a peek inside the fishbowl

19 Nov, 2020

Not feeling very Zen right now? Try silent breakfasts

Posted by andrea tomkins in: Misc. life

I’ve been pondering this New York Times article since I first read it. I really like the idea of breakfast serving as an opportunity for a mini-mediation. Of course, you can do this in the car, or while walking the dog, or brushing your teeth, but somehow, doing it in the morning like this seems to be a fitting way to start a day.

I don’t have silent breakfasts because this is the time that I catch up with the news of the day, but I do have a silent coffee.

This part of the article is soooo relatable. I feel like this person has looked inside my brain:

I couldn’t concentrate, so I let my mind run wild through its litany of worries and reminders. Then, like a toddler wearing herself out after a tantrum, my thoughts quieted down. After several days of silent breakfast, I started to hear myself. My concerns and thoughts, happy with their time at the soapbox, stepped back and stopped plaguing me first thing in the morning. I could focus on what was in front of me, without guilt, without obligation, without stress. It was an unusual feeling of freedom.

When I get up it’s still dark. What motivates me to do things I don’t want to do is TREATS. (Seriously.) I leave the warmth of my duvet knowing there is coffee. Mark bought me a very good conical burr grinder awhile back and we buy good beans to fill it with. I grind the coffee fresh every morning and make myself a double espresso with a dash of cream. I drink it on the couch while looking at a candle that I light when I first come downstairs. This ritual is free of devices and interruptions. I am alone with my thoughts. It is my luxurious, silent, coffee. It is so calming. I think about how delicious my coffee is, and how grateful I am to be drinking such delicious coffee. Of course, my mind wanders, but it’s only doing what it’s supposed to do. When unwanted thoughts intrude – as they do – I acknowledge them and set them aside… because what’s more important than this coffee right now? (The answer is nothing. Nothing is more important.)

I know it sounds very woo-woo but the candle actually helps me focus on all of this. (Also, it makes me happy to use my candles. What have I been saving them for all this time?)

I used to use my desktop SAD lamp every morning this time of year, but I don’t seem to need it anymore. Maybe this coffee/yoga/treadmill ritual is a substitute for that on some biological level? I don’t know.

Of course, the huge disclaimer here is that I wasn’t able to enjoy a silent coffee until much later in life. When there are kids in the house, a silent breakfast or coffee might seem downright impossible. I think about that all the time.

1 Response to "Not feeling very Zen right now? Try silent breakfasts"

1 | Lynn

November 24th, 2020 at 10:48 am


Such a lovely practice and a lovely idea!

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My name is Andrea and I live in the Westboro area of Ottawa with my husband Mark and our dog Piper who is kind of a big deal on Instagram. We also have two human daughters: Emma (20) and Sarah (18). During the day I work as a writer at The Royal Ottawa Mental Health Centre. I am a longtime Ottawa blogger and I've occupied this little corner of the WWW since 1999. The Fishbowl is my whiteboard, water cooler, and journal, all rolled into one. I'm passionate about healthy living, arts and culture, family travel, great gear, good food, and sharing the best of Ottawa for families. I also love vegetables, photography, gadgets, and great design.

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