"The tribal way is really a very feminine way. There's a big, communal kitchen; everyone eats together. Everyone sleeps in the same area together on big wooden platforms under mosquito netting; everything is in the open air. Everybody takes care of the children, who just run free through the villages and through the jungle. There is a profound sense of 'we' consciousness, of everybody being cared for." - "In the Amazon: Kathy Coffey Finds by Feminine Principle", Networking Times, January 2003
Big, communal kitchen. Reminds us of Thanksgiving gatherings. Those once a year festivities where we might need to scramble for a long tablecloth to dress up the extra expanse of the table into a true supper table. When there might be more than one or two seated down to convivial consumption for simultaneous scrumptiousness.
Of late, my creativity has been channeled into gleaning, gathering, and gregariously preparing food rather than writing or blogging (journaling for NaJoScriMo has more of a personal, than sharing, philosophy for me).
While cleaning out the rotting and expired in the metaphorical fridge chilling the last twenty-two years of my life, I came across a clipping from my "let's mix holistic stuff with marketing" era. The article is about single mom and massage therapist Kathy Coffey's trip to the Shipibo tribe after she signed up to be a network marketer for a company that sells herbs harvested by the locals in the Amazonian Peru. (Thus, the snippets you read here from Networking Times. Not likely you'll see that again here, as I'm more likely to read Unmarketable: Brandalism, Copyfighting, Mocketing, and the Erosion of Integrity.)
"My biggest fear was the snakes - we're talking about anacondas! But on the plane from Lima to Pulculpa, the jungle town near where the Shipibo people live, I looked out over miles and miles of green - a sea of green - and my fear vanished."
The Shipibo women were waiting for them at the riverbank.
"Their arms were filled with hundreds of necklaces; such joy and innocence radiated from their hearts out through their eyes. I was completely won over."
So much has been going on lately, there's no way to catch you up really even if I did blog every day. We'd have to set ourselves down for a slow snack at least, start with green tea from Formosa and olive bread toast. Maybe some persimmons and pomegranate and dark chocolate. Or, if you need something heartier, a stew of lentils and cavalo nero and cauliflower and extra hot Indian curry powder.
After the fifth chunk of chocolate, that might be when I mention that my favorite cafe in the whole world is up for sale. And that I think it ought to be a member-owned cooperative. A big, communal kitchen.
When they [the Shipibo peoples in the Amazon] heard about the American way of life - that often both parents work outside the home, 40 to 60 hours a week, just to make a living - they said, "Oh, my gosh, how can we help?"
"I am changing the system from within." Crazy, eh? Crazy-making with musts, shoulds, gottas. The presentation has to be done by ______. Buried under obligations, opinions, operating procedures, and the way things have always been done that we don't even see that the status quo isn't the only game in town. Beyond even the tribal, there's the status quantum.
"The greatest danger before you is this: you live in an age when people would package and standardize your life for you -- steal it from you and sell it back to you at a price. That price is very high.
You have already been selected for this program. You have its credit cards and designer labels already expensively around you. In the months ahead, you will find yourselves working long hours, too exhausted for community life or even good friendships -- too compromised to take a stand against the abuses of the system you serve. A great treadmill has been devised for you, and its operators do not care much if it wears you out or kills you. A system is in place to steal your life from you, if you will let it. Don't let it.
Read, study, meditate and think for yourself. Let your most serious education now commence, if it has not already done so. Refine and hold your own values, and pay the high price necessary to live those values. Decide what is important to you, and hold your ground against all temptations and tortures. From the pink granite of your own values, build a fortress against the world's ethical compromises, or you will soon be among those dead of eye who stand next to you in elevators but who are not alive. Don't let them steal your life. This is the only warning you will receive." - Granny D (via CharityFocus.org)
At the same time, says Kathy, the cultural exchange is far from one-way.
"What we bring to them is our individualism - and that's good, too. They need what we have - just as we need what they have."
Individualistic? No, we cannot compromise ourselves for the sake of the tribe, or the Whole, or God for that matter. That would mean we'd forgotten we are That (the tribe, or the Whole, or God for that matter).
The myth is that: that we're individualistic.
This may seem like a heavy choice I've made for Thanksgiving weekend, but there's four days there in a row if one of these system you're inclined to plug into rewards you with a Friday off... more time than most people on this globe have to contemplate systems, and our mind system.
In those four days, you can ask for grace. Invite it. It's free. And sets you free so life can live you. The bonus is you get to have suppers with kindred souls much more than once each fall.
I've unplugged from the Matrix as nearly as anyone I've ever met. My thanks, my giving to you is this video:
Happy Thanks and Happy Giving!
Art The Dinner Party, by Judy Chicago; Apple Press by Deryk Houston; Woman in a Gilded Cage, by Cherise (The Women's Centre); Supper at Emmaus "probably by Carpaccio and certainly brilliantly restored and in the Church of San Salvador near the Rialto Bridge [Venice]"; video "Indigo Revelation" by vforvendetta3
p.s. On Caravaggio's The Supper at Emmaus: "Two of Jesus' disciples were walking to Emmaus after the Crucifixion when the resurrected Jesus himself drew near and went with them, but they did not recognise him. At supper that evening in Emmaus '... he took bread, and blessed it, and brake and gave to them. And their eyes were opened, and they knew him; and he vanished out of their sight'" (Luke 24: 30-31). Do you recognize your Self?