A toastmaster should draw everyone's attention and say a few appropriate words. These words might be a poem, an old saying, or some brief remarks especially written for the event. Eye contact is appropriate and, depending upon the tastes and relationship of the celebrants, holding hands around the table.
The following consecration is illustrative of the tone appropriate for an important family reunion.
"What a great occasion! We are gathered here together in the safety of our home, each of us taking a moment from our busy, separate lives, to enjoy this wonderful meal with ones we love. Let this evening be a special time in our lives, a blessed stopping point in which we can simply enjoy who we are, where we are, and what we are doing. Let us enjoy this magnificent now with family and friends. Thank you, mother, for preparing this beautiful meal."
For a regular family meal, O. T. Nelson, in his book, THE GIRL WHO OWNED A CITY,
suggests this little saying: "As we have earned this food, so must we earn all that is valuable in our lives."
The following consecration is illustrative of the tone appropriate for a routine family meal.
"We have created this meal to serve and sustain our lives. Let us enjoy this meal in the full knowledge that all life is purposeful action aimed toward our highest value, our own precious lives and happiness."
We must be mindful of the times of our lives. It is up to each of us to create meaningful, personal traditions to honor our families, our friend, and ourselves.
REFLECTIONS UPON RETIRING FOR THE EVENING
As we discussed in Chapter 1, personal reflection is an important tool for appreciating your precious life. It is difficult to and time to do this seemingly unproductive activity in our busy days. One problem is self-imposed expectations. If you expect great insights each time you set aside ten minutes for reflection, you will be disappointed. At the end of the day just before bed is a good time for personal refection and meditation. Two good questions to consider are these: What is good about my life? And, what are my life's purposes and what do I need to do about them tomorrow?
Of course, this is personal reflection and so the questions upon which you choose to reflect are up to you. Sometimes you may not have the mental energy even to think about these questions. In such a case, do not think. Simply sit and empty your mind of all thought. The point of this activity is to allow yourself time to appreciate your life even if you fail to do it on a particular occasion. In addition, not thinking allows issues pushed to the back of your consciousness by the press of ordinary day-to-day business to rise to the level of consciousness so that you can be aware of them.
If you do choose to consider what is good about your life, look to your intimate relationships, your friends, your work, your health, and your political and economic freedom. When considering your life's purposes, look to your marriage, your children, and your work. Be sure to think about specific issues that you need to address tomorrow before retiring. Put that magnificent fact of existence, your mind to work upon your problem. By calling the problem to mind just before bed, you are programming your unconscious thought processes to solve the problem while you sleep.
This activity is not transcendental meditation, yoga, or any form of mysticism. This activity is routine thoughtfulness. It is rational to be thoughtful.