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Creativity coach, writing and creative process instructor, speaker, author of Around the Writer's Block: Using Brain Science to Write the Way You Want (Penguin/Tarcher 2012) and Dancing in the Dragon's Den (Red Wheel Weiser), Teaching Artist at the Loft Literary Center.

Mindful Eating = Mindful Writing

The hazards of not eating mindfully

I just ate breakfast. Before you assume this is a self-absorbed, Tweet-style post, let me clarify: I only ate breakfast.

I didn’t eat while reading my email or watching TV. I didn’t mindlessly swallow a bowlful of unnoticed food while reading the paper, a novel, magazine or Facebook. I didn’t get dressed between bites or pick up the kitchen or get lost in a dozen other forms of distraction. I ate breakfast mindfully, meditatively.

Believe me – I was tempted to do more. I put a lot on my To Do list today and I could have gotten something else done in the ten minutes I focused solely on eating. My Saboteur would like me to believe I could have gotten A LOT done in those ten minutes. Trouble is, I couldn’t have given full attention to either thing I was doing.

When I start my day with distractions, when I fracture my attention so early, I rarely have the ability to pull my focus back together.

Mindful Eating

Paying attention to each bite, to how I chew an almond and to the texture of a raisin on my tongue, to notice what milk really tastes like and when I can feel the warmth of hot oatmeal in my stomach, is to eat mindfully.

It’s a form of meditation anyone can do at any meal. Just notice the sight, smell, taste, texture and warmth of each bite. Notice your breathing and how your body feels between bites.

Mindful eating is a key principle in how I’m applying the Self-Compassionate Diet by Jean Fain. My goal is to always enjoy what I eat, which sounds decadent and self-indulgent, but is actually a challenging form of meditation and self-compassion.

To enjoy food, I have to pay attention to it, which is contrary to how I’ve used food most of my life, that is, to numb my awareness of life.

Mindful Writing

Meditation deepens our awareness, which makes us better writers. I could now describe oatmeal better than I ever could before. And while describing oatmeal may not be a frequently used writing skill, I can bring this meditative awareness to anything or anyone I want to really know.

Meditation sharpens our ability to focus our attention so that what we write is true. It sharpens our ability to focus so that we can write at all instead of mindlessly multitasking and bungling from distraction to distraction.

It starts with just eating breakfast.

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10 Comments on “Mindful Eating = Mindful Writing”

  1. Neutrino April 20, 2012 at 1:18 pm #

    Considering how important food is to people, and how much enjoyment we get from it (seemingly), trying to hone a sense of awareness when it comes to eating our meals, slowly, and not doing anything else simultaneously is the first step in learning to be mindful. I never take the time to enjoy the taste and texture of my food, if anything I just choke it down quickly. I will try this out, as hard as it will be at first.


    • rosannebane April 20, 2012 at 3:49 pm #

      Thanks Neutrino for your comment. It is hard to do, but so worth it.
      One of my red flags that alerts me to being much too busy is when I feel so rushed I don’t think I can take 10 minutes to enjoy lunch, I need to slow down.


  2. Athan Perahoritis November 26, 2011 at 8:56 am #

    Dr. May’s website is http://www.amihungry.com


  3. Michelle May MD November 14, 2011 at 8:34 pm #

    Well said! I write (and speak) about mindful eating and completely agree that it is a wonderful pathway to mindful and vibrant living.


    • rosannebane November 16, 2011 at 9:47 am #

      Thanks Michelle! Where will you be speaking next? And where can I find your writing?


  4. Michael Kelberer November 14, 2011 at 7:44 am #

    Just did this eating meditation at breakfast – works as advertised 🙂


  5. Michael Kelberer November 13, 2011 at 12:18 pm #

    Nice post!



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