Last week I had the most enlightening experience with a pomegranate. Little did I know that when I tossed that pomegranate into my shopping cart, that it would become my mindfulness teacher for the week.
The day that I decided to actually eat said pomegranate was a typical day in the life of me; the work from home Mom of two, who is striving to care for her family, build a business, exercise, be a good partner, and you know, stay generally sane and happy.
By the time I decided to eat the pomegranate for my snack I was “get in my belly now” kind of hungry. That hunger feeling on its own, never mind the list of work and home related things I felt I should have been doing instead of eating certainly were prohibitive of any kind of mindful state, or so it would seem. As I yanked the pomegranate from the fridge drawer and began thrashing about attempting to remove the thick peel and underlying pith from each little seed, my son was also standing beside me babbling away as a 5 year old boy does. I remember saying, “Uh hu” to him several times while being particularly cognizant of the time and that we had to start getting ready for school. Oh, there was also a load of laundry in the wash that I needed to put into the dryer and the sink was full of dishes.
Before long but without noticing, I had collected several pomegranate seeds in a small bowl. I dumped a pile of them into my hand, tossed my head back and basically threw them into my mouth. I chewed a couple of times, swallowed and repeated while my son continued to babble away happily to me. I had no idea what he was saying and there was still the laundry and the dishes. Does any of this sound familiar?
Perhaps it was some memory from a mindfulness training in the past that kicked me in the ass, or perhaps it was just a deeper recognition of how I was moving through my day, which included eating in a way that I knew was not conducive to any kind of quality digestion. Whatever it was, I stopped just as I was about to throw another handful of seeds into my mouth. What was I doing? Was I enjoying this? How many seeds did I actually just consume in a matter of seconds? Did I chew them? What did they even taste like? Why was I so frustrated with the pomegranate and all those damn little seeds? Damn seeds! Why was such an infuriating fruit ever created? And what was my son even talking about? Couldn't he just let me gorge myself on this pomegranate in peace. Oh, and I hate laundry.
One of the coolest things that I have learned about mindfulness, is that THIS is it. Mindfulness is a practice of noticing without judgement, of being curious and adjusting. It’s never perfect and as we are, it is ever changing. So, in this moment of noticing that I was not being overly mindful I didn’t need to beat myself up about it, I just decided to make a shift.
I put down the pomegranate and knife. I closed my eyes and took a deep breath in through my nose followed by a sigh. I turned to look at my son who was still talking and this time I actually listened. He finished excitedly telling me about how Super Puppy was riding his dump truck and walked away. I had a moment of appreciation for him. I thought about the laundry and reminded myself that 2 minutes (hell, even 2 hours) longer of it sitting wet in the machine would not destroy the laundry or the rest of my day and the same went for the dishes. WHOA!
I picked up the pomegranate. I noticed the weight of the it in my hand and felt the unevenness of the tough outer skin and its stem that reminded me of the end of a cigar. I noticed the difference between the smooth round outer shell and the jagged edges and bumpy surfaces where I had sliced it. I noticed the vibrant red and white colors layered throughout the fruit and how the thin inner pith gently held each tiny seed in its place. I held it up to my nose, closed my eyes and inhaled deeply several times. I could feel myself start to salivate and imagined the juicy sweet yet sour taste of the seeds in my mouth. I salivated more.
Enter my monkey mind. “Diane, go get the laundry. Murdock needs his karate gi clean for tonight.”, and “I want to eat it NOW!”, and “You need to get ahold of Patty for tomorrow’s consult.”
Without judgement, just noticing my thoughts, I brought myself back to the pomegranate and began to remove the seeds from the peel. This time however, instead of ripping and shredding the fruit in frustration, I began to carefully pick out each seed one-by-one. At this point my monkey mind again jumped into full gear. My impatience dial was turned up to the max, but I just kept doing little self checks, observing my thoughts with curiosity and escorting myself back to the pomegranate. Before long I had placed a solid collection of seeds into my bowl and I decided it was time to eat.
I mention making the decision to eat because it was a much different experience than the previously rushed and unconscious stuffing of my cheeks with pomegranate seeds. I decided I was ready to eat and that I was going to commit myself fully to only eating. I took the bowl of seeds and moved to the table so that I could actually sit down. (Any other Moms out there spend most of their time eating while pacing around the kitchen or standing at the counter? It feels really nice to SIT). I picked up one pomegranate seed and looked at it. Have you ever really looked at a pomegranate seed? They are so beautiful!
I smelled it again, inhaling deeply and then gently placed it on my tongue. I was actually quite amazed at all that I tasted without even chewing it and how much more saliva my mouth was producing. After a few moments I decided to chew. Slowly and intentionally I chewed until that one seed was completely mashed up in my mouth and then made the decision to swallow. I repeated this with two more seeds.
It is somewhat ironic, that after taking the time to slowly and patiently
remove so many seeds from the tough outer rind and clingy inner pith of the pomegranate, that after eating only 3 seeds I had had enough. I felt satisfied. I honestly could say that I didn't want any more and it wasn't because I was rushed by work, chores or children, or out of a feeling of guilt about eating too much. I just felt content. I put the rest of the pomegranate back in the fridge and went to find my son to get ready for school.
What a shift in my experience of eating and feeling this was! Although this practice was not easy, void of frustration or the temptation to just get back to rushing around in my day, it made an immense difference in how I felt and how I moved through the rest of my day.
I’ve had many Moms interested in my holistic nutrition services as of late. Moms that are feeling tired, worn out, overwhelmed and who have slipped into
some nutrition patterns that they know do not serve them but they feel too stuck to change largely because of the demands of being a Mom. Moms, if you are reading this, I invite you to meet my teacher, the pomegranate.
If you are a Mom reading this and it resonates with you, then I would also invite you to join in my 5 Day Easy Weight Loss Meal Prep Challenge for Busy Moms.
It runs from October 19-23 and is 100% FREE.
Here’s what you get:
My 5 Day Easy Weight Loss Meal Prep Plan for Busy Moms
Ingredient lists and 5 days worth of delicious recipes to help you simplify and amplify nutrition for you and your family
Access to a private Facebook group for connecting and support
Daily tips and strategies from ME to help you create some healthy nutritional habits (Mindful Eating may be one of them.)
Head on over to my website at www.djwellnessconsulting.com and download the FREE
5 Day Easy Weight Loss Meal Prep Plan for Busy Moms. Then let me know that you are IN for the complimentary challenge.
Maybe we’ll eat some pomegranate together.