What’s on Your Plate? –
This afternoon, at a county health council meeting, a speaker from Vanderbilt Hospital gave us a lecture on the importance of heart health. February is Heart Health Month so it was certainly appropriate. He talked about healthy eating even stating; “If it tastes good it’s not good for you!” That certainly got everyone’s attention. He softened the blow a little by following up with limiting the amount of unhealthy, high fat, processed, high-calorie food and increasing healthy choices. The speaker had arrived late and lunch had been served before his lecture. The food wasn’t what he’d call the best in choices but not the worst either. After he sat down and the meeting dismissed someone mentioned to the attendees that there was plenty of food left over from the lunch and to please take some home. I can only imagine what the speaker was thinking as he watched people make “to go” plates. It certainly is a difficult job to get people to think differently, choose differently.
One of the disciplines of mindfulness is mindful eating. It is the recognition that everything we put in our mouths comes from the world around us. It’s not just consuming but being aware that each piece of meat, every spoonful of veggies, a bite of fruit, is a result of the creation we all apart of, participate in and exist in intimate connection. Too often, however, we just consume. Not only food but almost everything in our lives is used and abused, grabbed and possessed, with no thought of creation or consequence to our consumption.
What’s on our plate is, and is more than, the food we eat but also what we allow to fill up our lives.
Not Open –
This morning, I put on a shirt I had never worn before. Buttoning up the front I then went to button the cuffs. The first one was no problem but the second one was hard to get the button through. After several attempts, I finally looked to see what the problem was and to my surprise, the hole for the button on the cuff was sewn shut. It had never been cut open so the button couldn’t go through it. I didn’t have time to look for scissors so I simply rolled up my sleeves.
Yesterday, in a “how to communicate” lecture, one of the men in our Incarcerated Father group raised his hand and was busting at the seams to say something. I looked at him, smiled and said; “Yes sir?” “You don’t know the women we hang around! These communication skills won’t work with them, they’re crazy!” he blurted out. The class laughed and most agreed. When they settled down we spent a few moments going through a few alternatives forms of communicating that might be better-suited for the men and women who make up their family and friends.
“However, in the end,’ I said, ‘sometimes you need to know when to walk away. If they aren’t receptive to your desire not to argue, fuss and fight, then ending the conversation before the mayhem begins is your best option.'”
Sometimes, the way through the drama, aggression, judgement isn’t open at this point and time. If you can’t get through it, it’s best to leave it be and try again another day.
Take Care –
Yesterday, during my second lecture at a Rehabilitation Center, a young man challenged me about the ideas and skills I was teaching about getting and staying clean of alcohol and drugs. It started as fidgeting in his seat and then he couldn’t keep his thoughts quiet! He mumbled something out loud and I heard but didn’t understand. I looked at him and asked him what he said. I was interested in a dialogue but he was only interested in telling me how wrong I was about addicts and the ongoing journey to sobriety.
I was careful not to feel attacked nor make him feel on the defensive as I tried to help him understand why what I was saying was true. Others in the group started speaking up and telling the young man he needed to listen. I thanked the others for their support but asked them to let me speak to him so he wouldn’t feel the group of forty or so guys was against him. Unfortunately, the young man was done speaking and listening. My last words to him were; “I’d really like to talk to you about this after we’re done with the lecture.” He put his head down and when we were done he rushed out of the room. I looked for him as I was leaving but couldn’t find him.
This was the young man’s first time in a Rehab Center. He was struggling with admitting he was an addict, putting his past behind him, coming to grips with the truth that addiction is a life long battle. His thoughts, I am sure, swirled between surrender and control, acceptance and resistance, freedom and slavery.
People who have lived with addiction will tell you that the temptation to use begins in the mind, subtle thoughts start gnawing at you and soon, if they are not checked, you are neck-deep in things you said you’d never do again.
Wisdom teaches us that our thoughts and our words are to be guarded zealously for from them springs our destiny.