A few weeks back I missed a flight home after a weekend well spent at my alma mater in Boulder, Colorado. I made the conscious decision to revive my long lost laid-back identity and set my New York City chaotic mind aside. I got so wrapped up in my go-with-the flow itinerary that I thought my flight was some arbitrary time like 6pm when it was actually at 12:25pm and I didn’t even stop to double check. So, when I finally figured it out in an awkward, tearful phone call with a JetBlue customer service representative I got that feeling like my throat was going to close up and my emotions were a rapid tornado of frustration, shame and dread. Those long Colorado days spent worshiping the sun and dipping my toes in creeks sent down the drain. Not to mention the major emotional melt-down that occurred in my boyfriend, Peter’s, rental car, his best friend in the back seat and my lack of composure totally hijacking what should have been an enthusiastic sendoff to their pending backpacking trip, Peter’s, parting words “this is why you should always check in to your flight 24 hours before” taunting my self-esteem. I was stranded in Colorado with the thought of cooking straight after a three-hour red-eye weighing heavily. In situations such as this I usually find myself eating a gas station snickers bar or binge watching Keeping Up with the Kardashians on my phone, but I couldn’t let this annoying miscalculation send me into an even deeper spiral of shame. Instead, I would hold onto my final hours in Colorado and meditate like any ex-boulderite would do.
Yes, I’m going to talk about meditation. Flashback to freshman year of college at the University of Colorado when I got college credit for two meditation classes held in my dorm. I know what you’re thinking, only in Boulder. At first, I must admit, I was most excited about getting credit for a class centered around something not far from napping (sleep is my favorite part of my day apart from food). But after a few classes I was amazed by how fascinated and inspired the course made me. One of the fundamental practices in meditation is mindfulness. This is ultimately what my Colorado retreat was lacking, but how fitting was it to be in Colorado and have this realization, some might even call it destiny…
I wiped my tears, took lots of loud breaths and found an impromptu free yoga class around the corner. And then as if Gandhi himself was reincarnated into my yoga instructor, she starts on a monologue about losing her wedding ring. We all know this feeling and at this moment in my life so many things feel uncertain and overwhelming that it’s easy to lose sight of the day to day. It’s especially true living in a gigantic city with so many jobs to do, errands to run, groceries to carry, people to see, places to eat that just stopping for a second to reflect feels like an inconvenience. So, if there was any way to reflect (meditate) but not waste any valuable time, mindfulness is the answer! And if you were wondering how this all tied into food, here it is: mindful eating is the best way to do this.
I couldn’t believe I ever let this practice go. So, after my yoga class I wandered to a bar down the street called Linger, an aptly named bar for my current situation, to consciously eat alone.
For people that love to eat, mindful eating is simple but you have to put your phone away, shut your computer, turn off your T.V. and sit down. It’s about looking at your food, tasting each ingredient and thinking about how you’re feeding your body in that moment. It sounds gushy, but it’s truly the easiest way to decompress and as my mediation teacher would say, south your soul. AND studies have actually proven that people who exercise mindful eating actually tend to eat less. There I was eating Pad Thai, completely at ease, thinking about nothing more than the breeze trickling into an open bar, the taste of my ice-cold draft beer and the tangy combination of lime and cilantro marinating on my tongue.
Signed your hippie-dippy foodie, Charlotte <3