The Kitchen: In the Pantry

The Pantry inside The Kitchen is that sort of wonderful go-to place where we seek out what it is we need for what we want to cook.  More than once, I have gone to the pantry to find something for a meal, and there came across something I was not expecting and decided to change what I was cooking for our family.

Doesn’t Spirit, Inspiration, and Compassion often work that way?  I cannot tell you how many times over a quarter of a century I have struck out for my work as a teacher in the dark of the morning thinking that I knew what I was going to teach and work on that day only to have the Spirit of Inspiration completely re-do or undo my lesson plans before I arrived at work.  There have been other days when arriving at school, or arriving back home, thinking that I knew what I was going to do next (ask my family–I always have an agenda).  Upon arrival, the Spirit of Compassion moves me into something else. A student need.  A family member’s broken heart.  A colleague’s trauma.  A parent’s distress.  An email.  A visit.  A phone call.  I go to the pantry thinking I know what I need to obtain there in order to do what I think I am going to do and am SURPRISED.

I do always respond well to surprise, to change that is required by who or what is standing in front of me.  Spirit of Inspiration is teaching me to step outside of that box and ask: how else could we do this?  what might be another way?  what could be next?  Spirit of Compassion washes over me in the face of another, in the tears flowing out of human eyes, in the look of pain or fear or anger.  Suddenly, I cannot really remember what I had planned.  This is now what I plan.  To be here and try to help, even if I fail.

Every Kitchen has some sort of Pantry, humble or richly stocked.  It’s the secret, sacred place where we step aside from our agendas to find out what Spirit really has going on in the Kitchen, in the sacred cauldron, in the brew of wisdom, in the core of love that stands at the very center of all of us.  Some days, we may not want to go there.  We may think we have it all under control.  Let’s go to the Pantry anyway, and see what magic rises up in us. Whatever wonderful, nourishing things we will cook, let us start there, in the quiet, silent space of the Pantry.

Bob Patrick

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