Redefining Terms — SheLoves, November

Each month, it is my privilege and pleasure to write to a theme at SheLovesMagazine. This month — of course! — the theme is ‘feast.’ In this piece, I choose to redefine the term, to broaden and enrich it. You can start here and then follow this link over to read the rest of the piece.


I’m sitting here, leaning firmly against squishy homemade flannel bags filled with field corn, bags I’ve warmed in the microwave, each of them aligned with a sore spot in my back or neck. And I am sighing with gratitude and comfort. I am also breathing in the first truly cool air we’ve enjoyed in central California for a long, long time. And I can hear the first tentative drops of rain hitting the patio just outside my door. Ah, yes. So many of my senses engaged at once, and I’m earnestly trying to pay attention to each one.

As I do that, I begin to feel like I’ve been at a banquet, thoroughly sated with deliciousness. Even though I’ve lived a long time now, I must admit that this kind of satiety is a new experience for me, this feeling full merely because I’m paying attention to the details of my day. For decades, the only ‘full’ sensation I knew well was that caused by overstuffing myself with various foodstuffs. And that kind of feeling full was important, very important.

I don’t know all the reasons why it was so important, though I’ve learned about some of them. Early in my life, I internalized that food was comfort, reward, gift and friend. I come from a long line of strong women, all of whom loved food. They also used food to do all kinds of things it was never designed to do. I never really knew any other way of thinking about food, and when I heard someone say something that ran counter to my internal understanding, I was mystified. I distinctly remember admiring a very slender girl in my high school youth group and hearing her say, “Eating is a nuisance. I only do it because I have to. I don’t like interrupting my life to stop and eat.”

Say what?

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