I shared with them how nourishment is a thing for our bodies, our minds, our hearts and our souls...not just our bellies. We are constantly picking up nutrients from all of life. We don't just get nutrients from food. We get them from conversation, ambiance, smells, sights, sounds. These things all sustain us.
This means that we need to pay attention to the way the dining hall looks because it impacts mental and emotional nourishment while dining. We take things in through more than just our mouths. The staff understood.
I am reminded of the hospice work I did. It was common for me to share with families that when their loved one stopped eating, this did not mean they were not being nourished. Their nourishment was coming from the presence of those who visited, from their words, from the sights and sounds and smells around them.
Think about your homes, too. How is the environment where you eat nourishing you? Do you have candles burning to scent the air and provide a flickering change in the lighting. Can you dim the lights so you can take the harshness out of your seeing and the harshness out of the day by gradually introducing nighttime. Are their calming sounds, sights, and scents?
Folks don't think about it too much, but the dimming of the day slows us down. I turn a lot of lights off around the house at night, not just to save energy, but to bring the energy level down slowly. Doing this at our tables helps us introduce a calming and evening effect. Think about it, as darkness ensues don't you recognize a shift in consciousness and mentation. Thinking often becomes more serious at the days end. All the deep conversations that happen around the table and couch are not just a result of the Cabernet, the evening has this effect on us.
How is your dining room or eating area decorated? Do you have artwork around, or pictures of some kind? What are they of, are they familiar and soothing? These are all things to think about when you think about food. The best gourmet meals in the world would be less enjoyable in and among a seething mound of piles and work papers. Is there music?
How seriously have you set the scene and the mood in the room where you will take nourishment? It can make all the difference. Start by checking out the artwork of David Lance Goines or Mollie Katzen. Both have wonderful styles that would add pause and dignity to your dining space. Get a nice tablecloth and a candle or two. How about some quiet music?
It really does make a difference. The whole setting is so critical.