Eating Together Peacefully
It's Day 6 of the Peaceful Summer Challenge. Today we'll focus on peaceful family meals, and how to have more of them.
Nowadays, with everyone so busy, it's a wonder that we ever find time to sit down to a meal together as a family.
(Or just as a group of friends who live together - this can be any type of family you like.)
So when we do sit around the table together, how can we fill our hearts with peace as we fill our bellies with food?
Dinner prep can often feel rushed. If someone has prepared a meal for the group, they're likely scurrying around.
Scurrying may bring steaming bowls of food for all, but how does it feel to rush into dinner? Not very peaceful.
So remind whoever is chef of the evening that their effort is appreciated. No need for haste.
Also, ask the person who is cooking if they can use some help.
Maybe not, though. Some prefer that the task of cooking be a solo act. This could even be their own form of peace; quietly serving the group without a lot of hustle and bustle.
Dinner prep doesn't need to be confusing. It's just setting some bowls out and making sure everyone has a fork.
(Confusion isn't peaceful and avoiding confusion is much easier than we might think.)
Once all plates are set and served, the time has come to enjoy a meal in peace together.
Before you start shoveling in forkfuls of food with great gusto, think of how important it is to slow down and be mindful while eating.
Your body is not equipped to gulp down large chunks of food. The slower and longer you chew, the better able you will be to absorb the good vitamins and minerals from your meal.
Taking time to appreciate the mingling flavors of deliciously prepared food, is surely a welcomed, peaceful act.
Your body may not even know what to make of this new way that you have found to cultivate peace.
Eating peacefully is a wonderful way to show your body some love, today and every day.
EXERCISE: Practice being peaceful around the table.
Sharing meals is an age-old practice that is often romanced. "Eat dinner as a family," say the experts.
However meals around the family table sometimes take on a bizarre flavour.
Next time you're sharing supper with your partner and children, become the observer. Tune in to who's doing and saying what.
- Is someone telling others what and how much they should be eating?
- Is someone quietly feeding their food to the family dog?
- Is someone interrupting another family member as they speak?
- Is someone using this time to lecture others?
- What do people look like when they eat? Do they chew slowly and mindfully? Or is this a more of a gulping and chomping session?
- Are people fighting over the last bite of dinner?
- Do they slurp their drinks and wipe their faces on their sleeves?
- Can belches be heard?
Sharing meals with other people can feel slightly awkward at times. In fact, you may be thinking privately that family meals are really not all that peaceful.
Grown adults, too, have their share of meal-time drama. Maybe someone is picking onions out of their stew with a wrinkled nose.
Perhaps the evil eye is being aimed at the person who forgot to bring her plate to the sink.
One person might choose to do all of the talking during the meal. Another person might be fiddling with their phone.
Consider everything that went on around the group dinner table this evening. Did the meal seem peaceful? Or was there a tense undercurrent?
We can't control other people. But we can try our best to practice being more peaceful toward others, especially during shared meal time.
- Make a list of things you saw happening as you had dinner with your family or the people with whom you live.
- What part did you play in the group dinner dynamic?
- How can you work on being more mindful, and sharing peaceful moments, when eating around the table together?
- Write down bad habits that you would like to change in the name of sharing a peaceful meal with the important people in your life.
For the Future:
Commit to being gentler, kinder, less hurried and more patient at dinner time.
Remember that meals should be savoured, not gulped.
The more mindfully you eat, the better of a job your body will do in digesting the nutrition that comes from your food.
The quieter your digestion, the quieter your mind and the more peaceful you're likely to feel.
To bring even more peace and calmness into your life and to make it a daily habit join the Simplify your Life course. More details here