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Meet Priya Patel of The Intention Table in Dallas, Plano, Oak Cliff

Today we’d like to introduce you to Priya Patel.

So, before we jump into specific questions about the business, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
I’m originally from Los Angeles and moved to Dallas in 2008 as this is where my ex-husband lived. I spent most of my career working with children with special needs specializing in working with those who are non-verbal but left the world of teaching three years ago. That was right around the time I burned the house down on life as I knew it. My marriage, my family, my job needed to be faced. I knew life as I knew it had to change. Not just life as I knew it in itself, but I myself needed to change. I began the process of slowly letting go of the person I was thought I was supposed to be and stepped into the person I actually am. Everything that I taught those children I began to teach myself. Things like learning to have a voice, come back into my body, create awareness of sensation, I came to the conclusion that I had been walking around life numb to unaddressed trauma as a child and adult, created automatic behavior habits, and knew little to nothing about feeling and understanding emotions. During that process, I realized a lot of people are walking around a life that way. I spent the last three years turning inward and creating a variety of life skills to help me understand myself better and undo many of the coping mechanisms that were no longer needed. Meditation, journaling, yoga, and mindful eating became staples in teaching me to rewire my brain and now are things that I teach to others.

The Intention Table was birthed seven months ago from a place of complete peace and healing and helps other people take a look at themselves in a joyful and playful way. It is unique and offers experiences quite like no other. Each experience has three parts, Eating Meditation, Mindful Meal, and Conversation Around The Table. They are dinner events that start with an eating meditation that invites people to become fully and to notice what is in front of them (ingredients from a dish) with all of their senses. It is thru this vehicle that we get to examine our patterns, habits, awareness, and consciousness. So, people get to practice the concept of self-discovery as I said in a very tangible and playful way. The meal is a way for people to practice the concepts that they learned in the meditation and the conversation is a way to have thought-provoking and stimulating conversations with people who were also stepping out of their comfort zone and attending.

I recently had my first restaurant partnership and it was a full room with many who had never tried meditation before. It was very lovely to see people step outside the box and practice being with themselves in a unique way. I look forward to continuing to plant seeds of self-discovery using eating as the vehicle.

We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc. – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
Right now this has been a smooth process but I believe it is because of all of the inner work I have done to get here. I truly just listen to my inner voice to guide me of what the next step to take should be. In addition to that, I helped create a school for kids with special needs, as well as holding a position as Director of Development for that non-profit so had learned a number of skills along the way. At the same time, I also learned what I could do differently when running a business.

Another beneficial tool for me was that right when I started this company I joined Ewomen Network North Dallas Chapter and have learned a tremendous amount through the monthly events and women’s business conference which happened last July right when I decided to open this company. I came away with a large number of actionable steps. I immediately jumped in and have taken on the mentality of taking imperfect action. I learn from mistakes without judgment by jumping into that process. By doing taking imperfect action, the right people have been in front of me or connected to me by someone else at exactly the right time. I still continue to attend those meetings and have business mentors which I think is priceless.

The hardest part for me seems to be when I get feedback or advice from other people that makes me question my inner voice. I’ve worked really hard to listen to my inner voice and once in while, feedback that doesn’t resonate with my inner knowing can make feel uneasy.

One more challenge that comes to mind is knowing that I have a lot of education to do as far as helping people understanding what an Eating Meditation even is, why it matters, and why they should come to a The Intention Table experience. I’ve been very private about my life changes the past three years and now starting a company and becoming active on social media again has been a big adjustment on my end. I’m using that tool as a way to start to educate the consumer and so that feels good bringing valuable information however I’m still getting used to using it again.

We’d love to hear more about your business.
The Intention Table offers extremely unique experiences. It is self-discovery made simple. We believe that food is an amazing tool for self-discovery. It can engage you to every one of your senses and by observing them people can learn incredible things about themselves. Our passion is offering unforgettable experiences with food that are meaningful, fun, and delicious. We are known for helping people step out of their comfort zone, experience stillness, and self, and practice the concept of awareness.

We are a foodie lovers dream as we partner with chefs and restaurants to serve incredible meals after the guided meditations. Each guided meditation, by the way, is the meal that is served deconstructed. That is the concept I have pioneered and what makes my eating meditation unique. Most people who have tried an eating meditation before have done so with a single item such a raisin or snack foods. My deconstructed ingredient meditation is The Intention Table process so that people connect to the ingredients in their meal before they eat it.

These are ticketed events so you don’t really know who you are sitting with at your table. The Intention Table has their own conversation cards that ignite thought-provoking and fun conversation with those around the table with you. Most people get an opportunity to describe and share their eating meditation experience. Because that in itself is so unique it typically gets the ball rolling with conversation and then the conversation cards take it somewhere else!

It’s a great date night, girls night, friends night as well as anyone interested in trying meditation.

A lot of inner work can be very serious and daunting. This company is an interesting experience with a side benefit of learning about yourself. For those with eating challenges, it can still be serious however the environment is created to invite people to be nonjudgemental of self regardless of what shows up for them.

What were you like growing up?
I was so quiet as a child. People often would tell me they couldn’t hear my voice and to speak up. I was always afraid to break the rules and became really great at following them. I tried to take up as little space as possible if that made sense.

Interestingly enough, I had an interest in meditation. One of my hobbies was just sitting and I believe that was me meditating!

My challenges with eating and food began as a kid. I remember being a very restrictive eater and having about a handful of things I would eat all the way up until college. It is interesting that now I have created a company that has helped me break free of my challenges with eating.

Education was easy for me other than math which was so hard. I wasn’t very good at asking for help would often hide that I was struggling with something or needed help.

I was a tomboy and played a lot of sports with my brother. I was always athletic for an “Indian.” I played all kinds of sports and still do!

Pricing:

  • From the Kitchen- 2.5 hours $75.00 per person
  • From the Restaurant- 2.5 hours $99.00 per person
  • From the Chef- 2.5 hours $150.00 per person
  • Private and Corporate Experiences: Ranges per person

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
James Edward

Getting in touch: VoyageDallas is built on recommendations from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you know someone who deserves recognition please let us know here.

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