Garden to table to heart
A good meal makes a man feel more charitable toward the world than any sermon. -Arthur Pendenys
I believe when good food and people show up, something special is going to happen. There are so many touch-points for connection with food, from it's cultivation, to creating a meal and sharing it with others. I was excited for our August Express night at The Refuge where we hoped to give everyone a chance to create and experience food as not just a way to stay alive, but more a way to enrich and express being alive
. We wanted to explore the sensory experience of beauty and taste as well as consider how we spiritually connect to food.
For those who love it, cooking is at once child's play and adult joy. And
cooking done with care is an act of love. -Craig Claiborne
Several folks in our Refuge community brought fresh veggies and herbs from their gardens, another found local organic cheeses, and our friend, Dawn, acted as guest chef. She shared her perspective on food, cooking, and hospitality, and gave suggestions for combining beautiful and delicious fresh items with pasta or quinoa. It was fun seeing everyone's choices for their own small plate creations. We ate on the patio near the community garden and Doug shared his story of gardening as a spiritual experience.
Every man should eat and drink and enjoy the fruit of all his labor. -Ecclesiastes 5:18
We wrapped up with 5 different flavors of homemade ice cream and toppings and another chance to each create our own version of "delicious." As with other Express nights that Craig and I have facilitated, we just scratched the surface of our topic! I so wanted to have a larger discussion with the whole group about food, creativity, and spiritual connection.
The one question we asked people to consider at the beginning was,
"What does food mean to you?"
And that's a very big question that can go in lots of different directions for continued conversation.
- How do you connect with food? (physically, emotionally, spiritually, with friends, etc.)
- Is your thinking on food shaped by your family and childhood?
- Do you have special memories around food?
- How is food connected to creative expression?
- How do food and God connect for you?
"The camera is an instrument that helps us learn how to see when we don’t have a camera." - Dorothea Lange
During our May "Express" night we explored how photography can slow us down to be present in the moment, to pay attention purposefully, and to develop a new way of seeing. Somehow having a camera in hand helps us to pause and be disrupted from the mental chatter and absorption of our everyday life.
“If you do not see what is around you every day, what will you see when you go to Tangiers?” - Freeman Patterson
Contemplative photography is about being surprised; noticing what is right in front of you, and letting the beauty come to you. Armed with digital cameras and cell phone cameras we set out to practice contemplation and mindfulness. First we took a few minutes using our senses to place ourselves in our environment, then we began to notice things like patterns, texture, shapes. We noticed the way light was falling on objects. We then used our cameras to capture this moment from different angles.
As we regathered and shared our images we talked about what we discovered, what we saw perhaps for the first time, and how this practice might even lead to appreciating life as it is.
This is a sampling from our half hour of mindfulness around the grange hall. See our flickr set
for lots more images!
Mon, Jan 31 2011
"creativity takes courage" -
|original art by jenny herrick|
part of living dangerously is opening ourselves up to creativity that is inside of us as part of God's image. we are creating beauty every day with our lives, a work of art. our experience on saturday night gave us a chance to have a space to connect with our creativity in diverse ways through visual art, drama, and writing. if you weren't there, here's the exercise we started with. if you were there, share what it was like for you on saturday both when you were creating & when you were witnessing the sharing of other people's pieces, too.
Focus: Choosing a word for this year. This is not a resolution, but rather something your heart and soul can get excited about. A word contains energy, images, and meaning.
Compassion, Delight, Generosity, Effortlessness, Gratitude, Abundance, Creativity, Willingness, Change, Growth, Freedom, Mastery, Kindness,
, Presence, Acceptance, Courage, Confidence,
Spirit, Prayerfulness, Power,
Listen, Soul, Worship
1. What word would you choose (or what word chooses you) for this year? What would be a “home run” for you in the coming year? This can be a big dream or a way that you want to live each day.
2. What images come to mind that symbolize this word to you?
3. If you embraced and lived this word daily, what would be different for you?
4. List one or two things that trigger you to “shrink” or to run in the opposite direction of your word. Be specific. (We each have “default settings” that we tend to go to and react with.)
5. List a couple of new practices you can incorporate into your life as
a means of supporting you in living your word more fully, increase your awareness, and allowing your word of the year to expand you.
We did it again. We made a special space for creativity to visit and take us to a place of wonder.
The Refuge Beauty Night is an open share evening where we cheer each other on to give voice to our creative expressions. We embrace it as part of the life of our community. This time we were treated to poetry, painting, music, video, photography, drama, mixed media, and spoken word. Art is a language we are learning to speak. Together we are pausing to watch, to listen, to experience, to move beyond ourselves.
Walking up front and being vulnerable is a big risk for some of us. We've put so much time, thought, and heart into the piece we are presenting. It takes courage to go public and offer it as a gift. I see this as an unselfish act, even an act of love. It is a bridge of connection to others on the journey. It is a glimpse into the reflection of the Creator God. When others are fully present, sometimes with deep resonance, it is a gift back to the artist.
Enjoy these photos by Tom Herrick of the gifts given that night.
See more photos of the evening here.