Balance and Harmony

Balance and HarmonyMy work on Not Just Cooking’s new website is exciting, but at the same time never done. The work will overwhelm me completely, if I allow this to happen. I love what I do although sometimes so many things call for my attention that I feel the need for space and distance. When this feeling comes over me, I know it is time to re-group and to re-prioritize.

Staying in balance is very important to me, and doing so has helped me get through difficult times in the past. There are moments when discomfort and stress take over, rising up and seeming to swallow everything around me. When I realize this is happening, I step back, breath deeply and repeat my mantra over and over again while focusing on appreciation and gratitude. If possible, I do biofeedback or meditate. This helps tremendously and allows me to remain in a joyous and harmonious state. Keeping aligned with this vibration allows me to achieve what I set out to do, feel better, and be much more productive.

Is this easy to do? The difficulty is in being aware of what is happening and sensing the tension building up within. As soon as one is able to acknowledge this state, it becomes easier. If you don’t allow the stress and discomfort to grow, they will recede into the background. The only action you need to take is being aware of what is going on, what you are thinking, and then changing your thoughts. Focus on things you like and appreciate. You’ll see, it is like an agitated lake calming down and becoming serene. And then you ask yourself: why did I think this was all so important in the first place?

I love seeing this website taking shape, growing and taking on a personality of its own. It is like watching a flower open, timidly at first and then more and more powerfully. The website talks to me, and I feel connected. It is like giving birth to a beautiful creation, loving and caressing it, but at the same time letting it develop in its own way. No, I don’t mind the time it takes, it gives back so much more than I ever imagined. I just have to make sure that I stay in balance and don’t neglect myself. It is surprisingly easy to get so absorbed in the moment, mostly when one has fun, that one forgets to take care of one’s needs.

Would you like to share your technique for staying balanced and harmonious? We would love to hear and learn from you.


Animal Welfare

Animal Welfare 250This is a frequently discussed topic and opinions are strong and emotions sometimes fly high. I know because I have had very lively discussions on this subject. Everyone has their own convictions and they are all valid. The important factor is that we feel comfortable with what we believe and how we act. As long as there is harmony between the two, there is no conflict within and therefore no stress.

Personally, I am a big animal welfare person. I have been a vegetarian for a big part of my adult life because I didn’t approve of how animals were raised and slaughtered. I am not an activist, just follow my own convictions. I now eat meat again but I like to know that the animals were raised under humane conditions. The prices are higher so I cut our portions down, which is healthier anyway. Furthermore, the flavor is much better and knowing that the animal was not abused nourishes my body and my soul.

I do not know what your convictions are but wanted to share mine. Animals are sensitive and they feel pain and stress. I know that business principles apply when raising animals for consumption, but wouldn’t it be a better world if we could also apply humane values as well?

You’ll find a link below explaining the 5 steps of animal welfare from Whole Foods Market. It is great to see large corporations stepping up on this issue. Let us know what you think on the Forum.

Puppies and Dogs

Our daughter and son-in-law have a new puppy – a Newfoundland. Karma will be the playmate and companion to their other Newfoundland, Sven. This new addition to the family made me think of the puppies which enriched our lives over the years.
A puppy was always such a special event in my life. I stood in awe and watched this furry ball express life, love, curiosity and zest to experience life. I embraced it all and made each puppy the promise to offer a life of non-constraint and the freedom to grow. I learned by watching, and felt I was growing as well.

Puppies are true bundles of love and joy and it is our responsibility to let them grow into loving and happy adults. That is our stewardship and unconditional love is our reward.

What do we feed our beloved furry companions? Will we feed them organic? Dog food or people food? We had an interesting consultation some years ago with an alternative vet who explained to us that dogs are pack animals and like to eat with the pack. We are the pack. So she recommended feeding our little Yorkie a small amount of what we eat so she feels she is part of the pack. We started putting her little plate on a place mat on the floor in the breakfast area, where we have our daily meals and she took to it without problems. She still gets her dog food, but she eats it during the day or later in the evening. Don’t try to put dog food on her plate! She will look at you with such contempt that you have no choice but to give her some of what are eating. If you get seconds, she feels entitled to get seconds too. Of course, she only gets what’s good for her. She is now 12 years old, in perfect health and we know that she is a happy little girl.

Always remember that they only have us – we have our friends and family – and that they love us unconditionally. Give them the best, they deserve it.


Here is our little sweetie “Mignonne”, getting up in age but then, age is just a number and she doesn’t know it and acts accordingly. My role model!


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Out of all the holidays, your birthday is just for you and only for you. Make it a truly special day and celebrate yourself. Celebrate the day you were born, the life you have lived. Feel gratitude for your parents, your siblings and family who gave you your first experiences. And remember, this is your day, not a holiday we share with everyone.

I like to go on memory lane on my birthday. Personally, it is not a day for gifts, but for appreciation and gratitude. I only think of pleasant moments and experiences. My birthdays as a child were always special. My mother went out of her way to make them unforgettable. We didn’t have a lot but she always baked some delicious cakes, and I was allowed to invite all my little friends. Beautiful memories, and I still thank my mother for them although she has been gone for a very long time.

As I mentioned, my birthday it is not a day about gifts. I don’t expect any although I am very appreciative should they arrive unexpectedly. Mostly I cherish the day of my birth through gestures of love and friendship; I treasure everyone in my life and feel blessed.

Birthdays are special occasions to get centered and finding balance. Make it a day all about you, you are worth it. Give a toast to who you are, what you have accomplished and what is waiting for you. It is a special day indeed.


Multitasking – A Curse or a Blessing?

MultitaskingWhen being with people who pride themselves as “multitaskers”, I always ask myself: is it possible to achieve the desired results without giving full attention to one thing at a time? Can one divide one’s focus and still be in the now and in harmony?

I do not have the answer but can say for myself that I have to be in the now to feel in harmony and to love what I am doing. When I cook I am in the now. I don’t think of other things, I am present, I have an appointment with myself and I am completely engaged.

That doesn’t mean that I am not doing many different things during the day and that I don’t jump from one task to the next. What I am saying is that I don’t do them all at the same time. I have many projects going, phones are ringing, e-mails are pouring in and the text notification chimes constantly, appointments to make and so on. A busy life indeed. But when I am on the phone, for example, I am with the person on the other side, I am engaged.

We are living in a culture and time with enormous media overloads. Sometimes it is difficult to remain focused. But isn’t it wonderful when you are with people who give you their whole attention, are with you completely and not distracted by their phones? Watching a movie with someone who is with you and enjoys your company? What about putting an arm around you instead of embracing a book, iPhone, IPad or magazine at the same time?

Being married to a multitasker, I have had lots of “first hand” experiences. My husband achieves great things with multitasking. He always has multiple things going and loves to handle them at the same time. It seems to work for him although sometimes the stress builds up and becomes overwhelming. I completely respect his approach. It just made me reflect on whether he savors each achievement while being so absorbed in other tasks at the same time? Observing him and living with a multitasker “par excellence” has given birth to this blog.

I am not a multitasker, I do multiple tasks but not at the same time. Same result? Most likely, just a different approach.

Is multitasking a curse or a blessing. What do you think? If you find multitasking necessary in your life, or live with a multitasker, please join us on the forum to share and discuss your thoughts.

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