I can no longer feed myself. It is as if my arm has weights on it. It’s difficult to lift my hand as high as my mouth, especially if I’m holding a spoon full of food. The adjustments your hand makes in order to get a spoon full of food into your mouth are miraculous! The way you grip the spoon, the adjustments in balance and angle – it’s amazing, take it from me. In the morning, when my arms are fresh, I eat granola and yogurt. The yogurt glues the granola onto the spoon. Most mornings, I can feed myself breakfast, as long as it is sticky. By supper time, though, I need help.
Now you might think that being fed is easy. All I have to do is open and close, chew and swallow. That’s what it looks like on the outside. Internally though, being fed is an exercise in forgiveness. The size and composition of the bite and the speed of the delivery are very personal choices.
In some cases, I can declare my idiosyncrasies. For instance, I don’t like eating a bit of this and a bit of that. If I have curried rice and a side of vegetables on my plate, I eat all the curried rice and then the vegetables. I’ve eaten that way all my life and can explain it to you before we start the meal. I can also tell you a little bit about what size bites I prefer to take.
Beyond that, it’s a matter of forgiveness.
- I forgive myself for being so sick and disabled that I need to be fed. (There is still, in the back of my mind, a feeling that I could have done something to avoid this, even though it’s not true.)
- I forgive the person feeding me for making the bites too big or
- for putting too much of this and not enough of that into a bite or
- for coming at me with the spoon too fast or
- for not paying attention when I’m ready for the next bite.
- I forgive myself for being so persnickety about bite size and composition and speed.
To deepen my experience of being fed, I can also add a dash of gratitude. I can give thanks for and send blessings to
- the Divine
- the person who’s feeding me
- the people who delivered the food to me
- the people who made the food
- the people who grow the food
- the people who get the food to the grocery
- the people who get the food from the grocery to the cooks
as long as I am sending blessings, I can also send blessings to the people who live with food insecurity in my city, state, country and world. [I find thinking about sending blessings in widening circles helpful.]
If I am thinking about forgiveness, I am dealing with a need or expectation not being met. The focus is on me. As soon as I switch to gratitude, the focus is on the other. My heart opens.
If I practiced gratitude in all things, would I need to practice forgiveness? What do you think?