We had a meeting for the upcoming Wilderness Quest this evening.* Listening to discussions of the fasting process and suggestions that we be on a clean diet, at least relatively detoxed, before heading out, I realized how much my life lacks intentionality. I go through most of the day aware of what I am doing, for the most part, but also engage in a number of activities wholly without thinking.
Facebook and email come to mind. Also, and more relevant to the fasting discussion, food. How often do I graze casually on whatever snack-like food can fit in my hand? While I do usually set out a placemat for every meal, and sit at my kitchen table to eat it, that does not encompass much of the food I eat throughout the day. Food is so much more than mere fuel; in an ideal world -- perhaps one in which I did not live in a city and obtain all my groceries from a bin -- food would provide a connection to the land, to God. Yet I, along with much of society, too often treat it like a detached item that can say nothing of relevance. When we process foods to the point of unrecognizability, we divorce it from nature and reality. Not that processed food is inherently bad -- it is the way in which we relate to it that is bad, or that can be bad.
It would be helpful to remember that all the food I eat has a story, whether it came from a small organic farm or a massive, pesticide- or antibiotic-ridden factory. When I remember the stories, I can see the food for what it really is, and make an intentional decision about whether to eat it or not.
Similarly, with people. When I remember that each person I meet has his/her own story, hopes, fears, and dreams, I can see him/her as a fully developed person, not as a caricature of what my prejudices and judgments assume.
As I continue on my spiritual journey, I will strive for intentionality in all aspects of my life. Not that I will be perfectly intentional all the time, or likely even close to all the time, but I think it a worthy goal. Being mindful, pausing every so often to center myself and remember who I am and where I want to go, not just at that moment, but in life.
In the words of a wise man who spoke tonight, may my life be in alignment with my destiny. Hard to do that when I walk through life in a mist, devoid of mindfulness.
In the moment,
*What is a Wilderness Quest, you ask? In June, I will be going with a group of people for a week in the wilderness. We will have ceremony and sweat lodges, and from Wednesday morning through Saturday afternoon, I will be sitting in an approximately 10' x 10' patch of land, surrounded by 707 prayer ties strung around four willow sticks. Then, we will go back into the lodge, break our fasts, and leave the wilderness the following day.