Devoted Food 

This week: A three-way conversation between Miranda, the White Rabbit, and Doc Hollywood – at the compost heap of course!

Dear Reader

This is the White Rabbit and I’m standing next to a heap of compost that is ready to be used. This got me thinking about Change Matters and how their Food for Thought articles began. ‘Food for Thought’ can be equated to when compost is ready. All the ‘vegetable matter’ has been broken into rich digestible nutrients. All seeds and seedlings really benefit from compost. It assists them to grow and become well-established in the garden. I personally prefer a lettuce that has been grown with the support of compost than a lettuce that has been planted without, the lettuce tastes completely different when well nourished.

Doc Hollywood says: A nice metaphor here. Gets one thinking about how we nourish our children and how we later nourish (or do not nourish) ourselves and how we well…taste as a result. How we taste life.

I’m going to digress for a moment, by now you should know that rabbits by nature hop around. I once asked Miranda what she thought was her ‘True Purpose’ on Planet Earth. This can be quite a deep question and a difficult one to answer if you haven’t done some ‘work’ on yourself.

After a pause to reflect Miranda replied – ‘My “True Purpose” is to learn.’

I thought that was an interesting reply because she had played a few roles that had put her in the position of a teacher. She had qualified as an International Yoga Teacher in the 70’s and during the 90’s had become a Training Coordinator in the Field of Disability and now was practicing as a Counsellor. These were roles that obviously were linked to some form of learning one way or another but they were on the other side of the learning continuum. They demonstrated what had been learned and what others could learn from her. So why did she place herself in the role of a learner when teaching, training and development is her forte?

Miranda went quiet for a while and the replied – ‘I guess it’s got to do with what I learned in the 12 Step Programme. Although we all are unique and our circumstances are different, nevertheless everybody is all the same. We are the same because we are all struggling to come to terms with addiction.’

At this point I butted in – ‘Surely Miranda, not all of us are addicts!’

Miranda paused and then said – ‘It depends on how you view addiction. I once heard the word “addiction” being described as “devoted habits”. So who of us can honestly say we have no “devoted habits”? We are all struggling to overcome some form of addiction, I mean it can start from young. How many of us sucked our thumbs or bit our nails? What did it feel like when our parents or teachers said we mustn’t do this because in their opinion it would misalign our teeth or that it was a socially unacceptable thing to do? What did we experience when we were trying desperately to stop? So in my book we all, at some stage of our lives, are faced with “devoted habits”, therefore we are all the same, from the point of view that we all struggle to change.’

‘So what has that got to do with being a learner as opposed to being a teacher?’ I asked.

‘Well, I guess it’s got to do with a 12 Step saying that you can’t change anyone, you can only share your experience, strength and hope. I can only share what I already have tried out myself. Trying doesn’t make me an authority; it just makes me one step in front of you. I’ve still got to take the next step forward and the terrain at that point is just as unknown to me as yours feels to you. So sharing makes me feel more comfortable than saying I know this and that or I’m now an authority. For me authority smacks a little of having arrived. I don’t see my journey on Planet Earth at having arrived but rather moving through. Yes there are destination stops along the way and a lot of us see these as areas that would be great to “park off” permanently, but life isn’t permanent so I’d rather keep moving.’

She’s got a point there. Maybe one day, she’ll turn into a rabbit after all, I thought. So I continued to probe, ‘OK, where does Food for Thought come into the mix? I see you’ve got some of the articles under The Pottery Night Meditation Cookbook and some in a section you actually have called “Food for Thought”. What is that all about?’

‘I guess learning can be seen as educational, from the perspective that education means to provide some form of instruction that develops, brings out, elicits, evokes and infers some form of knowledge that is either latent or potential in its existence and that increases one’s development,’ Miranda tentatively replied…

Here I am trying to get Miranda to answer a simple question and she seems to have bunny-hopped off at a tangent. ‘So, what has this got to do with “Food for Thought”?’ I asked, trying to bring her back on track and bearing in mind that she still hadn’t answered why ‘Food for Thought’ can be found in two places on her site.

Miranda was still nibbling at unpacking her ‘True Purpose’… ‘Well, for me, if a person wants to know more about themselves and is struggling, then surely they need to stimulate their thought processes in such a way that will get them to examine what it is that is stopping them from knowing. I remember having great trouble in the beginning of my journey towards “Self-Discovery” when “The Universe” (or was it “The Caterpillar”?) asked me “Who are you?” Part of my process in discovering this answer was to go and read what other people thought about this question. I remember two years after I started my journey I began re-reading and working through a book that had been sitting on my bookshelf for years. It was called The Artist’s Way by Judith Cameron. I decided to set aside 12 weeks and commit myself to her course that she describes as “discovering and recovering your creative self”. What I really valued was the fun I had learning more about me. It made me aware that often psycho-education is missing from the psychotherapeutic process in the practice room. Hand-outs can play an important role between client and counsellor. So why can’t psycho-information be slipped in onto a website?’

Ah-ha! The light was beginning to dawn on the circuitous route Miranda was taking in answering my question: ‘So Food for Thought is your way of offering some psycho-education in a palatable form?’

Doc Hollywood gets all excited at this point, and jumps up and down (in quite rabbit-like fashion). She says: Hey, you can nourish yourself by visiting www.changematters.co.za for free!

‘Yes,’ Miranda smiled.

‘So I guess, slipping some “Food for Thought” under a recipe was your way of demonstrating that “eating” can have two meanings?’ asked Le (La?) Rabbit.

And the Doc says: This is a serious question to the reader – how much of this other kind of eating do you do? Or are you one of those people who thinks personal growth is just a luxury?

‘We think this other kind of food is so important that we decided to put it under its own heading on the site. That way it’s accessible to you even if you don’t like cooking – and find scrolling down a drag!’ Miranda replied.

Finally, I’ve got the answer I was waiting for. Thank you! (Said the Rabbit).

‘See also www.changematterscounselling.com for nourishing ideas on handling depression, anxiety, grief and your very own True Purpose!’ said Miranda, scattering some new compost on a little seedling she had found.

Sigh, said the Doc. Isn’t the Internet wonderful.