Gobble, Gobble, Redux
Even at the biggest feast of the year, we can use some mindful tactics.
Posted November 23, 2021 | Reviewed by Vanessa Lancaster
Welcome to viral Thanksgiving, bonus edition. There’s less infection but perhaps more vexation over climatic immolation and/or inundation, preoccupation over vaccination, and general consternation over the state of the nation.
Hopefully, there is also some stuff to give thanks for amid the current circumstances for you and yours. Just being around to eat (and maybe argue) tops my gratitude list–a blessing not accorded so many souls in the last two tragic years.
So, who’s for some mindful information about the day’s ration? Some hectoring about the anticipated, mindless overeating? Besides figuring out how not to infect each other, what could be better than consuming a shaming lecture on food?
(Confession time: I published a quickie post on this last year on the website for my book, Practical Mindfulness; it’s updated for the current moment, but, yes, it’s leftovers. Another Thanksgiving ritual!)
It may seem antithetical to promoting a book and, yea, an entire outlook based on more careful, open awareness of our momentary actions, to advise: “Well, screw it…. eat ’til the tryptophan tips you over and out.”
That sounds like a loss of our heads, ironically reflective of the fate of the delicious main course. On the other hand, I’m guessing there is little desire in this (or maybe any?) year for such counsel as:
We can and should closely observe our felt sense of our somatic satiety response as it changes with small, carefully chewed bites of turkey, savoring each swallow.
Yet we should watch for distraction or emotional comforting through pumpkin pie as Uncle Louie* regales us with his latest research findings on curative powers of horse dewormer.
Or, we can consider gobbling—mindfully.
You heard me right. “Letting it rip" every so often is a glory of being human, whether as dancers at a celebration, kids on a sledding hill, lovers in a hotel room, or bellies up to the mashed potatoes and stuffing.
Taking care that our choices do not harm ourselves or others, we may hit the gas. But floor it with an open, curious awareness. Pre-gobble fretting and post-gobble guilt are judgmental obstacles.
Mindfulness here means being open to joy, the sensory play of tastes and smiles, and (carefully!) renewed social interaction. That judgment part–maybe lay off that side dish for the day.
And then, we let it all go, on to the next moment. Which often involves the untangling of light strings and its inevitable, resultant coprolalia.
Alas, another moment for practice.
* Uncle Louie is a recurring, archetypal character in Practical Mindfulness, compared variously to the early hominids and the fulminant growth in an old jar of mayonnaise.
Sazima MD, G.(2021) Practical Mindfulness: A Physician's No-Nonsense Guide to Meditation for Beginners. Miami, FL:Mango Publishing