Host Highlight: Shabbat Shalon
Annette Blum is a San Francisco host who regularly hosts OneTable “Shabbat Shalons” open to the community.
Gathering around the dinner table is a natural and universal ways to create “insta-community” that nurtures both body, mind and spirit through conversation, delicious food and physical proximity to other humans. Shabbat, a separation from the workweek designated for reflection, learning and family is perfect opportunity to create space for these community dinners to evolve and flourish.
My version of Friday night dinner, which I call Shalon, came to life in January 2017 as I was processing the results of the 2016 election. Through Shalon, I created a welcoming, safe environment for anyone who was committed to respectful, action-oriented conversation to come together to discuss issues in our lives and our community and explore ways to make change.
How many of us spend more energy procrastinating from doing the things we dread than simply tackling activities, conversations and concepts that challenge us? At the end of the day, the things we avoid are often not nearly as tough as expected and are bound to catch up with us anyway, making awareness, preparation and tolerance of ourselves and others critical in order to make progress.
Maintaining a support network is one of my best defenses against needless procrastination. With people around to iterate on ideas, hold me accountable and provide a helping hand if and when I stumble, I’m more likely to jump right in and begin to move forward.
Despite our best efforts, there are some things we simply can’t put off; the most ubiquitous of them all is death. Lives around the globe differ significantly in many ways but there is no question that at some point, every human being will eventually die. For many, this is not negative, it is a fact that allows us, maybe even forces us, to live our best lives while we can and to prepare for the myriad of emotions, decisions and obligations that come at the end of life. While we’re healthy and full of optimism, this preparation and the conversations associated with it are easy to put off to a later date; but we’re not doing ourselves any favors by avoiding them. In fact, we’re amplifying fear and increasing the chances of misunderstanding and suffering for ourselves and loved ones.
As part of my 2018 resolutions, I’m committed to talking about and preparing for death – my own and of the people I love. For this reason, I have chosen to host, with the support of OneTable, deathoverdinner.org, letsreimagine.org and thedinnerparty.org and other community educators, a Shalon for open conversation about end of life and how we can both “live well and leave well.” It promises to be enlightening and empowering and I can’t wait to share information, resources and thoughts with the community both during and after our dinner.
Sign up for the next Shalon dinner HERE.