Regular Meals

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"If anyone knows about regularity, it's monks." 

"If anyone knows about regularity, it's monks."  That's a quote from Phil Fox Rose (at Busted Halo), and I detected a double-entendre that he probably didn't intend.  Rose recently went on a monastic retreat, and among his epiphanies from that experience, he was struck by the value of having set daily meal times and limited menu choices.  (At his retreat, breakfast each morning was 1 hard-boiled egg, 2 slices of toast with orange marmalade.  Take it or leave it.)

Rather than restate what Rose wrote, I'll simply urge you to read his article.  It will resonate especially with our pastors who are now or were recently engaged in Naturally Slim (the mindful eating program) as part of Spirited Life.  Here is a sample:

I’m not saying what you should eat or how much. Those are personal decisions and personal issues. I will say this, though. Our culture encourages us to seek entertainment value and instant gratification in food, and much as I strive to be on the spiritual path, that call is mighty strong. While concerns about gluttony have been with us for millennia, and we’ve always been attracted to fun and rich foods — “a land flowing with milk and honey” — much of the current insanity is less than a century old, the direct result of the rises of the food industry and advertising. We are bombarded with temptations and the reality today is that if we so choose, every single meal can be an all-out taste pleasure overload.

I was a perfect example of this, just yesterday: After working late, I drove toward home and considered my take-out dinner options on the route, settling on the one that was most amusing/comforting at that moment.  I’m guessing we’ve all been there.

Rose posits that “much of the clutter in our day and in our mind is the result of unnecessary choices,” and that we can simplify our lives by replacing those choices with routines.  So what routines have you established?  And have they helped quell the chaos?

Many thanks to my friend Melissa Spas at Leadership Education at Duke Divinity, for pointing me to this article.

John James, M.A.

Research Analyst, Clergy Health Initiative

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