In the 80's and 90's the beloved historical fiction book series called Earth's Children (The Clan of the Cave Bear being the first book) became best-selling and highly discussed. In the series, the main character, Ayla, has epic adventures in the last great ice age of our time, before agriculture took hold in what is now Europe. She is the hunter-gatherer, with a plethora of stored knowledge about plants: how to find, use and cook edibles, medicinals, and hallucinogenic/spiritual state inducing; and about animals: how to create the tools to successfully and safely hunt, how to skin, butcher, cook, smoke, and store the meat, how to use every last piece of the animal, down to the entrails used as storage containers, and the fat used for cooking or lamps, or to soften the skins for use; and about shelter, utensils and clothing: how to find safe caves to inhabit, how to craft boats and huts or tents out of trees and bones, how to sew tunics with shells and bone for beading, how to weave baskets, carve bowls and knives, and of course create fire with sticks or flint and firestone.
The life of a hunter-gatherer was set to the natural rhythms of earth's seasons, of the animals' migratory patterns, of the daylight and the stars. One could not be separate from her environment. I believe the series was and is still so popular because it harkens to a place inside the reader that is still in touch with his/her primal nature--the books become an access point to trigger our innate wildness.
A NEW RHYTHM
Over the past many months my lifestyle has completely shifted... and simultaneously through this shift I have been witnessing my internal state, my perception of life, and even the meaning of existence, fundamentally change. I have begun to truly open to a new rhythm, a different pace, outside of the confines and rules of my culture. It evidently wasn't enough for me to just think about this shift of perception, and yearn for a society with laws beyond civilization's construct; laws of a Universal Natural and Divine Order. It wasn't even enough for me to make conscious changes in my routines and beliefs, or to speak about these things in my yoga classes and circles...
I had to be deeply, kindly, graciously shown a new rhythm by the great Consciousness that flows through our Living Earth: everything I thought I believed in and was working towards became entirely lost in its appeal to me-- the flow of energy between myself and my work, my teaching, my socializing, my music-making, came to a standstill. Just before this happened, my partner made the decision to work almost double his usual amount in 2018, even though he felt he also wanted to focus on his health. I remember saying to him, 'If there was some way I could support you in this choice, I would love to.'
Then almost all of a sudden, all I could do for months was sit in still silence, read (Clan of the Cave Bear?!), be outside, bike long distances or canoe in nature, plant flowers, watch bees gather pollen and nap on the flowers, and witness Life living and dying all around me. I went off of social media, stopped taking clients, stopped teaching, and had zero desire to ever do any of these things again. And the feeling stayed. All creativity and drive seemed to evaporate. My answer to everything was, 'I just don't know.' But I was not depressed. I cried, I laughed, I got frustrated, I got quiet, I felt so much in my heart...but mostly I felt I was being guided somehow into something I couldn't see or understand, but that was more critically important than possibly anything I had ever 'done.' Each time I tried to push through or rush the process, something would happen that would very clearly keep me from going against the current. My mom got sick, I wanted to go to her--then I got a middle ear infection that is still healing after 3 & 1/2 months. So I couldn't go anywhere. And my energy was low. Slowly, slowly, I started viscerally perceiving a change in my interactions with the elements of the earth, a change in my interactions with family, a change in my perception of what life is... I began to physically feel life as one consciousness manifesting itself in all material things, flowing and interacting with itself in a continuous dance. The stories circulating in my head that I had been told all my life that I had to 'be someone' or 'do something' got quieter, and the pulse of Life got stronger. And it still is.
And the first and only inspiration I felt during this time got more clear: Gather Life in the form of plants and butchered animals, and lovingly, artfully, create healing food for our family.
CREATING FROM INSPIRATION
Durning my illness especially, I began to perceive my choices and actions, and even reactions, as ultimately stemming from a place of love. How?
Before this moment in my life, there had always been an internal monitor tallying and judging every thought, motivation and choice I have made. Everything always had to amount to something tangible. Profitable. Useful. This is what I was taught it is to be a successful human being, through innuendo and cultural norms. Of course all life naturally grows... but somehow, I never truly understood that the first part, the most important part, of being a human being is being. Existing. I am already worthy and fulfilled by being. You can't have a mighty tree without a tiny seed first just existing, ready for growth to move through it.
In understanding this, creativity and the growth it causes comes from an entirely different place, and has completely different results. Perhaps this is authenticity: if I already know I belong because I exist, and I have nothing to do in order to keep my place of worthiness as a human, then whatever I choose to do must come from a place of true inspiration, or Love.
Life dawned from an explosive Love that was so busy being It couldn't contain Itself.
And so it has become with food for me. I see it less and less as something I need to survive, or something that lays a foundation for socializing, or something that I must restrict or indulge in, or something that may or may not cause a reaction in me like illness or allergy or weight gain or weight loss.
I feel it as a part of me, and I am a part of all of the elements that were brought together to make it into 'food.' Healing and health naturally occur as the relationship becomes intentionally loving once more.
When I cook, I become an alchemist, a utensil of the Divine, channeling Love and singing it into the ingredients as a dance of gratitude and respect.
As I devote myself more in this loving relationship, other things are beginning to open in my life. It is a paced process of listening, and feeling, the Divine Order of the flow in my life.
What comes next is a natural desire to share with you a few recipes from my recent inspirations. I hope you enjoy making them!
Many Blessings for the new year,