Saturday, 21 December 2013

One thing at a time

My sweetheart has a peculiar routine.

In the morning he makes a cup of coffee, and then he sits and drinks the coffee.  He doesn't read, he doesn't write lists, he doesn't listen to the radio, he doesn't chat, he doesn't do chores.  He just sits.

For the first few years that I observed this ritual I thought he was wasting precious time.  I couldn't understand how he could stand to just sit there, especially first thing in the morning. Once I actually manage to get out of bed, I am a morning person. I've got lots to say and lots to do during that first hour of being awake!

Me and my best buddy, enjoying a morning coffee.
This summer we were on a canoe trip, and I was torn, because I wanted to drink my coffee as soon as I got up (since it had been delivered to me in my sleeping bag), but I also wanted to meditate (since I was trying to develop a consistent meditation practice).  Oh, the dilemmas I face in my life!  Because I'd been learning about mindful eating I decided to give his approach a whirl.  I made the enjoying of the coffee my meditation.  I just sat and drank my coffee.

Jan Chozen Bays describes the perils of multi-tasking this way: "When we don't pay attention to our food and our body as we eat, we rob ourselves of the full experience, and therefore the full satisfaction, of eating."  For a newsletter from the Centre for Mindful Eating with tips on how to avoid multi-tasking while eating, click here

Taking time to enjoy something you're eating, without distraction, is a fundamental mindful eating habit.  Especially treats.  The other evening I encountered a tin of Quality Street chocolates that had been put out for Christmas.  I carefully chose one.  I almost unwrapped and ate it in the car on the way home...but I didn't.  I knew I wouldn't fully enjoy this special treat if I ate it in the car, in the dark.  I saved it until I got home, and ate it somewhat slowly.  Now, I did end up wishing I had chosen the dark chocolate orange one instead of the coconut one, but at least the experience wasn't totally wasted. 

I've come to realize that my sweetheart's routine is not peculiar at all.  It might even be brilliant.  It's definitely textbook mindful eating.  What IS peculiar - no, incomprensible - is the fact that if I'm not having a coffee too, he drinks cheap instant coffee.  I swear this man has a tastebud deficit.

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