“Everything is food,” say the Zen Buddhists.
We absorb information from people and places, sight and sounds. We affect ourselves with our feelings, attitudes and thoughts. We allow our sensations to be affected by outside influences.
This food can help us to feel stronger or sap our energy. Every day we face certain decisions. For example:
“What kind of food do I want to put into my system? How can I take in more positive food? How can avoid the poisonous food?”
Let’s consider how you can enrich your body and soul.
“My Eureka moment came one morning on the M25,” said one person. “Sitting in the traffic jam listening to politicians arguing on the radio, I found myself getting more depressed.”
“So I switched off the radio, put on my favourite music and let my mind wander. It didn’t shift the traffic, but something changed within me.”
“Now I start the day by listening to music, rather than arguments. Instead of ‘garbage in, garbage out’, I go for ‘good things in, good things out’.”
Try tackling the exercise on this theme. Start by identifying the positive food in your life and work. This may include, for example:
Eating healthy food.
Being with encouraging friends.
Spending time in the countryside.
Doing satisfying work.
Feeling I am in control at work.
Listening to my favourite music.
Visiting the theatre.
Pursuing creative activities, such as painting, writing or gardening.
Setting aside time to do nothing.
Try completing the following sentence.
Describe the poisonous food you don’t want to consume in your life and work. One person took this literally. He said:
“For years I ate unhealthy white bread and felt heavy. Now I have a wheat-free diet. I feel much better and, over the last 6 months, have lost 3 kilos.”
What are the negative things that affect your system? The poisonous food that you want to avoid in the future could be, for example:
Eating tasteless food in hotels.
Spending too many nights away from home.
Listening to negative people.
Working with dispiriting clients.
Having back-to-back meetings during the day.
Meeting in windowless rooms.
Feeling out of control at work.
Neglecting my health.
Try tackling the exercise on this theme. Identify the potentially poisonous food that you want to avoid in your life and work. Try completing the following sentence.
Positive food in the future
“Changing the habits of a lifetime can take some planning,” explained the person who changed his diet. “My job involves travelling around the country by train.
“Now I get to the station 20 minutes before the train departs. I create time to buy salad and fruit at one of the recently opened food outlets.
“Previously I arrived 5 minutes before the train left – then ate crisps and starchy sandwiches during the journey. Now I feel more energetic and creative.”
How can you take in more nutritious ‘food’? How can you take more control of what you allow into your body and soul? One approach is to, as far as possible, plan your week ahead of time. You may then aim:
To get enough sleep.
To organise your diary so you feel more in control.
To spend time with stimulating customers.
To perform work where you can play to your strengths.
To have small snacks of healthy food every couple of hours.
To build in time for breaks between meetings.
To exercise several times a week.
To play your favourite music.
To spend time with stimulating people.
To stay in charge of the media messages you take in.
Try tackling the exercise on this theme. This invites you to do two things. First, describe the specific thing you can do to take in positive, rather than poisonous, food in the future. Second, describe the benefits of doing these things. Try completing the following sentences.