The thing about making jelly is

It’s a risky thing.

The experience is unpredictable.

Blog Photo - Jelly Currants in Pot

One minute you have a spoon in your hand

Stirring the sticky liquid in the pot

Staring at the smooth surface

Wondering when it will gel


Without warning, you find yourself 

Thinking about your worries

Worrying about your thoughts

Forgetting the jelly

Blog Photo - Jelly in Pot

Frothing to the rim of the pot

Gathering strength and density

Liquid thoughts like a substance

Which may or may not gel


Next, you’re in a meditation room

Listening to a voice say:

Don’t analyze your thoughts

Let them go. Let them pass

Blog Photo - Jelly Jar Double Mint

Thoughts are thoughts, not facts

Do not stop to judge them

Or be worried by them

Let them float out of your mind


If your back or arm aches

Or someone has hurt you

Don’t dwell on those thoughts

Let them pass, and float away


I return to the liquid on the stove

Just before the jelly boils over

Because making jelly requires this much:

My total attention.

Blog Photo - Jelly pouring into jars

Making jelly is a meditation

On the liquid in the pot, swirling

As my thoughts darken and thicken

And bubble and froth their way to the top


Did I say thoughts? I meant jelly

But maybe I meant thoughts

Thoughts are not facts! the jelly says

Let them go while you stay here

 Blog Photo - Jelly Jars many

Watch me boil and swirl and stir, and boil

And swirl and swell, making bubbles.

You are here, the jelly says

So be here. Be present with me


So you stir and watch and wait

For that final moment

When the liquid becomes

That thick,  sweet, slow-moving gel.

 Blog - Red Current Jelly in Jars

The thing about making jelly is

It’s a strange thing

The journey is unpredictable.






Filed under A Good Home, Jelly, Making Jelly, Mindfulness

56 responses to “MEDITATION LIKE JELLY

  1. I sense a bit of busy mind here. XD Actually I like the Zen approach to meditation by focusing fully on the task at hand. Bravo Cynthia!

  2. Jaquelyn

    As unpredictable as humans.!!!

  3. That’s definitely jelly for you. And if it burns it’s worse than burnt toast!

  4. Zen and the art of jelly making 😉 Great post!

  5. Oh I love this post! And I’ll bet that jelly is soooooooooo YUMMY!!!!! Love and hugs, N 🙂 ❤

  6. I enjoyed some of that marvellous jelly & now I have the zen to go with it!

  7. Hey Cynthia .. What a great post! I’ve been making that jelly with you 😉

  8. Oh Cynthia! What a fabulous post! Mesmerized by the soothing stirring, cooking, setting and potting, I was simultaneously very aware of how often my daily thoughts (usually negative) keep on bubbling up to the surface.
    Being in the garden quietens the worries down, but often I forget that- have you noticed how often we avoid doing the one thing which is really good for us?
    Luckily for me (and for you, I think) the same channel which gets used for the worry also carries bubbles of joy to the surface. Those are the best; big, fat, happy bubbles of enthusiasm and joy!

    • You are so blessedly wise, Karen. Yes, I have noticed how often I avoid doing the one thing that’s good for me — like regular exercise, among other things….
      I love your idea of bubbles of joy — because joy does sometimes bubble up to the surface, often taking us by surprise.

  9. Ah mindfulness.. In my distracted ness I thought it read “mediation” 😊

  10. I gotta tell ya, I thought I was about as mental as you can get, and making jelly totally consumes my thought process. Cynthia, you get some sort of award for having that much mental capacity. Add it to your wall with the Most Fantastic Pumpkin plaque. 😉

  11. Thank you for the mindful reminder about paying attention. Very needed in this multi-tasking age! Also, that jelly looks delish!!!!

  12. I’ve always enjoyed making jelly although I prefer to make preserves or jam. As for thoughts, mine tend to circle. I’d love to be able to at least stretch them out into a straight line once in a while. 😀 I love how you used the jelly making along with your poetic words to remind us all to give things our complete attention and to let go of lesser thoughts. Of course a lot easier said than done, as those ornery little thoughts continue to froth up and boil over.

  13. “Watch me boil and swirl and stir, and boil
    And swirl and swell, making bubbles.
    You are here, the jelly says
    So be here. Be present with me”

    This is me lately! My husband is bcoming concerned-lol
    It is not jelly it is everything…so this post is for me!!!
    “Be present” with what I am cooking…for my thoughts wander too much:-)
    Or I will set the house on fire!

    • It’s the time of year to be scattered. I used to think September was the real start of the year, not January. especially when my kids were younger.
      I’ve screwed up so many times doing the simple act of making jelly, that I try really hard to be mindfully present…. but doesn’t always work, right?

      • so true! and I wander away with my thoughts:-) so to be “mindfully present” I have to concentrate-lol…I agree the year should start with fall-kids start school, fall leaves drop and pumpkins mark the start of everything fun!

  14. Good advice! I’ve never made jelly but it sounds like it could be a pleasant experience,

  15. It’s pleasant when it’s boiling.
    And when it’s done.
    And when it’s eaten!

    It’s just all the other stuff in-between…..

  16. I admire you so much being able to make jelly and think of other things at the same time. I become so nervous while making the stuff that no other thoughts intrude at all.

  17. Lovley photos and lovely writings! I never make my own jelly but I could easily replace the word jelly with knitting ( sort of;0)) have a lovley Sunday

  18. Cynthia, now you got me drooling so wouldn´t mind if you send me some of your home made jelly.

  19. Can so relate, as you know. In other news, my jelly turned out quite tasty and set up well, according to several different family members (remember, I really dislike grape jelly). This is good, because there is a TON of it. 😀

  20. Hooray, Rose!

    I’m so glad to hear.

  21. I have often felt when I am cooking or baking and really invested in it – you know, “in the zone” as they say – that it is something akin to meditation. You and the bubbling fruit merge in your singular purpose, and in that, there is no judgment or fear, just you being calm and beautiful jelly. And beautiful it is! Great job.
    I agree with Charly — start packing it up and sending it out to us all! LOL.

  22. I’ve never made jam, Cynthia. I feel like I’m definitely missing something 🙂 Love your musings on jam/life.

  23. I needed to be reminded to live in the moment. This was a lovely reminder!

  24. Love the jelly, meditation does wonders for the mind and soul! 🙂

  25. Love the jelly and love the thoughts that boiled over! 🙂 Such a relatable phenomenon. But this happens to me when I’m driving! 😦

  26. I look at your preserves and sigh. Never made any but wish I could. My sister’s all make damson, blackberry and other jams and lots of gins and liqueurs. These look yummy. 🙂

    • But, Jane: I bet you can either cook or bake or both. All I can cook is jelly!

      • Cynthia, I can cook and bake but not done any for decades. I am mostly a veggie and I tend to eat food which is uncooked….I love salads and fruit so out of practice these days. No-one to cook for except me and it is no fun eating alone and cooking for one. I love jelly…like eating that by the cube too…naughty. 🙂

  27. Yes! I don’t make jelly but I cook to take my mind off of a crazy day. Chopping vegetables does it. Beautifully said.

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