“Wonder Woman” had little formal education in the “old country,” and when she came to the U.S. in her thirties, she learned to read, write and speak her third language, English, with diligence and pure force of will. This was a gift because many sought her company, I believe, because she was gentle and affirming of others, and could listen well.
When “Wonder Woman” wasn’t with “Tarzan,” (the love of her life!) or sharing recipes, creating something delicious for us with other family members in the kitchen, she could readily be found in the garden, tending to the fig, apricot, apple, other fruit trees, rose and flower garden. Mom seemed to get such joy out of feeding others, entertaining and did it with such ease. We had such a large extended family and I can’t figure how she would create so many different dishes for tens of tens of people just like that. As I was a vegetarian, she took the extra care to create special vegetarian versions for me of whatever she was making for everyone else. In those days, food was not just physical nourishment, it was her way of gathering us, and implicitly, a celebration of- and will to-life itself, in the microcosm of a meal.
“Wonder Woman” taught me a lot about day-to-day living in those ordinary moments; and, even though she held a tangible sadness (the weight of burying two children), I am in awe of how she loved, forgave and cared so deeply about people. The deepest teachings have been more salient as I’ve journeyed through my own life and family history, and uncovered aspects of her own, which help me understand how she might have made sense of her world, what she might have tried to create for her family.
Heart is what she offered in affirming others. Heart is what she extended in pure acceptance, which seemed so natural to her. Heart is what she spoke in progressive views way before her time and no training in multiculturalism. Heart is what she demonstrated in forgiving. Heart is what she created in the spices, flavors, textures of food, life, surroundings! No doubt, heart carried her sorrow, embodied her, and plunged her into Life and depth to love so well.
Dad would call mom Wonder Woman and me and my sister were “Wonder Girls.” Today, would have been Mom’s Birthday and as I think about her and her teachings, I’m asking myself what part of heart can be more fully developed along my Wonder Girl to Wonder Woman journey at present. In mindfulness, we can set intentions and provide offerings for our efforts along the way. We can do this in honor of someone, a group, a cause, a particular situation, quality. This can enhance practices. Is there an intention that comes to you through someone, something, that may be calling to you to put in motion building upon your life-force?