I was watching The Ramen Girl, a movie about a girl who is abandoned by her boyfriend in Japan and decides she wants to become a ramen cook. Kinda stupid movie, lol, but sweet at the same time. Anyway, there is a scene where the girl is talking with the mother of the ramen restaurant owner, about why her ramen broth wasn’t good. I loved this:

You cook with your head. Understand? Your head is full of noise. You must learn to cook from the quieter place deep inside of you…each bowl of ramen that you prepare is a gift to your customer. The food that you serve your customer becomes a part of them. It contains your spirit. That’s why your ramen must be an expression of pure love. A gift from your heart.

I love the image of my intent being almost physically “poured out” into what I create for my family, but my head is full of noise, always has been. I have always “stayed up in my head” to avoid what was going on in my life. Being a good student and avid reader, it was easy to daydream or read my way through life. But it has come back to bite me big time in health issues – my body “stored” what I couldn’t deal with at the time. (For a good treatise on this read The Body Keeps the Score by Bessel van der Kolk.) I do everything in a kind of dreamy state…although sometimes the dream is more akin to a nightmare, in a “I’m being pecked to death by baby ducks” kind of way, lol .

Hiding in my head was all well and good for its time, but now I realize more how it affects my family. From a simple meal to the atmosphere in the home, my lack of “being there in spirit” hurts my family in ways they probably can’t articulate but definitely feel. You’ve ever been in a room where you’re having a conversation with someone but they’re not really listening? It’s like that, but more subtle. Subtle and pervasive is still harmful. And it isn’t that I don’t want to be with them, far from it! It’s just a 50 year old habit that I rarely even realize I’m using because it’s all I ever knew. There’s little “heart” or “spirit” in what I do, I am not “poured out into my ramen in an act of love.” I’m going through the motions.

My goal, for my health and my family, is to learn to show up in body and mind. To be “all there,” whether I’m conversing with my kids or making a meal all by myself. I’m getting better at it little by little, and since my children are all teens and above, I’m learning to be honest with them. I let myself feel the joy or pain or overwhelm of the day and tell them when something is too much for me, or explain to them why I might look weepy or tired. I have a long way to go but I’ve made strides in the right direction.

Spoiler alert, a funny scene happened after the ramen store owner’s mother talked with “Ramen Girl” — the mother explained that if she didn’t know what love is, that she should feel what she is feeling while cooking and start with the tears that come. So she cries while making her ramen, the tears fall in the cooking pot, and everyone who tries the ramen starts weeping. 😆

If you see us all crying over dinner, you’ll know what happened. 😉