mise en place is the essential foundation they teach to professional cooks and chefs. it's how to have a clean and organized kitchen, how to time your cooking properly, etc. it means literally "put in place," and refers to pre-chopping/washing/slicing/soaking all of your ingredients, and then setting them aside in one of those nice little glass bowls. it is the esssence of "BE PREPARED."
there is a part of me that needs/craves/thrives off of mise en place, in the kitchen and in my life in general. i make lists of things to be done, and enjoy checking things off when they're accomplished--that sort of thing. but then there is the part of me that tries to subscribe to an entirely other philosophy. a teacher of mine in grad school, anne bogart, used to tell us to "go before you're ready," in essence to leap before we looked. which is wonderful advice when it comes to acting. follow impulses, be brave, don't wait for readiness or you will never go.
(it was this that helped me decide to adopt my cats. i was unsure, had reservations, felt "maybe later," but then remembered anne's advice, leapt before i looked and am now the owner of the two most scrumptious lil' things, who bring me endless joy).
but what about now? i quit my job on monday and now, come september, i am unemployed!
no mise en place here, ladies and gentlemen; i have leapt before i looked, and rather than scrambling for my little glass bowls, i am trying to feel the wind in my hair, and enjoy the view on the way down.