How To Set An Intention For Gathering
Have you ever had a gathering with an intention behind it?
Every time I visit my Grandmother, she makes us lunch. She sets out silverware, a placemat, and all the fixings for a sandwich with chips and cookies. She uses her favorite dishes and makes an intentional time to pause and eat lunch.
Over the years during the holidays at my grandparent’s house, we hand wash all the dishes after dinner. My grandmother pulls out her yellow rubber gloves and starts washing. The 4 granddaughters dry and put the dishes away. As we form our assembly line we listen to my grandmother tell us the story behind each dish that we wash.
The plates are all from the china set that she received for her wedding, 67 years ago. The wooden spoon that looks like it is from the 1800s ( It honestly might be) is The dented mini pot that used to heat up milk for all 4 of her children when they were babies. And the roasting pan that she has used every single year to make the Thanksgiving turkey since she got married was in her hope chest. We hear these stories each year as we all work in the kitchen cleaning up.
2020 proved to me that I took gathering for granted. I took for granted the special touches of why it was nice to have the nice and special dishes that my grandmother used. I realized that part of what makes eating out fun is the nice dishes, the special touches in the atmosphere of a restaurant. We don't make time for things to be a little special. We stand in the kitchen and eat over the counter, we sit with our food at our desk and still try to get work done on our laptops. When we gather we sometimes use plastic cups and plates.
But what if we stopped, what if we set an intention to gather with a purpose?
This past year was the first year that we did not have Thanksgiving at my grandparents due to covid. I celebrated with my mom, sisters, and my sister’s boyfriend. It was the first time that I made all of the food, set the table, and wanted to decorate. While I was trying to find bowls and trays for the food I realized that we didn’t own anything that was special or “nice” in that it was just a lot of saved old-to-go containers and burnt baking sheets. I missed the fancy dishes and silverware at my grandmother’s house that made thanksgiving and the holidays feel special, and not like just another meal.
In the spring I decided to throw a Vax girl summer party for my friends. We hadn’t all been together in the past year and I wanted to have a sit-down dinner outside with us all gathered around the table. I wanted to celebrate all of us getting the vaccine, being safely able to be together, and celebrate all that we had accomplished in the last year. I spent weeks thrifting dishes, glasses, and serving ware to make the night feel special and cherished.
The night was amazing and it’s not because the dishes were cute it was because there was the intention in the dishes. It was using a serving dish that felt special for this special dinner, it made me focus on gathering and being present with my friends, I didn't feel like I was just eating a quick meal over my counter or at my desk.
Setting a table or thinking to put out the etched drinking glasses helps you focus on the intention of being together with friends and family. It gets you in a mindset to be present that helps you cherish the time spent around a table with friends.
When I used the nice table setting I focused on my friends, I focused on the food, the laughter, the smiles, I focused on being together.