The gift of waiting

by Dr. Ellen Cullman, FLT Columnist

The rat race of daily tasks and obligations often creates a mind that follows suit like a dog chasing its tail. Then when the rat race comes to a stand-still for even a few moments, say in a traffic jam, the dog in your mind chasing its tail may begin to growl with impatience.

You might wonder what does being stuck in a traffic jam or any stand-still-moment have to do with mindful eating. Actually, it has quite a bit to do with mindful eating if you are willing to transform the irritating hassle of your stand-still-moment to the gift of waiting. When you, through stand-still-moment practice, learn to open this priceless gift, it will guide and support you wherever, whenever and for whatever you eat – no matter the mentally spinning speed of your day.

If you are a future mindful eater, you may benefit from some initial guidelines to begin your practice. Here are two guidelines to help get you started.

1. Opening the gift of waiting requires a commitment to developing your awareness of your stand-still moments when they occur. You cannot possibly learn to calm your rascally mental pooch if you are not aware that your pooch is simply responding to the frustration of waiting when there is no other choice but to wait. Your commitment to developing your awareness will help you receive the gift of waiting, otherwise you will miss it entirely and you will miss learning the first step in mindful eating – commitment to awareness.

2. Now that you are committed to developing awareness of your stand-still moments, how do you begin to calm that growling pooch running in circles so fast as to almost create a tourniquet in your brain – and in your thinking? Calming your inner pooch is no different than calming a crying baby who simply wants to be held. So, imagine yourself picking up your disappointed pooch, placing it on your lap, and beginning to stroke its soft, warm fur. When your pooch is calm, you, in mind and body, are calmer too. This quality, calm mind and body, are essential for mindful eating.

Inherent in the gift of waiting are unhampered moments of your time to practice the mind-body behaviors you will use when eat. You may discover that mindful eating is one of your most delicious stand-still moments. But first, you must open the gift of waiting, sit down, calm your anxiously hungry pooch and – with your developed committed awareness – take your first mindful bite.

If you would like to learn more about mindful eating, please let Ellen know! Your initial group or individual session is free. The next nine-session group begins March 29th. Email mindfuleatingcoach@gmail.com or call 419-494-7699, The Mindful Eating Coach to schedule an appointment. ©2012, Ellen Cullman, Ph.D.