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Monday, 18 January 2021 11:11

Enjoying the Feast

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If we’re not living the dream, or if it feels like we’re not living the dream, why aren’t we? What’s stopping us? In this series of blogs discussing The Main Meal of our lives, we’ve spent time defining what the main meal is for us. We’ve outlined our dream life, the life we desire to live in every moment. We saw that we are the ones who create the menu. We get to choose how to balance our energy among the various aspects of our lives, from recreation to career, from spending time with family to spending time in volunteer activities, from education to spirituality. Then we made up the guest list. We decided who we want to share in this feast with us. So, if we know what we want, we know how much of each aspect we’ll give our attention to, and we know who to share it with, why wouldn’t we want to be living it now, right away?

With the understanding that our lives are always a work in progress, there is still every reason in the world to live each day and each moment with the intention and with the attitude as though everything is already in place. We still get to choose joy in every moment. We still get to choose each of our actions so that they align with our core values, our desires, and our dream lives.

And yet…. we still sometimes feel as though we are far from living the dream, don’t we? We get bogged down in the details. We get buried in the everyday tasks, the deadlines, the worries, the stresses that we just can’t seem to dig our way out of. So we wonder how to keep our attention focused on our intentions and keep our goals visible at all times. For me, the most direct line to balance is gratitude. When I stop for one second and breath a word of thanks, I immediately remember who I am, what I want, and how I want to live my life. It only has to be a thought, one second of thanks, for the mess I find myself in, for the people around me, for the view out my window, for the technology that keeps me connected. Just that little return to gratitude is all I need to see my stressors in a whole new light. And isn’t it a practice to say grace before a meal? Let’s explore that idea.

Saying Grace

When I was visiting my parents in their last years of life, one of the caretakers was sitting down to share a meal with us. My Dad asked her to say grace before we ate. She asked for blessings on the food and “all the hands that toiled to bring these foods to the table.” Wow! That sent my mind back down the food chain to the grocery store employees, the truckers who brought the food to the store, the farmers who planted the seeds and the workers who harvested it. Today I include everything on the table, the flatware, the dishes, the cups the napkins. When I think of everyone who toiled to make the meal and the setting in front of me possible, it takes gratitude to an entirely different level. I am humbled by the tremendous effort of so many people so that I might eat just one meal. And then multiply that by the number of meals of my life.

I feel a deep and abiding gratitude for this, but also, I have a sense that I want to honor all of that work an all of those people. I wonder how to honor them and then it occurs to me that there are several ways.

APPLYING THIS TO FOOD

I can choose what to eat thoughtfully, and I can stay present to the gift of the meal as I eat it. Before I ever go to the store, I can do some research to find out what products and companies treat the land respectfully, pay their workers honest wages, raise food animals humanely, and have an ethic of giving back from their own abundance.

I can go to the store with a plan for what I will cook and eat in order to minimize waste and spoilage. I can honor my body by choosing the foods that nourish and energize me in order to minimize any drain on my energy. I can treat the employees of the store with respect, being patient with the teenager who is still learning to be a cashier.

And when I sit down to eat that meal, after preparing the food I’ve purchased, I can allow enough time to eat it slowly, enjoying the full flavor of every bite, and feeling the satisfaction of filling an empty stomach.

Saying grace is more than a sentence or two before devouring a meal in a matter of a few short minutes. Bringing grace to every choice associated with the effort to bring that meal to the table becomes a life practice. Gratitude enhances the dining experience, seasons the taste buds, and becomes one more ingredient in the Main Meal of my life.

APPLYING THIS TO OUR HABITS AND CHOICES

On a different level and scale, we can give thanks for all whom we encountered in our lives, all the decisions we made, all the opportunities we took and didn’t take; everything that brought us to this moment in our lives. How do we honor ourselves and others?

Thinking about the people we love and the choices we made that we are happy about, it might be easy to say a quick, mental thank you and move on, but that would do a disservice to the abundant happiness we enjoy as a result. In our thoughts, our self-talk, and in our actions toward ourselves and those we love, we can show how grateful we are to be blessed by these people and by our choices. We can choose our words with care, giving back the praise we receive from others, making kind gestures and offers of help. We can remove the guilt and second-guessing we do to ourselves, and honor the fact that we have always done the best we could at the time with the resources and awareness we had available to us in those moments.

When we look back at the people who have brought pain or difficulty to our lives and the choices we made that led to unexpected and undesired results, we have to dig a little deeper. We still want to give thanks for the gifts those people and those difficulties offered to us. We are forged by the fire of hurt and disappointment. We learn new ways to interact, new ways to choose, and new habits of thought and action with every challenge we encounter. And so, each of those people and each of those choices become the grace with which we move through each moment of our day. We bring with us the maturity, the wisdom, and the courage to keep loving and to keep trying.

Here at The Main Meal Weight Management Support, where we are learning to make joyful choices and to develop habits of thought and action that nourish us, what would our grace before the Main Meal sound like? For what and for whom would we ask blessings?

Bless the feast laid before me, this life I have the honor and privilege of designing and living out. Bless the very air I breathe, the food I eat, the place I live, and the people I love. Bless all the people and circumstances that worked to help me become the person I am today. Bless this dream I am living in every moment. May I honor it by appreciating it to the fullest.

Read 404 times Last modified on Tuesday, 02 March 2021 16:16
Betty Brink

Betty Brink is an expert on the mental and emotional aspects of dieting and body image. She is the author of "The Main Meal: The New Perspective on Weight Loss." In seminars, speeches, and consultations, she demonstrates practical methods to quiet the diet chatter, and to empower yourself to make conscious choices in diet, in life, and in relationships.

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