Article and photography by Rachel Leah Gerson
So I met this amazing woman back in February whose name is Cassandra Wilder- she runs women’s retreats all over the world, and owns Sacred Space here in Grand Rapids, MI. Anyways, This amazing woman and I met up for lunch and ordered sandwiches. And when our sandwiches came, she didn’t pick hers up to eat it, right away. Rather, she put both of her hands above her food- just hovered them there- and closed her eyes. I got goosebumps and a sacred warmth washed over me. I was stunned. When she opened her eyes back up I said,
“What the hell did you just do? You were doing some crazy magick things over there, weren’t you?”
She laughed and blushed a little and looked down sheepishly and lovingly at her sandwich (and believe me, it’s easy to look at a sandwich lovingly, but this was a whole new level of love).
“I was blessing my food,” she said.
“Okay, I mean, many people bless their food,” I went on, hands flailing with excitement. “Like, there are many Christians who say Grace and Jewish people say the Hamotzi, but this was a whole other level of blessing. Like, you put yourself into that sandwich!”
She giggled and blushed some more. She went on to explain to me that what she does is thank the food for where is came from. Thank the lettuce for being plucked, the grains for being harvested, and, if you’re not a veg, the animals for being killed so that we can be nourished and continue to survive. She said that by simply saying the words “Bless you” in her head, and acknowledging that the lives of all of the things that had now become food had sacrificed themselves for that of our own could change the chemistry of what we ate, and could therefore provide further nourishment.
It all made sense to me. Even though everything we were eating was very much dead, they were still made of molecules, and those molecules still held energy- because energy can neither be created nor destroyed, as per the laws of physics. It also made sense to me that this felt more powerful than what I feel when people say Grace or the Motzi or whatever other food blessings exist, because those traditions have become stagnant in the face of themselves- it has become a method of people repeating words because it’s what their parents taught them or their religious leader said to do, and so they are devoid of their actual meaning and purpose. Think about it, if someone has ever thanked you for something out of obligation or because someone told them to, you have known that it was out of obligation or transference. But when someone really thanks you- truly, sincerely thanks you- from the bottom of their heart, it is a felt thing. The same law applies to food: when you honestly thank it from a true place of gratitude, it knows!
So, enthused as I was, I decided to try. And the sandwich- that damned Turkey Reuben Sandwich- was the best freaking sandwich I have ever had in my life. Not only that, but I felt so completely nourished, energised, and happy from eating it. I didn’t get too full, but I felt fully satisfied. It was an amazing experience! So what else is there to do after something like that than to repeat the process? I became a food energiser junky. I have been doing it every meal since then. I’ve changed the words- bless you didn’t quite feel Rachel-y enough for me, so I say, “Thank you,” or even “Thank you for your nourishment,” or something along the lines of all of that. It doesn’t matter what you say- it’s the feeling and the sincerity behind it.
Sometimes I have forgotten- because nobody’s perfect- until halfway through the meal, and then when I remembered I would stop eating and bless the food. What would happen then is I would feel an immediate shift in my food and in my digestion process. Not only that, but I have had terrible digestion issues over the last several years, and I felt like I digested my food better! It even got to the point where I would thank my food, eat, finish my meal, and then thank my own stomach and intestines for digesting it, and from there, the digestion only improved!
The power of gratitude is overlooked and understated.
And when we celebrate this interesting day of Thanksgiving (here in America, anyways), people seem to suddenly be thankful for things that they otherwise take for granted the rest of the year. Perhaps our Thanksgiving meals are the best ones because we are truly focusing on the gratitude we have in our lives that day, and we are truly focused on our gratitude for that large and fantastical meal that many of us look so forward to.
But what if Thanksgiving was everyday? I don’t, obviously, mean in the sense that you stuff your face with a bunch of fattening foods to the point of inducing coma, or in the sense that you have a short work week, or in the sense that you’re worrying about which family member will make the biggest scene this year, or if Uncle Richie is going to make it up from Florida this time. I mean in the sense that, what if we were truly, outwardly and inwardly grateful to our food, our bodies, our lives, our spirits, our families, our loved ones, our shelter, our clothing- the list goes on- every single day?
I could not be more grateful to Cassandra for feeding me this wisdom (yes, I’ll admit the pun was intended), or to my food or ability to digest (even if still somewhat improperly), or my body for carrying me through the day, or my loved ones around me, or so many other things, than I am today. Well, no- I could always be more grateful tomorrow!