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Connecting to What You Eat: The First Fish

Embrace the sacred journey of mindful nourishment, from connecting with nature’s gifts to infusing love into your food, fostering gratitude, and honoring the profound relationship between what you eat and your spiritual practice.

In this fast-food world where cost and convenience often take precedence over nutrition and connection, it’s easy to forget the importance of deepening our connection to what we eat. Mealtime presents an opportunity for me to deepen my spiritual practice. Starting with the food itself and the way I prepare it, to my state of mind as it enters my body, I choose to be intentional in this shared act of nourishment. Here are some of my own practices, with the most significant thread among them being the connection to the food. When you intentionally infuse love into what you eat, it aligns the food energetically into a more nurturing and healthy meal. Let me share with you the story of catching my first fish from Kootenay Lake and the spiritual practices I incorporate into my food.

I took my neighbor, Ivo, out for a boat ride after dinner one summer afternoon. The calm waters of the sacred lake resonated with the divine presence of nature as we chose a spot to drop our lines, where the mouth of a cold mountain-fed river met the pure waters of the lake. My mind settled, and gratitude welled up in my heart, an undeniable expression of love surrounded by nature. I asked the spirit of the fish for the gift of life. This is the first spiritual practice when it comes to intentionally nourishing the body: connecting with the land and the plant or animal that offers itself to you, asking for permission, and fostering a relationship of gratitude.

When the line pulled, the rod nearly came out of the holder. Ivo shouted, “Fish! Fish!” I stopped the boat and began reeling in the fish. In those moments of intense presence, time slowed down, and my full attention was on the act of bringing this living being into my net. The fish fought hard, and at any moment, it could have escaped back into the depths of the lake. From the waters emerged a beautiful rainbow trout that would soon grace my table. I held this living, breathing creature in my hand and said a prayer of gratitude for the gift of life. I then extinguished its life quickly and respectfully, with intentions of gratitude and love. Reverence for the food we eat infuses it with positive energy that is often lacking in the factory farm industry. This same intentionality of reverence applies to garden-fresh vegetables, where you can literally taste the love imbued through the cultivation process. We then slowly boated home, witnessing a majestic sunset and the contrasting silhouettes of distant mountains, blessing our souls with a profound sense of presence.

I am incredibly fortunate to have a wonderful mentor in Ivo who showed me how to gut and clean a fish with his own catch. Using a sharp knife, I made an incision from the anus to just below the jaw, being careful not to slice the internal organs. I learned how to remove the innards, clean the blood, and descale the skin. Just like every step in this process, staying present and having the intention of love and respect for the being that gave its life is paramount to holding space while performing this act of connection. Once the fish has been cleaned, it is ready to be prepared for the meal.

Preparing any meal as a spiritual act not only enhances its taste but also increases its health benefits. The food becomes infused with love and kindness as you mindfully prepare it. I dressed the fish with fresh garden herbs, butter, lemon, and garlic, adding some salt and pepper for taste. Blessing the food lovingly is part meditation and part intention. I visualize and silently say to myself, “May this food nourish the body and fill the soul with love,” with full presence and heartfelt belief in the knowledge that I am bringing this truth into the world as a co-creative act of love. I put my full attention into the preparation process, aligning what I am about to eat with what I want to be eating. Slowing down to cook food has many benefits, including recalibrating our nervous system to embrace the gifts of the natural world with love as we eat.

The fish was cooked to perfection on the barbecue and flaked perfectly. It tasted like pure heaven and was further enjoyed through the practice of mindful eating. Research, as described in a Harvard article, confirms that mindful eating can lead to greater psychological well-being, increased pleasure when eating, and body satisfaction. When you savor each morsel, you naturally express gratitude for the gift provided by the great mystery. I felt proud to provide a delicious meal for my family, just like the countless ancestors who provided food for their families. I choose to love my body on a cellular level through a right relationship with my food and treasure this opportunity to fully experience the full circle of the food I eat.

Thank you, Mother Earth, the directions, and all the seen and unseen powers of the universe for this treasured gift of love and life.

All My Relations

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