What I learned from hosting Mycelium Dinners

Mamakan, January 6, 2019

On the 6th of January 2019, I hosted the very first experiment of Mycelium Dinners in my home in Parau, on the border of the Waitakere Ranges, situated in the west of Auckland.

It was on a warm summer night. The homemade food and the profound stories shared made the evening all the more colourful.

 

The next day, one of the guests sent me this note: “Thank you for the fantastic food, the splendid environment and especially the stories. The thing I liked best was the suggestion at the end to ask what we all ‘wanted’ or ‘needed,’ and we all rose to the challenge beautifully. Of all the things about the evening which most connected to the idea that trees talk to each other and support each other, that was a genius idea… small tendrils of helping each other.”

 

With my peppery Kawakawa Pesto and all the flowery heartfelt, homemade food, it was a taste experience worthy of recommendation. The evening ended with the “Circle of Support” where each guest is invited to voice an intention and the other guests have the opportunity to ask” How can we help?”

 

My own intention was asking for ideas of how to celebrate my birthday ten days later. As most of my family would be away, I was dreading a day sitting alone at home. See how it turned out here.

 

It was my birthday and I was all alone with my 4-year old son. Everybody else in my family was traveling. What other way to celebrate than making new connections, both to humans and spirits?

 

During the Circle of Support at the first Mycelium Dinner a couple of weeks ago, I had expressed fear of being lonely on my birthday. Being a foreigner and a new immigrant to New Zealand, I had few acquaintances and no real friends yet. In fact, at that dinner most of the guests were kind of strangers.

 

Some of the guests had reacted promptly with invitations and suddenly, Samuel and I found ourselves with a full day of fun activities. One of the highlights being a nature walk close to Piha beach in Western Auckland. A beautiful place with many trees and roots, beautifully in line with the Mycelium theme.

 

At night, guests arrived with their stories and food. It was a night of going deep into our past, with quite a few tears and many more laughs. Stories were shared with such an intensity that the air vibrated and long gone spirits appeared. In fact, some of these spirits had such a physical presence that they scared a couple of guests at Mycelium Dinner no. 4.

 

One guest noted: “Conscious tasting of the food, sharing stories without people responding, just listening, connection and appreciation for each other and each others journey really grew during the course of the evening.”

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