Make new from old

Zen and the art of cooking

All my life I have had a fascination with food and that was actually more than just a past time , it was a passion. I just love food, everything about it. The smell, the taste, the appearance, the texture, the touch, the colour, the quality, the form – and what is more: everything you can do with it. For I am not a foodie of the normal kind, saying that I would not bother with food if it was just about the eating or the nutritional  aspect of it – no, my relation to food has always been much, much deeper.

It started at an early age. Cooking has been an attraction since I was a small child and I could always be found in the kitchen, observing the fascinating process of turning ingredients in such lovely concoctions like soup, stews or deserts. The art of cooking cannot be learned or studied, it has to be transmitted, like a spiritual teaching, and in that respect I owe much to my grandmothers and their helpers, the matron-saints of godly food, who initiated me into the closely guarded secrets of glorious Viennese-Bohemian-Hungarian cooking.

I started cooking at an early age and for me it all began with shopping for food. I loved to go to the market and pick of the delicacies being presented so temptingly, full of promise of their potential that was waiting for me to uncover it.

Cooking stayed with me all my life. Even my first own living quarters had good-sized kitchens and I would rather spend money on kitchen utensils than on clothes or going out. Of course I was rather popular with that habit and I remember many days of cooking and nights of eating. Later I went to live in foreign countries and the love of food stayed with me. There was so much to discover – different staples, produce and ingenious ways of preparation. I went through it all, at first European cooking, later Asian cuisine and lastly finding my own style and blend of cookery. I have had phases of experimenting with beans, legumes, fish, meat or grains. I cooked myself through continents, countries, cities and regions and it was always associated with my own journey, as well as relating to others. There is not much I cannot cook – interestingly enough, what appeals to me the least is patisserie (don’t have much of a sweet tooth) and what fascinates me most is seafood ( I come from a landlocked country and we never had much of it. I think I ate my first prawns when I was well in my twenties).

However, surprisingly for about two years now, this passion is all but gone.

This has a certainly to do with withdrawing and becoming a bit of a hermit. Cooking needs eaters and normally a cook is most interested in the result of the transformation, but not so much in eating per se. So nowadays I just cook to eat, and frankly I am not much of an eater, so there is not much going on in my kitchen and all the lovely pots and utensils gather dust.

I have contemplated about this surprising change. It is not that I do not admire food any longer, but it is different. Nowadays I look at a cauliflower or an apple and appreciate it’s form and all it’s sensory qualities – I am no longer rummaging through my mind in terms of what could I make out of it and what other food or spice would enhance it’s natural taste and texture. Nowadays I cook instinctually, in terms of picking ingredients and combinations based on availability and being drawn to it. The outcome is still very satisfying, but it is also very simple and I do not spend much time with it any more.

It occurred to me that the love of cooking is indicative of a love for transformation. Transformation is not only about simple change transformation is a process turning one form into another. Actually, there may be many other expressions of this love of transformation in my life. For example, I have always felt very drawn to energy medicine and to understand and influence the energy system of our body is all about recognising an imbalance and correcting it. This is the pre-requisite for a transformation (as in healing) to happen. Very much like cooking, if you turn up the heat, water will boil or if you melt butter, milk solids, scum and and fat will separate and this process establishes the right condition or quality for something else to occur. Moreover, I understand more and more, that also spiritual transformation is basically an energetic process, as an increased vibration does entail a change in the physical appearance.

So I think what I am observing in myself is maybe a higher vibration of the alchemistic energy that is one of my own archetypal patterns and a recurring theme in my life. I am all about “ make new from old”, be it in the kitchen, my vocation, as well as what may very well be my purpose in life – assisting others to transform. Previously this process took place outside of myself, then I discovered the interior transformation that entails healing and spiritual awakening, and now this matures into something that looks like a mentor, or a guide. I am becoming someone to help others in the process of “making new from old”, to discover their own innate powers and access their inner wisdom. Not a teacher, not a physician, buts something in between.  After all, I am a die-hard alchemist who knows one thing for sure: Before you can transform one into the other, it has to turn into nothing first.

And this is what I am doing. This is the reason to enquire and contemplate about many things I know – and to thoroughly take them apart, literally un-know them. This does not mean to forget them, but it means to explore knowledge in the light of true inner wisdom and to free it from mental patterns and associations.

Make new from old means a broadened view, enriched by insights and enforced by wisdom. It is not static, but fluid and it takes new shape any given moment. This is Life using existing knowledge or skills, applying it as needed, as opposed to trying to mould everything to what I have learned or what I believe.

Make new from old is the transformation that happens each and every single moment, if we just allow it to occur and enjoy the myriads of possibilities, without holding on to our own ideas of an earth, that only exists in our mind.


About Michaela

I am a wanderer and a wonderer, like you are. I love our journey and to walk in the company of friends – to learn, experience, share, laugh, cry and above all I simply love this marvelous, magical, mysterious life. I have no plan (cannot believe I am saying this) and my only intention is to be truthful to myself and others.
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1 Response to Make new from old

  1. Johanna11 says:

    I like this! I love cooking too, the possibilities are infinite, and my husband nearly always appreciates the result!

    I also like the little twist in the tale, about using past experience in the flow of the present – not ossified, but still alive with possibility!

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