Taste of life: Awakening to the wonders of food

Getting one’s hands in the dirt, and caring enough about what is eaten to sweat for it, can result in greater appreciation of the food itself.

by Loba — 

Sensing a connection to the source of your food can make a huge difference in how healthy and satisfied you feel. For example, learning how to identify, lovingly harvest and prepare local wild plants can connect you more deeply to your sensual and grateful self, and to the sustenance and inspiration Mother Earth provides.

It is inspiring to see how many folks these days are growing gardens, planting heirloom seeds, and reviving interest in vegetables and fruits seldom seen in stores. Getting one’s hands in the dirt, and caring enough about what is eaten to sweat for it, can result in greater appreciation of the food itself.

Simply making the extra effort to shop at growers’ markets can strengthen your link to the food and earth on which you depend. But even in the glaring, modern supermarket it is important to try and hold onto wonder and gratitude. Next time you shop, try letting yourself linger at the lemons, imagining how their zest, juice and fragrance will spark up your next salad, or inspire you to find that old lemon bar recipe you have tucked away.

Let your hands caress the smooth, glossy skins of the eggplants, and daydream about ratatouille or a cheesy grilled eggplant sandwich with tomatoes or red peppers, fresh oregano or greens.

Picture the ground they grew in, their evolution and ancestry, the beauty of their fruits and flowers, their struggles from sprout to harvest. When cooking, take time to envision, play, taste and savor. Dress up for the occasion, honoring the ingredients as you mindfully and ceremoniously work them into tasty dishes.

The extra effort of giving your food the attention it deserves can be part of a spiritual or personal growth practice, as preparation and dining become prayer, celebration, magic, communion and delight. Noticing your hungers — and finding joy and wonder in your food — bares your senses to a full-body experience of the blessings of nature and spirit, and opens your heart to the fullness of life.

 

Loba is a writer who codirects the Anima Retreat & Women’s Center in the mountains of Southwest New Mexico with her partner, Kiva Rose. Box 688, Reserve, NM 87830. mail@animacenter.org or www.animacenter.org.

Reprinted from AzNetNews, Volume 26, Number 4, August/September 2007.

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