As we prepare to sit around festive tables with abundant food, beverages and seasonal decorations perhaps we can pause and reflect on where it all came from. In most cases a store, but before the store? Most of what we consume begins in the soil, raised by the sun, encouraged by the rain, and cared for by the farmer. When we look at our food, we may become aware of the interconnection to all of life that created it and brought it to our table. We paid for it, yes, but is it not more satisfying to imagine it as a gift which includes the star dust that falls to earth and enters the soil? Perhaps it includes a thunderstorm or two! Our bodies are not separate from the eco-system that supports our existence. Are not groceries turned into a human being by a mother who eats to support two?
Now that we are aware of our connectedness to all can we bring our attention to the people at the table? Can we look around, see the eyes of others, and be thankful for their presence? Can we share the gift of listening and what Gene Gendlin refers to as interhuman attention? Are we not enacting a creation story, of giving birth and nurturing consciousness, at this very meal? “Perhaps I am a dreamer but I’m not the only one” says John Lennon. I am beginning to think the most precious gifts are the ones that give something of our self through attention to the other. I give thanks for my connection to All and to my relationships with each opening of consciousness we call a human being.
In truth, I am a bit slow. I took for granted my mother’s gift of life to me, her home-grown vegetables and holiday decorations. I grew up with many things and the expectation there would always be more. As I grow into my elder-hood, I have come to feel blessed by my adult children’s gifts of writings, art or hand-made gifts and the loving touch from my wife, her garden harvest and flowers on the table. I get to listen to their joys and sorrows and dreams and I feel thanks for their attention and listening as the seeds I have sowed come back to me. I have so much to give thanks for!
It may seem simple, but I do believe we all feel grateful when we experience being connected to the earth and the people that make up our lives through this abundance that is there all the time. We only have to pause and bring our attention to our food and the eyes of those around us.
Blessings during the holiday season.