I had a realization yesterday over my morning bowl of oats about how I have spent so much of my life worrying and anxious about the future and so little of it enjoying the day, the experience, and the moment. I have nothing positive to show for all the time spent on those worries. For the past few weeks, when anxiety and racing, circling thoughts start to grip me, as they often do, I’ve tried to take more of a noticing approach, and on some days, can consciously catch myself before my mind jumps in to the chaos, take a couple slow deep breaths, and remind myself the only thing I need to do is direct all of my attention into focusing on the task at hand.
In a similar way, I’ve also been working on eating with mindfulness more often, especially in the morning over porridge. I tend to be a floor person and spend the majority of my “down” time at home on the floor instead of in a chair or the couch. I really enjoy eating my porridge on the floor, sitting cross-legged in front of the big window in our main room, as I watch the morning grow brighter or with the sun warming my face. When I sit and eat slowly without distractions, looking out at the trees and watching the neighbor cats, I begin to experience the connection again, to taste the subtle sweetness and richness of the berries, the texture of the oats, and the hint of hazelnuts. I miss the subtle flavors when I eat it mindlessly while multi-tasking or when in an anxious “what’s next/what if” state of mind.
We enjoyed a wine tasting/sampling at a friend’s party over the weekend and we savored and made notes on six different rosé wines, trying to guess the country, price range, and style. I rarely drink and when I do it’s often in small amounts at social occasions like these, but I really appreciate the act of tasting wine or cider in this way, slowly, with a focus on the whole process: tasting the beginning, middle, and ending notes and picking out the subtle hints of flowers, of cherries, of chocolate, etc.
Good food has complexity and deep flavors much like good wine or cider does–especially this time of year. Why don’t we appreciate it in the same way more often?
With my intention (again) this week being to focus on the task at hand, I’m going to put more emphasis on extending mindfulness to eating the meals I get to enjoy–and try to return to just eating each time my mind darts off in another in the future direction again.
Blackberry Hazelnut Butter Oatmeal, makes 1 bowl
1 cup water
1/2 cup old-fashioned oats, gluten free if necessary
1 cup blackberries or boysenberries
1/2-1 Tbs. hazelnut butter, to taste
dash of salt
dash of cinnamon, if desired
sweetener of choice, if needed
- In a small saucepan over high heat, bring the water to a boil. Pour in the oats, give the pan a gentle shake to distribute them in the water, and then turn to medium low.
- Cook until almost done, about five minutes, and then stir in the berries.
- Allow the berries to either meld completely in and cook down a bit, which will take a few minutes longer and have more of a jammy texture, or simply let them heat just a bit without breaking down.
- Stir in the hazelnut butter, salt and cinnamon and heat just a minute or so longer.
- Remove from the heat, allow to sit a moment to develop more flavor and pour into a serving bowl. Depending on the berries, top with your sweetener of choice as needed.