Archive for March, 2012


Life is so much better now that I have embraced the reality of poverty.  My struggle to survive gives my days meaning.  When I had more than enough money, I typically felt maudlin.  It was such a nuisance to have to find an even newer and more exciting place to go for dinner each night.  Kenneth, my dear and ever predictable husband didn’t care where we ate.  He just wanted to please me, but his lack of personal preference only infuriated me.  He didn’t understand the energy of desire.  When you can have anything you want, nothing has value. You are permanently unsatisfied in a hell of your own making.  Bankruptcy and divorce solved that quandary.  Now I feel rich because the little that I have has worth and actually gives me pleasure.

In the world of food, yo-yo dieting has taught me a lot about differentiating brain hunger and belly hunger.  Real belly hunger sharpens appreciation of food, while eating when you aren’t really hungry is the hollowness that no amount of food can fill.   I thought a lot about this and decided to experiment with cookies.

Keebler Pecan Sandies presented themselves as the perfect medium for my study.  Curling up with a good book or in front of the television set with a virgin package of Keeblers portended the yearned for satisfaction of earthly desire. It’s odd how I needed the anesthetic of book or Television to make this cameo replete.  Conversely, eating with awareness, i.e. addressing my full attention to incising, masticating, savoring, and swallowing the cookies one after the other, made me nervous and derailed the engine of self delusion.  Having to face the truth of my mindless eating spoiled the effect.

So, I modified the protocol, titrating my intake and observing the result.  Four cookies on a saucer is an ample but marginally realistic dosage of Pecan Sandie for a grown woman.  More is ridiculous.  Trying to eat slowly, I worked to enjoy each bite, the satisfying crunch, the grinding of jaws that chew, not only the pastry but the slippery nut of repressed rage.  Equally enjoyable but less orally athletic was the subtle sweetness neither overpowered by  runaway gratification of chocolate or caramel, nor the lush emolument of fat, the prize ingredient that makes shortbread short and food stand in for love.  Better than sex?  Well, that’s another question, titillation for another day’s conjecture.

My human brain, so easily distracted, allowed me to slip into a reverie of evaluation, observing rather than enjoying the ingestion of my kuchen.  Before I knew what had happened, three of the four were gone.  One remained but did not appeal.  I reached for it but stopped.  Why eat what I don’t want?  I put it back in the bag.

I had really started something when I began to observe my cookie addiction at work and at play.  Every bite was different depending on order of ingestion.  The first bite was glorious, taste buds snapping to full attention, nerves that activate the sphincters controlling salivary gland outflow struck by the lightning of bio-electric discharge.  The second one was gratifying, mostly because of the chewing and grinding.  The third one spoke to the “mine all mine” reflex but had little of taste to recommend it.

I remember the arousal called forth by the shiny colorful pristine bag, the attractive association of interesting cookie shapes with past gustatory delight, the triumph of the conquering bite, the satisfying rumination of chewing, the final denouement of the swallow.  All those I recall, but I can’t summon nor even begin to recreate the divine joy, anticipated, acknowledged,  then gone in less than an instant.

Mindless eating promises only a Pyrrhic victory over existential angst.  It’s not worth the blubber left behind as testament to gluttony.  We must eat mindfully and with joy, in the manner that we gracefully partake of every wonderful thing.  Indeed, must every moment be lived mindfully in order to enjoy the full measure of its happiness?

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