Food is something we have to think about every day.  But often during and after divorce, food loses it’s appeal.  It doesn’t taste good.  It doesn’t satisfy.  We eat mindlessly.  During times of stress and grief, we either eat as a diversion, or we eat as a consolation for a love we have lost.  Neither way of eating is good.

In fact, whether going through divorce or not, most people eat mindlessly.  That’s why an article in the Wall Street Journal a while back caught my eye.  Melinda Beck wrote an article in the Food section entitled, “Give us this day our daily bread.”  She wrote, “Take time to appreciate the food on your plate.  Notice the colors and textures.  Take a bite.  Slowly experience the tastes on your tongue. Put down your fork and savor.”  I agree.

My son’s family took a trip to Japan, and asked me to go along.  At Japanese meals, noticing and savoring the presentation is part of the enjoyment.  Every bite on your plate is put there for a purpose and placed carefully to make the whole experience more satisfying.  In that culture, good manners encourage you to put down your fork between bites and either look out on your surroundings or exchange pleasantries with those you are sharing the meal with.

In our ordinary days, we usually eat out of hurried habit or in search of emotional consolation.  Today, the next meal we eat, let’s pay attention!  Really.    As Melinda suggests, be aware of the flavors.  Be attentive to the ‘mouth feel.’  Listen to your body when it says, “That’s enough.”   “Eat slowly.  Savor your food.”  Let’s start being mindful with all of our meals, starting now.  If you are having a cup of coffee, fully appreciate the sensual pleasure of that.  Feel the warm mug in your hands.  Smell the rich aroma.  Taste the dark, sophisticated flavor.  If you’re having strawberries, really look at them.  Notice the color.  Enjoy the sweetness.  Really taste the blackberry preserves on your crunchy English muffin.  Don’t just snarf it down without thinking.

Food is a gift, literally.  Like so many other things in our abundance, we so, so often forget how precious that gift is.  Millions all over the world do not have enough to eat today.  Let’s start a new mindfulness journey by simply eating with more consideration.  Do everything today with more gratitude and true appreciation.  We have so many incredible things to be thankful for, and our food is a daily blessing we should neither abuse nor take for granted.  Let’s be mindful, too, of those who do not have enough to eat and do what we can to help.

One of the benefits of the divorce journey is that it makes us more sensitive to the daily pleasures we often take for granted.  It can help us fine-tune our daily actions so that they become personal celebrations of gratitude and enjoyment.

“Give me enough food to live on … neither too much nor too little.  If I’m too full, I might get independent, saying, ‘God, who needs him?’  If I’m poor, I might steal and dishonor the name of my God.”  ~  Proverbs 30:8-9  (The Message)