I received a copy of Kitchen Table Wisdom by Rachel Naomi Remen as a holiday gift. It was new to me even though the book was a special 10th Anniversary Edition. I found it one of the most enjoyable and meaningful books I have read recently.
There are pages and pages of simple short stories that draw upon Rachel’s life and those that she encountered in her many years of medical practice. I love stories that teach through metaphor…I never have been big on lectures. So, this book was perfect for me.
Kitchen Table Wisdom touches upon life – it reaches beneath the surface deep into our spirits. It speaks frankly about our foibles and breaking through those barriers that hold us back from truly embracing life and experiencing real joy. And, for those of us who are artists, expressing ourselves through our art.
“Joy seems more closely related to aliveness than to happiness,” writes Rachel in one chapter. In another she tells a story of growing to appreciate that the rose bushes in her garden, which she thought were planted for beautiful roses, were actually a way for her to have her mornings begin with the almost mystical companionship of a huge stag who nibbles on the bushes. She writes in that story that a friend observed, “Well, I guess we are always doing the right things for the wrong reasons.” Again, no lecture, just a simple story that one is left to ponder for days on end.
If you have time, I encourage you to look for a copy of Naomi’s book, and hopefully, as you read through the stories, they will lift your spirit.