Around the holidays, Isabella went on silent meditation retreat (something she thinks all of us should do, if she hasn’t yet told you so – or bribed you into it, LOL). On retreat, meals were simple and served only twice daily, save a late afternoon tangerine or mandarin. She laughed when she told me about it, how she had sat with that daily treat, appreciating and savoring all aspects of the thing, from the feel of pox-marked peel in hand… to the sensation and flavor of the last sweet-tart drop on her tongue. “I’ve never enjoyed it so much in my life!!!”
Buddhist teacher Thich Nhat Hanh writes of the Tangerine Meditation, “We looked at our tangerine and the children were invited to meditate on its origins. They saw not only their tangerine, but also its mother, the tangerine tree. With some guidance, they began to visualize the blossoms in the sunshine and in the rain. Then they saw petals falling down and tiny green fruit appear. The sunshine and the rain continued and the tiny tangerine grew.” He encourages them to peel it slowly, noticing the mist and the fragrance, the texture and the taste of the juice. “Each time you look at a tangerine, you can see deeply into it,” he writes.
Stuck inside with limited opportunity for adventure beyond Netflix, the latest news update and (hopefully) a few good books, consider the adventure of eating something you normally don’t pay all that much attention to. Do it with ALL of your attention, as if it is the first time you’ve ever eaten the thing. Or as if it were to be the last.
Be well. Be present. Life still contains moments of sweetness.
Jessica Stevens (writing mindfulness for Isabella)
For more mindfulness by Thich Nhat Hanh, consider reading Peace is Every Step which he wrote in the 1960s as a primer for relief workers in Vietnam.