The other day I decided to make a meatloaf. I came across a recipe online and bought a pound of grass fed beef and a lot of expensive spices and exotic ingredients so I could try it. It was a pretty complicated recipe for a meatloaf.
But I delayed making the meatloaf because my life suddenly became really full and complicated with lots of stuff that needed my attention, pronto.
But then I looked at the expiration date on the meat and I really had to make it.
But I also had to do a lot of other things, too.
But I also needed something for dinner.
But I also needed to attend to my things.
So there it went, back and forth, back and forth, like that, in my brain.
I went into the kitchen and started to assemble the thousand ingredients for this complicated meatloaf, all the while questioning my decision, given all the other, you know, things competing for attention.
And then my brain hit overload.
So right in the middle of the kitchen, I stopped the meatloaf prep.
“Okay, Kath,” I said. “Here’s the deal. You are either going to totally commit to this meatloaf, or you are going to totally abandon it right now. Pick. Because you can’t do it like this, hon.”
And that’s when I made the conscious commitment to the meatloaf. I even put my hands together in prayer position and bowed to the meatloaf and said, out loud, “I am going to fully commit to you for the next hour, Meatloaf.” “Namaste.”
And with that, I set to the task of measuring and mixing and stirring and chopping. At the end of the hour the meatloaf was ready for the oven, all the prep dishes were cleaned up, and I was calm and happy.
I had really enjoyed the whole process. I was present for the whole thing. And now I was free to go on to the next thing.
And what I had learned in making the Mindful Meatloaf was that all I needed to do was pick a thing, commit to it for a specific amount of time, and then just focus.
The reason I am telling you about the Mindful Meatloaf is that I often ask my yoga students to create an intention for themselves before we start practicing yoga.
Many times, I too, have been asked to create an intention for myself before yoga, and I was often confused about what an intention was, exactly.
For a long time I confused “intention” with “goal.” But an intention isn’t a goal. An intention is just a promise you make to yourself to focus your attention in a particular direction for a particular period of time. That’s so when your focus wanders, and it will, you have your promise to bring you back.
What will happen the whole time you are making the Mindful Meatloaf, is that your attention will constantly be pulled toward all the other stuff you need to do, stuff that’s way more important than the meatloaf.
Your other projects will wail and scream. You will deeply question your bad decision to make this stupid meatloaf now, on this especially crazy day.
But then you will remember that you pledged your allegiance to it until it got done, and you will not entertain the possibility of moving on to another activity, another “meatloaf,” until this one is in the oven.
You will not listen to those wails and bids for attention from your other projects. You will stay with the meatloaf. You will be like Odysseus, and not plug your ears to the songs of the Sirens, but instead tie yourself to the mast of your meatloaf, listen to them, and sail on!
So now you can use the Mindful Meatloaf as your personal ADHD dispelling magic word any time you feel like you have too many things to do and not enough time to do them.
In those moments, just put your hands in prayer position and whisper, “mindful meatloaf” and commit to it with your whole heart.
Oh. And that meatloaf? Terrible. I mean, truly awful. Worst meatloaf I ever tasted. I threw the whole thing in the garbage.
But the making of it was transcendent.