A Practice in Presence

Today is Thursday. It’s a workday. After working for a few hours and feeling like I wasn’t accomplishing anything, I permitted myself to go on a lunch date with myself. The permission included being present at lunch. I opted to have a meal at one of my favorite restaurants, distraction-free. By that, I mean, unplugged and being in the moment with myself.

A few years ago, this would have been an uncomfortable prospect for me. I wasn’t all that comfortable in my own skin, nor was I excited about being present on purpose. These days, it’s different.

When I’m dining out, I make my food and beverage choices reasonably quickly. I read the menu until I find something that sounds good, and then I stop reading and order my food. I’m not sure when I developed this simplified version of choosing what to eat off a menu but, it works well for me.

My beverage of choice was Stewart’s Root Beer. It came in a bottle, so I had the pleasure of pouring it over ice, watching the bubbles foam up, and smelling it. The scent transported me back in time to family gatherings with homemade root beer. This reminiscing evokes many wonderful childhood memories, such as eating the root beer slush out of the top of the cooler used in the brewing process.

Next came my homestyle meal on a nostalgic blue and white floral plate. I don’t remember ever having dinner on a pretty plate there before. I looked around at other tables. Nobody else was eating on a dinner plate that could have come from their grandmother’s china cabinet. The beautiful plate added another level of joy to my lunchtime adventure. The food was terrific. I enjoyed the colorful array with flavors that blended well. I savored every bite. I refrained from taking a picture of my plate. That would have broken my unplugged lunch rules.

While I ate, I gazed out the window, noticing the changing colors of nature in trees on the distant mountainside. I also observed people at the tables around me. I enjoyed listening to laughter and conversations. That level of social interaction was enough to feed this introvert’s soul. I rarely need to be in the middle of things; just being on the outskirts in observance is enough.

I’m grateful for quality time with myself and the ability I have cultivated to be content with stillness. I think I’ll take myself on a lunch date every Thursday.




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