The act of feeding yourself and your loved ones around the holiday season can take on a life of its own. Planning menus, making shopping lists, endless chopping and baking – these tasks are as rewarding as we make them. Yet when we take this work on out of obligation, it overshadows the true intention of holiday gatherings, which is to show the people in our lives how much they mean to us.
In Ayurveda, how you eat is as important as what you eat. When we hold on to resentments toward our family and friends, we transfer that negative energy into the food we prepare. If you are frustrated with your father or feeling rejected by your spouse when you cook or eat, your agni weakens – even more so than if you don’t chew or overeat.
Preparing food with an open heart is the key to a meal filled with joy. So before your next gathering, spend time in honest reflection of your relationship with each person you have invited to your table. What is the gift each has given you in your life (even if it was a bit hard to unwrap)? How has each person helped you grow? What has been your role in the relationship? Are you happy with that role or are you ready to shift it? Going through this exercise will help you find peace in your heart so you can approach your holiday meals with a calm and loving attitude, filled with gratitude for the wisdom you have received from everyone in your life.
Here is a different kind of recipe to serve at your next gathering. It uses ingredients you already have and the final product is guaranteed to taste delicious.
A recipe for gratitude
2 parts acceptance (of yourself or of others, whatever you have on hand)
2 parts love (unconditional only, no substitutes)
1 part honesty
1 part non-attachment
Dash of amusement
Mix all ingredients in your heart using meditation, time in silence, journaling or any other technique that allows for release and reflection. Serve warm with a smile, making sure to feel deep appreciation for the challenges that have helped you grow into who you are today.