Although I cannot recall the occasion, a scene from my past comes vividly to mind.  I am sitting around a table with two other people.  In our conversation, we discovered that we were all  forty five years old.  I said, “some day I am going to write a book entitled, “Forty-Five ways to celebrate without eating..”  That book has never been written yet the idea still intrigues me.  Don’t misunderstand me; I love food.  Cooking and preparing food is an art.  Creativity abounds in the kitchen; I love a good meal with friends or family and I am one who enjoys a nice table setting whether it be a flower arrangement or some other creative display.

The point I want to make here is that not all feasts supply the kind of food you put into your mouth.  Some feasts offer us the nourishment of beauty and inspiration. To enjoy this kind of feast it is essential that you live awake, nurture awareness, move slowly through the day with eyes and heart wide open.  Drink in what is set before you.  All the gifts that you behold table settings pointing you to food for the soul.

The image above, the bright colored leaf, was one of my table settings from this summer.   Climbing a wooden stairs while bemoaning my arthritis I paused when I saw the leaf.  It was a way of replenishing both body and soul.  Isn’t that what we do when we eat and drink?  The leaf became food.  That moment turned into a feast.  I was also reminded of how many feasts I miss when I sleepwalk through my days.  Living awake is a practice.  Feasting on life is a practice.

The Indian poet, Tagore, surely understood this kind of food when he wrote:

 “I HAVE HAD MY INVITATION TO THIS WORLD’S FESTIVAL

AND THUS MY LIFE HAS BEEN BLESSED!

The invitation does not come by mail.  It is innate!  Within!  What you truly see that opens wide your heart is like your alarm clock.   It is your table setting for the moment and so of course it is an invitation to pause, to take and eat, to drink in, to imbibe.

Here are a few of the table settings that summer has offered me.  Or, perhaps I should say:  these are some of my invitations to this world’s festival.  Whether I am blessed is of my own choosing.  There are times when I do not notice the invitation and so of course, miss the blessing.

Table Setting One is the little Crepe Myrtle flower growing out of the sweet wood that is also its womb.

Table Setting Two is a nest of white and blue in the sky inviting me to to look up in wonder.

Table Setting Three was finding a friend and sister in the sunflowers.

 

Table Setting Four was being awakened by a sunset! YES!  There is also a need to wake up in the evening, not just in the morning.

Table Setting Five; pausing to reflect on tree stories

        Throughout the coming week, watch for TABLE SETTINGS.  Be attentive to those moments when you experience a stirring within the soul.  Pause when something turns over in your heart like a plow opening the soil of your life,  All these moments are invitations to the festival of life and like the poet, Tagore, you too can be blessed.

Macrina Wiederkehr

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