Someone asked me recently what was the common denominator among my friends. What was the thing I sought out and was most attracted to in others? It surprised me how quickly the answer came to me: inner warmth. Life certainly has its shares of cold winter days, where one feels lonely, or inadequate, or hopeless, or lost, or irate. Sometimes there are Chernobyl days where you feel all of those things at the same time! (Read: meltdown). The warm, cashmere-soft, inner flame of friendship is what might get me through those winters. Even if life is too hard to reach out to those friends explicitly. Just knowing the very existence of those human beings. Knowing they’re in my life. Knowing they are my village. So warm, a moment of carefree laughter with them, even in my darkest hours. When I think of friendship, I imagine myself rubbing hands very close to a fireplace, comforted by the warmth in every part of my being.
Inner warmth. I can tell right away if I sense it in someone, but I can’t exactly pinpoint what it is. A bunch of things, I suppose. To be open-minded, generous, nurturing. To be mindful of others, attentive, interested, genuine. To be observant, engaged. To want to connect and share. Something like that.
I guess inner warmth, and all its components, is also what I want to bring to the world. To my son. To my loved ones. To this blog.
Thinking back on my childhood, that sense of inner warmth and friendship is very much associated with meals. The “special” meals my mother would make. Or let me make. Whether it was for the two of us, or for a group of friends.
And one of my winter favorites, was the soupe verte, the green soup. Another example of how amazing simplicity can be. I have been obsessed with soup lately, perhaps needing to feed that inner warmth and keep that flame going. And on a winter night, with family and friends, whether they are there in person or in spirit, this is a soup to warm and nurture the body and soul.