That Pema Chödrön really knows what she’s talking about.

Dear Feastlings,
2020 has been a lot of things to each of us. I don’t begin to guess what each or any of you have been through this year, and while we’ve had our own struggles, I’ve watched from a safe distance while some of the people who’ve over the years celebrated happy occasions, one after another, with us in our little corner of the world have weathered events that have been more of a kick in the guts than we have over here. And my heart goes out to each of you for what you’ve endured this year, or, for that matter, any year.
I think my job this year has been to learn about the choice in how I handle whatever fate unceremoniously dumps in my lap, and nearly ten months into it, I’m only becoming aware of it- that is to say, even though I’m finally aware that I have a choice to respond, as I did in March and April, with pure unadulterated panic, or not to, I can’t say that I’ve adjusted enough to remain calm throughout what remains of the pandemic. I still wonder whether we’ll get to the point, like hundreds of thousands of other small businesses have, that I’m throwing good money after bad and take my shingle down before we’re once again capable of earning enough to keep the business running. It’s worked so far, and I’m hopeful, but it’s cost us more money than I care to think about. I have figured out meanwhile, though, that what’s made me feel good more than anything else this year is the feeling I have when I’m pulling away from dropping off another hundred, or two hundred, or four hundred meals.
It happens every time. I think about the people we’ve just fed, and the people who’ve donated so that we can feed them, and I think about the contributions they’re all making, and the hardships they’re all enduring, and I let a tablespoon of tears well up and spill down my cheeks and I feel a rush of gratitude and warmth that I’m becoming addicted to.
So I’ve come to realize that I’m not lucky because I’m better off than the people I just fed at a homeless shelter or the people risking their own well-being to help others who are desperately ill. I’m lucky because I get to offer them something to mute, or a least soften, some of the pain they’re dealing with. And I’m lucky that scores of people have chosen to help me do it. So I’m offering you my thanks for your help, and I’m offering my thanks to a microbe with no agenda but to replicate itself for helping me realize how much warmth I can generate within myself by doing something nice for someone.
We have one more such trip scheduled, and next week we’ll find a new place to bring meals once we’ve finished up this pre- and post-holiday dropoff to various apartment complexes. Here’s that last one, and we’ll soon have some information posted about who we’re next sending meals to:

Our next series of donation runs

Meanwhile, we’re still running a vague semblance of a restaurant around here, which means we’ll be serving carryout food today and tomorrow from our regular menu, with a few specials and baked goods thrown in.
And even though we’ve sold through every last set of New Year’s Eve hors d’oeuvres, we’ll be offering some specials tomorrow that are perhaps a step above what we normally offer, if only because it seems human right now to itch for a celebratory moment in the midst of an era so decidedly fraught with misery. But there’ll be more about that tomorrow, when we know for a fact that everything we ordered has shown up (we were shorted six items today, so it’s anyone’s guess at this point.)
I’ll also remind you that any wine that sparkles is available at 10% off tomorrow, or 15% if you’ve already bought the wine pairings to accompany those aforementioned hors d’oeuvres, and speaking of wine, we’ll have our regularly scheduled tasting on Saturday:

New year, new to us, and so new to you.

So there’s that to enjoy as well. And while I’m nowhere near able to do this effectively myself, all this talk about finding solace in taking others’ pain away, at least for a few minutes, makes me want to share this with you because I find it amazing and a goal I can work toward, and Iö’ve come to adore this woman over the years, and even more the more I read and watch and listen to what she has to say. This may well be my New Year’s resolution: Tonglen.

Loving Oneself and Others: A Tonglen Weekend

Hang in there, everyone, and I’ll try to breathe in a little of your pain.



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