I have always enjoyed food and cooking. Twelve years ago my relationship to both changed when I was diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes. I spent many months journaling about and examining my relationship to food. I tracked what I ate, when I ate, how much I ate and, most importantly, why I ate. I read books and articles. I talked to doctors and dieticians. Slowly, I began to see food with new eyes.
I adopted a very basic guiding principle that 70-80% of what I ate needed to cut up by me. I had my knives sharpened. I started spending time carefully picking out fresh produce, washing it and chopping it. This small act has become a cornerstone of my spiritual life.
Chopping garlic, onions, peppers, and mushrooms and peeling grapefruit, avocados and oranges has become a meditation practice. I spend time with my cutting boards and my knives preparing wholesome food to nourish body and soul.
I grew up saying grace before dinner. Now, I give thanks to all the hands that help provide the food I cut up. I give thanks for the fresh produce. I give thanks for the opportunity to prepare food that will nourish the body and soul of all those who partake of it. I give thanks and enjoy my time cutting and chopping. The rhythm of chopping produce has a meditative-spiritual affect when done with intention and attention. This is what the Buddhist call “joyful effort”. Every pear cut, every cucumber peeled, every tomato sliced becomes an opportunity to give thanks. It can be an opportunity to live in the moment and connect with the life-giving bounty of God’s creation.