There is an old-fashioned quote that says – You are what you eat. This relates to the simple notion that to be healthy you need to eat good nutritious food. And in terms of the opposite if you eat unhealthy sugars and fats, then you will be unfit and unhealthy. It is a saying that traces back to French lawyer and politician Jean Anthelme Brillat-Savarin who once said “Tell me what you eat, and I will tell you what you are.”
Now I’m not going to begin a speel about how important it is to eat broccoli and carrots and good protein. I’m not going to tell you to cut out sugar and restrict yourself from eating good creamy ice cream. Eating a healthy balanced diet is only a simple aspect of our daily lives. We eat to live and well, we live to eat.
But this post is not about that.
No, I want to go deeper…
Do not only tell me what you eat and taste, but
tell me what you smell,
tell me what you feel,
tell me what you hear,
tell me what you see,
And I will tell you what and who you are.
When you wake up in the morning how do you start your day? Do you press the snooze on the alarm and snuggle back down into the covers. Press the snooze again and then again. Do you open your eyes and look up at the ceiling and wonder what the day will bring? What to you feel? Excitement, nervous, dread. Happy?
When you eat your breakfast – do you notice what you’re eating? How it tastes? Do you really notice?
When you walk outside for the first time, what do you see and hear? Do you notice the birds flying through the sky. The whispers of the wind, the rustling of the leaves blowing across the footpath?
What to do feel? Do you ever stop and feel the ground beneath your feet? The sun’s gentle kiss upon your skin?
All these little thoughts and experiences add to who you are as a person.
Life is all about perspective.
Compare the days of two people:
Person one – who we’ll call Charlie – awakens to the chime of her alarm, grumpy for the interruption to her sleep.She looks outside the window and the weather is grey and rainy – what a gloomy day she thinks to herself. Breakfast is the usual boring Vegemite on toast. Sitting at the dining room table, she dreads the workload lying ahead of her; an essay to write and an incoming test. Rainjacket in hand, Charlie leaves the house to walk to University, cursing at the wind.
Person two – Anthony – wakes up to the sound of Livin on Prayer by Bon Jovi, his choice of alarm chime. He gets up stretches and yawns and boogies his way over to pull the blinds. A grey day appears – a perfect day to wear his favourite brown coat and to shout himself a hot chocolate. Singing lyrics under his breath, Anthony makes his way down to breakfast. He smiles to himself at the dining room table, crunching on toast, toasted to perfection. Today is a good day he thinks. After his first step outside, Anthony looks up at the wild clouds and muses, oh how I wonder where the wind comes from?
You are what you eat relates to the notion what we think we become. If we think happy thoughts, more often than not these thoughts will turn into happy actions in our daily life. Charlie started out the day really only noticing what was wrong; grey and dark thoughts. Anthony meanwhile noticed the little things that would make his day a wonderful one.
If we eat happy thoughts, we are happy.
If we see happy things, we are happy.
One of the most important things which enables us to live a good life, is to not take things for granted. I often wonder how to do this…
Really appreciating what you are feeling, seeing and hearing in a moment is the key.
Eat each moment in your day.
And digest it.
Thinking about the little things in each moment will not only ground us to the present, but our life will become filled with little extraordinary celebrations. If you begin to notice the moments in your life that seem uninfluential or small – they will become something bigger. You will see the precious good things in each part of your day.
For example, on any other day, I would be sitting here writing this post and feeling tired. It would just be another ordinary moment in my life. But if I look at it from this deeper perspective I see that really it is extraordinary. I have wonderful company by my side. I have a full belly. A comfy chair beneath me. And a warm jersey I’m snuggled into, centred in a cosy room, while outside a calm winter night descends.
If you only “eat” and think about the plain things; what’s going wrong and what isn’t right, this will reflect in the person you are. You will feel plain and unhappy.
Instead I dare you to try to eat the little moments of life. Think about what you are really seeing, feeling, touching, hearing, smelling and tasting in each moment of life.
As you do this you will see each moment has something wonderful in it.
What you eat you become. If you eat these moments, you will become a varied artwork of beauty and depth.
Don’t just eat the toast in the morning. But think about the company you are with, the beautiful day it is outside – rain or shine. Feel the warmth of being inside. Hear the laughter and bumble of everyday life around you.
You will see that very little is needed to make a happy life.