Lately I’ve taken to having my breakfast by candlelight.
There’s something warm and inviting about softly flickering candles that signals safety, calmness and peace. Sacredness, even. After all, we use candles in worship services; we use them on our table at special occasions like holiday feasts and birthdays—so, think about it: why not breakfast? I mean, let's be honest: some mornings (recently, for me, many mornings) just making it into another day feels like a holy miracle, an achievement worth celebrating.
Waking up each morning to the rage and disruption and confusion and fear in the world and having to step into your day with a smile on your face can seem daunting sometimes. So why not give your day a little positive reset from the start? Why not try a little candlelight?
For me, I’ve found it really helps to create a peaceful space for my first meal of the day. To light the candles, place my bowl of fresh fruit on the table, sit for a moment with my eyes closed, and give thanks. Thanks to the hands that grew the food, harvested it, shipped it and sold it; to the sun and rain that nurtured it. Gratitude for my quiet little table in my peaceful home, for the ability to eat and enjoy food, and for this moment to sit in silence and be thankful.
I’ve also taken to keeping fresh flowers on my table. Flowers and candlelight make any meal feel like a special occasion, especially at unexpected or otherwise mundane moments--like breakfast. And in these heavy, challenging times when it can feel like the world is falling apart around us, we really do need to find moments to celebrate, to focus on something positive. The great French scientist/philosopher Blaise Pascal once wrote, “In difficult times, carry something beautiful in your heart.” Breakfast with candlelight and flowers just makes it a little easier to do.
So before you open up Facebook or the NY Times on your phone tomorrow morning, try setting a peaceful breakfast table. Candles and flowers really help. So does taking a moment to be grateful. Start your day in a way that reaffirms life, that reminds you of the beauty and precious gift of being alive. It won’t change the political climate or cure disease or end wars, but it just might change you. From where I sit at my breakfast table this morning, that seems like a pretty good start.