Dining Alone--A scary concept for many of us that we will do ANYTHING to avoid it. If we do find ourselves in that situation we will quickly distract ourselves with whatever means handy; cellphone, book, magazine, even the menu !
I originally faced this concept several years ago when I was feeling low and just could not stand to look at the walls of my house any longer. Feeling isolated and depressed I forced myself to get out and go eat ALONE ! Originally this was not my first option. After about the 4 or 5th call to friends who were all busy having a life I reluctantly took myself out for lunch.
I started to pull out my book and journal thinking I would have amazing insights to my life and the world around me. Well--that didn't happen. Honestly I could not really focus on anything that day other than just feeling low. So I put everything away, ordered my food and sat. I sat without ANYTHING to distract me and then it happened.
The art of noticing !! Now I have always been one to notice details, mannerisms, and decor but this was noticing on a very intimate level. I noticed what the air smelled like, I noticed what my table felt like, I noticed the perfume on the server, I noticed the family across the room from me. I think you get the point of where I am going with this. This act of noticing brought everything alive and gave it breath, gave it life that had been there and I was always too distracted to see.
When my food came out, this brought about another experience of tasting, smelling, chewing and just the overall enjoyment of what I was eating and how the rhythm of my chewing was almost like a meditation. The interaction I had with my server was just as wonderful. I did not get the details of her life but we interacted in a way that you only can when that is the only person you have to interact with. That 45 min or an hour, whatever it was the one of the most memorable lunches I have had.
Was it because the food was great, not really. Was it because I came away with amazing solutions to my life, not really. Was it because it was the nicest place I have ever been, not really. People this was a Chili's bar and grill--not a table by the beach !
Sit with your uncomfortableness, make friends with your insecurity, and relax into your judgements about what others are thinking about you sitting there alone. Once you do , then comes the confidence to look up and around and not mind if anyone is staring,wondering why you are all by yourself.
I share this to not only give you permission to try dining alone, but to try it with out ANY distractions. Take your experience in and NOTICE what you NOTICE !!
I have done this on more than one occasions and of the many lunch dates I have had out with wonderful people and wonderful food. I can remember almost every time I dined alone and the experience I had. Today in fact, I was feeling a little too secluded so I took myself out to lunch and came back feeling more revived than ever !