i just got back from one of my favorite local restaurants, a little family-owned and operated middle eastern restaurant. i had some delicious lentil soup, a hummus wrap, and some rice pudding for dessert. everything was delicious, as usual.
this time though, it was different. it was different because i decided to make a conscious effort to be thankful for the meal. and not just thankful like "wow, this food sure is tasty, i'm really glad i am able to enjoy it, thank you!" that's only one level of thankfulness, and i decided to go beyond that. after being thankful for the tastiness of the meal, as well as the ability to taste and smell and enjoy the sensation of eating (which is incredible, and one should be thankful for that!), i thought about the people who prepared the food. i thought about the time and loving effort they put into making my meal. and i was thankful for it. then i thought about every ingredient that went into each dish, and how far it had to travel to get to the restaurant. then i thought about the energy it took for the vegetables in my sandwich to be grown, picked, washed, packaged and shipped. each tomato started as a seed that was planted in soil that was tilled by a farmer, watered and cared for by that farmer, fed by the sun... then workers looked at that tomato, decided it was ripe, picked it, cleaned it... do you realize how many hands each tomato passes through before it gets to your plate? and that's just the tomatoes! my hummus wrap had tomatoes, lettuce, onions, and hummus (made of chickpeas, tahini-- which is like peanut butter, only made from sesame seeds-- lemon juice, olive oil, and spices), all wrapped in a pita.
each and every one of the ingredients in my meal came from somewhere, and had to be grown, picked, and processed by someone. sunlight and water (miracles in themselves for which to be thankful) were needed in abundance to grow the ingredients. soil had to be created by the earth and all the bugs and bacteria which assist in breaking down organic material into nutrient-rich fertilizer that feeds the plants. and (in an ideal world, where there are no synthesized fertilizers and chemical pesticides) the organic material which made that fertilizer.... well i think you see where i'm going with this.
and that's just the ingredients. what a huge amount of energy to bring me one simple and delicious meal!
but i didn't stop there. next i went on to wonder about the recipe, and the ancient peoples who originally invented the foods i was now eating. how many years of honing and perfecting went into creating the incredible combination of flavors that i was experiencing right now? who was the first person who decided to mash up chickpeas, sesame seeds, and lemon juice to make a creamy paste that was good on everything??? who was this genius?! who was the first person to pick rice and figure out how to make it soft enough to eat? who was the person who decided to mix it with cream and sugar and cinnamon and call it rice pudding? how long ago were these ideas realized? how many mistakes were made in the process of trying to create a gustatory masterpiece?
this wonder went hand in hand with gratitude as i enjoyed every single bite with newfound interest. so much energy went into bringing this food to my presence, not just on the part of the server and the cook. not only in the form of gasoline and truck drivers. not only from the farmers and workers where the ingredients were grown. not just energy from the present day (or yesterday, or a week ago, or a few months ago). but ANCIENT curiosity, intelligence, and wisdom ALSO went into my meal. i was literally enjoying past, present, and future energy SIMULTANEOUSLY.
and the best part is, because i was eating with a mind of thankfulness, and associating gratitude and love with each bite of food, now each cell in my body that receives the energy from that food will be filled with the same feelings of gratitude and love. and that will allow me to continue to feel those feelings, even if i don't eat tomorrow. because the energy that is powering my body at the cellular level has been charged with positivity.
the thankfulness you feel can be unending. it should be unending. there is so much to be thankful for. don't worry about what you're going to GET. a lot of us wait until we get what we want before we decide to say thank you. but the universe is just a reflection of everything you are thinking, feeling, saying, and doing. if you decide to be thankful FIRST, then the universe must match your state of mind with people, events, and things for which to be thankful. your mind will always match your experience. but you can't change the experience first. the first step to changing your experience is to change your mind about the experience. then all else will follow.
i love you all :)