The Mindful Midlife Crisis

​​Episode 113--Meditate & Mingle: Mindful Eating

November 22, 2023 Billy Lahr
The Mindful Midlife Crisis
​​Episode 113--Meditate & Mingle: Mindful Eating
Show Notes Transcript

Just in time for the Thanksgiving holiday!  This week’s episode is from a recent Meditate & Mingle session about enjoying your meal beyond satisfying your hunger. Imagine this–every bite you take, each sip you drink, could be a moment of mindfulness, an opportunity for gratitude, and a step towards better health. Join us as we uncover together how a fulfilling and mindful life can start with a single bite. Tune in, find your comfortable spot, grab a bite, and savor this mindful eating journey together.

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Billy:  Welcome to The Mindful Midlife Crisis, a podcast for people navigating the complexities and possibilities of life's second half. I'm your host, Billy Lahr, an educator, personal trainer, meditation teacher and overthinker who talks to experts who specialize in social and emotional learning. Mindfulness, physical and emotional wellness, cultural awareness, finances, communication, relationships, dating, and parenting all in an effort to help us better reflect, learn, and grow so we can live a more purpose-filled life.

Take a deep breath, embrace the present, and journey with me through The Mindful Midlife Crisis

Welcome to The Mindful Midlife Crisis. I'm your host, Billy Lahr. Thank you for tuning in wherever you are. The purpose of the show is to help you navigate the complexities and possibilities of life's second half using my NoBS GPS guide to finding more purpose and passion in your life, because I am sick and tired of people telling you to follow your passions, because that is complete and utter nonsense. Purpose and passion are destinations, not departure zones. So if you need some help navigating which direction you want your life to go, schedule a free exploration call with me by visiting www.mindfulmidlifecrisis.com or click on the link in the show notes, where I provide even more goodies for you. By practicing intentional and mindful living over the last 10 years, I've learned how to better navigate the trials, tribulations and successes of my own midlife crisis. Being more intentional and mindful has helped me process my ruminating thoughts, anxiety and stress in a much healthier way, by reducing my emotional reactivity and impulsive behavior, which, in turn, has helped me improve my relationships and communication with others, as well as be more consistent, disciplined, patient and productive in meeting my goals. These are the same skills, strategies and resources I use in my personal life, based on years of research and experimentation, to find a bit more calm amidst the chaos. And, trust me, there are still days when I'm a hot mess, but my hope is that by sharing my experiences, as well as the experiences of my guests, you'll see that you're not alone in your experience. So if you're looking for a little more direction and clarity in life, visit www.mindfulmidlifecrisis.com. Schedule that free exploration, call and let me be your GPS to finding more purpose and passion in life. This week's episode comes from a recent Meditatin Mingle session. I lead those every Monday evening at 8 pm Central Time. You're welcome to either follow along with the guided practice here today and reflect on what came up for you, what was difficult, what surprised you and how you'll use this practice moving forward, or you can go to www.mindfulmidlifecrisis.com and click on the Meditate and Mingle banner at the top and sign up for future sessions. Not only is it a great way to cultivate a mindfulness practice, but it's also an opportunity for you to connect with people from all around the world whose experiences may resonate with yours. This week's guided practice is a mindful eating practice. You've heard Matt Hazard to me talk about mindful coffee drinking, and I've mentioned mindful eating quite a few times in past episodes, so here's your opportunity to actually follow along with a mindful eating practice. Now you might ask yourself why practice mindful eating? Well, if you're like me, you probably rush through your meals. This is something that I struggle with all the time. When I was a teacher, I had like 10 minutes to eat because then I had to do this, that and the other. I just always felt like I was on the go, go, go, and it's probably why I'm not a foodie. I've been traveling all around and I'm just not a foodie, and I think it's because I've never learned to sit down and appreciate the flavors of what I'm eating, because I just barely notice it, because I'm devouring it like some ravenous animal. But what if we including me could transform our relationship with food, find some joy in eating, find some nourishment in the food that we eat and find some balance, not just in each meal but in each bite. So mindful eating offers a profound shift in how we engage with food. I have really been trying to do this more and more, especially since I've been traveling. There's all these foods, there's all these unique flavors, all these unique textures that I'm being exposed to, and I'm trying to sit with my food more intentionally, more mindfully, really inspect the flavors, really just appreciate the flavors. Because that's what a mindful eating practice does. It encourages us to savor those flavors, those textures, those aromas. It helps us foster a deeper appreciation for the food that we're consuming and beyond that, it can also lead to improve digestion, better portion control and a heightened sense of wellbeing. You may have heard of intuitive eating before. I'm a big proponent of intuitive eating. So this week's mindful eating session is an opportunity for you to delve into this practice of mindfulness at meal time and unlock its numerous benefits. Now for this practice, I encourage you to bring one of the following the snack on mindfully. I like doing this with snacks first, so one thing you could do is have some M&Ms and you eat one M&M at a time. M&m, of course, stands for meditate and mingle. Listen, 50% of the show is me entertaining myself. Anyway, you could also do this with grapes or raisins or any other small fruit like raspberries or blueberries, and if you're like, why would I do it with raisins? That's why, that's the reason why, because you're like, that's not something I would normally choose, exactly. So it's a new experience for you. Experience those raisins differently. Maybe you do it with something like baby carrots. Now we have talked about mindful coffee drinking. I think that's a great way to do it. If you are someone who has like two, three, four beers a night, or two scandal size carry Washington size glasses of wine, I am going to suggest that you practice drinking these more mindfully. I am not a big fan of the wine culture, of having a beer for dinner culture. That's just my personal take. Right, you do, you. I have issues with that, especially the like two to three wine glasses. There's something to that. Right, I'm wondering what you're masking. Same with drinking beer you need three, four beers to fall asleep at night. There's something else going on. So I'm not saying don't drink, but what if you just had a one and you savored the flavor of that drink, and how might that change your relationship with alcohol? Enjoy a moderation. Here's an opportunity to be mindfully moderate. And if you're like, what's your problem with all this? Why can't I have three, four beers, do you dot it, email me, let's talk about it, let's have a conversation about it. I'll just kind of share my concerns with it. But again, you do you. This is my suggestion to you. If it's something that you're interested in, follow along with today's meditate and mingle session. So with that, let's get into it. We're doing a mindful eating, which it's going to seem a little weird at times when we do this, because I'm going to ask you to engage all five of your senses. I've done these in the past and it's like some people will say, listen to the sound. It's a little weird. We might do that, we might not. We'll see how things kind of go here. Some of us have sometimes it's just listening to the sound that it makes when you bite or even when you eat, like some of you who are drinking. We'll kind of see how things go with that. Just curious, how have you been intentional, how have you been mindful in the week leading up to this session. Richard or Luca, either one of you go first here.


Participant 1:  Normally when I'm driving I have the radio or music on and I've kind of just been like having silence and just kind of being part of the experience and just taking time to kind of like listen to my thoughts and see what's coming up while I'm getting from point A to point B. I'm trying to be somewhat conscious of what's also going on around me. But it's interesting, sometimes you just kind of like when you're driving you end up from point A to point B and you don't really know how you got to point B, but obviously something happens. So just kind of having driving more in silence and additionally, kind of was doing some work, kind of like on the yard and just kind of like using the hose to do we have like new grass, and just kind of watching the water kind of like flow down on where the new grass was and kind of watching it drink. So just kind of like paying attention to some of the simple things like that.


Billy:  How has listening? Because you're a big music guy. So then, how has not listening to music on a commuter while driving changed the driving experience and what's come up for you? What have you been more aware of during that?


Participant 1:  I noticed that when I listen to music I tend to focus in very much on the music, either the beat or whatever the sound, or I think about the chord progressions. But when it's silent I tend to think about, just kind of listen to my thoughts and see what are the things that have kind of subconsciously just kind of pop into my head and just go there, and so it kind of depends on the day. The past couple of days, like randomly, I've thought about some people I haven't talked to in a while and I was like, oh, maybe I should give them a call or kind of see what they're doing or just think about making plans to catch up. So it's interesting what kind of things pop into our head when we give ourselves space to just be.


Billy:  Well, there's possibly your intentional homework for next week is just reaching out to them, not even necessarily making plans, but just reaching out to them and saying, hey, what's up? It's been a while since I chatted with you, just seeing what you're up to and see how they respond to that, so that might be kind of fun. It might be kind of neat doing that. How about you, Richard? How have you been intentional, how have you been mindful in the week leading up to our practice this evening?


Participant 2:  One of the things that I'm doing Billy, thanks for asking is I won't talk about food, because we're going to talk about that later. I have been studying and learning like a crazy person. There's so much material that I can take in and absorb and add to my knowledge and awareness that I'm noticing at this point that things are running together and I noticed that I have pretty good grounding, I think, and breadth of skills, and finding that and it's appropriate for me to set down the headphones and, instead of listening and taking in the next lesson and the next lesson, to consider how to make those mine so that I can bring those to the people I'm serving rather than just regurgitating them. I can personalize that and integrate it with everything that I bring to a conversation, and that means that I need to be quiet. During the times when I would usually be listening, which is when I'm eating or cooking or doing stuff like that, I'd usually listen and it's nice to just notice what's coming up instead and making notes about that, and I've come to some really interesting ideas that have come to me in those quiet times and I'm really appreciative for that.


Billy:  Excellent, thank you. Thank you, you guys kind of have some similar experiences Just sitting with the silence. I think it's important to recognize that none of us here are saying that you need to sit in perpetual silence. But doing it for five or 10 minutes a day really allows your brain to just kind of check in with what is and what is present. So that's the big takeaway for anybody listening here is that you don't have to sit in silence for hours on end. I always make the joke that I'm not the mindfulness teacher that is sipping green tea atop of a mountain, overlooking the trees, with my fingers touching each other and my legs cross. Like that's not me, but I do make intentional effort to find five to 10 minutes to just sit and be. Sometimes I do that cross-legged, other times I do it lying down, other times I do it while on the subway, just kind of finding ways to do that. And one thing that we do a lot of in terms of like rushing is rushing our meals. We're barely noticing what we're eating. So if we can transform our relationship with food, we might be able to find more joy, more nourishment, more balance in each bite. And so what we're going to be doing this evening is mindful eating. Because what that does is it offers a profound shift in how we engage with our food. It encourages us to savor the flavors, the textures, the aromas. It allows us to foster a deeper appreciation for what we consume and how it got to us. And beyond that, there's actually research that suggests that mindful eating leads to improved digestion, better portion control and a heightened sense of well-being. If you can take a look at any research that's been done on intuitive eating and intuitive eating has shown excellent returns in terms of digestion and portion control. Especially, your body is communicating to you what it needs in terms of nourishment. So when we are listening to our body and being more intuitive with what we eat, we're fueling our body appropriately. So this mindful eating session is going to be our opportunity to delve into this practice of mindfulness at mealtime, unlocking all of its benefits. And so you guys brought a couple of snacks. Luke, what are you using?


Participant 1:  I have a sparkling beverage, sparkling water.


Billy:  Got it, got it. Yeah, we had the option here of something to drink or something to eat. And, richard, what did you bring?


Participant 2:  Some really noisy rice crackers. Wonderful, they're very auditory.


Billy: So I am in Mexico and I'm staying at a friend's place and I wanted something local and she has papaya in her fridge and, to be honest, I don't know that I've ever eaten papaya. So this could go a lot of different ways in terms of like. Am I going to like this? I did sample one before and I'm like okay, I think I can do this here, but it does have a. There's some uniqueness to it, and so we'll explore that towards the end. But in order to prepare us here for this mindful tasting, this mindful eating practice, we're going to begin by getting into a comfortable position, and I'm going to encourage you to do that in a seated, dignified position, with your back away from the back of the chair, just proud, feet flat on the floor, in hands wherever they're most comfortable. And now that you've found a comfortable position, I invite you to close your eyes or, if it's more comfortable, you can simply lower your gaze and we'll take a moment to settle in, using our breath with a long, slow but even inhale through the nose and then slowly letting that air back out, at the same slow, even rate, through the nose. On the exhale, take a few deep breaths like this, inhaling slowly and evenly, focusing on filling your belly with air and then, slowly and evenly, gently letting your belly fall on the exhale and now find the natural rhythm of your breath, still taking in the air through the nose and filling your belly with that air and, on each exhale, letting the air pass through the nostrils gently, while softening the belly, using these breaths to quiet the mind by just focusing on each inhale and each exhale, allowing yourself to simply just be. Now I invite you to open your eyes. Let's begin by taking in the food or the drink we have in front of us. Visually, maybe it's a can, or maybe it's a packaging, or maybe it's the shape of whatever it is you're eating. I just want you to notice the colors and the shapes and the sizes and, as you look at the food or you look at your drink, notice the urge to start eating or to start drinking and there's nothing wrong with hunger. But allow those cravings to come and go and simply return to the side of the food. What do you notice about the contours? Now, investigate the smell of the food. Some foods have a stronger aroma than others. You may have to hold the food up close to your nose in order to get a good whiff of it. But be present for the experience of smelling. When the mind begins craving, just return to the smell in front of you. Before we eat, before we drink, take a moment to really appreciate the energy that went into the production of this food. People worked to grow this food or to bring this drink to you. Nature provided nutrients, rainwater and sunshine. Maybe somebody cooked or cleaned or packaged it for you. Bring into your mind all of the energy from various sources that came together to create this meal. Now you can slowly pick up your food or drink. If you're using utensils, just tune into the experience of touch as you feel the utensil. Feel how the food or the utensil feels in your hand, as the food is stiff, soft, cold or warm. As you put the food or drink in your mouth, notice the desire to chew and swallow quickly. Instead, start by feeling the temperature. Holding it in your mouth for a little bit. Can you feel the shape as you begin chewing? Notice the texture of the food. Does it change as you continue to chew? Notice the flavors. You may have a hard time doing more than simply labeling what you're eating. Maybe you're just like this is a raspberry. This is a drink, but try to go a little bit deeper. Are there multiple flavors present? Pay attention to the changing of flavors as you continue and be sure to tune into the experience of swallowing. What does it feel like as the food moves down the throat? You may also notice the desire to quickly have another bite or another drink, and pause and notice if any flavor lingers or remains in the mouth for a moment. Go ahead and continue eating like this, but continue to engage all five senses before each bite or each sip. So first, looking at the shape of this new morsel that you're about to take to bite into. If you're drinking out of a glass, how does that look? Now, maybe this new bite has a different smell to it. Listen to the sound that this food makes, or this drink makes when you bite into it or as you chew it. Does it have a crackle? Does it sound mushy? When you finish, maybe you just take about four or five bites Allow yourself to feel gratitude for the food that is nourishing your body. When you feel nourished, or when you have finished your bowl or whatever is in front of you, I invite you to once again close your eyes and let the mind relax into a state of appreciation for the energy and life of the food or drink that's before you. And, as we bring this meditation to a close, allow yourself to come back to your breath, feeling the air pass through the nostrils on the inhale, non-exhale, expelling the air evenly and naturally through the nose. And when you're ready, I invite you to open your eyes and take inventory of the sensations of your body and bring awareness to your surroundings. Alright, let's take a break to reflect on what came up for you, what surprised you, what was challenging, what new awarenesses are present within you, and when we come back, you'll hear from the group about what came up for them and how they plan to use this practice moving forward. Thank you for listening to the Mindful Midlife Crisis. 


Thank you for listening to The Mindful Midlife Crisis. If you're enjoying what you've heard so far, please do me a favor and hit the subscribe button. Also, giving the show a quick five-star review with a few kind words helps others find and benefit from this podcast, just like you are. Finally, please spread the wealth of free knowledge and advice in this episode by sharing it with the people in your life who may find this information and my mission to help others live a more purpose-filled life valuable. My hope is that these conversations resonate with others and inspire people to live their best lives. Thanks again, and now back to the show. So how was that experience? Luke, I know you've been practicing the mindful eating, but this is a bit more deliberate, it's a bit more extended. Can you compare contrast what that was like between what you were doing and what this was like?


Participant 2:  Yeah, I think in the past when I've talked about mindful eating, I haven't been so much thinking about all my senses. It's been more kind of repeating to myself slow down, slow down, slow down. So sometimes it's almost kind of stressful Like I have to keep reminding, like it's almost like I'm calling, instead of calling myself back to the breath. It's like I'm calling myself back to the reminder to slow down this. I was completely just focusing on the flavor and the scent and how it felt in my mouth and how it felt to swallow and I was thinking because the can I have in front of me has some art on it and I was kind of daydreaming when you mentioned thinking about the packaging, like I imagined an artist going through multiple revisions and the work to create the packaging and all the hands and people that touched this and got it from point A to point B to finally to where it is now.


Billy:  So interesting, interesting and like that. You thought of that as you were looking at the artwork. How did it taste Like? Did you have a heightened sense of taste? Was, did it feel more refreshing? And you know, if it didn't, it didn't. That's fine. But I'm just curious if this experience changed the way that you. You know how refreshing it was, or whether or not it was just kind of the same.


Participant 1:  I think I was more focused on, like, the sharpness, because it's sparkling water, so it's a little bit sharp, it's not like regular. So I was thinking a little bit more about what does that feel like on my tongue or on my throat as I swallow, cause it's kind of a weird sensation of sparkling water because it's hydrating, but it also kind of feels like sometimes a little bit rough, depending on how carbonated it is, and I was imagining what this would be like to do with pop rocks. Oh, that's what I was imagining. It's like oh, I should have brought like that to go with it.


Billy:  Oh, that would be fun. Okay, there you go, give that a shot. You just have pop rocks lying around the house.


Participant 1:  No, I don't. But I was like what would be the food where I would tune in most of the sensation, and that's what popped into my head.


Billy:  Oh, that would be fun. That would be fun. It would be interesting too, if you were drinking it out of a glass, to actually see the carbonation and to see if that has an impact on how you're experiencing it too, because you know, as you can see, the bubbles that you know. Maybe I wonder if it has more of an impact of it. How about you, richard? What was that experience? What did you notice? What was surprising?


Participant 2:  I've had these before, so the taste is familiar to me. These particular rice crackers are imported from Thailand and it's interesting to think about how far they come to get to here, where I am, and there's seaweed mixed in with these rice crackers, so it's an interesting and probably a very common item locally in Thailand. So they have a very distinct flavor and I happen to really like seaweed and rice is a regular part of my diet every day just cooked long grain white rice that we get imported from Asia. We just happen to. There's an Asian market near here so we get that. We get those things at the Asian market. And the difference between these really crispy, and I love the word that you use crackle, it's so fit. These things are so noisy. There is nothing soft and mushy about these rice crackers. They are definitely crunchy and crispy and they crackle when I chew them. And they have this very distinct aroma and very distinct flavor and they differ one to another a little bit, depending on how much of one ingredient or another is in an individual, because there's about 10 different things in there and they're probably made separately and then they just mix them together in the bag, right? Some of them are different colors and whatnot, and so I was appreciating the. I rarely take the time to stop down and notice the mouth feel it's not like I don't notice it, but if I just hold it in my mouth then I start salivating and that becomes a distraction. And that's an interesting observation also on its own, that when I hold the food in my mouth, that doesn't stop my body from responding to the fact that it's there. It's like, well, I'd like to really enjoy the experience of having it in my mouth for a minute. And it's kind of like, yeah, you want to drool all over the place while you're doing that.


Billy:  I used to have my students do this with chocolate and I would tell them, you know, resist the urge to chew it and let the chocolate sit, and some of you could just see the drool.


Participant 2:  And I'm like okay, okay okay, go ahead.  If you start to drool, please swivel, because that's just gross. Otherwise, that's a little over the top. So anyway, it's interesting and I just grabbed these as I was coming to my desk to connect with y'all here and I thought, yeah, this will probably make an interesting item for the meditation today. And yeah, certainly it hasn't let me down.


Billy:  Thank you, thank you both for sharing. You know I got to tell you papaya smells like wet garbage, so it does not smell good at all, but it actually tastes really good and it's very fresh and very refreshing because it's got to be like mostly water, because when you pick it up it's mushy, I mean like if I were to hold it it would almost like fall apart in my hand. So that smell I was like this smells like New Orleans, because that's the New Orleans smells like wet, hot garbage Every time I visited it. But the taste of it was actually quite refreshing and it had a little bit more flavor to it than, say, watermelon, which I'm not a huge watermelon fan because I don't think it tastes like anything other than water. That's all I really think it tastes like. But this actually has a little bit of flavor to it and it very much is fresh and ripe and I enjoyed the flavor of that. I found myself then I had five pieces there, so I was trying to be deliberate. I remember I ate the fourth piece and before I even had a chance to really like to finish it and swallow it, I was already holding the fifth piece in my hand. And it makes me think about how often we eat like that where we just shovel in, right, we shovel in. And even here, as I'm trying to lead a mindful eating practice, you kind of go to that default mode of I have to have something in my hand ready to throw into my mouth or shovel into my mouth, because that's just how we program ourselves to eat. And I think that kind of speaks to the automation of our behaviors and our life, if we're not intentional for not mindful about slowing down every now and then and again, it's not about slowing everything down, it's just about slowing things down to appreciate and experience them just a little bit differently. And if we do that from time to time. I had a torta chimichanga today. It was massive. We had to split it with my friend. It was a huge sandwich, but the first two bites was like this is amazing. I'm shoveling this in, wait, slow down, and I'm going to put some of this hot sauce on here. I want to see what it tastes like now with the hot sauce. What does it taste like without the hot sauce? There's this green salsa, so what does that taste like? Okay, and I did that for maybe five, six bites, and just as trying to be intentional about enjoying the flavor of those five or six bites and slowing things down a little bit and appreciating the meal, because I know I'm not ever going to order that meal again because the sandwich was huge, but again it made me appreciate the flavors just a little bit more. And down here, you know, food, it really is flavorful, food is really flavorful around here. I'd seen with you know, anywhere that I've gone to in Asia the food was really flavorful. So you know, trying to get all those little tastes and letting you know what is they have, say, you have millions of taste buds in your mouth, letting them all activate in some way because they're all detecting something different. You guys want to add anything more to that conversation?


Participant 1:   I was thinking about a job interview I did where it was over lunch and it was answering the questions wasn't stressful. The stressful part was I kept thinking about like how fast am I eating? Because normally I eat fast and I was like I don't want to be done eating and then just staring at them while they're eating and thinking about like I don't want to make them like intimidate If I shovel the food down. They're going to be like this guy's kind of odd Like. So I had to add like the hardest part of that interview was thinking about how do I slow myself down and like pace myself and think about I'm here to answer questions and them to get to know me more, not to kind of pig out on a meal. But yeah, that's what that kind of reminded me of.


Billy:  What a great observation, what a great awareness there, while you're eating and interviewing at the same time. That's very unusual. I don't know that I've ever heard of a like a lunch interview like that before. Richard, anything you want to add to the conversation?


Participant 1:  Yes, thank you, Billy. You mentioned papaya. You know that's what you had there and that you hadn't had it before. I love papaya and so as soon as you said it, even before you started sharing about the experience, I was already experiencing it because I like it so much. And as you were subsequently sharing about what it was like for you to have those five pieces of papaya for the first time, I was noticing the contrast, roughly, between your observations about it seeming to be mushy and slippery and my experience of it. That I know it's that way and I know how much I enjoy it because I love the flavor of papaya and I love the texture of papaya. It was interesting hearing you share about that and it reminds me how important it is for me as a coach to remember that when I'm working with people who don't have the experience that I have to make sure that I'm giving them the opportunity to savor the first time they get to do this kind of work and not rush them through it. Really encourage all of us to take the time to savor the experience together of the work that we do.


Billy:  That's a really good reminder and observation I think about when I was teaching and I had four sections of the same class. By the last section I was like, okay, you guys remember when I talked about this right, I'm speeding through it because I've done it three times already and sometimes I thought, well, wait, like I have an extra 10 minutes here at the end of class. Did I explain this as thoroughly? It's just kind of having to look around to the students and ask myself are they lost because I went through this so fast, because this is the fourth time I've done it. So that's a really great reminder that you do something over and over and over again as a coach or as a teacher. But really you have to give somebody the first experience, you have to allow them to experience it for the first time and let them savor it, Let it really sink in. So I really appreciate that reminder. Thank you, Richard.


Participant 2:   I was just thinking how cool would it be if, every time we ate or drank, we came with the same enthusiasm or mindfulness that we did the first time we had that food or that beverage. Because it's like how many times have you had an apple in your life? It's hard to really focus on it because it's just like I know what an apple is, I can imagine the flavor, but when it's something brand new, like papaya, it's kind of like a whole new experience. So there's a way to kind of go back to that initial experience Probably makes food and beverages more exciting.


Billy:  Yeah, you know where I do that is at the State Fair. I don't like the State Fair. I used to do it with Mancini's pig wings at the State Fair and then last year in 2022, I went to the State Fair and I had the pig wings and they weren't the same. So then there was like a level of disappointment in it too. But then whenever I go to the blue barn getting those French toast bites and then getting the Nashville hot chicken but then this year the Nashville hot chicken didn't live up to the years past but I'm always excited. It's like that first bite of having it. But then I wonder, if we do that, does it create expectation in our minds? And then does it rob us of what that first moment was like If it doesn't live up to the expectation? But at the same time too, there is that excitement Like I'm getting big fat bacon. That's exciting. I've never been disappointed with the corn at the State Fair. That first bite into the corn is always top notch. So, yeah, yeah, and I'm always excited. And you only go once a year. Right, it only happens once a year. Some people go 10 days in a row. I'm not that guy, I go once. But if people don't really understand. The Minnesota State Fair is the second largest state fair in the country. We average over 250,000 people a day for 10 straight days at the Minnesota State Fair. It's insanity. And people go there because of the food that's there. So I really like that comment, luke, is that? How cool would it be if we went into every meal, almost every meal, with the same excitement as the first time that we had it? I love that and, like I said, that's the state fair for me. It's a couple other places too. Like, give me a five, eight, juicy Lucy. Oh yeah, I'm excited for that first bite every single time. That'd be kind of fun to do make a list of those foods that you're always excited about, that you kind of treat yourself to In places. You go restaurants, you go where you're always excited to order something on the menu.


Participant 2:   Richard, what were you going to add? You reminded me of a different experience. Or thought, billy, that I was at the store some time not too long ago and I, like kale, put kale in my sandwiches and there was a really nice looking leaf of kale on the floor in front of the refrigerator case and I picked it up and I put it in the bag with a bunch of kale that I bought and I thought this leaf, you know, somebody's going to come along and pick up this leaf and they're just going to put it in the trash because it's just loose on the floor. And I thought nobody's stepped on it, it's just on the floor and I'm not going to let it go to waste because this is big enough for a whole sandwich for me. And then I thought and this is just you know this gets into the swerves, a little bit into the realm of a woo-woo, but nonetheless that plant lived for a purpose. It didn't live to end up in a landfill. And so I brought that leaf home, just like the rest of the kale, and I washed it extra well because it was on the floor.


Billy:  I was going to ask.


Participant 2:  Yeah, yeah, I was very careful about it. It wasn't. It wasn't all messed up, but it was on the floor and I knew that that wasn't a good idea and so I washed it extra carefully and I savored it and I enjoyed it just as much as the rest of the kale, but I was particularly present to honoring that leaf because it almost ended up in the trash. Just something I noticed, and how much it reminds me to appreciate the produce that I get to go to the store a mile away and here it is whole display cases, and that nature generates this food and people till the soil and plant the plant and put the plants down and they harvest them and they package them and they put them in trucks and the trucks bring them to the stores and people unpack the trucks and the stores and they put out the food in the display cases and people pay to build the buildings and people are there to maintain the refrigerators. And so I'm even more appreciative of this whole domain, because that was my life for 20 years and it's so easy to ignore it and, just as you alluded, to shovel it in and not think at all about the incredible amount of work and effort that has preceded that moment for me to Eat that thing when I think that's another good reminder to just find everyday things in life, whether it's the food that we eat or the roads that we drive on, the people that maintain those kind of things.


Billy:  What are those everyday things that we may take for granted and extend appreciation for the work that goes into maintaining or delivering or packaging those things to us? So thank you for listening to The Mindful Midlife Crisis. New episodes come out every Wednesday to help you get over the midweek hump. If you'd like to contact me or if you have suggestions about what you'd like to hear on the show, visit www.mindfulmidlifecrisis.com and click contact us. While you're there, don't forget to sign up for the newsletter to get free weekly meditations as well as free resources from our Reflect, learn, grow program. You can also click on the show notes for links to the articles and resources we referenced throughout the show. If you want to check out my worldly adventures, follow me on Instagram at mindful underscore midlife underscore crisis. My hope is that my trials, tribulations and successes will inspire you to take intentional action to live a more purpose filled life and, while you're at it, remember to show yourself some love every now and then too. Thanks again, and now back to the show. 


Welcome back to The Mindful Midlife Crisis. I hope you enjoyed this week's Meditate and Mingle session. What are your takeaways from this session? What new awarenesses are present within you? How might you apply this newfound awareness in your day-to-day life? Moving forward, shoot me an email at billy@mindfulmidlifecrisis.com and share your thoughts and takeaways. If this session resonated with you and if you feel like cultivating a regular mindfulness practice will hydrate the mind, body and soul, go to www.mindfulmidlifecrisis.com and click on the banner at the top to get more information about how you can join our Meditate and Mingle community. And if you're still unsure about what this whole mindfulness thing is, let me just clear it up for you. It's not about staring blankly at a wall and clearing your mind of all thoughts. It's about sitting in awareness with openness, curiosity, compassion and non-judgment. So if you suddenly become aware that you're not where you want to be in life, congratulations. You are practicing mindfulness. My job is to help guide you through that process so you can reflect, learn and grow. Finally, remember this Progress is not linear. Our growth looks more like the stock market Some days we're up, some days we're down, and we may not reap the benefits for a while, but if we play the long game on our consistent, disciplined, patient and self-compassionate, you'll see that your investment in yourself will pay huge dividends over time. If this episode inspired you to invest in yourself in a new way, please do me a favor and subscribe to the show wherever you get your podcasts. I would also greatly appreciate it if you would share this episode with the people in your life who may find some value in it. The purpose of this show is to help you navigate the complexities and possibilities of life's second half, and I hope this free and useful information provides some insight that will guide you towards living with more purpose and passion in your life. So with that, this is Billy. Thank you for listening to The Mindful Midlife Crisis. May you feel happy, healthy and loved. 


Take care, friends.