We’ve lived through the big day – the family reunions and the food and the cleanup – and now we feel the pull to reflection. What does it all mean?
In this time of seasonal feasting, it is inevitable that we remember fondly those stories, many made into films, that take us to a place of reverent nostalgia regarding our own past ritual feasts. The Christmas Dinner in Little Women is always one of my favourites, along with a modern version of the crazy Christmas togetherness in The Family Stone. Every time I see Elf I laugh and cry because the naive, child-like part of me wishes every orphan could end up a loved and valued Elf in Santa’s workshop. Generosity, forgiveness, and love are always on the menu in our favourite stories, as well as a balancing portion of the kind of satire we find in Eating Raoul, Tampopo, and The Hunger Games. Recent food documentaries A Place at the Table, The Power of Community, and Food, Inc. help us to understand why we are so preoccupied with food in our culture, and the First Nations peoples’ experiences recorded in Standing Silent Nation let us know why we need satirists like Jon Stewart to rival Jonathan Swift and his “A Modest Proposal”. These films and many others illustrate how food brings us together and separates us but one stands above the rest because, while it is about food, it is also about the spiritual nature of life, even in the midst of great feasting.
In Ontario, we celebrate Thanksgiving the second Monday in October, a time when harvest is in the air and fall fairs abound. It is a quiet holiday, sometimes combined with closing up the cottage for those families who have a summer place on one of the beautiful northern lakes. Most often Thanksgiving in Ontario centres on family; many college students make the journey home from college, often for the only time before the big break in December, and extended family members scattered to the four winds gather at the ruling matriarch’s or patriarch’s home to share celebratory family dishes and catch up on family news. For those without blood relations nearby, close friends gather on this holiday for potluck dinner parties in which stories are exchanged about the origins of recipes and the transformation of rituals over time. Food stories often reflect the bitter and the sweet aspects of these gatherings.
People define Grace in many ways, often in relation to specific religions. The definition I like best is an inclusive one that captures the feeling of being in harmony with wherever I am and whatever I may be doing. For me, feeling a sense of unimpeded energy flow, of easy passage through Scylla and Charybdis should they suddenly appear, and of trust in the deep underlying intelligence and purposefulness of life on Earth puts me in the amazing zone of timeless perfection in which all things fit together in mysteriously beautiful ways. For me, this state describes bliss, the eternal now, and the peace beyond human understanding.
Sooner or later, life presents us with a condition for which we need expert medical attention. A bone fracture, a bad tooth, cataracts, heart-valve challenges, and cancer diagnoses are examples of circumstances that call for a deepening relationship with the medical practitioners in our lives. Many of us attend pre-surgery appointments with apprehension and even dread. Happily, EFT can reduce our anxiety about medical procedures before we have them, and, with frequent, specific use, shorten our recovery time.