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Saturday, January 29, 2011

Mindful Morning Meals.

"Mindfulness is the aware, balanced acceptance of the present experience.
It isn't more complicated that that.
It is opening to or recieving the present moment, pleasant or unpleasant, just as it is,
without either clinging to it or rejecting it."
Sylvia Boorstein

I've engaged in an array of mindful activities. From strolls through the streets in Pittsburgh to runs through suburban neighborhoods and from cold drives along the crowded parkway to steamy showers in solitude, I've found value and appreciation for each experience.  This morning, I woke up to complete silence. The house was still and empty, yet warm and cozy.  I crept down the stairs, mindfully, avoiding the surfaces that creak and walked into the kitchen, to find the aroma of coffee ever so intoxicating.  After a deep breath in and a long exhale out, I knew this was the perfect opportunity to engage in a mindful practice.

Every Saturday I wake up and think, "What could I possibly want for breakfast this morning?"  And every Saturday I usually chuckle and conclude, "Pancakes, duh".  There is nothing quite like a Saturday morning pancake heaven, particularly when documented by my inartistic and minimal photography skills and mindful practice.

How does one engage in such a practice?  And why?  I am very aware of eating behaviors of those in my company, perhaps because I find their behaviors either make me feel more anxious or more comfortable.  For instance, there was one person in my life who, in my opinion, truly savored and appreciated every bite of his food.  His calmness was contagious and allowed me to feel most comfortable around my own meal.  But there are others, who in my opinion, do not think twice about what enters their mouths.  Such mindless acts are common amongst many of us, who are often eating just for the sake of eating and moving on to whatever is next in the day, without truly appreciating the passion behind the details that make up the overall dish.  Thus, failing to appreciate the present experience for what it is. 

Nonetheless, this morning I was alone for breakfast and decided to take full advantage of a potentially mindful meal.  

Because using an ice cream scooper makes the pancake experience that much more fun.

(Not to mention it provides the perfect size pancake.)

Notice, mindfully, the accessories that dress the final dish.  Every ingredient has a unique role and adds an important asset.

I was tempted to take a video at this point in the process, due to the sound of the bananas sizzling against the heat from the griddle and the visual cloud of condensation rising from the pores of the pancake.

There is significance to be found in the swirling of peanut butter and 'jelly' (or cranapple butter). The blending of colors and flavors takes me back to the simpler days of childhood.

I savor textures and flavors. The addition of crumbled pretzels provides a crunch to an otherwise warm and smooth dish, while adding a touch of salt to the overall sweet composure. 

Alas, every bite is carefully cut and crafted onto the fork before it enters an array of excited taste buds.  

This meal was enjoyed in absolute silence.  The television was off and computer lid closed.  I even refrained from reading the newspaper while eating.  Breakfast was just me, the pancakes and a mug of coffee.  With the labor that went into the preparation of the meal, I make great efforts to enjoy and savor each bite.  Because a meal is more than just a chore-- more than just eating for the sake of eating. It is a mindful and pleasant experience that should make us feel good, and should allow us to be aware of our present experience, just for what it is.

And don't even get me started on lunch...


  1. i preset my coffee at night just so I can smell it in the morning when I wake up! Heavenly.
    What, no saturday's food for thought title? hehe. I like this one too!

  2. It is so hard to be mindful while eating for me. I'm naturally a multitasker, so it's hard for me to just sit and enjoy food, which sounds so fundamental! Thanks for the reminder, Rebecca. :)