Sunday, September 28, 2014

Bitter Bread? No.

I'm staying in a rather plain neighborhood
but this is part of my view every time I walk to town.
It seems odd to be thinking about work when I am so obviously retired from such engagements. (There is a wonderful word for retired here in Mexico … jubilado … which comes from the Latin "jubilare" - to make a joyful noise.)

The rainy season is upon us here in San Cristóbal so afternoon excursions now routinely include an umbrella and plastic pancho and generally wind up with me taking refuge in a coffee shop. Today's shop was La Casa del Pan Papalotl, an organic, health food restaurant. Since part of my study process is to review menus for words I don't know, I was delighted to find a quote on the front of the menu.

Trying to decode blocks of Spanish is good exercise but is sometimes a little synapse-tangling because of word orders and verb conjugations which sometimes make you think you know what they're saying until you realize you don't know who's speaking or to whom or about what. This quote was actually fairly straight forward, however … which I'm coming to recognize means that it is a probable translation of English to Spanish likely by a native English speaker. However, I grappled through the translation … with some help from Google Translate … and discovered that the author was Kahlil Gibran. Here is the original quote (which is very close to what I came up with from the Spanish):
The women (and men) who make these
incredible textiles are obviously
working with love.
And if you cannot work with love but only with distaste, it is better that you should leave your work and sit  at the gate of the temple and take alms of those who work with joy.
For if you bake bread with indifference, you bake a bitter bread that feeds but half man's hunger.
I like how he takes the idea from the abstract concept of work to the basic idea of baking bread, for what is work, after all? We tend to think of it as what people pay us to do. We could, however, think of it as what we do that takes effort, mental or physical, to achieve a goal or purpose. That larger definition includes all the things we do that has a purpose but does not generate income … raising children, making art, pursuing a hobby, cooking a meal … or in my case right now, studying a new language.

I am doing this work with love. I truly think I'm enjoying the exploration of this beautiful language as much as I am seeing this incredible part of the world. What a gift to be in the midst of an experiential learning process that requires studying menus in new coffee shops and discovering that canela in Mexico and cinnamon in Tennesee is the same ingredient that brings magic to a hunk of dough. This is definitely jubilado and there is no bitter bread on this journey!

This sign is in several places around town ...
Mexico is definitely my museum.
Here are a couple of pictures from the textile museum ... a fabulous place to explore the work of the highland weavers and embroiderers.

No comments:

Post a Comment