When I was small I loved to lay on the floor with my cheek pressed against the course green carpet. To observe how the tiny green fibers meshed with blue one and white ones, and how my breath made them sway like a tiny forest. I remember wondering who wove that rough forest and if they knew that it would live in our home.

When I was thirty, I ate a raisin. I don’t particularly like raisins so I was pleased to eat just one. Or, rather, pleased to eat no more.

“Give it a little squish. Feel its resistance or acquiescence against you fingers; note its stickiness. Looking at it, think about who else has looked upon the raisin. Trace its journey.”

And so I journeyed with my little raisin across my home, back to the market, into the picker’s basket, onto the vine. So many hands. Living so many lives.

I practiced “The World in a Raisin” daily, reading the meditation and finding new paths that the raisin took. Fostering gratefulness, I remembered my grandfather’s hands that worked so hard in the fields to keep me out of them. I saw connections across the globe to people working to supply oil that would eventually grease the wheels of the trucks that ferried our little raisin to market. I felt it nourish the baby in my belly and so connect my innermost being to the reaches of the world.

The raisin did not offer an answer to the meaning of life, the universe, and everything, but it did offer a path. It awoke that childhood curiosity and paired it with empathy—connecting tiny fibers of life across oceans, inside homes, and throughout time.

– Vanessa Madrigal Lauchland (Ph.D. Student, Latinx History)