Friday, May 30, 2008

Eating mindfully - Friday, May 30

I watched one of my favorite all-time movies last weekend: Pay it Forward. If you've not seen it, Pay it Forward is about a 7th grade boy who, for a social studies project, actively tries to make a difference in the world by helping 3 individuals with something they can't do themselves. Those three individuals must then help 3 other individuals (paying it forward), exponentially spreading kindness. The first time I watched it, I was hoping only to fill a couple lonely hours. I was in for a surprise, however, with a deep and insightful movie about the power of second chances and the potential of a single act of compassion to change the world. 

During the course of any given day, each one of us makes thousands of decisions. Paper, plastic, or canvas? Recycle, reuse, or toss? Walk or drive? Wait to hold the door open for someone or hurry off to work in hopes we won't be late? In each of these situations we react with the world around us. Who are we to know which interaction could be the one that ends up making a difference in the world; the moment when someone sees us and then turns around and spreads the kindness to others (or to the Earth), and on and on? And what I've learned this month is that change is truly possible. Not that I've witnessed the whole world change as I've sought to become more mindful this month, but my world has changed. And isn't that where it all begins?

So, the final week of Diet for Global Hunger Action / Mindfulness in May. How did it work out?

Almost all of our food came from local sources: lots of fruits and veggies, milk, cheese, honey, herbs, and eggs were all local. I did visit the grocery store for yeast, oil, and sugar; and our local natural food store for bulk flours and oatmeal.  I also ate out a little more than usual (4 lunches instead of my normal 2). But that was it, everything else came from local sources, well within 100 miles of home (and ohh did it taste good)!

As for mindfulness, here goes...

Meditate - I missed only one day this week. In all, I've been meditating for a little over a year now. If you've never tried it, give it a shot. I really enjoy the Meditation Podcast and Meditation Oasis (both available on iTunes). You don't have to be good at it to benefit from it (my mind wanders all the time). It's only 10-20 minutes at a sitting and it has made a wonderful, calming difference in my life. 

Sit down when I eat - This continues to be a struggle as I nibble here and there. I'm certainly more mindful than when I first started this challenge and I have proven to myself that I can have days where I don't take a single nibble if I'm willing to slow down and approach the day with awareness (we only get one shot at this life, do we really want to miss anything anyway?). Despite the nibbles, I only grazed my way through one afternoon.  I couldn't say that a month ago.

Enjoy at least one meal in the company of someone else - This is still my favorite transformation. I've always been a bit of a loner and when I get hungry, I just eat. Since Dave and I tend to eat different foods anyway, we just lived our lives a la carte. But now, even though our meals may not be the same, we are eating together, and sharing that time and conversation together and as a result, I look forward to meals in a way I never have before!

Eat slowly - No problems here. No eating on the run or anything. I was in a rush to fix breakfast on Saturday morning, but then when I finally sat down, I chilled out. 

No multi-tasking - It feels more and more normal each day to sit down with nothing else in front of me but my food. Not that I don't have a hundred other things I could be doing at the time, but really focusing on the meal makes me really thinking about where the food came from, the effort that went into it to get it to my table, and of course how yummy that roasted veggie sandwich is with the melty feta cheese and the...

So there it is. The challenge draws to a close. Although I'm still nibbling, I feel like I've come a long way towards transforming my relationship with food. And it won't end here. I will continue to meditate each day. I will continue to eat meals at the table with Dave at least once, if not twice a day. I will continue to set aside everything else while I eat, and just enjoy the company and the experience. Mealtimes are not just fuel for the body, they are energy for my spirit now as well.  And who knows, maybe someday, I'll change the world. Happy (and mindful) eating!

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