November 15, 2021

Tasting the ‘yuck’ and ‘yum’ of life

By Sherrie Frank

Today I was reminded of a Sanskrit phrase “sarvam annam,” which translates to everything is food. It came to me this morning when I was helping my almost 2-year-old grandson Ezra with his lunch. I had made him a colorful plate of kale, squash, and cottage cheese. He gobbled up the cottage cheese, and when I would suggest a bite of veggies, he’d scrunch up his nose and say quite clearly, “No.” I thought, hmmm. While everything in life might be food, that doesn’t mean we’re always going to like what ends up on our plate.

I think the deeper meaning of sarvam annam is that each experience we go through—the seemingly good and the seemingly bad—transforms us in some way. Sarvam annam invites us to open into each moment and taste the experience for what it is. And even though it may not be what we want, often given time we find the evidence of the nourishment and growth it offered us. One day little Ez may learn in his science class how the kale on his plate was an offering of love; this day he is my teacher, his little resistance reflecting my own scrunching nose when I find “roughage” on my plate. I am learning to trust in those moments and meet them with equanimity. How about you?

So today, let’s practice seeing experience through the lens of sarvam annam—everything is food. As we’re gobbling up the things we love, let’s also dip into the experiences we want to resist.  If it’s loss on our plate, we taste it as tenderly as we do love. If it’s disappointment, we breathe in the aroma of longing that surrounds it. Sarvam annam’s superpower is the feeling of abundance it creates, turning every moment of life into a Thanksgiving feast. Yes.

P.S.: I am sharing a fable with you this month called The Farmer’s Son. It reflects sarvam annam and teaches us about navigating adversity. I invite you to read it with your family and friends as you gather over the coming winter months and deepen the experience by sharing the impact with each other.

Read the fable here.

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