On a typical work-day, I work through lunch, eating frantically at my desk and tasting no more
than the first couple of bites of anything. On the days I actually break for lunch, I eat with
friends, talking through most of the meal or getting lost in a good book, again experiencing very
little of what I eat. For these reasons, I chose, on most days, to eat lunch in silence and be
conscious to the act of eating. I expected to feel uncomfortable and even a bit silly, sitting by
myself, eating quietly, and paying attention to nothing but the food before me. I went so far as to
lock the door to my office and sit with my back to it.
Instead of feeling silly or uncomfortable, I felt relaxed and free. I felt, as unusual as it sounds,
safe and nurtured. It was as if the simple act of eating, and only eating, nourished more than my
On the days that I was at home, I ate breakfast in silence. Having experienced the peace of my
office lunches, I now expected to experience the same peace and was not-pleasantly surprised to
discover that, most of the time, I felt anything but peaceful. I found it difficult to sit still and
wondered how quickly I could finish and get on with my day. And one day I even felt resentful
that I couldn’t read or watch a television program.
It became readily apparent that I am much more attached to the tasks I feel I need to accomplish
in my personal life than those in my work-life, as well as some things that give me short-term
pleasure. I am better able to let go of spreadsheets, meetings, and databases, and less able to let
go of mothering, reading, cleaning, laundry, cooking, shopping, and the other day-to-day chores
of making a household run smoothly. I am turning my gaze inward to determine why I place
more importance on these things than on eating and giving thanks for the food that nourishes me.