Updated: Aug 20
My meditation teacher, Shinzen Young, uses the phrase “Cosmic Pizza Chef” from time to time in his talks. It’s such a perfect image to bring to mind when we are experiencing all that occurs in the kitchen of our crazy lives. How often we feel stretched and pulled beyond our capacity when encounters of the unkind knead us and pull us in every direction? “This is toooo much you tout!” Time passes, we just about get back to feeling normal and the Pizza Chef wields its cosmic hand of constriction, squeezing us into a little ball of dough. We feel helpless, at the mercy of the bigger forces in the universe that seem to know no bounds of what it puts us through. But life, like pizza, has a lot of components. Each individual ingredient plays an important role in the flavor of the entire pizza , just as our unique life experiences play an important role in the wholeness of our life. You cannot have a pizza with one ingredient, nor does life offer us a single kind of encounter.
So let's take a look at our options when we feel stretched or squished by the Cosmic Pizza Chef.
When we find ourselves feeling like tossed dough the first step is to center and ground ourselves. This is much easier if we already have an established embodied presence practice. That would be some kind of breathwork, somatic inquiry or mindful practice that focuses inside the body, rather than the mind. Inner body sensation is the dining hall of our subconscious. Felt sense experience of pain, constriction, tension, unsettledness and overwhelm are clues that we have energy and emotions that are not being met. Getting in touch with these, meeting them, puts us in relationship with ourselves. Though it may seem like an external event or force is making us crazy, it is our internal system where the interpretation and navigation happens. Daily practice help us cope with the stretching and pulling of life experience.
Fully immersing ourselves in a formal practice helps us adapt to varied circumstances and embrace change. The second step, acknowledging that change is inevitable helps us have less resistance to the Cosmic Pizza Chefs unwieldy hand. When we have less resistance, we have less suffering. This is not to say we should intentionally allow ourselves to remain in bad situations. But there are circumstances in life we cannot control and change and developing the emotional agility to navigate events is the ultimate tool to have in life’s kitchen.
The recipe of formal practice also allows an exploration of, a kind of permeability to be open to options yet unexplored. A test kitchen where we get a felt sense of possibility before we hard test the recipe in real life. A cutting board to slice and dice different components of alternatives without having to actually create them in real life.
So in being prepared for the next toss of the Cosmic Pizza Chefs hand, engage in daily practice to ground, to get in touch with inner emotions, develop resiliency in chaos and open oneself to possibilities yet unformed —and Enjoy!
Need assistance with establishing a daily practice and managing the Cosmic Pizza Chef? Eileen is an alternative healer who has completed 15 vision quests enabling her to be a clear and effective conduit for your personal growth. She has worked with somatic breathwork practices for the last 8 years and is a certified Unified Mindfulness Coach Contact Eileen@relaxandexpand.com