One of them is the practice of gratitude. It is something that needs practicing; the more habitual it becomes, the better you'll feel on a normal day and the deeper you'll be able to dig on those days when you need to feel better. I don't do too much habitually except eat, so I've been considering ways to include the ritual of grace at our table without invoking a deity.
At kindergarten most German children are taught to say
Piep piep piep Peep peep peepand we've been using that at home for more than a year. Currently we're dealing with a bit of an all-fronts anti-English rebellion and, not willing to concede my progecolony just yet, I've responded in part by thinking up some English alternatives.
Wir haben uns alle Lieb We all love each other
Guten Appetit! Bon appetit!
Here are my results so far. I'd like one that's child-friendly and one for special occasions; I'd be most grateful for any feedback or further suggestions!
May this meal help us grow in gratitude and strength.Online I found some others that I quite liked but just weren't what we need right now:
For all that we have,
and those whom we love,
let us be truly thankful
Thanks to the farmer and thanks to the meat
Thanks to the cook, and now let's eat!
All I really need is a song in my heart, food in my belly, and love in my family.
All I really need is here with me now, and I sing my song of thanks (adapted from a Raffi song)
For the sun and the rain and the earth,
the plants and the meat,
We're grateful for friendship and mirth
and healthy food to eat
Reach up towards your goals, reach down to help the small
We give thanks for this food that makes us strong and tall (has the potential benefit of actions - but what to do for "thanks"?) [edit: clap]
May we learn and love, grow and strive
Thanks to those who help us thrive.
For what is on this table
we are truly grateful
Let us enjoy our meal
And give thanks for the feed
Let us enjoy good company
But remember those in need
For bounty, while many know hunger
for hope, while many live in fear
for love, while many are lonely
we give thanks for all our blessings here
It's a gift to live simply,
It's a gift to be free,
We are grateful for all that went into this meal
itadakimasu (means "I humbly receive" in Japanese - or so I'm told)
"Here’s a beautiful Buddhist meal gatha that is entirely secular:What do you think? Could you imagine applying something like this to your meal rituals? Do you practice gratitude?
We receive this food in gratitude to all beings
Who have helped to bring it to our table,
And vow to respond in turn to those in need
With wisdom and compassion.
"Or how about this variation on a Native American thanks giving:
We give thanks for the plants and animals who have given themselves so that we can enjoy this meal together.
We also give thanks for our friends and family who have traveled here today.
May this meal bring us strength and health.