It began with an email I received a couple of days ago.
“I think of food when I think of you,” it began. “Do you counsel, too?”
My emailed response was simple. “Yes!” (Well, not quite that simple, but you get the drift…)
My internal response was rather more complex.
You see, I’ve been thinking about that very thing a lot, lately.
Specifically, labels for what I do. And how those labels are the same as and different from the tools I use to do what I do.
As you may have noticed, I have a thing for words!
So, fundamentally, I am a Guide. A Coach. A Counselor. Even, according to a quiz I took recently, an Oracle. (Gulp!)
And I have LOTS of tools in my Medicine Basket:
Words. Images. Intentional Creativity®. Flashy stuff like NLP and Enneagram types and Hypnotherapy. Developing Capable People.
And Food. Which is, as I’ve realized in my pondering, one of the most accessible, universal tools in my basket.
Food is an issue for everybody. A different issue, granted, depending on issues like location and culture and degree of privilege.
For today, we’re going with food in families dealing with holiday traditions… not because it’s the only thing, but because it’s often the most emotional thing and a great place for growth.
Awhile back, I wrote a book about this. We Gather Together… holiday feasts with the family you have!
I’ll give you the punchline in a moment. First, a brief story…
The first time I had dinner with Bill’s family, his mom opened a can of green beans and poured them, unheated, into a crystal bowl. She added a silver spoon and set them, with a flourish, on the dining room table.
If I had known, back then, about the ways we filter all the input of our world, I would have been able to explain why it freaked me out so much. At the time, I just began to comprehend Bill’s extreme disinterest in vegetables!
So, tomorrow is the first of October. Food Network is already well into the holiday season. And it’s time, for many of us, to begin to ponder plans for feeding those we love the most in a world that’s gotten a whole lot different since we were kids.
At our house, we start with the food challenges/choices of those who will gather. For us that means two omnivores with strong tendencies toward local, sustainable choices (Dave and me), three pescatarians… fish, yes – meat, no (Kelly and the girls), and an insulin dependent diabetic (Bill). Plus the varying challenges of gluten and dairy and allergies. And the fact that pretty much everybody wants to help!
All of which should explain why step 2 is so important. It is, as so many of my favorite tools are, a question!
What are we trying to accomplish?
(Here’s where the Guide part starts!)
Using Grandma’s china? Lots of time to play games? Trying something new? (Fill in your answer, here!)
Your real answer! No judgement. It just helps a lot for it to be conscious!
My answer, and my favorite thing about food, is that it’s about belonging and building a sense of capability and significance, especially in the littles.
Hence, the photo of Kenzie, thrilled to be “in charge” of a cheese platter for family game night during a recent holiday visit. She was so proud!
And, yes, my inner Grammy-Guide cried!
There’s an old joke in my family about the Thanksgiving dinner at my folks’ house, with cousins from both sides of the family gathered around the table. We were about 20 minutes into a lovely meal when my Mom suddenly blurted, “I forgot the effing corn! The Pilgrims always had corn!”
Maybe, just maybe, with all due respect, that’s an old story that isn’t quite what we’re trying to accomplish in this moment.
I’m just sayin’…