Love Letter to New York City: A Meal in Manhattan


A Meal in Manhattan: A Gateway to the Rest of the World

I’ve been here before. I recognize this feeling.

Life can be complex. Simplicity is sublime. I am trying to keep life more simple, spacious. Less to do’s on the list, fewer meetings on the calendar, more time for reflection, energy for response to that which is for me. The sacral, my Human Design guru Kym, says. Listen to the sacral; let the body and its fire guide your life, not the mind and its limitations.

I am trying. Every day, I try. It’s a discipline, a training. I enjoy it.

For me, it helps to have access to places I have been before.

16 years ago, I sat in a Thai restaurant called Galanga in the West Village with my dear friend Fred and a family I had never met. They were from the Dominican Republic, and ran an orphanage in a town called La Romana. We sat at a communal table on W. 3rd Street, talking about their work and mission. Fred had visited the orphanage before, and collectively he and the group looked at me and asked me a question; a clear invitation.

“Would you like to come spend the summer working and living in the Dominican Republic? We have 125 children living there. They will change your life.”

I felt an almost overwhelming sense of yes; a body responding with such an excitement that was undeniable. I felt like i was melting at the table, in the best possible way.

That summer, I went to this orphanage. I spent the summer there with the 125 children that lived there. They did, in fact, change my life.

Fast forward 16 years later, in the same New York City neighborhood, there was another meal. This time, it was lunch in a Lebanese restaurant called Moustache. Again, a table of strangers; an Ecuadorian woman from Quito named Rafaela, a fellow fella from Illinois named Sean, and an indigeneous leader that lived in the Amazon Rainforest, Domingo. With a table of Moussaka, Zatter, Pita, and Babaganoush, these strangers soon to become friends shared stories of their work, time, and connection to the Amazon Rainforest. The waters, the plants, the rituals, medicines, animals. The community spirit, sense of well-being, and balance. It was one of those lunches you hope never ends. Story after story, each one as captivating as the prior.

I was recently hired to do a writing project for the organization that united them, and I had a list of questions to ask Domingo. I asked the first, he answered. I asked a second, he answered. On my third question, he smiled, and looked at me.

“I can answer all your questions if you’d like, but you will only truly understand once you are with us in the Amazon. Would you like to come to the rainforest?”

I flashed back to the community table at Galanga. My body time traveled, and I again found myself there.

With my body so eager to go that I looked down to see my sternum to be pressed against the table, my feet dancing in place.

“Your life will never be the same again,” Rafaela said.

In this moment, the hairs on my arms stood up simultaneously as the goosebumps that accompanied them. I held back tears. Would it be too much to cry in front of a table of strangers at the possibility of something that felt so, well…

So much like a clear yes.

I’ve been here before, I told myself.

This place of deep and unequivocal soul resonance.

Gathered around a crowded table in the heart of Manhattan, my world continues to open, to expand, and to honor….

That place of yes.

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