Monday, June 16, 2008

Gratitude: A Beautiful Diversion

This might be one of the biggest challenges early on for many of us who still have the job of shopping and preparing or buying meals for our loved ones. It is also an amazing opportunity to be with desire and wanting - so near that you could actually taste it - yet refrain. It is a critical part of the practice that teaches unparalleled discipline.

What we focus on expands.

Because this is true, I realized quite quickly that I would need to set my intention and stay focused in a particular direction in order to get through the meal preparation and serving without breakingmy fast. For me, this meant occupying my thoughts with gratitude. While I chopped, sauted, poured and whisked, I kept my thoughts on how grateful I was to be able to provide a healthy meal for my family. I was grateful for my ability to cook and that my heart is so willing to do it. I was grateful that I could make a choice to abstain from eating because so many people don't have that opportunity; they do not eat because they cannot eat. On my fast day I also take my family's mealtime as an opportunity to thank God for my mother and all of the skills she passed on to me that I can now pass on to my children. I stay focused on how grateful I am that she taught me the importance of being able to feed my husband and the value of that act in my endeavor to keep him healthy and happy.

For me, taking this approach has made the unavoidable job of cooking while fasting, a kind of meditation and a grateful prayer. For those of us who have no other option, gratitude is a beautiful diversion.

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