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Threading My Needle During Covid-19

What 27 weeks of making breakfast potatoes taught me.

By Jennifer Lancaster @jenergy17Published 3 years ago Updated 3 years ago 7 min read
A few pics from my cooking adventures

Sundays Are the Thing of Greatness

My alarm goes off, and a smile spreads across my face because I remember: it’s Sunday. This alarm is going off for greatness. Sunday is the day that I make breakfast potatoes. I’ve been doing it now for 20 weeks. (27 in total)

Now making these breakfast potatoes wasn't something I set out to make into a project. It just kind of evolved during the COVID-19 Quarantine. One Sunday I noticed that we had a plethora of potatoes. So, I figured I may as well do something with them. A Google search revealed a few different inspiring recipes.

The truth is, I had never done anything like this before. I searched through a lot of recipes, until I ultimately decided to take the plunge and experiment. I spent years in the service industry, and I had the pleasure of working with chefs who would sometimes take my ideas to create meals in the professional kitchens. Now it was time for me to take a leap of faith and try out my ideas myself.

I then devised my own plan and got cooking.

Sundays Became Sacred.

I started experimenting with cooking methods and exploring new, unusual ingredients. For example, in the Fall, my landlord's son gave us a bushel of apples, and I figured out a way I could incorporate them.

I started making Spotify music playlists during the week specifically themed for my Sunday potato practice.

Through the weeks I continued to experiment with different ingredients. With every batch I could feel my self-esteem improving as the potatoes got better. I discovered that altering the temperature and stirring them midway made them crunchy on the outside and soft and tasty on the inside. I made a conscious effort to repurpose items that were already in the pantry as opposed to running to the store and buying new things. I even experimented with recipes to make them healthier.

As time went on I recognized this was becoming a practice. A practice of invoking my creativity, which allowed me to be more mindful of not wasting anything in the fridge or pantry. Many times I’d even use leftover ingredients from dinners throughout the week.

About 10 weeks into the practice I realized I was touching on mastery. It was around this time that one Sunday morning I tasted a bite and when I put it in my mouth, I thought - holy shit - these are so good. My roommate called them Michelin star level potatoes. I started taking photos and sending them to the chefs I used to work with.

The ingredients and my cooking methods became beautiful works of delicious art. These weeks helped me understand what is true. Mastery takes discipline and willingness to experiment. It requires consistency and commitment.

Do potatoes bring inner peace?

Potatoes don’t have the power to bring me inner peace. Instead, the entire process was a medium for me to slip into my inner peace during COVID. The truth is that during that time, I was feeling bored, and full of angst, and I needed a project. I wanted to do something to dispel the angst. And cooking calms me down. When I cook it is a sacred creative experience - including the music, wine or coffee, (depending on the time of day) and ingredients.

The inner peace came from the practice. It comes from committing to the practice. The attention to the details, from the music to the preparation to the process - that is how I got the inner peace. It almost doesn’t matter what ingredients you put in.

Here is some of what matters.

Vibes.

When my alarm went off on Sunday morning I came downstairs and followed the process as usual. I put on the most recent Spotify playlist, created just the night before. It’s titled Heart Vibes and is all instrumental and consists mostly of the piano. It’s breathtaking.

That morning I entered the kitchen, alone. The process started with the boiling of the water for my French press coffee. As I ground the beans, the decadent aroma filled the air. The crackling sound of the beans in the grinder brought on a feeling of excited anticipation. The music was peaceful. Everyone was still sleeping. This was my time. Me, myself, the music, the coffee, and the ingredients. The road to inner peace began.

I then preheated the oven to 425.

Being present.

I began by chopping the apples.

As I chopped the apples I was fully there, in the moment. I thought about the person that planted the seeds of those apples. And then the person who picked them. And then the person that had to pack them. And then the person who drove them to the store. And then the person who owned the store and opened that store many moons ago with a dream of owning a successful business. I thought about the cashier who rang them up. And then the person who created the knife and cutting board that I was using. And then the person who built my stove. And then the person who created the frying pan.

I took a sip from my coffee and thought about the person who picked my coffee beans. And then the person who packed the beans. And then I thought about the person who created my French press. And then the person who created my electric water boiler. And then I heard the signature song on that playlist. That song that inspired the theme of the playlist: Heart Vibes.

The Emotion of the Heart and Soul

The tune is called "Life and Death" by Paul Cardell. Paul Cardell is an American pianist who was born with only a single functioning ventricle of half a heart. He had several surgeries as a child. He knew as he was growing up that eventually he would need a life-saving heart transplant. In addition, he lived with congenital heart disease for over thirty years. In 2008, he was going through heart failure. However, after waiting 385 days, he finally received a heart transplant in 2009.

Paul Cardell has performed many concerts. He also used his music as a tool to set up charities for those, who like himself, were fighting for heart transplants. You can feel the emotion deeply in his music.

So, I’m in the kitchen, listening to Spotify and Paul Cardell's song, the inspiration for the playlist came on.

As I was chopping the potatoes I was completely present thinking of Paul Cardell’s beautiful story. And thinking of the charities he gives to and how lucky I was to be listening to this beautiful piece of music. Then I started thinking about the person who created the first piano. And then I started thinking about Steve Jobs who created the iPhone that I was listening to all this on. And then I started thinking about how happy I was that he took the time to meditate and connect with his intuition and inner being. Because it was in meditation where he even got the idea for the iPhone. And then I was thinking of how thankful I am for Spotify which is the platform that gives me the ability to even make these playlists.

A Revelation

And it was at this moment I had a revelation. I was practicing exactly what I teach; intimacy with the present moment. Deep intimacy. The reason I committed to doing this each Sunday for so long is because during lockdown I had to find creative ways not to go stir crazy. This Sunday practice offered me so much peace in the discipline of doing it. In the present, there are hundreds of presents.

The problem is that we don’t allow ourselves to get quiet enough. We don’t get intimate with each and every moment. And then, the moment is missed. It’s missed because it’s full of distractions. We have the news on when we cook. Or, we aren’t connecting to ingredients. Or, we are scrolling our phones. Yelling at our partners. All the while, missing hundreds and hundreds of opportunities to connect to gratitude. We miss all the value that is right in front of our eyes. And we stay in our bitter, ungrateful, distracted, and sleeping ways of being. Making these scrumptious breakfast treats became so much more than just potatoes. They became almost like a spiritual practice with new epiphanies every week I continued to make them.

Sharing the peace.

I continued my journey to inner peace through my potato practice. And I started posting about my Sunday potato practice on social media, sharing photos of my Sunday morning breakfast potatoes - piled high with eggs and sausage - and sharing my playlists. Soon others were sharing pics of themselves following my inspiration: igniting their personal practice: playing music and preparing potatoes in different ways. Me dispelling my angst with creativity was inspiring others.

I also shared the potatoes. I regularly made two trays, and gave one away to the neighbours. I was able to share the peace through the conversations, the photos, the music and the food. This became a serious commitment.

I learned so much from my Sunday potato practice, and I was reminded of so much. I was reminded that we must wake up. We must get present and be present and remain present. The energy of magic is available in presence. Abundance surrounds you every day. I learned about exploring the unknown, through the process of discipline, commitment and creativity - and getting really fucking good at it - what was once unknown became an intimate friend.

20 weeks of potatoes have made my work in the world even richer. I had no idea 20 weeks ago that I would be given this beautiful insight through perfecting my potato practice in the present.

Adding details to any creative project can give you inner peace.

Staying in the present moment is the access point to threading your needle.

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About the Creator

Jennifer Lancaster @jenergy17

Multidimensional Creative-preneur

Life Coach, Personal Trainer, Artist, Writer. Formerly in restaurant business for 3 decades. Soul expression is my ❤️ language. Spirituality,music, art, food and creativity fuel my life. IG @jenergy17

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    Jennifer Lancaster @jenergy17Written by Jennifer Lancaster @jenergy17

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