Simmering Stew

Here in Colorado, the leaves are turning and we’ve had light snow a couple of times.  Fall is here and it’s a great time for stew.  I love the smell that travels through the house as it cooks and how eating stew warms me from the inside out.

chicken stew


Fall is also a great time for simmering and stewing thoughts.  Start with an experience that speaks to you, add in some quotes or other reading, and put it on the back burner of your mind.  Stir once in a while, watching for what wants to be added.  Feast on the ideas and emotions that blend together and bubble up.

One of my internal stews is around connection and community.  We are redefining the community and ways of connecting in our family as the younger kids move out and the older ones are becoming parents.   Another ingredient in my stew – the experience of recently spending a weekend in retreat with a community of friends.

These two quotes found their way into the pot.

 “There can be no vulnerability without risk; there can be no community without vulnerability; there can be no peace, and ultimately no life, without community.”   M. Scott Peck

 “Community, however important to a full human life, is not easy. Living with others evokes all kinds of difficulties. When we get close enough to one another to offer love and support in an intimate way, our old family patterns, our fears, our needs, our limitations show up as well. They’re all right there in front of our nose. We may be able to avoid conflict in our prayer and meditation, but in community we might as well not try—conflict will come.”   Jack Kornfield from “After the Ecstasy, the Laundry”

The multiple communities we are creating space for within the Center are in the stew too.  The online communities through email, Facebook, and Twitter.  The community of people who participate in classes and events.  I appreciate each person in these communities and want the communities to be nourishing to everyone in them.

I have a very rich and hearty stew simmering!  Do you have thoughts to stir in?  This is a community stew, so I’d love for you to add to it with your comments.

p.s.  I don’t want to leave you hungry without at least a recipe!  Click here for one on my list to try.

6 thoughts on “Simmering Stew

  1. Carol ODwyer

    I especially love the Kornfield quote–that conflict in community is inevitable. Sometimes we judge conflict as bad. I still love Thomas Crum’s book The Magic of Conflict. Nothing new comes out of the known. Conflict invites us to open to new perspectives. There is a great model called Planned Renegotiation. The assumption in the model is that at some point agreements will break down. You can look for the signs and renegotiate then or allow things to degenerate to an unproductive level. On the Thomas Killmann conflict style inventory, my style is ‘conflict adverse.’ Through the years, however, I’ve come to appreciate the value of conflict and the skills I’ve learned to help navigate it.
    Community is so essential. I appreciate the valuable work the Creative Life Center is doing in the area of community building.

    1. Marcia

      Great point – that conflict doesn’t have to be seen as bad. I tend to want to avoid it also so this is a good thing to keep in mind.

      Thanks for your kind words about the Center. 🙂

  2. Mary Reilly Mathews, LCSWR

    After 20+ years as an integrative psychotherapist, I can say that the most rewarding activity has been the small communities I have created that allow people to connect and express their best selves. This can be done in so many ways! SoulCollage groups, Happiness Study Groups, Creativity Clubs, Dream Work Groups, etc. People are starving for real life community. Good things happen in our emotions and our bodies when we gather together with good intent.

    1. Marcia

      Thanks for sharing from your experience! “Good things happen in our emotions and our bodies when we gather together with good intent.” Really hits home for me.

  3. Carol ODwyer

    Interestingly, I just came across this quote from Thomas Crum’s book–There is truly a magical quality about conflict which can call out the best in us, that which is not summoned under ordinary circumstances. Sounds like an important aspect of community building to me1

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