By Malcolm Saunders
Founder: The Light Cellar, Calgary, Canada
Websites: http://thelightcellar.ca/ and http://malcolmsaunders.com/
Do you text while driving?
Even though too many people still do, I hope in your heart you can answer no. I think enough awareness has been created to know that as drivers, it is so important that we put 100% of our attention and focus on the road.
But what about when you’re eating?
Do you text while at the table?
Perhaps catching up on Instagram over lunch or mid-bite you’re reaching for the phone seconds after that *ding*?
Or maybe you’re not texting, but you are distracted in other ways…
What has your attention?
Can you remember having an experience where 100% of your focus was on the food you were eating?
Perhaps it was a new fruit, one you’d never tried before, and with such curiosity you bit in…
Or was it after what seemed like too many hours without food and with true hunger, you can smell with anticipation your next meal…
I’m sure you’ve had a dish that someone you love carefully and attentively made especially just for you…
And in that moment when you take it in with such gentle delight and gratitude, truly savouring and experiencing the food, the rest of the world just falls away.
Imagine if for every meal and every bite you gave that much focus and attention.
Do you not think that regardless of what you chose to have for dinner you will be more nourished?
In my close to 20 years studying nutrition, from all the courses I’ve taken, the books I’ve read and the superfoods I’ve tried, I believe this detail is one of the most important keys to nutrition.
The more mindful you are, the more nourished you’ll be.
Where in that state, perhaps there is no bad food. No right or wrong as to what you should or shouldn’t eat. Let all the dietary dogma go.
Would you not agree that the more important thing is to remain aware and connected to the experience of what you ingest?
I believe this is what is important.
But the challenge is, this is not how we were raised, and it’s certainly not how our culture is organized.
We exist in a world that is fast-paced, fed with fast food, and on the go.
Living a hurried existence, hurtling head-strong through our day-to-day, too often caught up in our goal-orientated, success-driven society, we forget about this body and the simple life-giving energy that sustains it.
We leave little time for just being and appreciating the food that becomes us.
I invite you to see eating as an opportunity for reconnecting with yourself, and that every time you eat it is a chance to practice stepping out of the busyness and to embrace a different way of being.
I encourage you to deepen into the sacredness of all your food experiences.
Where with gratitude you reflect on your food – its life, its wisdom, its source…
Slowing down while you prepare it, eat it and digest it.
It’s another way of saying grace.
No texting, no multitasking, just truly enjoying.
Experiencing every bite of food.
And in doing so, you will chew more, digest more, assimilate more, and become more…
My guess is that for someone like yourself who by virtue of reading this blog you already make great choices regarding the food you eat; and that, perhaps, what is left for you and I is to simply get more out of what we already put in our mouths.
Presence will do that.
For the more mindful you are, the more nourished you’ll be.
Where attention goes, energy flows.
And it matters just as much what you put in your mouth as how you prepare, consume and digest it.
Not only will you become more nourished, you’ll become more deeply intuitive, as you begin to listen to and learn the language of your body.
The signs and the signals your body speaks will become clearer.
What is your body saying?
I’ll be the first to admit this is not easy. Already it has taken me years to learn this, and I know it will take even longer to master.
So as you start again, re-setting your intention and attention on the journey of mindfulness, let me remind you, no one is perfect.
You will be pushed and pulled away, and 9 times out of 10 you will probably even forget.
But that’s OK.
A little helpful hint for you is that in the beginning there are probably certain foods this ritual could be more easily implemented with than others.
For me, having spent more than a decade of my life as a vegetarian and ever since I started eating meat again, I naturally do so with greater attention and reverence.
Chocolate is another food where you can expand your awareness to truly savour the complexity of flavours and feelings this food offers.
So start with one food or one meal, and just know it will take time and effort to develop this new habit and to cultivate deeper and deeper mindfulness.
But the good news is: it's worth it.
Not only will your health improve, but you’ll taste more, you’ll feel more, you’ll enjoy more.
You’ll get more out of life. And is that not the point?
Where in every moment you’re conscious, you’re awake, you’re present, to fully take it all in…
And isn’t food such a delicious and delightful way to do that?
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