I was familiar with the act of saying grace through our family’s custom of holidays like Easter, Thanksgiving, Christmas and the times when we were able to gather together as a whole, but it has been through the deepening of my yoga practice that sitting with a moment of gratitude felt like a meaningful expression for the meal before me, for the night of sleep before me or the beginning of the day.

Years ago, I attended a gathering with Tibetan monks who were visiting Guelph, Ontario.  Someone asked, “What is the antidote for loneliness?”.  One of the monks shared the view that we are never alone as we have the company of all the hands, all the people and all the beings who have contributed to growing and preparing the fibres of the clothing we wear, all the hands, all the people and all the beings who have put their energy into cultivating, harvesting and preparing the food we eat, all the hands, all the people and all the beings who have created shelter for us.

I think about this when I sit down to enjoy a meal.  Recently I made a pot of sorrel soup.

The smell of onions, garlic, potatoes and dill filled my Toronto kitchen with the smell of memories, Poland and my grandmother.  I had harvested the sorrel and dill, from the Stop, an urban greenhouse and garden program that connects community with the food cycle.  The garlic and carrots came from my aunts garden.  The barley, onions and potatoes came from my local grocery store and while I don’t know who the grower’s were, their contributions too were companions in my soup pot.

When we eat a meal, we collect the vital energy from the sun and nutrients from the earth.  We bring into our being the efforts of so many hands.

I sit for a moment to consider what I am bringing into my being.

As I assimilate the meal that has brought so much life effort into one bowl, I hope that the life energy of all the hands, all the people and all the beings will be expressed back through me in my contribution to life.