Words of Wellness

September 21, 2009 | The Rev. Dr. Scott Stoner

Life itself is the proper binge

"Life itself is the proper binge."  (Julia Child)

I recently had the pleasure of seeing the movie "Julie and Julia,"  which is based on the true story of the almost thirty-year old Julie Powell's discovery of her passion for French cooking and Julia Child.  In the course of a year, Julie cooks her way through the 524 recipes in Child's 1961 classic  Mastering the Art of French Cooking, writing a blog about the experience as she goes.  By day, Ms. Powell works in a meaningless job where her soul is depleted.  By night, she discovers meaning and passion for her life as she creates culinary treats she never dreamed possible, all with the guidance of her spiritual mentor, Julia Child.  Who knew that Julia Child was so wise?  "You'll never know everything about anything, especially something you love,"  is one example of her simple, yet profound wisdom.

"Julie and Julia" is a beautiful movie, in so many ways.  The story is moving, the food is exquisite, but most inspiring of all was seeing the marriages that both Julie Powell and Julia Child enjoyed.  I cannot ever remember a movie in which long-term, supportive and faithful marriages are portrayed with such love and depth.  Hollywood so often prefers the drama of short lived infatuations, rather than the less exciting day to day comfort and intimacy of a long-term committed relationship.  We see in this film that one of essential aspects of a loving marriage is that each partner is committed to helping the other become all that they are called to be.  It is clear that these two women would not have reached their full potential without the love and support of their marriages.   
"Dining with one's friends and beloved family is certainly one of life's primal and most innocent delights, one that is both soul-satisfying and eternal."  That's another quote from Julie Child.  It reminds me of what I wrote about last week in terms of the importance of every day rituals in our lives.   The Eternal shows up in the breaking of bread together, in the gathering of friends and family around a table or an altar to share a sacred meal.  Breaking bread is what we do with close companions, and that is why the word "companion" comes from two Latin words that mean "with bread."

"Julie and Julia"  shows how both women went through a "dry time" when they were searching for a sense of purpose and passion in their lives.   None of us are immune to such times.  Perhaps you are going through such a time right now.  If you are, here are some lessons from this movie:  
1.  Don't go through it alone.  

2.  Talk out loud with others as you seek to discern the passion you are  called to manifest in your life. 

3.  Don't take yourself too seriously.

4.  Stay humble and keep a sense of humor.

5.  Progress is more important than perfection.                        

6.  It is actually possible for anyone to learn how to de-bone a duck.

In closing, two more quotes from Julie Child seem appropriate:

"I think the inner person is the most important. ...I would like to see an invention that keeps the mind alert. That's what is important."

"Find something you're passionate about and keep tremendously interested in it."

Discover your passion, stay alert, and stay committee--in life, love and discovery.  It's the heart of cooking life!

**Please note that the quotes included here from Julia Child do not all appear in the movie.

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