Kitchen Table Wisdom (the book) Archives

The ultimate universal health care plan

In her book Kitchen Table Wisdom, Rachel Naomi Remen talks about a support group for parents and their diabetic teens and how effective it was. She saw that their life experience was more valuable than any professional medical credential.

She also says:

I do not think that we will be able to attain health for all until we realize that we are all providers of each other’s heath, and value what we have to offer each other as much as what experts have to offer us.

She goes on to say:

We are all wounded healers of each other. We have earned the wisdom to heal and the ability to care.”

This healing often occurs in the form of listening and storytelling.

Imagine…universal health care where wounded healers are the practitioners.

I don’t suppose congress is giving this much consideration as they debate the health care bill.

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You are a storyteller (yes, you)

The driving force behind this blog is my belief that everyone has stories to tell, regardless of writing ability.

Actually, it goes even deeper than that. Everyone IS a story.

You don’t have to be a good writer to learn how to tell stories.

And being a good writer doesn’t automatically mean you’ll know how to tell a story.

Storytelling is a skill anyone can (and should) learn. Unfortunately we usually rely on novelists and screenwriters to provide us with our stories. We are spectators of these stories. But when we tell stories to each other, we are active participants.

All too often, instead of taking time to listen to the stories of people in our lives, we seek out professionals and self-help books to tell us how to live.

As Rachel Naomi Remen writes in Kitchen Table Wisdom, “The kitchen table is a level playing field. Everyone’s story matters.”

Your life is loaded with stories, even if you don’t realize it.

It’s my hope that this blog will help you remember and start telling some of those stories.

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A lesson in rest and peace from…bullfighting?

I read something interesting about bullfighting the other day that I want to share with you. There is a place in the bullring where every bull feels safe. If the bull reaches this spot, he stops running and rests.
It might seem like the bull has given up or injured himself when he enters this place, but this is not the case at all. Rather, this break from the action enables him to gather up his full strength again so he can continue fighting.
This safe place is called the “querencia.” This spot is different for every bull. It is the job of the matador to figure out the location of the querenciais for the bull and then prevent the bull from entering this sanctuary.
What is the “querencia” in your life? It doesn’t have to be a physical place, although it can be. It can also be a state of mind or a particular memory or mental picture that makes you feel safe and whole. It can also be as simple as a photograph or other object that, when you look at it, makes you feel at home and secure.
When you find it difficult to complete your goals or to temporarily get off the treadmill of your life, enter your “querencia,” even if just a few minutes.
If you don’t yet have a querencia, make it a top priority to find or create one.
You probably have many matadors out there preventing you from entering your “querencia.” These matadors take many forms: illness, the needs of your family, demands of your work, all the distractions in any given day.
Unlike a matador in a bullfighting ring, your matadors usually aren’t deliberately trying to prevent you from entering your querencia and their demands are often legitimate and not at all hostile. But remember that you do have power over all your matadors. Give yourself permission to say no to your matadors, even the benign ones. And don’t forget that only you know where your querencia is — your matadors never will.
When a cabinetmaker works with wood, he works with the grain, not against it. Regularly visiting your querencia will help prevent you from going against your grain and taking on tasks and responsibilities that go against your personality. You have the right to say no to anything that would diminish your sense of identity and peace.
Finally, the purpose of entering your “querencia” isn’t to hide from the world, but to emerge again with strength and energy to achieve all your goals and set new ones and find the right opportunities to say yes to.

In her book Kitchen Table Wisdom, Rachel Naomi Remen talks about bullfighting, of all things.

You see, there is a place in the bullring where every bull feels safe. If the bull reaches this spot, he stops running and rests.

It might seem like the bull has given up or injured himself when he enters this place, but this is not the case at all.

Rather, this break from the action enables him to gather up his full strength again so he can continue fighting.

This safe place is called the “querencia.”

This spot is different for every bull. It is the job of the matador to figure out the location of the querenciais for the bull and then prevent the bull from entering this sanctuary.

This morning my 7 year old daughter reminded me how stories can be a “querencia.”

She said she was afraid last night and couldn’t fall asleep. So her 14 year old sister, who shares a room with her, told her stories about when she was little.

The 7 year old was so thrilled to hear stories about her big sister. Even more enthralling than if she had merely read a book to her, I’m sure.

What is your querencia?

What/who are your matadors?

As Dr. Remen says, the purpose of discovering and regularly entering your “querencia” isn’t to hide from the world, but to emerge again with strength and energy to achieve all your goals and set new ones and find the right opportunities to say yes to.

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