Last week’s tip was about the power of doing one thing at a time.
This week tip focuses on eating. Eating is an integral part of life and yet it is often overlooked, hurried through, or combined with other tasks. It’s essential for our survival and we do it (if we’re fortunate) every day, multiple times a day. The power of this week’s tip has changed my life, transformed my relationships, and made me feel like a better person. It’s simple, easy to do, and in my experience it makes everyone around me feel good.
Tip #5: Think Before You Eat – The Attitude of Gratitude
This tip is simple- take some time before you eat to reflect on the food and give heartfelt thanks for the meal. You don’t have to say a prayer or have a prefab phrase. For me, it actually works best when I just slow down and talk from my heart. Whether I’m alone, or with friends and family, I take a moment to acknowledge where my food came from, how it got to my table, and how grateful I am for it and for those I’m sharing it with. If I’m with folks that are open to it, we’ll take turns sharing what we’re grateful for. If you want something written to say, try Thich Nhat Hanh’s 5 contemplations, or take a peek below at an example of what I might share:
Before I eat, I say something like this (I make it up each time):
Thank you for this food, and for all of the beings who brought it here. I am so grateful for the earth, the sky, the water, all of the people and animals who helped make the food, grow it and harvest it, and all of the beings that supported them, like their mothers and fathers. Thank you for all of the people who support my salary and paid for my services and helped me afford to bring this nourishment to the table. May everyone have nourishing food that is as good, if not better than this. I thank this food for the gift of it’s life. May it nourish us so that we may nourish others. Amen.
Acknowledging my food takes about a minute. It makes me smile, slow down, appreciate life and think about the connection of all things. Even if I’m with people who don’t normally do this I’ll take a chance and say something aloud, even if it’s very abbreviated. In my experience the rewards outweigh the risk of feeling judged or making someone uncomfortable.
Talking about food before you eat can also nourish your body. My partner says it signals the body to send a positive chemical dump to the system that helps it prep for digestion/absorption. She says it engages the brain and parasympathetic nervous system and helps your body process and absorb food better. Who knew?
On a bigger, more philosophical tip, Tip #5 is a continuation of the theme of being present and aware of what you’re doing, so you can not only benefit from it, but slow down enough to actually enjoy it. Imagine that! The typical trend in our society is to do more faster, with less presence, and with the promise of future fulfillment. Eat fast while you check email so you can get that next project done. Work all week until you drop, running from one thing to the next, so you can relax on the weekend. Work a job that you hate so you can retire and be happy later. I’m suggesting somewhat of the opposite, that if you are present for each moment of your life, without rushing, you can enjoy life more and have less to do.
My name is Kim Fleisher and I’m the director of The Reiki School + Clinic and I have a scholarly geek brain that is intensely organized and learning-driven. I’m a teacher at heart and that’s why our Reiki classes are so long – because real learning takes place over time, by DOING.
I’m going to give you one tip a week with the invitation to try it for a week and let me know if it helps! Feel free to share any tweaks you make to the process (making it your own helps seal the deal of learning/integrating any new skill), or share your own tips for staying healthy (the ability to explain what you know is a key step to mastery). Email me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org or post your feedback/tips as a comment here.