The Truth of Who I Am

"Only the truth of who you are, if realized, will set you free." -Eckhart Tolle

Life is a Potluck Banquet

on February 4, 2014

There’s no denying that I love to eat and there’s no denying that I love being with people I love. So to gather with people I love around a table of food is something that bring me joy. Potlucks are my favorite because you get to taste a variety of different flavors. I’d be a happy woman if all my meals were sample sizes of things I love to eat. That’s how I imagine most of heaven to be, except there would be no high fructose corn syrup, nitrates/nitrites, GMOs, antibiotics, pesticides and definitely NO CALORIES in any of the food.

Because of my appreciation for lots of flavors, I have the hardest time deciding on one menu item when eating at a restaurant. I read over descriptions of EVERY item and then, painstakingly, choose one item to order and keep my menu open until the server arrives to take the dreaded order. Then I attempt to get everyone else to order before me so I know what’s coming to the table. Then, finally, I state what I decided on and look again at the menu and CHOOSE SOMETHING ELSE. It is so very hard for me to commit to one food item to eat!

This is NOT one of my husband’s favorite things about me because, inevitably, when the food comes out, I want to taste what he ordered. He is not a sharer. He hates people eating off his plate. He hates eating off other people’s plates. This “problem” he has used to hurt my feelings early in our relationship but we have progressed to a great place in our relationship where he now offers me a bite of everything he orders before he digs in. He tries to act like he’s doing it grudgingly and I try to act nonchalant as I thank him and accept his offer. It’s one way we’ll grow old together.

I don’t know a whole lot about the science behind my enjoyment of tasting a variety of flavors, but this video, called The Sound of Taste captures it well. This is what it sounds like when I taste different flavors. It’s like a party in my mouth. Like fireworks on the Fourth of July in the U.S.A.

The video is right on point except it makes my heart weep just a little at how many delicious spices were wasted in the production of the video.

What I also like about potlucks is that I get to share something I, myself, prepared with love for somebody else. It gives me pleasure to put my all into a dish or a meal and have the people who eat it truly ENJOY the experience. As in they get JOY out of eating the food. This is a truth of who I am. I love to eat food, cook food, share food, talk about food, plan food, etc. I’m still hoping I will one day develop the same kind of passion for exercise to balance it all out. I love to cook for people. It’s one way I show love. It’s such an intimate thing to think of food that I prepare nourishing someone else’s body. It’s sacred, really. This is why every Hindu temple in India feeds every single person who enters the temple to worship on certain days of the week. The Bhagavad Gita teaches that “Sharing food is the highest form of Karma” because sharing food is a way to affirm that we are tied to each others destiny. Turns out I may still be connected to the truth of who I am from my roots in Hinduism.

A couple of weeks ago, David Ault, a man who often rocks my spiritual world, described life as a potluck banquet. I loved the analogy! It was right up my alley and it worked so much better than any sports analogy people have tried on me.

Life is a potluck banquet. Everyone is invited to sit at the table and everyone has the opportunity to bring something to the table to share and everyone gets to eat at the table. Because we are born, we are invited to life’s banquet. We can consume what we choose and we can share what we choose to share. And we can share it freely and abundantly or grudgingly and stingily.We can choose to participate as fully or as half-heartedly as we desire. We can choose the crumbs or we can take what we desire from deep within us.

This analogy brings me to a hard truth about myself. See, I’m rarely the one to pick up something quick on the way to a potluck unless life constraints require me to do so. Contributing chips and store-bought dip or, heaven forbid, 2 liter sodas to a potluck are missed opportunities for me. A failure even. This is not any kind of judgement on those who bring such items, it’s simply how I judge myself because of that whole joy of preparing food for others that I get. It’s my THING. It’s my gift to be able to prepare delicious food for others. I bring my best to potluck dinners every chance I get.

So when I first heard David Ault’s talk, I immediately assumed that what I did at real-life banquets translated to what I did at life’s banquet. I smugly drafted something in my head about how what I bring to real life potlucks was an indication of what I bring t0 life’s potluck banquet. It felt good to think that I was THAT person who had it right and brought my best for all to share. Oh, it felt so good. But it also felt like I couldn’t really write with joy. Well, thankfully, and maybe by Divine intervention, I rarely get to write and publish my posts immediately. I mulled over how to finish, to find joy in the writing, to share the truth. And then the truth started to sink in slowly until a light bulb went off and I was humbled to realize that I DON’T always bring my best to the table of life. Heck, I don’t even consume the best at the table. I do often settle for crumbs and I do often bring the bag of chips and hope somebody else brought some dip to go with it. I miss opportunities often. Sometimes, I sit at life’s potluck banquet in all its abundance and choose not to participate. And here’s a question that stopped me in my tracks at just the right time:

“What if the ques­tion is not why I am so infre­quently the per­son I really want to be, but why do I so infre­quently want to be the per­son I really am?”

~ Oriah Moun­tain Dreamer

It seems I have some more digging to do to get to the truth of who I am. I don’t know what stops me from participating wholeheartedly in life in exactly the way I really want to. I don’t know why I don’t always bring my best and take the best knowing that the table is full and there is enough for everyone. Why do I sometimes find myself checking people’s plates and wishing I could have what they have. I’ll admit that Facebook has supercharged that occurrence. I CAN have the same or at least exactly what I need.

And now vulnerability is creeping in and while I feel brave (thanks, Brené Brown) about it all, I also feel like wrapping up this post and settling for a declaration of what I want because…

So instead of a show-offy, look-at-what-a-fine-example-I-am post, I am writing about my truth which is a sincere desire to be more mindful and committed to bringing my best to life’s potluck. I want to be the same way about life and what I bring to the table of life. If life is a potluck banquet, I want to make sure I bring the very best to share AND I want to taste a little bit of everything and a lot of what I love. I definitely want to show up at the banquet and sit at the table and connect with the people around me. And if we ever have the Divine opportunity to sit next to each other at life’s potluck banquet, feel free to hold me to my commitment.

Getting hungry now….

Truthfully yours,

Rhina

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3 responses to “Life is a Potluck Banquet

  1. Kim Archung says:

    This is why you and I are such great “eating” partners we love to taste and to share…

  2. twokelograms says:

    Reblogged this on Hardbound and commented:
    Potlucks ❤

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