A Mindful Thanksgiving

Six years ago, on November 9, 2004, I fell down the back steps of our house, on my way outside to hang diapers on the line.  This Wednesday afternoon, in a race out the door to make it to the library before it closed for the holiday, I fell down the same steps, in the same place.  I fell to the ground with two thoughts in my head, “how am I going to cook a Thanksgiving feast with a broken foot?” and “this is going to ruin my Christmas vacation.” I made it back inside, immediately elevated the foot, and put some ice on it.  For quite a while I sat there trying to figure out if it was broken or not.  Wallowing in my own self-pity and just feeling very angry and sorry for myself.  Not a good idea to break your foot the night before a four day holiday weekend.

I went to bed and hoped for the best.  Woke up in the middle of the night in excruciating pain, convinced it was indeed broken.  I vowed to visit the doctor on Friday for an x-ray.

When I woke up Thursday morning, it hurt.  A lot. But I began to feel at that point that it was not broken.   I wrapped the foot up, iced it, and got on with business.  I brought all of my prep work to the dining room table and sat down before a mountain of potatoes, onion, celery, garlic, asparagus and bread.  While listening to Arlo Guthrie’s Alice’s Restaurant, I peeled and chopped much more slowly than I would have at the kitchen counter.

And as I sat there alone, I had a revelation.  Usually when I am cooking a big meal like that, I unintentionally get myself all worked up into a frantic speed, like it’s some kind of race.  But on this day, I worked slowly because I had no other choice.  Each move was calculated, each trip into the kitchen served several purposes.  It became a lesson in mindfulness.  Every move had to be slow and intentional.

And I did it.  I pulled it off.  It was an amazing feast.  We had free-range turkey, dressing, steamed asparagus, sweet potatoes, cranberry sauce, mashed potatoes, and gravy.  For dessert we had apple crisp and pumpkin-chocolate tart.  We drank Estancia wine, a lovely pinot noir from California, and a bottle of white wine my father brought back from his work in Italy last year.  And as I sat there, sharing a meal with three generations of my family, I was filled with gratitude.  Gratitude for a wonderful family, a beautiful home, good food, and a foot that was not broken.

One Response to “A Mindful Thanksgiving”

  1. MamaBird writes:

    OMG! So sorry to hear about your foot. And so proud of how you turned it into a lesson in mindfulness. Sending you helaing energy and blessings!

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