From the moment you touch ground in San Miguel de Allende, you feel the shift. All the ex-pats who live there will tell you, San Miguel is a magical place. It’s built on a bedrock of quartz crystals, they’ll tell you. It’s the heart of Mexico, they’ll tell you. But the true magic of San Miguel is what happens inside of you, while you are there. Something begins to shift. New possibilities begin to take root. The hard frozen ground of your routine life begins to thaw, as the muse unfurls anew. And much of this happens at Jody’s table.
|Jody, at the head of her table|
Jody Faegan is the original founder of the San Miguel Writer’s Conference (but has since turned the reins over to the wonderful Susan Page). Every year during the conference, Jody hosts friends from around the globe at her dinner table. People from all walks of life, all ages, all political leanings – writers, artists, photographers, construction workers, wine-makers, gypsies, feminists, therapists, wanderers gather there. All are welcome. There is an open and inviting energy in her home, that emanates from her, of course. Conversations at her table have shifted lives. I’ve witnessed this. I’ve experienced this.
This year, Jody sold her incredible (jaw-dropping amazing) home, which 400 years ago was the town orphanage. Saturday, February 16th, was the very last gathering at Jody’s table. It was lively and joy-filled. As always, I felt supported, fed, nurtured in every way. And it ended, for me at least, with some tears. But Jody’s beautiful smile and upbeat personality held us all together. She left San Miguel excited about new adventures in new places, and imagining other tables where we will soon gather.
As Jody steps into her new journey, I hope she will take these words, from her many friends, with her:
“the first year i thought, hmmm, maybe it’s the altitude, i feel so full & joyous & oh so happy sitting here at this table and yes, i made a few new lovely and glorious friends in the process. the second year i thought, hmmm, no, no, it’s not the altitude at all, i feel so full & joyous & oh so happy sitting here at this table, and yes, i made a few new lovely and glorious friends. and then this year, the third year it became crystal clear: it wasn’t at all about the altitude or the table – it was all about the friends: the beauty & all the love, the goodness, the kindness. the funny and truthful. the opening up and sharing our stories, our lives. the sense of community, the huge, massive generosity of spirit that filled each and every chair. hmmm, i thought, it’s not at all about the table, it’s all about jody. generous, gorgeous, amazing jody”
“Jody’s table… A celebration of creativity and life, of secrets shared, tears shed, laughter echoing from the core. Where new friendships blossomed and old friendships were renewed. A table that will be cemented in my memory, felt inside my heart, and stored permanently inside the “happy box” of my soul; a pleasant place to revisit in my mind’s eye when life attempts to lead me down a path void of love, laughter and smiles. Thank you Jody for letting us all experience your warm, inviting heart.”
“The heart of San Miguel’s magic was for me at Jody’s Table. I felt so welcomed and embraced by these new vibrant, fun, creative, and soulful women in my life with whom I felt a such a powerful connection, as if I’d known them for years. Part of me will always be at Jody’s Table–a place where I drank up the love and synergy, the soul bearing, the shared laughter and a few tears, and good amount of margaritas. A generous, loving gift from Jody to all of us and one I will carry everywhere with me. Thank you Jody. xoxo”
– Robin Horton
If San Miguel is the heart of Mexico, then Jody’s table is the heart of San Miguel, and Jody is the heart of Jody’s table. This is a tribute to you, Jody Faegan, for setting an example for the rest of us. Thank you for showing us what it means to have tremendous generosity of spirit. For giving us the space to expand into our full beings. For teaching us how to be Jodys in our own lives.
May the tradition continue, and may we all create Jody’s table in our own homes and communities.
(all friends of Jody’s table, please leave your comments here for her!)
Jody's Table is the rare place where there is no question of not being welcomed – where fears are allayed; stupid amounts of acceptance are heaped; spirits buoyed; souls fed; tears shared and boundaries shed; your back is 'got'; ideas are celebrated; wine drunk, sweaters borrowed, shoulders rubbed; owies kissed; hair brushed; transgressions forgiven. And I could go on, but the short version is that Jody's Table is a place where you sit down 'as is' and you leave feeling exactly like the person you really are.
Jody's Table is a wonderful place. Parties at that table are multi-layered, as Jody is a multi-layered woman.
I have been at that table for homework and messy kid parties, for a-grunt-is-all-you'll-get-from-me breakfasts, and of course for wonderful and wide-ranging adult conversations.
I have been trying to crystallize what makes Jody so very special, because of course the table is only wood. Some of what makes Jody wonderful is her open and inquiring heart and mind. But – to me – her generosity and willingness to help people to connect with each other is what makes these gatherings so special. She wants each one of us to see and share what is special about us and about each other.