I’m reading Mary Rose O’Reilley’s book, The Barn at the End of the World.
She writes of trying to make a recipe from an African cookbook. When the pot is overflowing with 1/16 of the ingredients for the Ethiopian stew supposedly for four, she calls her son, an African enthusiast, and learns that a recipe for four is a recipe that feeds four families, or maybe four villages. We each measure differently.
She shares how the poet Mark Doty in writing about the death of his partner from AIDS, “the process of decline gradually stripped Wally of all that was not Everything, and how in that millrace he became most himself. Doty says that death is “the deepest moment in the world … even if that self empties into no one, swift river hurrying into the tumble of rivers, out of individuality, into the great rushing whirlwind of currents.”
I soften, carried on the tides, breathing connectedness, touching in and out.
My teacher of Sensory Awareness, Charlotte Selver used to say we have wars because we don’t listen to each other.
It’s not always easy to listen, to listen to ourselves, and through that, to another. A cultivation of empathy is required to receive the perceptions of another.
We can think the work has only to do with what’s going on inside us. And we can become carried away by this inner excitement, and we can stay entirely within ourselves. ‘Am I sitting right? Is my head free? Is my neck elastic?’ Be careful about that. When another speaks, live with the other. Creep under the skin of the other, if possible.
Everyone of us, in hearing what the other person has to say, goes away enriched by what everybody else has experienced—-if it is allowed in.
Today I felt like Mole in one of my favorite books, Wind in the Willows. Spring was calling. One room in particular beckoned. I moved the desk to open and wash the windows. Then, I looked around in quest of a whole new look. I moved the couch, then, the bookcase, piling up books to give away. Now, candles are lit, lights are on, and it’s open, fresh, and cozy, all at the same time.
I won’t go down to the river like Mole. I’m pleased to taste and ingest this day of response, knowing spring this time of year is a quick guest, and winter will return.