New Yorkers! The new Whole Foods in Bryant Park has installed the first ever Produce Butcher for your convenience. There you can bring your produce to a staff member who in a clean juice bar setting will chop up all your fruit and veggies exactly in the shape and form you desire, neatly packaged in plastic boxes. All to give you more time in life to....
Seriously... What is it with all this distancing ourselves from everything and slowly accepting to turn us all into robots that can achieve so much more by doing less. Eventually we will all be so disconnected from reality that we will miss paying attention to how our blindness and hunger for convenience and efficiency is destroying this planet. Separating us from understanding how things and people are connected with each other. Wait a minute... that is already happening.
One thing I often come back to discussing with my clients is the importance of connecting with what we do. How to be present and appreciate the content of each minute and hour that has been given us. How to remove distortion and noise and make space for the things that makes us genuinely happy from the core. How to be mindful and clear eyed about the experiences we have. How to ask questions and understand things a little deeper. It is by offering full presence to everything and anyone we encounter that we can remain in balance. Physically as well as mentally.
It is so clear to me that most of the problems people encounter in their every day lives are the results of not being mindful, not paying attention to the little yet important details. And giving the less important aspects of life more meaning than they deserve.
Food is an excellent example, as we simply cannot function without it. It is one of the only few things in life that is mandatory, life important, to each one of us regardless of anything else that seems to separate us. You cannot do any of the things you do everyday, if your body is not fed with food.
Yet looking at how we treat that very most important detail of our lives with such disconnectedness, it is no wonder the world looks the way it does. How can we truly understand and respect each other, if we do not understand nor respect ourselves. It is everybody's individual choice which food to ingest. Natural, organic and unprocessed, or the chemically treated versions that are more norm than exception these days. Whatever food choice you make, you cannot survive for very long without eating something. And I believe that hardcore fact of life deserves some extra mindfulness.
Understanding the process of how the food you eat ends up on your plate is a first step in connecting with that important source of life. Being involved in the process of delivering and serving it onto said plate removes an additional barrier in between yourself and that which keeps you alive.
As part of the work I do, I guide my clients to become aware of why they eat what they do, how they go about getting it and what exactly they feed themselves and their family. I ask them to practice becoming present in the process of choosing ingredients, how to prepare them. From carrying it home, to storing it, chopping it and cooking it in the most mindful way. And then eating it with consciousness and gratitude. How often do you appreciate the ingredients that go into your meals? The shapes and colours, the scent and their texture. The way they were sown and harvested. The impact the weather had on their growing. How it was transported. How they react to touch and heat.
It may seem insignificant for people who claim to have too much on their plate, figuratively speaking. But having spoken to many people over the years and inquired about their struggles and adversities in life, it is clear to me that the ones who avoid connecting with the small details often end up falling victim for greater challenges and greater confusion. It is often the ones who claim to not have time for any meditative practice who need it the most. And it is remarkable how many setbacks and hardships that could have been avoided and that can be resolved by beginning from that very first, massively important step to being.
It probably sounds weird to some of you, but the more I understand food and the nature from which it originates, the more compassionate and forgiving I become to myself and others. Which in turn allow me to live and love with greater presence and harmony. A harmonious life lived in balance with what I believe in, is anyway all I truly desire. To breathe easy and move gently.
Let's always remind each other of taking that extra deep breath and connect, instead of adding to the separation. Of feeling, understanding and admiring the beauty and power of the things that give us life. I for one wouldn't want to be separate from it.