“Eating is so intimate. It’s very sensual. When you invite someone to sit at your table and you want to cook for them, you’re inviting a person into your life.”Maya Angelou
When I was a child, My Mother, a native of Bogalusa, Louisiana, would conjure the indigenous ways of her mother and grandmothers by feeding me directly from her hands. I can close my eyes and see her hands: deep, rich mahogany. Tender, strong. Hands that nurture, love and protect. Still. I can recall the intimacy, love and even the tender touch of her fingers as she placed the food in my mouth with such love and great care. Her eyes soften with love for me. Still.
She was providing more than nourishment for my body.
As I grew into adulthood and was blessed with my own children, I, too, fed them from my hands. First, as an act of feeding and nurturing the bond between mother and child. Later, I understood that the way my mother fed me was a revolutionary practice and meditation on intimacy, love AND of cultivating the earth inside me for who I would become. She was preparing me to be me.
Even now, she feeds me from her hands.
In times of great sadness and of great celebration, we come together in the heart of our family home–the kitchen–and cook our way out of sorrow and elevate our joy to greater heights. Through laughter and tears, rage and joy she calls me in to taste and receive a piece of herself – medicine first to calm, then to nourish and fortify and finally to mend my broken spirit. The act of feeding is a powerfully transformative act that can move us forward together with more agency, power, vibrancy, resilience and love–well fertilized and fortified to move toward a righteous future of our making.
The Torah of Feeding is a practice we can engage for ourselves, our families and our communities. It is about nourishing ourselves now as an act of love, resistance and making our personal/family/community souls fertile for growth–ready to shift, change and transform our future. When we are nourished, we become the Agents of Prophecy rather than the passive recipients thereof. This ritual is a direct call to action to care for our emotional, mental and physical bodies and those of our beloveds right now–so we can be the medicine needed to shape a new way of “being” in the future.
The Torah of Feeding is a simple yet powerful act. Whether alone or with others, I invite you to join us in this sacred practice.