The Flourishing Pantry: Taste, Blend, Let Go to Grow


After you read the blog, explore the Guided Meditation and respond to the questions in the Reflect & Journal section that align with the theme.

Have you ever read a blog or article about mindfulness or personal growth and thought, “This doesn’t relate to me at all”? Or perhaps you’ve felt a twinge of irritation because the perspective expressed runs contrary to your own beliefs and experiences. If so, you’re not alone.

In my journey across cultures and continents, I’ve often grappled with similar feelings. I’ve come to embrace two key approaches that have consistently served me well: take what you need and let go to grow. In this blog, I’ll share how these insights have shaped my perspective and might offer fresh possibilities for your own path.

As founder and senior facilitator of the educational programs for Mindfulness Without Borders (now part of The Global MINDS Collective), I made it our mission to seed ideas and ask reflective questions, rather than teach concepts and make assumptions. As a result, our educational programs were designed to create meaningful dialogues that encouraged program participants to take what aligned with their diverse experiences and let go of what didn’t.

This approach led me to embrace several important ingredients that frame my writing “recipe.” I start with personal reflection and blend in seeds of thought. To this, I add a dash of deep listening and mindfulness to expand collective worldviews, contributing to kinder, more compassionate communities. I carefully measure in a nuanced perspective, acknowledging the complexity of the human experience. Finally, I include a generous portion of openness to being wrong, relying on others to discern what’s valuable for their inner development.

These ingredients are valuable not only for our personal growth but also for fostering positive change in our communities and the world at large. They represent human qualities to cultivate shared flourishing. Just as every kitchen around the world has its unique staples and flavors, the realm of well-being is rich with varied recipes — and for good reason. 

As we navigate our inner development, many of us come to appreciate how our personal well-being “taste buds” are uniquely shaped. Our experiences, cultural backgrounds, histories, and even our neurological makeup all contribute to our individual palates. This rich diversity in how we perceive and respond to life’s flavors exists because our circumstances and challenges differ greatly. What serves as a comforting soup for one might be an acquired taste for another.

Like mindfulness practice, there are a variety of ways to nourish our well-being, acknowledging these individual differences. The practices that nourish you perfectly today may inspire new variations tomorrow. Some people thrive on the slow simmer of meditation, while others find nourishment in the sizzle of physical activity or in creative artistic pursuits. The intrigue is when we taste, blend and adjust our approach with an open, curious mind.

As a passionate home cook, I’ve witnessed firsthand how culinary practices evolve with experimentation. Recently, I came across an online recipe for a rice bowl that celebrated diverse preparation techniques from around the world. The basic concept seemed simple enough, but what fascinated me were the numerous variations and tips provided in the recipe’s notes. The chef had collected methods from various cultures — suggesting soaking basmati rice before cooking for fluffier results, infusing jasmine rice with pandan leaves for a subtle aroma and using bamboo steamers for perfectly textured rice. Within an instance, my recipe was elevated and my perspective broadened.

Culinary exploration reminds me of the beauty of mindfulness and shared wisdom. Just as each technique offers a new way to approach a familiar ingredient, we can embrace our role as students of life with similar openness. We might start with a base recipe for well-being, but the real magic happens when we leave room for fresh perspectives, turning each experience into an opportunity for discovery, learning and unlearning.

Now, for the finishing touches: The process of letting go to grow is not just inevitable, but invaluable. Just as we clear the pantry of expired ingredients to make room for fresh ones, we must be willing to release outdated beliefs, limiting habits and rigid perspectives. This doesn’t mean discarding everything, but rather creating space for the new to emerge. The mindset is to welcome each new addition as an opportunity to expand our horizons and be surprised by how they blend with our existing experiences. 

As you stand in your personal growth kitchen, take a moment to survey your pantry. Ask yourself:

  1. What fresh ingredients are calling out to be incorporated into your life’s menu?
  2. How can you adapt your current recipes to better suit your evolving tastes and needs?
  3. Which recipes can you let go which are no longer satisfying or feel relevant?

After all, you’re the head chef in your own kitchen of personal growth and your path to well-being is uniquely yours. As an author, it truly matters to me that you take what resonates and leave what doesn’t. This is your Flourishing Pantry.

If you’re curious to expand your personal growth recipe, try these tips below and experience them for yourself whether they resonate:

Mindful Living Tips

Embrace Change: Welcome new experiences as opportunities for learning and growth. Be open to sampling what appeals to you and integrate what aligns with your authentic self.

Trust Your Heart: Listen to your inner wisdom. Your body holds the information that can guide you toward meaningful choices.

Let Go to Grow: Recognize beliefs, habits and ideas that no longer serve you well. Have the courage to release them, making space for new perspectives and personal evolution.

Cultivate a Beginner’s Mind: Approach your experiences with openness and curiosity, as if encountering them for the first time. This mindset allows you to appreciate the richness of diverse perspectives while acknowledging their impermanence.

Guided Meditation

Before the Day Gets Busy

“Be like a tree and let the dead leaves drop.” —  Rumi