Every time I sit down to eat I light a candle, even if I'm alone. This is a practice that I have maintained for years. A candle symbolizes that something sacred is happening. In this case, it's a meal!
I believe that our culture is too casual about eating. What you eat literally creates you. Check this out…the word eat is in create! Your body is sacred ground and while you may be paying very close attention to what you eat, you might not think much about how you eat it.
Do you stand on one foot while eating off the cutting board? Do you eat in the car where your biggest concern is not dropping food on your lap? If you considered your body a temple, you wouldn’t just run through the communion line, gobble up a handful of crackers, slug down some wine while playing Candy Crush and throw the pastor a peace sign. Laters!
Unconscious eating is like arriving at a destination but we can't remember how we got there...even when we drove!
If we don't pay attention, we miss the experience entirely. Some people realize how disconnected they are around mealtimes when they try to keep a food journal but honestly can't recall what they put in their mouths that same day!
We voraciously devour information so we choose plants that were grown without harmful chemicals and are harvested at the hands of workers who can earn a living wage. We pay extra and shop locally to choose animals that were raised in open air and slaughtered using the most humane technologies. So why can’t we also choose to honor ourselves by sitting our asses down and making mealtimes sacred?
When we invite special guests to eat with us the first thing we do is set the table, light some candles and pop on some nice tunes. Maybe this is just the kind of ritual we can all do for ourselves and our families to show how much we care.
We honor our bodies and the foods that arrive to our tables by taking the time to appreciate the smells, tastes and textures of each food as it nourishes our bodies. If we don’t, we are missing out on the final stage of all that thought we put into our food choices. Creating rituals around eating also prepares your body to receive food, kind of like the Pavlov dog effect. Your digestive juices will start flowing just by association.
Mealtime rituals actually improve digestion and since we know that health and vitality begins in the belly, the simple act of lighting a candle and turning off the T.V. can improve our overall wellness!
So for every meal, I set my table and light a candle; a ritual that makes even a simple meal feel special. A candle also symbolizes the power of the digestive fire. Fire is a symbol of transformation. Fire takes wood and turns it into ash. It also takes your food and turns it into energy and building blocks for your body.
And of course, as I sit down to eat, I say a silent prayer of thanks and tell my body that it is going to know exactly how to handle what I am about to digest for the highest good. I hope you too can set your table, take a seat and light a candle to Eat in Peace...