As I sit down to write this, we move into the darkest days of the year in Maine- the winter solstice is upon us. This time of the year is incredibly powerful as we put the darkness behind us and honor the return of light and sun.

Over the course of 10 days in December, my business partner, Helen and I, are sending gratitude to the members of our tribe who have supported us on our business-building journey thus far. We simply could not have had so much success without the support of each and every one of these incredible people. I’m quite sure there are others we have failed to mention in this gratitude campaign- please know that we are grateful for you, too.

Necklace by Willa Worth: Powerful Jewelry for Powerful Women

Necklace by Maine Artist Willa Worth: Powerful Jewelry for Powerful Women

Last week I took a class where I had to tell my ‘story’, beginning by answering the question “why are you compelled to do the work that you do?” I had a short time to write down some thoughts and when I did, I realized that the work that I am doing goes far beyond feeding people. I believe that food is the foundation to good health. I know that the time I spend working with my tribe and within the community is the true purpose behind the REAL food. I am endlessly grateful for being in the kitchen every week because the time washing, chopping and cooking creates a sacred space that I share with members of my tribe. So much goes on in those hours of work and talking together- there is space for deep, raw, vulnerable growth and healing.

Helen and I are building our tribe one amazing person at a time. The people who now work with us each have “it”- they are done with façades and pretending and no longer want to do things because they “ought to” our “should”. Before my eyes each week, I witness the unfolding of the layers of these amazing people who will change the world. Right now, we work together to do it one meal share at a time.

As I think back over the past year, I am overcome with the depth of support and guidance Helen and I have received in building WHOLEmade Meal Shares. We have leaned on friends, family members, customers, farmers, butchers, shamans, book keepers,  lawyers, and our therapists (just to name a few). These people are our tribe- they go above and beyond their titles and offer more than we could ask for. What I am most grateful for is each member of our tribe’s ability and willingness to expose their shared humanness with us.

Over the last year, one things has become very clear- Helen and I are doing the work that we were put on this planet to do- feeding bodies, minds and souls. We are creating a work space that supports and challenges people. Of course, we are figuring it out as we go because there is no road map. There have been bumps and bruises along the way (and there will surely be more) and that’s okay- we no longer strive for “perfection”.  Instead, we each practice fierce gratitude for the opportunity to have a “job” that allows us to strip off the layers and live full, vibrant lives. Gratitude keeps us constantly moving toward the light.

Here are a 15 lessons we are grateful to have learned the first year of growing our business.

  1. Listen to your heart, not your head
  2. Say what you feel
  3. Delete or expand
  4. Be all in
  5. Apologize
  6. Do the work – even when it’s so f***ing hard
  7. Build your tribe
  8. Celebrate even small wins
  9. Decide
  10. Sometimes there are just tough days
  11. Exhale
  12. Be authentic – especially with yourself
  13. Call your shrink, your shaman, your best friend
  14. Hug tight, long and often
  15. Share your gratitude

THANK YOU for reading, supporting, eating, and loving with us throughout 2015. We are grateful!

~Stacy and Helen

Stacy Cimino and Helen Allard of Ancestral Path Wholemade Meal Shares of Maine

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