Artist: Domenico Di Michelino
English Title: Dante and the Three Kingdoms
Medium oil on canvas
Current location: Museo dell'Opera del Duomo, Florence
I struggle with my focus when I'm eating. Even without any outside distractions, I often finish eating, look at my empty plate and think, “Who ate my food?”
I enjoy a beautiful city view from where I sit at the table to eat my meals. Although this is pleasant, I often become distracted by people walking down the sidewalk, tow truck showing up in a parking lot to tow a car, party on a roof top within view, fog rolling in, rain, etc.
I have a mind that races unless I give it something to play with. I have a hard time quieting my mind even to sleep and often listen to a podcast or the radio in order to drift off.
I try to focus on where my food came from, since most of what I eat now comes from the earth and is not manufactured in a factory, which takes a few minutes. I try to focus on exactly how the food will nourish my body and how much good I’m doing myself while I eat it. After I those thoughts my brain is pretty much on its own.
I have a plan. It’s taken me a few days to come up with some things to audition as solutions, but here are my ideas:
1. Take a little break between preparation and eating the meal.
After years of cooking for a family, I don’t have that break built in where I wait for everyone to come to the table for dinner. I sit down immediately and keep the same pace as the flurry in which I finished the meal.
2. Listen to some slow music.
I study Portuguese so this could be a good time for me to listen to some bossa nova. I use the free Spotify so I can try out any music I want.
3. Try putting my fork down between bites.
I read this one all the time and I’ve never tried it.
4. Decide in advance how I want to feel at the end of the meal.
This is something else I’ve read about and have never tried.
5. Take a break before salad.
I have a habit of eating my salad last. It might be helpful to take a little break and then eat my salad. My lunch is usually an everything salad so this won’t work for lunch, my evening salad (and sometimes I have a breakfast salad) is usually only greens and vegetables.
I never watch TV during meals and I don’t read during meals anymore. At breakfast, I have my coffee after I’ve eaten and that’s when I read the news. I do really enjoy my meals when I am sharing the time with another person. These are all practices for when I am eating alone, which is most of the time.
I chose this painting that illustrates many of the ideas found in Dante's poem and some features from the city of Florence. This is how busy my mind seems to me when I am trying to focus on my meals.