autumn days

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

embracing mealtimes

The last couple months many of my unhealthy patterns and feelings have been coming to the surface and asking to be set free.  One example is when I noticed I didn't enjoy mealtimes with my family; they noticed as well.  I spent mealtimes focused on all the work I put into each meal, how I wasn't being thanked, and how the four of us were only eating together for a few minutes before my husband got up to wash dishes.  

After journaling and meditating on this topic, I found I was holding onto my patterns from childhood.  It turns out my childhood memories include many dark areas.  My childhood dinners were a time for me to be corrected, disciplined, to sit straight and quiet, to eat two portions of the things I said I didn't like, to say I liked what I didn't, to be awoken in the middle of the night to finish my meal.  Things got a lot easier once my family began sitting in front of the television to eat, the focus was off each other and onto some boxing match, kung fu, or western.

Now in my current home with my charming husband and beautiful children, we have made some changes and created our own rituals to embrace each other at mealtimes.  We now sit down all together and say a blessing (borrowed from Mindy and her Seven Times the Sun book), light a candle, and talk about our days.  We each talk about two things that we enjoyed, one thing we didn't enjoy, one thing we learned, and one thing we hope for in the coming day.  When we are done with this, my husband is free to wash all the dishes he likes.  Sometimes we even bring meeting ideas to the table, such as last night's focus on which charities to donate to this year.  I am so thankful now for this sacred time together to share our thoughts and feelings and ideas and reflections with one another. 

How do you make your shared meals special?

Earth who gives to us this food,
Sun who makes it ripe and good,
Dearest Earth and dearest Sun,
We give thanks for all you've done.

Thank you, world, for happy hearts,
For rain and sunny weather.
Thank you for the food we eat
And that we are together.

Blessings on this meal and peace upon the earth.

our own place mats decorated with magazine clippings

Liam's place mat

Hannah's choices

my place mat

the place mat Liam made for Papa (no manly sports in our kids' magazines)

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