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The Ritual of Eating

These days, we’re having a hard time moving through time.

The constructs that helped us navigate the passing of time have mostly disappeared from our lives. Everything flows into everything else-work and rest, home and away, weekday and weekend. It’s weird and it feels very confusing. I’m sure you all agree.

I’ve been thinking more intentionally about rituals and rhythms. There’s a real need for them now. I think of a ritual as an action that is given a blessing, then repeated over and over again so that it enters us through our bodies, and it becomes part of us. Rituals help us to move confidently in time, and they help us grapple with the paradoxical nature of time--that it's both eternal and limited, liberating and oppressive.

When I think of rituals, one of the first things that comes to mind is food. The fact that we HAVE to eat necessarily makes it a type of ritual. But also consider how much existing space is available surrounding the meal that we can build upon to develop it into something more rich and beautiful.

There are so many ways to develop rituals around eating food. A good place to start is present mindedness. Being aware of what you eat, how you prepare it, and how you eat it brings a lot of significance to this daily ritual, and you’ll find that it will inspire more development around it.

Incorporating beauty into the meal is important as well. For us that looks like a vase of flowers, candles, and a well set table. Tablecloths and cloth napkins can be used too.

Another way I use meals and rituals is to differentiate between weekday food and weekend food. Our daily meal fare is usually pretty simple. For the weekends I choose meals that take a little more time, meals that are more celebratory. This helps mark the beginning of the weekend for us, indicating to our bodies that it is time to rest and celebrate.

Another special factor of meals is the gathering of people together. This might not apply right now to all of you, but here at the farm, we’re stuck here together--Joel, myself, Una, Rosemary, Frances, Avery (my brother), and Daniel (Joel’s brother). People coming together around a meal solidifies the ritual and makes it a shared experience, which can be very bonding.

There are so many ways to be intentional in our eating. What are some of your favorite mealtime rituals? How are you coping with the blurriness of time these days? We'd love to hear some ideas as we try to wrangle our chaotic spring life into something more rhythmic and conscious.

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I love this. Rituals and rhythms. Yes, meals have been our only normal thing. I have enjoyed making homemade bread. It soothes me to knead and then have to wait for it to rise. I will have to add some more rituals to meal time. It seems like a way to dig deep into this life.

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