Being thankful for me is about simple pleasures. And they are all simple.
I came home from a walk with Bailey, ready for dinner. Cheryl had just finished putting beets in a bowl in the kitchen. She walked over to me with one warm beet on a fork. Wow. So sweet, so warm…so was the beet. It was like eating a beetsicle.
Just a simple but focused pleasure. There’s something that’s added to a morsel in the way it is presented and eaten too. Of course it applies to all presence but a mouthful of moment exemplifies it today. It’s about slowing down the mad march of minutes.
If I’m in the kitchen at night getting some ice cream, it’s that one spoonful that I eat, alone, aside from the bowl, that’s the very best. Again, it’s about focus.
I’ve found the same to be true of French Fries. Eat one with a fork off your plate, okay, fine. But eat one with your fingers, slowly. Now you’re talkin’.
Some of you must wonder how did Cheryl actually stick with Lee after even one dinner date? Guess she gets it…or me.
I read a John Hodgman piece recently about steak and bones and underwear. It resonated with me: http://www.nytimes.com/2015/11/22/magazine/judge-john-hodgman-on-a-bone-of-contention.html
I say it’s focused eating but mindful eating is perhaps better suited. Soon you’ll be seated among family and friends. The wine will flow, the talk about everything will pepper the dinner table. You’ll be thinking of responses to what’s being said, taking part in the jabber. It will no doubt be a fine and thankful repast. One to be truly grateful for. Family, togetherness. Oh yeah. Well, most of the time. Well…sometimes. Well, there was that once.
But very little of your focus will be on just one moment. So before you dig in to a heaping plate of turkey, potatoes, gravy, and stuffing, have a little private taste in the kitchen when no one is looking. When all are gathered round, having pre-dinner conversation in the living or dining room, just stand there, in the kitchen, tasting a bit of bird. Chew slowly. Savor. Be in the moment. Be thankful for…life.
It goes for any life experience of course. But by the sea I come across many of you who get it. I’m not sure if it’s the sea that brings it out but it certainly flourishes there. It’s Thanksgiving every day at the shore.
Recently I came upon Shoshana at the shore. She’s a surfer sidelined now by a medical issue. But she adjusts. When I came upon her she was surfing the jetty.
She’s into presence, and savoring moments. She’s a feeling person. She feels for the animals, especially those kept in captivity, in cages. She said there is something meditative about being with animals. She said, “I think it has to do with connecting with beings on a more spiritual level because you cannot verbally communicate with them so I guess it’s more instinctual….You can just sit in silence with them and just be present…I think anyone who loves animals can understand.” And so she sat, in silence, amidst the sea, amidst the gulls. https://www.facebook.com/shoshana.tuszer
I came upon Jimmy, a retired NYC manager, who loves retirement and detecting metals. All he manages now is his metal detector. He was trekking alone, sweeping the sand back and forth, in presence, when I interfered with his moment. As we spoke I detected an unusual calm presence in this detector. It was in the way he spoke and smiled. He’s found serenity at the shore. Here was a happy man.
He told me his home in Oceanside was spared by Sandy when that storm visited us Oct. 29, 2013. He estimated that about 75% of the homes around him were affected in one way or another. He felt obligated to do something, to show thanks for his good fortune. So that Thanksgiving he worked at nearby St. Anthony’s church helping to manage, organize and distribute food and clothes for those not so fortunate as he.
Now he takes the coins he finds, cleans them, puts them into paper rolls and gives them to the church. He estimates, “It’s only about $250 worth of coins a year, but it makes me feel good.” Makes me feel good too.
See my flip side blog:http://wherethesundontshine.net