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A sense of gratitude about our interconnectedness

Easter has traditionally been a time of reflection, contemplation and celebration.  There has been a shift in focus over the last few decades from one centred on religious tradition to one more secular and commercial with the emphasis being less about reflection and contemplation and more about celebration – mainly of a few days off.

In the current circumstances, with the COVID-19 lockdown in full swing, perhaps some reflection and contemplation might be useful.  This story by Kathryn Lafond: Take a Moment to Thank Your Food (Yes, November 20, 2018) reminds us that we are part of a larger whole, that is the web and cycle of life.  Plants and animals are living beings upon which we feast, no just during Easter celebrations, but every day of every year.  Perhaps we ought to pay more attention to our place within the larger earth community. 

‘Connecting to something larger than ourselves is the delicious benefit we receive when we step into a state of gratitude, a deep-felt sense of appreciation. We understand what is larger than the reach of our arms and the strength of our hands when we acknowledge the gift of life that feeds us: the plants and animals that share our world,’ writes Lafond. 

‘When we enter as participants in this web of life, we are changed by it. Research shows gratitude has the power to heal. Even on a short-term basis, feeling grateful tends to build qualities of compassion, generosity, and forgiveness that make us better people. So consider the healing benefits of living in a state of fundamental thankfulness. To live that way opens us to awe and beauty.’

The web of life at Munibung Hill might not seem to have any direct connection with what ends up on our dinner plate or in a salad roll.  But to dismiss those millions of creatures living in and around Munibung Hill as incidental to our lives and without consequence, is shortsighted.  If they were to be overrun by housing and the landscape reduced to bricks and mortar, paved roads and driveways, it would be a violation of their right to life. And within this context to our interspecies relationship – even friendship.

‘Creation myths abound of how plants and animals and people arrived and how they sustained each other. Indigenous people were instructed to reciprocate, such as by gifting cornmeal or a piece of one’s hair for a plants’ sustenance. Hunters would dance before a hunt to honor the life of the animal and call forth its spirit,’ says Lafond.

For most people today, dealing with busy days and consumer culture, intimacy with our food is often lost.

‘Becoming gratefully aware of our interdependence with all living things increases as we ponder the essence of what we are consuming.’

So irrespective of our culture and the traditions that we partake in at this time, Lafond says giving thanks when we serve up and eat food, although it might sound old fashioned, helps remind us not to take other life forms for granted.  In the words of Ralph Waldo Emerson: “Indeed, gratitude shifts us from takers to makers, from disconnected to participating as a miraculous piece of the whole.”

Get the full story at this link: Take a moment to thank your food