Hit the Brakes
Wake up, rush to work, quick lunch, speedy workout and a hurried dinner later, we finally lay our head on a pillow preparing to do it all over again. Coupled with a book I recently read, an article entitled “Put Food Back in its Place” written by friend Cassandra Jella (rootedtransformation.org) elicited awareness to just how fast our lives pass us by. We as a society feel overwhelmed attempting to keep up with the daily demands of work, school and family obligations. With lives set on “fast forward”, we mindlessly go through the motions in such a way that we simply don’t take the time to stop and smell the roses. We miss the beauty that surrounds us on a daily basis. Life is amazing and it is meant to be experienced. When you feel like the world is spinning faster than you can handle, hit the brakes and remember that you never have to deal with more than one moment at a time.
The organization through which I obtained my Nutritional Coach certification had us take part in the following challenge (it was called eating meditation): We were given 10 raisins and asked to hold the raisins in our hands, first examining each one – its color, size, texture, the way it rolled or didn’t roll in our palms as we moved them. Then we smelled them, seeing whether they made us salivate. Then we were asked to place one raisin on our tongue and swish it around, noticing the texture and how the flavor bursts on the tongue. Then we were asked to chew the raisin, tasting it. The task was to spend 10 minutes eating these 10 raisins.
For most of us who live life on “fast forward”, these 10 minutes feel like an eternity!
In the middle of the chew, we were asked to think about where the raisin came from. Imagining the grape on the vine, imagining its color, the way it was allowed to dry in the sun. We were asked to imagine the farmer who planted the grape seed, imagine the farmer picking it and placing it in his basket. We were asked to give gratitude to everyone who had been involved with that raisin. Imagine all the thoughts that came up.
I recently read a book titled Buddhism for Busy People (no pun intended) and found signiciant similiarity amidst a conversation between a novice monk and an old experienced yogi. The novice asked, “What do you do, as an enlightened being?” to which the older yogi replied after a pause, “I walk, I eat, and I sleep.” The young monk was taken aback and hastily responded, “But I also walk, eat and sleep.” “Yes,” the wise yogi smiled. “But when I walk, I walk. When I eat, I eat. And when I sleep, I sleep.”
There is a lot to be learned from the conversation above. How often do we find ourselves turning on the television as we sit down to eat for a few moments? Why do we distract ourselves by wearing headphones as we walk along the beach? How often do we actually stop and watch a sunset?
I urge you to experience life. When you eat, try to just eat. Notice the flavor and texture of food rather than mindlessly shoving it into your mouth while catching up on TV reruns. When you walk along the beach, notice the smell of the ocean and feel the water as it kisses your feet. Watch a sunset, admire its beauty and know that this beauty can be found in all things. Hit the brakes, invite awareness in and enjoy the ride.
-Every day do something that will inch you closer to a better tomorrow-
Mike Sherbakov, CSCS, CPT, RYT