It was one of those days when my very soul felt scattered in too many directions. The clue for me would be irritated drivers honking their horns or giving me finger signals as I process my “to do” list, instead of focusing on which lane of traffic I should be in.
I’ve noticed life seems to run pretty efficiently until my ego begs me to take on just one more thing, or squeeze a 45-minute errand into 20 minutes. It never works, but there are days I keep trying anyway. (It neatly fits that definition of insanity ~ you know, doing the same thing over and over again but hoping maybe ~ this time ~ it will all click?)
Of course, the day got worse. My concentration level dropped, my nerves felt frayed, and I was talking way too much and way too fast, setting the perfect stage for unmindful eating.
I reasoned that in order to “cope” with the afternoon that stretched before me, I would get a grilled cheese sandwich, along with some potato chips laced with salt and fat. Yum!
But minutes after I started eating, I became mindful again. I craved the chips, and if there had been a bag of them to go, I would have finished it off through the course of the afternoon. I felt calmer and more centered while I was eating, but not enough to deceive myself as to what was really going on here. I was getting a “fix.”
Enter Moroccan stew. I had made it the day before, and the leftover was in my refrigerator. It was a rich blend of carrots, butternut squash, onions, garbanzo beans, tomatoes and a few chopped prunes seasoned with crushed red pepper, cinnamon and cilantro. The flavors had married and produced a veritable balm for my nerves, nourishment for my body, and peace for my state of mind.
I remembered because I was mindful as I prepared it, and mindful as I had eaten it. So when I got home, I reheated the soup, ladled out a bowl of it, and then savored it as I ate.
Also, mindful of what I needed at that point in the day, I decided NOT to turn on CNN so screaming talk show guests wouldn’t upset the ambiance of this experience.
I was rewarded by my choices. As I ate the stew, I began to notice a sense of well-being. I felt GOOD. I didn’t crave more. I felt satisfied when I finished.
Life was balanced once again.