The Joy of Preparing

“An invitational presence is the prerequisite to any form of intimacy. Like the physical flinging open of our doors to guests, we can cultivate a quality of hospitality in our presence which signals to the other that they are welcome in our company just as they are. This quality naturally emerges when we put down our own maneuverings long enough to be truly interested in who someone is, what they need, and what they love. Simply put, it is to clear an opening in our hearts for the other to take shelter.” -Toko-pa Turner in Belonging

Dear Rose People,

I’m at the farm, and we are resetting the guest rooms for holiday arrivals. How can we make this space welcoming and comfortable? Fresh linens, an extra blanket, a soft pillow (and a harder pillow so people have choice), a pitcher of water on the nightstand, a pen and paper for dream capture, tissues, flowers, a candle, something interesting to read. We put new soaps and bath tea and towels next to the tub. We know that when travelers come in the front door they are almost always hungry, so we have some grounding food ready- in winter, even in the tropics, it’s no fuss hardy things like empanadas or barley soup, or a veg chili and corn bread. I take extra pleasure in preparing the nest for them- slowing down and preparing for their arrival is my own joy! I don’t want to rush this, I want to savor it.

“Divine hospitality” is a universal good around the world. In wandering cultures, like the tribal Bedouin, being welcoming and generous was necessary in the harshness of the desert- and we can learn from that- in some ways, we are in a modern desert. Snjezana Akpinar writes that hospitality in many cultures is considered “as an act of unconditional surrender to the needs of others.” Scholar Mona Siddiqui goes a step further, and connects hospitality in the heart to forgiveness, not just with strangers and guests, but with our relations. She writes “individual pride and stubbornness often get in the way of reaching out, and we fail to understand that forgiveness is the most demanding act of hospitality — and, precisely for that reason, it is also the most urgent.”

Plus, seasonally, in the northern hemisphere, we are in the time for dropping in to the shortest day of the year. As we ride the seasonal cycles of our home planet as it tilts on its axis, we are invited to slow down and gather with beloved community. In the Christian calendar, it’s the last Sunday in advent, the four weeks before the holidays, a season of preparing. Yes, advent- like the countdown calendar to Christmas with those chocolate or legos or or beauty samples behind each day’s little door. Each day in advent is a chance to open a little door in the heart. It’s about preparing space in your heart for whatever is important, and creating space to give something the attention it deserves.

On this new morning, I shake off any stale energies, and get my mind right: it’s the time of gathering, and I know what I’m here to do on this day: to provide and to be a sanctuary, a place where people can show up as they are, to rest or play or co-create. To be present for who and what is arising and arriving, and have a lot of fun and delight in the process.

Wishing you deep joy in making ready, in preparing.

Christine Marie Mason

Founder, Rosebud Woman

Host, The Rose Woman Podcast on Love and Liberation

Author, Reverence: Creating Ritual in Modern Life, The Nine Gifts: First Aid for Mind, Body and Spirit and The Invitation: Daily Love for your Intimate Self

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