#KitchenTableConversations - Can looking at how beautiful this Fall cabbage lead us into thinking more about our connection to the natural light cycles in each season or to the health of our body and earth? I believe it does or at least it does for me.
In my gypsy life, living in the Northwest Territories and Alberta, I can certainly say that being 'busy' in Alberta is looked at much more differently than the North. Busy in Alberta is more of a yang energy and in the North it is very much a yin energy when discussing the winter months.
Growing up with such an appreciation for Nature and the humility to know that I am just a part of it, not one who controls it, has brought me to a strong sense in grounding and gratitude in the foods I eat.
The basic premise in my thinking about food and how our society's poor diet is at least partly a physical manifestation of the beginning of a spiritual decay. Possibly?
Most of the connections that we should have to the source of our food are loose, some are absent, and some have been severed. There has been a breakage in relationship - between people and the Earth, between people and the animals and plants that we eat, between people and other people, and between people and the Divine - the source of everything.
Just this conversation may make people feel uncomfortable and think this is too heavy of a discussion which may be part of the disconnect. But to me, it is a groovy conversation.
We cannot heal ourselves or make up for this loss by simply taking supplements or restricting our diet. We have to heal the relationships and reestablish these primary connections if we want to be healthy and whole.
It is not just about self-help, it is about cultural transformation and rebuilding community. Eating nutrient-dense foods, and keeping as many toxins as possible out of our food stream, would alleviate much suffering. But this is just one level of change that needs to happen if we want true healing to occur.
When we begin to heal the broken relationships in our food system, the nutrition of our food begins to improve. Animals are treated humanely when we understand that we are in relationship with them - that they are part of a whole we, too, belong to.
Once we accept that we are all connected, and that we want those connections to be strong, flexible, and resilient instead of severed, torn, or frayed, healing becomes profound and multilayered. Ultimately, it is not something that any one of us can do in isolation. Once we begin to acknowledge our interdependence with others, it becomes absurd to think "I am healthy but my community is sick," or "I am healthy but the world is sick." We are too much a part of our community and our world is too much a part of us for that to be viable.
We must begin to think about modern diseases in metaphorical and symbolic language, not just the language of physiology, to figure out what connections have been loosened and what relationships have been broken.
While degenerative diseases and mental health are certainly related to our diet, and perhaps to all the electrical lights from our homes, street lights, stop lights, computers, and smart phones, I am convinced that they are also related to our way of being in the world, and to our belief systems.
While I think it can only help to turn the lights out a little earlier and to eat more traditional fats and less refined sugars, these changes should be part of a development that is psychospiritual as well as physiological.
We live in the material world, but that is not the only level of reality. It is also not the only level of healing.
During the Winter Solstice, may we begin to be a little more comfortable with the dark, and the mystery it symbolizes. May we remember to sleep, and to rest, to dream, and to talk to the Divine. May we remember that there is no such thing as human perfection, and show a magical humility in the presence of all the things that surpass understanding.
May we remember that differences can be gifts, or can carry within them gifts of very great measure. Let us not be too arrogant to accept the gift of another person's opinion, or to offer the giver a place at our table. And may that table be full of nourishing foods, with plenty to share.
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Enjoy and be healthy, happy and kind.