My Aunt Shelley recently exclaimed on Facebook, “Today I have achieved 30 consecutive days of NOT turning on the TV, or reading a book, while I eat.”

Her post sort of startled me, as I struggled to remember the last time I simply ate a meal without some sort of book or device in front of me. Of course, there are meals where I socialize. But barring that, the majority of the time I’m distracted by something, which means that I’m not really paying attention to my food or the experience of eating.

Inspired by Shelley, I’ve had two meals in the last few days where I simply ate. The first time, what stood out was the temperature of the food, bites that were warm and savory or the delicious coolness of my drink.

Tonight was my second attempt. What came across this time were textures, the way my teeth slowly sunk into a bit of avocado, the pleasingly coarse feel of bread against my tongue, or the chewiness of the wild rice in my stew.

But something else happened as well. I slowed down, and I felt much more full at the end of the meal. How easy it is to get caught up in the daily grind and to seek distraction at every moment. My heartfelt thanks to Aunt Shelley for giving me another mindfulness tool for the toolkit!

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