Mindfulness: It’s all in your head
My goal for the month of February is mindfulness. There is a lot to think about in the world, there is a lot to reflect on this month, so I’m gonna. I feel like I’m being pointed in the direction of mindfulness. For example, yesterday I was browsing the magazine rack in the school library and found an interview with Gwyneth Paltrow about her life as a working actress, wife, and parent of two young children. She was talking about how important it is to try to dwell in mindfulness as a parent because if you don’t you’ll say a whole bunch of crazy stuff to your kids that you’ll regret later. It struck me then, that one aspect of being mindful is being prepared and open to many different possibilities.
Then, Oprah must have heard me thinking, because today her show was about how her staff took a seven day vegan challenge. On the show she had this famous vegan lady, plus (*gasp*) my homeboy Michael Pollan. Although they each approach the topic slightly differently, the big take away from the show was that when we eat, we ought to be mindful. Mindful about where are food comes from, how it is processed, the broader consequences of our food choices. Pollan talked about how right now in America there is a “renaissance of small scale animal farms” like the one Geoff and I moved half way across the country to start. The more mindful we all are as we make our food choices the safer all food becomes and the more we honor the miracle of life.
As if all of that were not enough, today on the way home from school on NPR they were talking about the new, new USDA food pyramid. Mindfulness comes in to play here in two ways. First, the new food pyramid is not a pyramid at all, but rather the visual of a plate and which percentages of the plate should be filled with which types of food. Meaning, mindful eating in part involves being conscious of the quantities and ratios of fruits, veggies, proteins, and fats that we put into our bodies. Unfortunately, over sixty percent (basically 2/3) of Americans are either overweight or obese. Clearly we have all had trouble with mindfulness as it relates to our individual nutrition. The problem is compounded by the second type of mindfulness needed when considering the USDA dietary recommendations. There exists a conflict of interest in the USDA. On the one hand they are charged with promoting nutrition among Americans by educating them about what they should and should not eat. On the other hand, the USDA is an advocacy agency for America’s commodity producers. Commodities like red meat, cheese, butter, etc. when consumed without restraint have an obvious impact on weight and overall health. The same thing goes for sugar and high fructose corn syrup. So, when listening to the advice of the USDA about health and nutrition, we have to be mindful of the full range of responsibilities of that organization. We have to take our grain of salt with a grain of salt.
In order to be mindful about being mindful, I hope to do a post a day this month. Twenty-eight days and twenty-eight posts. One down, three times nine to go.
I’ll leave you with an image to contemplate. I did not take this picture, but I hope to one day have the chance to take one like this.
Let me know what you’re being mindful about this month. Let’s start a dialogue and get meta-mindful!