that will keep me active and in front of these folks doing what I want to be doing with them professionally. These meetings, though late in the day and often after a long day, already had me more energized than any of the paying job interviews I went on.

It was a hectic and emotional week. So when the last job called to cancel yesterday I took it as a sign that it was time to hang it up for a bit and let someone else steer. I let the kids stay up late to watch a silly show while I spent a bit of time journaling about disappointments and missed opportunities.

I spent a bit of time thinking hard about what it is that I really want to do. I thought, “Self, you teach meditation and flow and how to change your stars. So, it’s time you practice what you preach.” I went to bed with the intention to listen to what came up for me today.

I took the time to set my intention for space. I set up my mind to allow creativity to flow. I allowed myself the right to see grand possibilities in mundane things.

Now my work involves food, nutrition (not the same thing as food), and meditation. When I started to cook breakfast, I found myself in a state of zen meditation, while cooking pancakes. Who says you can’t meditate about pancakes. A very wise teacher told me recently if you can’t meditate, be meditative. What the what, you ask? If you are having a hard time focusing your mind on what you want it to meditate on, try focusing on what your mind wants to meditate on. Thus was born Pancake Zen.

Pancake Zen. Watch the bubbles, listen to the sizzle, smell the burn, feel the flame, taste the success. When cooking pancakes you have the opportunity to be aware of the sight of the bubbles rising in the batter, forming perfect little circular stream vents. The smell of the caramelizing batter as it cooks becomes a soothing aromatherapy. One can be mindful of the heat of the flame as it rushes energy into the pan. And of course there is the ultimate taste of success. There are layers of meaning to delve into here. Both on a culinary, and meditative level.

Your work may involve accounts payables. So how do you find space for creative zen practice in something as exacting as actuarial accounting? I can think of a myriad of ways. Do you find a rhythm for your fingers on the keys when adding long strings of numbers? Does the computer heat up and produce a specific smell when you really get crunching those ledgers? Perhaps those senses can lead you to find those missed keystrokes leading to the missing pennies. Use your five senses to help lead you to the solution. Allow that space in your subconscious to exist for long enough that you can get out of your own way. The solutions are there, they just need space and quiet to be sensed.

So in my space of peace and quiet, after allowing the chaos to be set aside, I found my class. I know what I can offer that will be fun, teach both meditation and basic culinary skills, and be easily accessible to a wide audience. Because who doesn’t like pancakes? So I challenge you – what is your Pancake Zen?

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