The classic mindfulness beginning exercise is to eat a raisin, or something like that.
I’d like to suggest it should be a chip. A simple potato chip. While a raisin has subtleties and soft wavy skin, a potato chip has sharp edges that turn into mush in your mouth.
Anyway, regardless of the food, choose something bite sized. Do you have it yet?
DO NOT EAT IT NOW.
Smell it. Look at it. Feel it. Feel it without looking at it. Get that chip flavouring dust all over your fingers.
Ok, feel it with your lips.
Now put it in your mouth. DON’T CHEW. What is the taste like? What does it feel like? How does it start to change? (Yes, once it’s in your mouth it starts to get a bit gross. So what? Gross is an experience too, so have the gross along with the greasy and salty.)
Once you’ve felt how it feels with your tongue and cheeks (ahem, yes. If this is getting a bit sensual for you, deal. This is about the senses so it’s going to be sensual. It’s all we’ve got, at the end of the day), you can start to chew.
As you chew, and eventually swallow, take your time. How does it feel, taste, sound? How does it change? What is it like as it goes down your throat? How does your stomach feel? How are you sitting, now that you’ve eaten it?
Now that you’ve done that, you’ve successfully done something mindful! Whoo! Parts of it were tasty! Parts of it were gross! (No seriously, I found that letting the raisin sit in my mouth for over a minute as mush was really disgusting, all bitter, with those weird hard bits that raisins often have, bleh).
The rationale behind this exercise is a) it’s simple, b) your senses are something you take with you everywhere, so you can always use them to practice mindfulness, and c) we rarely pay enough attention to eating these days, meaning we gulp down food without even enjoying or appreciating it. It’s worth taking the time.
Cheers! I’m off to brush my teeth. Mindfully. Hopefully.