I was just wondering…..
Years ago I had a boyfriend who claimed he couldn’t make a commitment because I didn’t love the carrots while I was cutting them. He was experimenting with macrobiotics and according to its founder, Michio Kushi, fully engaging yourself harmoniously with your food preparation is as important as the food you choose to eat. I got a lot of mileage about this over the years when I would laughingly complain to my friends what a crackpot he was. But many years later, armed with a lot more experience and knowledge, I’ve begun to wonder if maybe there might be something to it.
More than likely, like me, most of you are probably scratching your heads wondering why you should love your carrots while you chop them. After all, most of us are in a rush, and if we are cutting carrots at all, we should be awarded. These days most of us are throwing dinner together quickly, which usually doesn’t even entail cutting carrots, perhaps while juggling a few other things at the same time. Who cares how we feel about the carrots, or for that matter, what we are thinking about while we are doing it?
In recent years we have learned more and more about the concept called mindfulness. Mindfulness is the process of being fully engaged in whatever you are doing, whether it is driving your car, watching a movie, eating your dinner, brushing your hair and yes, even cutting your carrots. It is the practice of learning to live in the moment, each moment of your life. This is not such an easy task, because our consciousness is usually focused on something other than what we are doing for the moment. This is why there are so many books available on the subject today. My personal favorite is Eugene Gendlin’s Focusing, but a more contemporary read would be Eckart Tolle’s The Power of Now.
Research indicates that practicing mindfulness is beneficial to our health. So how do we do it and what does it have to do with cutting carrots? It is simply a matter of refocusing our awareness, moment to moment ,in order to enjoy what is happening in the now. It is learning to luxuriate in your morning shower, fully appreciating the warmth of the waterflow at the same time enveloping yourself in the clean scent of your soap. It means really listening to friends and family while enjoying their presence. It’s about fully attending to your driving rather than thinking about how you’ll handle your boss or what you will wear to the theater. It means you will slow down so that you are able to appreciate everything around you, to become aware of what you don’t usually see, to hear all the sounds surrounding you. And yes, it means loving the carrots as you slice them, noticing the bold orange color, being thankful for the flavor they will add to your meal.
So, maybe you still don’t care. Maybe you think it’s not such a big deal. But here is what you might miss—–a spectacular sunset, your child’s sweet smile while he’s watching tv, the feel of the brisk air as you take a morning walk, the comfort of your favorite room, the softness of your towel as you dry yourself, the strong pungent aroma of your morning coffee, a tender touch or glance from a loved one, and the taste of those carrots in your dinner. So the questions is, what did you miss today because you were not mindful? I was just wondering……