Food can be fuel, or it can be an experience.
It is important to know which one we are looking for. Because we need both, but to a different extent. And because the food must have different characteristics depending on its function.
A common problem: we get used to consuming food as fuel; when we have the opportunity to consume food as an experience, we instead follow the ingrained habit and consume it as if it was fuel.
The result? We feel dissatisfied; food designed to be experienced was consumed the wrong way. We feel robbed of the experience, and so… We look for more.
But the problem is not in the quality of the food, nor in its quantity. It is in us. We are consuming it the wrong way. Without presence. Without attention.
We are filling the tank when we should be enjoying the trip.
I don’t exactly know what happens to me when I’m at a meeting trying to explain things to people. I always feel tense when I leave the call.
I wonder if I have acted kindly, or if I have acted aggressively. During the actual event, I don’t feel angry – but the tension is palpable within myself once I leave. I feel coiled up, my senses are in alert mode. As if I just got out of a fight or car accident. As if I had just murdered the Godfather and knew the family was waiting at every corner, looking to extract the blood-price.
I think that what I lack in these situations is to be in the moment. I’m always trying to think two steps in advance, trying to anticipate answers and questions and thinking about how how to follow through.
I know this is not how I do my best work. My best work, I do by being present. And I’m also less tense, if present. Better work, less stress. There is no downside. But to do so isn’t natural. It requires practice.
Tomorrow is another day to practice.
“You’ve wandered all over and finally realized that you never found what you were after: how to live. Not in syllogisms, not in money, or fame, or self-indulgence. Nowhere.” — Marcus Aurelius, Meditations
You don’t fill the void by fleeing from it or by compensating with externals.
You don’t fill the void by trying to understand it or even trying to fill it.
According to the Stoics, we satisfy it simply by living our life as nature demands. And by, while doing so, being good, being true to ourselves, focusing on the moment, not wasting a second wishing anything was otherwise or caring what other people think of us.
We just live, as well as we can.
Painting: “Marcus Aurelius Distributing Bread to the People” by Joseph-Marie Vien