Sounds simple enough right? Nope.
I'm reading this book right now called "The Magic" by Rhonda Byrne. The book helps you increase your aptitude for gratitude by taking you through daily gratitude practices. Sidenote: If you're looking for a good read that is action-oriented and helps you refocus your life, then I sincerely recommend this book with all my heart. I've included a link to The Magic at the bottom of this post.
Alright, let's get into the story.
Day 8 in "The Magic" book is titled "The Magic Ingredient." In this chapter, Rhonda wants us to explore deep and genuine gratitude for the food we eat and the water we drink. Rhonda asks you to consider your relationship and access to food from a more mindful standpoint. For example, have you ever thought about the farm to table process that your food goes through? Have you ever thought about all the people involved in delivering your food to you? What about the animals that give their lives so we may live? All of these things are worthy of your gratitude, because, what would happen to you if you didn't have food?
I've written numerous posts about how important food is to your daily function, but they were purely written from a fitness perspective and with fitness goals in mind. Instead, think about moments when you're hungry and you can barely even think straight. Think about the times that you feel too tired to complete a task, or too dizzy to concentrate. What if that was your existence 24/7? Well, thanks to food, the animals, and the people that package and deliver your food to you, you don't have to worry about that. That is the mindset this exercise was supposed to unlock. On Day 8 of The Magic, the task is to express gratitude for your meal before eating it by thinking about all of those things I just mentioned.
Well, day 8 arrived and I was PUMPED because I was ready to dive into a deeper mindset. I always felt I was a grateful person, but The Magic really showed me how much more gratitude I had left to give.
I decided to not only follow Rhonda's directions, but to take it one step further. I would express my gratitude but I would also seek to immerse myself fully into in each meal I ate that day. Full immersion to me meant, no TV, no computer, no work email, no music, no cell phone, just me and my meal. Under normal circumstances, you'll find me eating in front of my computer while working, or scrolling through and lurking social media, or any number of other activities. This time, however, I would allow none of that. Sounds easy right?
HA! So, here's what happened.
For lunch, I decided to pop a frozen Naan Tomato pizza into the oven. Fourteen minutes and one crispy pizza later I fixed my plate for lunch... and I IMMEDIATELY started walking to my office. I just marched directly there with my plate in my hands. My old habits took over and I was on autopilot. When I realized what I was doing I stopped myself and thought "NO! NO Tarisha! You're NOT going to eat and work today!"
So, I awkwardly placed my plate on the counter and pulled my seat up to the bar.
"Okay, here we go," I thought. "I'm just going to pick this pizza up and eat it right here," I thought triumphantly.
Fifteen seconds later I was up searching my apartment for my cell phone.
I couldn't believe myself! It was as if I wasn't in control of my body. My pizza was getting cold but at least I was able to catch myself and refocus on the task at hand. I was determined to eat that pizza without any distractions.
Once I worked through my zombie-like desperation to find distractions, I expressed my gratitude for my meal and took the first bite in silence. It was just me and my Naan pizza, and man, it was tasty.
I'd eaten that same pizza loads of times before, but on that particular day, I noticed for the first time what the base sauce tasted like. I thought, "this is really good." I took another bite and then looked closely at that giant slice of pizza because before that day I would've told you that the base sauce on it was green. Yes, I would've told you it was green, definitely green like a pesto, but it was actually brown. Imagine that, I wouldn't have been able to accurately describe my meal to you from just my memory alone before that day.
I kept eating the pizza, and singing internally about how delicious it was then I thought "geez, this is taking me a long time to eat." Since I wasn't inhaling my food while scrolling through Instagram and instead was focused on it, I was actually eating slower. Then it occurred to me that since I was eating slower, I was able to pinpoint the exact moment that I felt full and satisfied. It was as if my perception had been turned up and I was fully aware of everything going on in the moment. I was eating mindfully, and while it felt sort of weird, it felt sort of amazing too. I ate my lunch mindfully and each meal after that. I even drank my water mindfully. It was an experience.
Now, you may be wondering if I continued eating without distraction since day 8. I wish I could tell you, yes, but I can't. Another thing that day 8 taught me about myself was just how difficult it is for me to disconnect and re-prioritize my focus. Still, while I haven't been able to fully break my bad habit and form this better one, I've at least made the first step of seeing first-hand the benefits.
So, who else is up to the challenge of eating an entire meal without distractions? Do you think it will be hard for you or easy? Let's chat in the comments section, I respond to all comments!
P.S. If you're interested in reading Rhonda Byrne's "The Magic", you can purchase the paperback or download the Kindle version like I did from Amazon.
FYI. That is an affiliate link to Amazon and if you make a purchase using it, you are supporting the site.