Sunday, February 3, 2013

Making the offering, Being the offering

I've been enjoying poems from Gregory Orr's 2009 collection, "How Beautiful the Beloved." There is simplicity and deep resonance of losing oneself in the grace of love at the same time yearning to hold what will inevitably be lost. Everything is impermanent.

"All those years
I had only to say

    But I couldn't.

Finally, I said Maybe,
But even then 
I was filled with dread.

I wanted to step carefully.
I didn't want to leap.

What if the beloved
Didn't catch me?
What if the world
Disappeared beneath my feet?"

As a teenager I was put in the position of making the family meals, and I've held that role fairly continuously throughout my adult life. I don't remember thinking of food as a token of love, and in those early years it was a heavy load on top of my schoolwork, my awakening political awareness and the swirl of emotional troubles between my parents. As a wife and mother I came to feel the job of feeding as a deeply nurturing one.

"So many were given only
A dream of love,
So many given a glimpse,
And that from such a distance.

Who am I to be ungrateful
Who saw the beloved

One month ago my husband and I essentially became vegan, eating no meat, no dairy, no processed grains, sweeteners with the addition of eschewing all cooked and most uncooked oil. (For more on this, see my related blog

"Surrender everything. Give up
All that's precious --
That way you won't be tempted
To bicker with yourself
Over scraps you still control.

Besides, who knows the depth
Of her pity? Who knows
How far down
He can reach with his love?"

Food has become transformed into a vast array of beautiful blessings. Each fruit, vegetable, bag of grain, bowl of soup, pot with simmering leeks, plate with the stain of beets, crunch of jicama and scent of lime or garlic brings such gratitude and pleasure.

We spend way too much time imagining ourselves to be lacking something, avoiding something. This pretending to be incomplete and unworthy stands directly in the way of living our fullest life in this moment as we actually are.

Again from Greg Orr:
"How beautiful
The beloved.

Whether garbed
In mortal tatters,
Or in her dress
Of everlastingness --

Moon broken
On the water,
Or moon
Still whole
In the night sky."

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