Savoring life and slowing down

Savor: to become acquainted with by experience; to perceive or recognize; to taste or smell with pleasure; to delight in.

In the past year, I’ve closed my Washington practice and said goodbye to some dear colleagues and clients, opened a new Portland office, resumed my mindfulness-based eating groups, and strengthened my connection with an incredible community of mindfulness-based practitioners from around the world. Life feels very full right now, and very fruitful. Yet, I’ve also heard a calling that’s become impossible to ignore…and really, I don’t want to. A call to pause, to allow myself to fully arrive after all of these transitions, and to become more deeply acquainted with everything  and everyone (including myself) that is present in my life.  With all of the ‘doing’ of these past months, I’ve realized that the time has come (in gardener- or farmer-speak) to let the soil of my work rest, to dress it with nourishing teachings, retreats, and practice, without expectation of what it will yield, yet to trust that when it is time, what will naturally emerge will feed me and those that I serve in a more lasting, sustainable way.

As a result, I’ll be temporarily pausing the MB-EAT/EAT program for fall 2012, but look for a return of such offerings as we move into 2013. Meanwhile, I will continue to post on topics related to mindfulness, mindful eating, and on a joyful relationship with food, both in this blog as well as on the Mindful Meal Facebook page. Enjoy the rest of your summer and savor all that it contains. I’ll be doing the same.

Overeating? Maybe you need more sleep!

This topic has been coming up more frequently in my individual and group psychotherapy sessions. Many of us aren’t sleeping nearly as much as our bodies need, and improving our sleep hygiene is a relatively easy thing to do. Read on for an article about the importance of good rest, and the costs (to our weight and health) if we cut corners….

Love After Love

Love After Love

The time will come

when, with elation,

you will greet yourself arriving

at your own door, in your own mirror,

and each will smile at the other’s welcome

and say, sit here. Eat.

You will love again the stranger who was your self.

Give wine. Give bread. Give back your heart

to itself, to the stranger who has loved you

all your life, whom you have ignored

for another, who knows you by heart.

Take down the love letters from the bookshelf,

the photographs, the desperate notes,

peel your own image from the mirror.

Sit. Feast on your life.

 

Derek Walcott, Collected Poems 1948-1984.

Feast on your life – mindfully

Feast on your life – mindfully

The NY times recently wrote an article about the practice of mindful eating and how it has found its way into high-powered work environments such as the Google headquarters in California. As you can see, the practice of attending more closely to our experiences with food holds tremendous possibility, including positive health benefits and greater enjoyment during meal time. What might you discover about your relationship with food and how it is received by your body, if you set the intention to eat one meal a day mindfully for the next week?

An excellent article about “surfing the urge” [to eat]

An excellent article about “surfing the urge” [to eat]

Although this article references the application and research of this technique for use with smokers, it has been applied to binge or emotional eating as well. This specific skill is one of many that are taught in my Eating Awareness Training (E.A.T.) workshops and classes.

A quick and worthwhile read: Michael Pollan’s Food Rules

Some of you might be familiar with his previous books, most notably The Omnivore’s Dilemma, but this short little book is very much worth checking out. Read a brief review – and some of Pollan’s tips – in a Huffington Post article. Advertised, and truthfully so, I believe, as “the perfect guide for anyone who ever wondered, ‘What should I eat?'”

Navigating the holidays with mindfulness

It’s hard to believe, but we’re on the brink of another whirlwind holiday season. We’ve just emerged from Halloween and now there’s no stopping our NW winter weather and the turkey- and tinsel-laden events of the holiday season.  Personally, as I mentioned in a previous post about my own leanings toward eye hunger, I love this time of the year. If I could eat up the orange/gold/rose-colored leaves and autumn-inspired decor, I would – and admittedly, in our food choices, some of us might try.  Eye hunger (or other types of “hunger”) can fool us into believing that we have a bodily or nutritional need that must be filled, and it’s especially easy to be tempted down this path if we’re caught up in frenetic activities of a holiday season.

In the past month, I’ve led several free presentations on Mindful Eating During the Holidays, held at New Seasons stores in the Portland area.  While the holiday season can be joyous, it can also introduce extra stress into our lives or bring up feelings of grief or longing. With the increased prevalence of potlucks, candy dishes, and food-themed celebrations, this season can be the recipe (no pun intended) for “emotional” or out-of-control eating behaviors. But what if there was also a unique opportunity lurking behind all of the busyness and celebration? An invitation to pay attention in an intentional and curious manner to what your experience really is during this holiday season….as it relates to both the food on your plate, and all of those other moments of your life?  Read More

Embracing all senses to savor our food

Food can be a source of immense pleasure and enjoyment, particularly if you take the time to savor each moment of eating through all of your senses. Contrasted with mindless or out-of-control eating (what food? who ate it? where did it go?), slowing down to engage in mindful eating of a food item can be a life-changing event. Literally. I’ve had workshop participants realize things about food that they’ve been eating all of their life, such as: “A raisin tastes like that?? Really?” And: “I don’t even like this food – why do I keep eating it?” Others have discovered, contrary to their expectations, that eating just one piece of a food item really was enough to satiate their hunger, particularly if they allowed themselves to fully experience their food. Who knew? Read More

Introduction to Mindful Eating

“Mindful eating” has been gaining popularity, but as Jon Kabat-Zinn (founder of the Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction program) once said, the practice of mindfulness itself is “deceptively simple.” How easy is it, really, to pay attention to our  present experience as we engage in an activity such as eating? As you may already know, it’s actually quite difficult. Read More