A few months ago, I began doing an informal survey on people’s thoughts over the sensuality of watching people eat. Its a juicy topic and I’m still gathering thoughts and trying to wordsmith the post perfectly. In my ‘research’, a topic that came up for those in the dialogue was how intimate the act of eating with someone is. All those involved are open, in the act of receiving nourishment while sharing in conversation, time and space. It leads to a truly present and profound opportunity for connection. Ideally.
I attended a gathering the other day with a good size group of people coming together for a social dinner. (To spare any ill feelings I have written this quite a bit before posting it to gain some distance from the event.) Most of us in attendance knew each other fairly well, and truly it was to be a lovely evening. The food was deliciously prepared, and because most of us had eaten together before, there was an expectation of ease, comfort and just plain good conversation.
In no way is this what happened. There was someone in attendance who for various reasons made it impossible for the rest of the group to just Be. I found that, not only was I in a constant state of holding up a boundary for what felt like stimulation overload, but at the end of the meal, I couldn’t for the life of me remember what I had eaten or even if it was good. There was no receptivity, no sense of flow, and what was most remembered by those feeling this way, was the looks of discomfort shot across the table. My body feels tight even now as I recount the evening.
It was such an interesting experience for me, because I had taken for granted the fact that I am very conscious about who I spend time with and have in my life. So I really never have to flex my discernment muscle when thinking about who is ok to break bread with. In hindsight, with this particular event, there is no way I could have known, but it did wake me up to the importance of who I engage with in such an intimate exchange. Because how we feel while we are eating greatly impacts what we receive from that meal. And I believe that is true of both the nourishment for our physical bodies as well as the nourishment for our souls.
The interesting thing is that we don’t always have a choice, right? Like me, what if you’re invited to a dinner party? What if you don’t know everyone there? How do you manage that, or control for what could be an unpleasant situation?
In the end there is no way to control every single interaction we have. But active discernment can certainly be used in who we invite over for dinner in our homes, for which restaurants we go to eat at, and which parties we say yes to. In the latter situation, I think some information is always available by way of the person inviting you. Do they feel the same way as you about eating in a conscious, kind, and emotionally healthy environment? Its something to think about. Because here is what I think; life is way to short to suffer through a meal by having to shut down your receptiveness to the experience in order to avoid someone else’s unpleasantness.
Such a thought-provoking post. Last week, I attended a dinner party where I knew about half the guests. It was in interesting group of people, all very kind, but I couldn't help but think as I was eating that the experience would be entirely different if the same meal was shared with a more intimate group of mutual friends. The people with whom you share a meal absolutely affects your ability to relish the food and colors the holistic experience! Despite this, there is still something to be said about meeting new acquaintances in these types of gatherings – one never know what interesting people they will meet!
I agree! Its a bit of a toss up isn't it? Risk is necessary. I've also gone to parties where I didn't know anyone by the host an my guy, and they have been amazing gatherings. I think that paying attention and honing our intuitive feelers is probably the best we can do in situations like this.
Belinda @zomppa says
It's true about the eating experience. Thanksgiving is a great example – are you with friends and family where you can let loose, sit on the ground and get that third dessert? Being comfortable is great, but then having a few new folks in the mix keep dinners like that fun and interesting – it makes the eating part more fun too!
Indeed! And I love the imagine of people sitting around on the floor digging into a third dessert… I'm even thinking they are all eating out of the pie tin that sits on ground in the middle of the group!
It really is amazing how a meal can be completely impacted by things other than the actual food. Sometimes, the food is mediocre or downright icky but the company is so good that the food becomes an afterthought and the experience leaves you happy and satiated. This is why I normally dont like going to dinner or sit down meal on a first date. It can be so awkward. So I usually prefer coffee or a wine bar. Besides, you can cut coffee short if the date sucks, but dinner? you have wait that one out a bit longer.
Hmmm.. its been so long since I went out on a first date that I hadn't thought of this in a while. I did do a lot of drinks and coffee dates, but interestingly, they were usually with guys I had some doubts of to begin with. So yes.. The whole cutting out early move? Perfect when its just drinks. Interestingly… and I can't believe I'm going to gush about it here, but with Jon… It was dinner. And the rest as they say… is history! <3
Atourina Barkho says
Your insight on the multilevel sensations of eating?! You've taken it to a whole new platform and I'm loving it. First, I love the idea of receiving over consuming; receiving breath, food, and other necessities. It reminds me that it is ultimately an exchange and not one sided. Secondly, it is truly unfortunate that you had to shut done your receptors in order to block the over stimulation that was thoughtlessly bombarding the dinner table. I empathize with you.
Here's to the divine power of choice!
Well let me say first that YOU are one of my biggest food inspirations. You talent for throwing a multidished meal together with all its glorious colors always inspires me. Also, this whole notion of the exchange… I\’m working on a piece on this, that really needs to be explored deeply. We are in such an intimate energetic process of exchange when we sit down to eat together. Its powerful, no? Big big big love you! and… 😉
Jason Phelps says
I've got to think about this some more. I think I have this issue too often and it leaves me with feelings I couldn't explain until now.