There is power in abstinence. There is no difficult middle ground. When I made the commitment to saying no for 1 year, I freed up all of that energy to focus on other things. I didn’t have to chew on the idea, I didn’t have to consider, and weigh options. I just said no. Now I can channel that into my work, my family, my friends, my healing, and myself.Read More
Alcohol’s disinfectant quality helped humans survive and thrive, and yet now it accounts for 6% of the world’s deaths. How do we recognize this, and learn how to drink in a way that adds to our health instead of taking it from us?Read More
As humans, we are constantly consuming. Many of the things we consume we could not live without. Without air we would quickly die. Without water our body would not function properly. Without food we would not have the energy to work, build, create, heal, or procreate. Life would be unable to continue.
Many things that we consume we could live without: television, news, candy, coffee, alcohol, drugs, and tea. These are not life or death necessities in our lives.
There is, however, a tremendous amount of joy, beauty, and pleasure that can be obtained from the consumption of these things. One could certainly go on living by drinking only water and eating a complex, nutritious sludge (soylent green anyone?). Given the proper balance of nutrients, one could certainly live, grow, and maintain their health.
Would that life be worth living? Pleasure is good for us. There is a tremendous amount of value to be had in enjoying a beautifully prepared meal with a glass of well-made wine. I enjoy a cup of coffee for the boost in energy and concentration, as well as for the simple fact that it tastes good.
There is a simple, elegant concept in toxicology that one can apply to consumption: the poison is in the dose. The difference between a medicine and a poison is in the quantity we consume.
A cup of coffee can be a pleasurable way to improve your productivity. Ten cups of coffee could put a tremendous strain on your nervous system and prevent you from sleeping.
A glass of wine elegantly paired with a beautiful meal can be nutritious for the body and the soul. Three bottles of wine and several trips to an all you can eat buffet will harm your body, and will eventually kill you.
Many of the things in life that bring pleasure also tempt us. Our brain and body evolved in a very different world than the one we currently live in. Food is all around us. Alcohol is offered in almost every restaurant. Coffee shops are on every corner. Marijuana is now legal in many states.
There is almost no limit to the temptation, so how do we control the dose?
Why are you consuming? Why are you eating? Why are you drinking? Is it because you’re hungry? Is it because you’re sad? Is it because you’re stressed?
Listen to your body and your emotions. Pay attention to how what you are consuming makes you feel? Do you feel uplifted? Nourished? Or do you feel heavy, drunk, and sluggish?
Pay attention to your senses. If you take your time and enjoy one glass of wine, observing it, smelling it, engaging sense one by one as you enjoy it, you will certainly obtain more pleasure than chugging a whole bottle.
Slow down. It helps us to consume better. It makes us better, physically, mentally, and spiritually. It allows us to show up better for those around us.
On September 23rd, 2019 my friend Todd Marston and I will be hosting the second edition of 'Tasting Notes: A Mindful Wine and Jazz Pairing’ at Vino Veritas Winebar down in the Montavilla neighborhood of SE Portland.
The event was inspired by evenings sitting around discussing the intricacies of wine and jazz. He would help me understand jazz and I would give him some tips about drinking wine.
Jazz for me has always been a bit intimidating. I felt like the soul of it was mysterious, the compositions were out of my understanding, and unless I studied it I wouldn’t get it.
Todd told me that he felt the same way about wine: the names, the places, the esoteric scents that people identified that he didn’t quite get. He felt that if he didn’t do the homework, he wouldn’t be able to appreciate wine.
Just before those conversations I had learned about a mindfulness practice and meditation that someone had applied to wine tasting. It involved directing the focus to the body in order to rest the mind, and eventually bringing the focus to the wine by utilizing each of our senses one by one. I found that by the time I guided someone to focus on their senses, the mind had been quieted enough to get rid of these narratives. There was no space or energy being given to these ideas that wine was something out of reach, or too cerebral, or too high class for someone. They were simply able to perceive what their senses were telling them. There was no room for judgment, just enjoyment. The understanding was not on an intellectual level, but an emotional level.
After guided Todd through several of these meditations, we applied the same theory to jazz. Instead of beginning a piece of music thinking, “I won’t understand this, I am not educated enough about jazz to enjoy it”, I simply listened to the piece and enjoyed it. I felt the music, I let it enter through my senses without the need to understand it intellectually. I was calm, I was curious, and I was blissful.
After such a pleasant experience, it was only natural to want to bring these two elements together.
I select the wine. I guide Todd through a meditation so that he can feel the wine. He composes the music based upon those feelings.
That is how we get ’Tasting Notes’.
So come and join us for an opportunity to relax the mind, engage the senses, and feel the wine and music.
In my previous post I discussed alcohol’s power to add or take away wellness and healthfulness. This post goes a bit further into the reasons we drink, and gives us some strategies on how to be a bit more mindful about how we enjoy our wine.Read More
Drinking is often an action we perform with little thought or intention. This mindfulness wine tasting exercise breaks the routine, slows us down, and helps us to enjoy our glass on a different level. So grab a glass, breathe deep, and enjoy.Read More