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The Gratitude Effect

Gratitude can totally transform our relationship with food, our bodies, and even our lives. Experience the effect first-hand in today's practice.

Hi, and welcome back to Day Four

of the Mindful Eating course.

Today, we'll be exploring the practice

of gratitude and how it can totally

transform our relationship with

food, our bodies, and even our lives.

So we know from previous lessons that

mindful eating involves listening to our

bodies, slowing down and tuning into our

senses so we can savor and enjoy our food.

But to truly appreciate our food, we

need to widen our circle of awareness

of where our food comes from and

add a secret ingredient, gratitude.

Gratitude is a wholehearted

embrace of the present moment.

It sees fullness and

wholeness instead of lack.

It leans into and embraces what's already

here and now, instead of looking for

more or wanting to fix or change things.

We can have such a strong tendency to

overlook what we already have in search

of something different or something more.

Gratitude is an antidote to constant

striving, craving, and struggling.

It allows us to open up to our

moments and our lives with a sense of

lightness, ease and even reverence.

So by slowing down and bringing gratitude

into the way we eat, we begin to cultivate

an authentic love of life that can ripple

out into all corners of our daily living.

So let's give this practice a try now.

So inviting you to settle into

as comfortable a position as

possible for a short meditation.

Allowing the eyes to close,

if that feels okay for you.

And as a support to settling into the

present moment a little more fully,

taking three deep, slow, full breaths.

So breathing in.

And breathing out.

Two more breaths in the same way.

That's it.

And then after the next exhale, letting

go of any control of the breathing.

And just let the breath settle into

its own natural rhythm and pace.

But continuing to pay attention

to wherever you feel the breath

moving the most easily in the body.

Just feeling the sensations of the

breath as the body breathes in.

And as the body breathes out.

Just feeling the flow of each breath.

The breath is something that

we so easily take for granted.

But isn't it a miracle right

now that the body is breathing?

It would be incorrect in a way

to say that you are breathing.

Your body is breathing for you.

It's been breathing since

the day you were born.

And in this moment, knowing that

the heart is beating for you too.

Your body is digesting food.

Your ears are hearing these words.

And what a miracle it is to have a

body that's taking care of all its

complex and interconnected functions.

And I invite you to think about for

a moment, the last meal that you ate.

And consider what it took for

that food to get into your hands.

What were all the different ingredients?

And how did they grow?

Take a moment to consider everything

that went into their growth.

The sunshine, the rain, time,

fresh air, soil with nutrients in

it, people planting it and then

nurturing it and then harvesting it.

And then there was all the

processing, the storing, the shipping.

You might choose now to simply be aware of

a certain amount of gratitude for everyone

that was involved in the cultivation

and the preparation of the food.

You might choose to take a moment

to be grateful for your body.

And how amazing it is that we

are a part of the circle of life.

And if you were sharing your last

meal with other people, perhaps

even taking a moment to acknowledge

your gratitude for their company.

And your love and care for them.

Letting this sense of gratitude

fill your body and your mind.

And then dropping your awareness back

into the feeling of your breathing.

Each moment of our lives, just like

the breath and each meal we eat, is

unique, unrepeatable and fleeting.

It will only be lived once.

And gratitude is the practice of

living our precious moments fully.

Our practice of gratitude may

start at the table, but it will

inevitably ripple out into our lives.

So when you're ready now, you might

like to take a deep breath in again.

Steady breath out.

And if you care to, opening the eyes.

So the invitation is that the

next time you sit down to eat a

meal, seeing if you can take this

attitude of appreciation with you.

Take a moment to consider before you

eat the journey of the food, how all the

ingredients grew, perhaps from a seed.

All the sun, water and nutrients

in the soil that it took to grow.

The people who helped bring

it on its journey to you.

And also appreciating the preciousness

of the people who might be there

enjoying your food with you or the

preparation you or someone else did

to make their meal before you ate.

Take a moment to ponder all of this

and fill yourself with gratitude

before you take the first bite.

As always thank you for

your practice today.

And I look forward to being back

here with you again for Day Five,

where we'll be exploring the theme

of overcoming the inner critic and

befriending the body and why that leads

to better overall health and wellbeing.

Until then, take care.

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