A Breakfast Club

I carefully cruise down the icy Albemarle and Greene county back roads to the beautifully crafted cabin that sits high upon a hill just outside the small town of Standardsville, VA. The weather is expected to be beautiful on this Sunday, and I’m hoping that it will melt most of the snow and bring forth the essence of spring. I have been extended the privilege of sharing a delicious and thoughtfully prepared breakfast with a wonderful group of people.

As I arrive, things are just getting kicked off in the kitchen to prepare the vegan and traditional dishes for their breakfast. Bob, our 88 year old host and DJ, has smooth sounds of old time tunes playing on one of his many record players. He prepares the baked beans for our breakfast. I was surprised to see baked beans on the breakfast menu, but apparently, it is a common breakfast item in India and Europe. David wakes up a little earlier to grind the gluten free ingredients for his vegan pancakes. Kumud gets the coffee ready, acts as sous chef, and ensures a smoothly running kitchen despite many people cooking and prepping at once. Kathy, a recently re-inspired pottery artist, and daughter to the DJ, handles the hash browns. Today, Paul is experimenting with a vegan adaptation of a frittata, apparently last week’s was a hit.

After dressing up my coffee with a bit of sugar and soy creamer, I chat with the younger Bob for a while about the progress he’s made despite several traumatic and near death health accidents. He is a walking miracle and seems to maintain a steady level of hope and adoration for life in the face of adversity. Hearing his perspective reminds me to express gratitude for my health and leaves me amazed at the resilience of the human body and spirit.

As she is sauteing the onions for Kathy's hash browns, I chat with Kumud for a while about yoga and her experiences practicing and learning both in India and here in the U.S. It is interesting to note that in India there is just yoga, not the vast variety of styles we have adopted and market here in America. David and I chat about his involvement in the entertainment industry around Charlottesville, his connections with Dave Matthews before he was a star, and how David got involved with the Charlottesville Vegetarian Festival (we are both involved in planning/marketing for the event).

As the cooking comes to a close, we gather at the table, pass around each dish, and dig into the healthful deliciousness. At this point I have the opportunity to see and speak with everyone, as they’ve completed their cooking tasks, and we are enjoying the results. Another guest, in addition to myself, is Vee Osvalds, a stained glass artist who rents space at Charlottesville’s McGuffey Arts Center. We all chat about a variety of topics over the course of our breakfast. The one that resonates most, and is the driving factor for this weekly gathering, is community. It’s a time to look forward to and share great food and good energy with friends, neighbors, and those special folks that get invited as guests. I’m honored to have had the chance to share this experience with such a caring group. It truly emphasizes the idea that “experientialism” has the power to transform our quality of life.

The Small Act of dedicating time to build community, connect, and share energy with others is at the heart of this weekly breakfast. The experience reminded me to incorporate that theme into my daily life and interactions with others. It encourages me to be present, mindful, and appreciative, rather than judgemental or impatient, of the time I share with others. That time is energy. Is your energy being well spent?