My friend Diana Fayt makes the most simple & straight forward pottery. I have a physical reaction to it, like she's scrawled my minimalist experience onto nestware, & I almost feel exposed, like in that song Killing Me Softly, "I felt he'd found my letters, & read each one out loud." Somehow she captures a quality of my feelings - Earth-obsessed, distilled passion, with a bare-bones gesture, that almost makes me blush. The part of me that almost wishes I had more colors to my deck. Or more detail, or less seriousness or...I dunno. It's a very small part of me. The rest of me is so calmed by how she's caught a sense of plain & contentment that I want to keep a secret. I'm not glamorous or jaw-dropping. I'm pen-&-ink. I want to surround myself with these things. These reminders of my own way. It lets my soup & my hot drink become a prayer bowl, 3 times a day.
On Mindful Eating...
I love this definition of DIET: Decisions. I. Eat. Today.
I was once a vegetarian for many years. And then, when I was secretly pregnant at a Jam in West Virginia, where we had to hike a mile of gorgeous, tortoise-deer-&-firefly-filled hills to each meal, I confided to my brother Bryant Terry that I needed meat. At that point, Jams were strictly vegetarian events, & I felt a bit of shame, as he was already an award-winning vegan cookbook author (he recently won the James Beard Leadership award for his work with social justice & food), but he explained to me that food labels really fuck with us, because we have different needs for different seasons of our life. Not to mention that he himself eats a diet with fish, & his wife Jidan, is a "cavewoman," by her definition, eating all forms of Afro-Asian meaty things. So I gave, & luckily our hosts were these amazingly sexy & solid German-Iranian farm girls that took B to get local, humanely-raised-&-harvested lamb, which BT grilled in Iranian spice rubs. (Yes. OMG. With fermented veggies + rice pilaf...) Since that day, I've eaten whatever I want, but always, always with open eyes, open heart, & open mind.
There is still doubt & judgement that comes up, but I've learned to include that as not literal truth, but important information from my body. My prayer bowls remind me to pay attention. For instance, I love artisan bread. And I noticed it was making me feel bloated, with a bouncy belly. My belly already grows with the day, having stretched four times. But this was different. It was thick when pressed, pushed back like a ball, came with a tired a body & a tired mind. When I went to check on my brain, which I do every couple of months, & talked about a sense of inflammation + exhaustion, my N.E.T. doctor explained that an inflamed head comes from an inflamed gut. As it turned out, the gluten was making me allergic to everything. Everything I ate was either not absorbing, or making me my head swell. And making my business & family choices overwhelming. So we de-allergized me to the gluten, & now I choose again. Mostly, I choose not.
I INVITE YOU TO FIND YOUR PRAYER BOWLS. The ones that reflect your heart floor. A bowl, & a mug. In colors that are your colors, with a gesture that speaks to the way you move. I want you surrounded by your way, comforted by your own rightness. Inspired by how you see & feel &, as Robin said, "just know."
I INVITE YOU TO FIND A PASSAGE MEDITATION TO BRING TO YOUR MEALS. Maybe a short phrase. A chant. Here is mine, a favorite I share with my brother Franz:
"When you pray, enter the room as if for the last time."
My prayer is that I can be completely new. The room can be completely new. And I can find myself a beginner. Again. And again. And again.
What is your prayer?
Our Galia makes a similar prayer bowl that I use to burn my sacred woods each day. I don't think she still makes them, but maybe?
Here's my Felted Prayer Bowl tutorial from Waldorfish, an Empress Tides project for parents, teachers & homeschoolers. We keep these on the table, filled with angel cards to draw before we eat. Usually there are little things that have been dropped in from walks - right now there are a bunch of pale pink pebbles at the bottom.
I love you all so. Maya