Dana Velden

‘Stepping into intimacy through our bodies, through our sense doors, through the basic acknowledgment of our aliveness, is the first step. But we are creatures of the mind as much as (if not more than) creatures of our bodies. In some ways, our bodies are always intimate, for that is their nature: to dwell in the world, to be in contact (with the ground, with objects, with the air, with other people), and to respond.

But what we do with that intimacy internally, how we process it through our thoughts, predilections, personality, and emotions, is often a more complex event. And the kitchen is as much a place of feeling as it is a simple room in our house where cooking occurs. Our relationship to food, to eating, to nourishment, to pleasure and pain, our ideas of scarcity and abundance, of our own worthiness and our sense of responsibility to our families – all of this is present and played out here. The hearth is the heart, and the true nature of the heart cannot be hidden, at least not for long. What’s the true nature of your heart? How are you expressing it? What does the world look like to you when you’re fully in, responding to its request?

If those questions baffle you, yet at the same time you feel their power as they tug and beckon, then you are hearing their call to intimacy, to a deeper knowing of who you are and how you fit into the world around you. By allowing intimacy to deepen our experience, we create a more informed and therefore a more trustworthy response to our lives. We aren’t reacting just to our impulses and neuroses and old, broken patterns. Were relating to the world, face-to-face, in a very direct and meaningful way.’ (Finding Ourselves in the Kitchen)

The student who had been reading Gesshin’s book had also read and enjoyed her book on food, which reminded me of Dana’s lovely work, which I will lend to my student next time I see him.

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