Women's Wisdom & Nourishment Talk in Bengaluru, India Chinnappa Garden, Benson Town So privileged to have met with this group of awesome young women to explore together the foundations of nourishment. My intention was for it to be a collective, dynamic exchange that could draw out the wisdom and intelligence of the group field. Aware of the barriers culture, race, and socio-economic differences pose, bringing attention to these facts and being explicit about the seeming power differential was essential to dispel some of the unconscious held beliefs and projections that otherwise seem to govern group dynamics, especially in this configuration. We sat on the floor together, bare feet; a small but seemingly important gesture to create a field of sameness, of relate-ability. The formation of a circle rather than a stage with an audience, invited the shape of equality and unity. I know this is just the beginning and really a small gesture in the grand scheme of things but it seems to me that unless we begin with actions to create the structures and foundations (the shapes) of what it is to be one family, a collaborative sisterhood ~ that shares wisdom and learns from each other, then the barriers may shape shift, but won't really be dismantled. So my intention was to model and offer the experience of 'being together' with the use of facial cues, eye contact, movement, and touch. Some of the women were shy, reluctant to share, reserved - and I am sure they have good reason for that. Others opened, stepped up and found their voices to share what brings them alive.Together we explored resources for when negative feelings visit, and I was awed by some of the responses like meditation, talking with a friend, mother, sister or husband, dancing, listening to music, reading or writing. We explored our felt sense in the body and were able to link it to the food we eat. We identified and differentiated between whole foods and empty foods and we expanded our vocabulary of feelings. Most importantly, we expanded the concept of nourishment to include sense perceptions including unquestioned thoughts and beliefs, quality of relating, and our relationship to our female bodies.
One of the women asked how she could stop drinking 15 cups of milky sweet tea each day? Together we brought attention to her emotional feeling state underlying the pattern, we identified some key elements for her to explore, get curious about, we talked about awareness and mindfulness of the part of her that is wanting the tea and introduced the idea of parenting that one. She appeared enthusiastic and I felt inspired by this young woman's courage and vulnerability, and together as a group we could all relate, we really could. During the 1.5 hours we spent together, we talked about the ancient traditions and wisdom of their grandmothers. I told them that they are rooted in one of the oldest living traditional healing systems in the world, that people in the West pay big money to have access to such wisdom. I encouraged them to see the value of the wisdom of their mothers and grandmothers, to write it down so it doesn't get lost. I shared I want to learn this from them, as they may be learning some new things from me. This seemed to ignite a flame in some of them and a couple of them verified that their grandmother is always preparing medicines from plants and foods for ailments and conditions, particularly related to pregnancy, childbirth and postpartum care.
We closed our circle standing together, hands interlocked, lots of giggling and laughing as I encouraged us to look around the group, to really see each other and to receive the warmth, love and beauty of each other's faces. This, is the foundation of nourishment.
With love, Lindsey