The Healing Feminine Energy of Food by Elisabeth Schilling

In our society, relationships with food are complicated. Sometimes we might be anxious that our food is not safe, that we are not told the whole story, that we have to educate ourselves on what we can and guess the rest. Sometimes there are emotions connected with food such as ecstasy, joy, guilt, remorse, anxiety, or disgust. Sometimes thinking about food can be stressful, that we don’t have enough money to feed ourselves and others in the ways we would like or at all. Other times, we might wish food away because it is boring or we have limited skills or vision. I cannot say that my relationship with food is the healthiest. I have used food as a punishment and way to self-harm, I’ve been restrictive with food or scared of certain foods. I’m a little or a lot OCD and neurotic with how I handle food.

Ultimately, though, I love good food, and I rather enjoy cooking, especially when I have time to myself and am alone in the kitchen. There is something soothing in cleaning the preparation space and items, chopping the vegetables, combining the green, orange, purple together, letting my intuition guide me for spices. I know that food can be a ritual. It is a time where I listen to the water spill from the spout, the crackle of garlic in oils, the silence in the gaps where I pause before completing another step. Sometimes I go renegade, experimental or familiar, and other times the recipe is liturgy as it requires my faith to be guided by another’s wisdom. Continue reading “The Healing Feminine Energy of Food by Elisabeth Schilling”

Patterns for the New Year by Sara Frykenberg

Sara FrykenbergLife last year continually pushed me to figure out how I should care for those close to me while also caring for myself.  I have been pushed to see the difference between myself and other people: their choices and my own.  This is perhaps, the most difficult challenge I faced in the first year of the Age of Aquarius… and life has been an unrelenting teacher. 

Happy 2013!  Or a statement more accurate to my feelings: Happy end of 2012!  Last year around this time, I wrote a post entitled: Celebrating the Beginning of the Aquarian Age.  The push to evolve was and is very exciting to me.  This shifting astrological paradigm challenges us to break away from those habits and patterns that no longer serve us.  But excited as I am, I have to admit that the first year of the Age of Aquarius really kicked my butt.

Did last year feel exceptionally difficult for anyone else out there?  I really felt like I couldn’t catch a break for the entirety of 2012.  This is not to say that my year was simply filled with loss and grief, though I am dealing with loss and a great deal of grief.  But some really great things happened last year too, which I celebrated, but also found extremely difficult to manage.  Many of my roles and relationships radically changed in ways that were more difficult than I expected or wanted.  Riding the Aquarian tides, I felt tossed about and was often confused.  I kept telling myself: just hang on.  Just hang on, because you are not alone riding these cosmic waves.  Hang on, because you will learn how to swim in these new waters.

Therefore, in honor of the New Year, I would like to take this opportunity to evaluate and strategize for my how.

I am not usually one for making new years’ resolutions.  The cultural rhetoric surrounding resolutions either presupposes failure or relates success to the amount of money you spend to achieve a goal.  Yet today I find myself considering how I approached last years’ challenges, successfully and unsuccessfully.  I have concluded that I need to create more life giving patterns and habits in 2013.  Many things I am doing now, my coping mechanisms and my defenses, can no longer meet my needs.  So, I guess I am making resolutions.  I, however, prefer to say that I am actively hope-ing to evolve my praxis of living. ;) Thus, I set the following intentions for 2013: Continue reading “Patterns for the New Year by Sara Frykenberg”

To Garden by Kathryn House

My work is transformed when I view the task at hand through verbs I learned through gardening: tend, nurture, sow, dig, weed, share, till, harvest, nourish, rest.

Yesterday was the autumnal equinox, which means that fall is officially here. Right on cue, the first leaves are changing from green to shades of gold and crimson. The air is crisp, and the nights are cooler. In the Northern Hemisphere, fall also marks the beginning of the harvest season. Tending a garden has certainly changed the way I think about food, but it has also given me a lens through which to reflect more broadly on community, justice, faith, and hope. I love that gardening invites me to consider a way of being that is governed by a rhythm all its own. This steady beat brings my tendency to rush without reflecting to a halt. Every garden is unique and every gardener has a different philosophy, of course. For myself and for the housemates with whom I have gardened over the years, these three raised beds have come to constitute a sacred space. A space of hospitality, of nurture and delight, they are a space around which we are reminded of finitude, of beginnings and endings, of gratitude. Continue reading “To Garden by Kathryn House”

“Eating Our Words” Decoupling Women’s Eating Habits from the Language of Sin: Part 2 by Stefanie Goyette

This post is the second part of a two-part series. Read Part I here.

In my previous discussion of the language associated with women’s eating habits, I mostly left aside the problem of weight. Weight, and certainly obesity, was hardly a concern in the Middle Ages, whereas I do not think that it would be controversial to suggest that fatness in the modern era is viewed as nothing less than a moral weakness, a failure of self-control. This viewpoint that is emphasized by weight-loss programs on television, in magazines, etc. But this is another matter that deserves a full discussion, which I cannot offer today. Rather, I would like to suggest that gluttony as a moral concern has shifted in meaning between the Middle Ages and the modern era, building on the fact that in medieval Europe, gluttony was an explicitly religious problem, a cardinal sin, even when separated from the related issues of libido and lust.

Despite the intense moralization of alimentary behavior in the Middle Ages, medieval writers often refused constrictive, moralized models of food and eating. Hildegard of Bingen, in her manual of natural medicine, the Physica (twelfth century), recommends different foods that help feed and diminish sexual desire, in order to balance the body rather than to suppress its needs. Continue reading ““Eating Our Words” Decoupling Women’s Eating Habits from the Language of Sin: Part 2 by Stefanie Goyette”

“Eating Our Words” Decoupling Women’s Eating Habits from the Language of Sin: Part 1 by Stefanie Goyette

Any woman who has eaten a big holiday meal with her family or had a weekend brunch with girlfriends has probably heard the following words: “I’m so bad, but I’m going to order…” or “I shouldn’t, but…” or “I’m being good; I skipped dessert.” Foods and the recipes in cookbooks marketed towards women are described as “sinfully delicious,” especially if they are low-carb, or low-fat, or low-sugar. “Sinfully delicious” diet food can be enjoyed “without the guilt.” Further marking the matrix of food, women, and “bad” behavior or sin, is the intimate relationship between food, women, and sex. Recent Carl’s Jr./Hardee’s commercials feature swimsuit model Kate Upton making out with – nearly making love to – a hamburger. This love scene takes place in a convertible, at a drive-in, the classic site of American, teenage, illicit sex. The take-out bag is used as a prop to conceal Upton’s vagina, as she spreads her legs for the camera. Another commercial, for Lay’s potato chips, features a women biting her lip while she slowly peels open the bag, set to Al Green’s “Let’s Stay Together.”

A seeming contradiction emerges between these two discourses: one that persists within and between women, who are expected to be on a diet and who speak, and are spoken to, about food in terms of morality, “good” and “bad.” At the same time, women eating, especially eating greasy, fatty, comfort food, as long as these women are thin and attractive, has become a quintessential symbol for sex, and is used most particularly to market food to men. Continue reading ““Eating Our Words” Decoupling Women’s Eating Habits from the Language of Sin: Part 1 by Stefanie Goyette”

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