Living Deliberately

Henry David Thoreau said “I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived.”

It’s a notion that occupies me: what does it mean to live deliberately? I have some idea.

I think it’s about being fully present in any given moment, and I am working on being better at that. I’m pretty good about it in regards to food. :-) You won’t usually find me mindlessly stuffing my face, not noticing what I am eating. I love food. I don’t eat huge quantities, but I enjoy what I eat and pay attention to it.

I love to cook. NOT crazy about cleaning up, but sometimes even that can be a satisfying pleasure. But cooking...now that’s fun! It can be creative and expressive. I enjoy the smells, and the beauty of it. Beauty? Sure! The blush on a ripe nectarine, a bunch of glossy green basil, or those perfect little grape tomatoes? Food can be very pretty.

Even having a really good conversation can be a time to live deliberately. I have certain friends who let their passion for a topic show. They become animated and bright with excitement, and I love to talk with them. One of those friends also loves to eat the way I do, and we enjoy sharing a kitchen from time to time. I count her as one of the blessings in my life.

The way I see it, if I put my energy into paying attention to the moment, who I am with and what I am doing, I will be living deliberately. I know that I burn more calories, eat less but enjoy it more and feel better all the way around if I do. Old H.D. Thoreau could only approve.