September 5, 2021
With a recent shift in our days at home, the wisdom of digestion and real nutrition was deeply impressed upon me. Digestion is a life process in which we are asleep in consciousness. It’s important to maintain the dreaming of digestion for children so that they may build a healthy, conscientious relationship with food and their well-being. Digestion itself is personal, while the act of eating, coming together to share a meal, is social. Gathering and cultivating a pleasant mood, within a warm setting, full of ritual and conversation, is a dreaming part of the process that nourishes.
Reflecting the quality of the season, our daily summer rhythm is relaxed and more spontaneous. We are outdoors often and the work and play is long. Coming together for dinner is easygoing but also sometimes feels like an extension to our “play” as we gather outdoors to eat and visit late into the evening. It all makes summer and mealtime quite joyful, something of a celebration even.
Now at the end of the summer, we are turning towards the school year. My oldest son started high school last week, and I am winding down our days, transitioning into the school year rhythm with my other two sons. As August often goes, the weather has been especially hot and the longer days are wearing upon us. The landscape is becoming muted, the trees have a slightly tired look and are already dropping their first leaves. We are all yearning for the shift into Autumn.
We also returned indoors for dinner during the week. It feels like a gradual parting from the celebration of summer, as if to say, “We have serious things to do now, no more playing around late into the night. We’ll see you again next year.” But while it could evoke feelings of resistance or sadness, it was a welcome change. We set the table with napkins and silverware. We lit a candle and sang our blessing. A simple ritual, but an important marker of our time together. A spiritual opening to the meal and all the deeds put toward creating it, set into motion the whole activity of meeting- seeing, listening, embracing- each other separated from our day’s work. After expending so much energy in the big “out-breath” of summer, we felt held. It was a soulful nourishment sourced from beyond our plates, merging with the sustenance that our healthful food provided for us. We were all struck by how good it felt to return indoors for dinner, how much we really needed it.