Welcome To My Table

The Christmas Eve Feast

“Sharing food with another human being is an intimate act that should not be indulged in lightly.”

M.F.K. Fisher

I think of meals shared over a lifetime. The late-night corn on the cob and pie served by my grandmother as I sat, ate, and drowsily listened to the adults conversing in French. The meal shared on a date, watching the other chew, drink, swallow, the table manners, or lack thereof, conversation as each delves further into understanding. The shy smiles, teasing, flirting, hands gently touching. The breakfast served after I gave birth. Babes feeding at my breast —eye contact, smile, unspoken love. A family meal with the chaos of hurry to get the food on, busy schedules, quick conversations, laughter. And a family meal in silence, pain felt around the table, tension in the air, a TV blaring in the background. I see a meal served at a shelter, eye contact with a stranger, the bow of a head, a gentle smile. Meals with a prayer, a breath before a bite, holding hands, a centering moment before all dig in. A holiday meal with a mesh of conversations as I sit and smile and listen, then partake, reveling in the beauty of family love surrounding me. A meal where health issues are shared, a tear shed. Coffee and pie with my father acknowledging me, his daughter, as he is preparing to die. A lunch when my mother succumbs to a stroke before the coffee is served. A community of believers breaking a loaf made at a member’s home, now shared as communion. The sacred act of setting a table, placing the plates, napkins, utensils just so with flowers, a candle, a moment of gazing at the scene before all are served, anticipating, savoring the intimate moments to come. Come to the table. Bon Appétit.

“Eating is so intimate. It’s very sensual. When you invite someone to sit at your table and you want to cook for them, you’re inviting a person into your life.”

Maya Angelou

“When poets write about food it is usually celebratory. Food as the thing-in-itself, but also the thoughtful preparation of meals, the serving of meals, meals communally shared: a sense of the sacred in the profane.”

Joyce Carol Oates

Ongoing Resource List: Reading for Mind and Heart

  • St Francis of Assisi: Brother of Creation by Mirabai Starr
  • Wild Wisdom Edited by Neil Douglas-Klotz
  • Earth Prayers From Around The World, Ed by Elizabeth Roberts & Elias Amidon
  • The Tao of Relationships by Ray Grigg
  • Anam Cara: A Book of Celtic Wisdom by John O’Donohue
  • Unconditional Love and Forgiveness by Edith R. Stauffer, Ph.D.
  • Keep Going: The Art of Perseverance by Joseph M. Marshall III
  • Art & Fear by David Bayless & Ted Orland
  • Quantum-Touch by Richard Gordon
  • The Van Gogh Blues: The Creative Persons Path Through Depression by Eric Maisel, PhD
  • The Faraway Nearby by Rebecca Solnit
  • Amazing Grace: A Vocabulary of Faith by Kathleen Norris
  • Forever Ours: Real Stories of Immortality and Living by Janis Amatuzio
  • Personal Power Through Awareness by Sanaya Roman
  • Violence & Compassion by His Holiness the Dahlai Lama
  • Teachings on Love by Thich Nhat Hanh
  • Devotions by Mary Oliver
  • To Bless the Space Between Us by John O’Donohue
  • Meditations From the Mat by Rolf Gates and Katrina Kenison
  • The House of Belonging: poems by David Whyte
  • Full Catastrophe Living: Using the Wisdom of Your Body and Mind to Face Stress, Pain and Illness, by Jon Kabat-Zinn
  • The Faraway Nearby by Rebecca Solnit
  • Soul an Archaeology Edited by Phil Cousineau
  • A Path With Heart by Jack Kornfield
  • Listening Point by Sigurd Olson
  • I Sit Listening to the Wind by Judith Duerk
  • Dancing Moons by Nancy Wood
  • The Soul of Rumi, Translations by Coleman Barks
  • Keep Going by Joseph M. Marshall III
  • Arriving at your own Door by Jon Kabat-Zinn
  • The Untethered Soul by Michael Singer
  • The Hidden Secrets of Water by Paolo Consigli
  • Conquest of Mind by Eknath Easwaran
  • Color: A Natural History of the Palette by Victoria Finlay
  • Peace is Every Step by Thich Nhat Hanh
  • I Thought It Was Just Me (But It Isn’t) by Brene Brown
  • Practicing Peace in Times of War by Pema Chodron
  • When Things Fall Apart by Pema Chodron
  • On Death and Dying by Elizabeth Kubler-Ross
  • Unattended Sorrow by Stephen Levine
  • Joy in Loving, Mother Theresa
  • The Joy of Living by Yongey Mingyur Rinpoche
  • Let Your LIfe Speak by Parker Palmer
  • Zen and the Art of Saving the Planet by Thich Nhat Hanh
  • The Essence of the Upanishads by Eknath Easwaran
  • Welcoming the Unwelcome by Pema Chodron
  • Braiding Sweetgrass by Robin Wall Kimmerer
  • Medicine Cards: The Discovery of Power Through The Ways Of Animals by Jamie Sams and David Carson
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