Vibha Donne is a single mum to two, learning to bring mindfulness to the teen interactions in her life, both internally and externally. She shares a breakthrough experience with mindfulness, eating and parenting.
In recent times, I find myself at dinner with bickering, antagonistic, pedantic teenagers, regularly. Between the roles of umpire, interested adult, loving mother and very grumpy mother, the food is pretty much going unnoticed. I find my plate cleared, my tummy uncomfortable, and heart hurting for so many reasons …. the loving effort of preparation pointless, opportunities for the tasting, all gone, leading to taking more in the hope of tasting, the guilt for treating my body this way, the difficulties of stressed digestion.
Noticing these journeys through meals and the impact, I’ve started taking myself and my meal away from the communal table, then carrying on the upset, the failure to achieve the loving-family-around-the-dinner-table ideal, I shovel down the food. I clear the plate (an old old programme), and feel sad.
Too many of these meals and my body seems to have slowed to a barely creeping mudslide. Not wanting anymore going in, feeling bloated, and nothing coming out.
The solution: water only until actual hunger strikes. Not eating because one should, or because it’s lunchtime, or in order not to waste food.
Fifteen hours later, I’m not ‘starving’. I’m a bit hungry. So I wait to check that I am. I am alone. Quiet. Still.
A pear. I find myself taking deliberate, smaller than usual bites, crunching through the unexpectedly firm skin and flesh, mouth filling with juices, relishing the sweetness. I have engaged with this single pear in a way that I haven’t with food for a week.