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
I have had several friends from foreign countries point out to me something funny about the modern American culture: we are always going somewhere with a beverage.
The to-go cup of coffee is seen everywhere. We carry sodas, smoothies, teas, and protein shakes in travel cups, tightly sealed so that we can enjoy them on the go.
Are we really enjoying them though? If we are moving about the world in such a rush, how can we focus our attention on the drink in hand? Enjoyment requires attention. In order to really appreciate something we must give it our attention. Do we truly enjoy the cup of coffee if we cannot smell it? So much of flavor and aroma are linked to our sense of smell, but our to-go cups place a barrier between us and the coffee, so how can we really get a sense of what it is really like?
What are we really looking for in these moments? Are we there to appreciate the coffee, or do we just want caffeine? Are we sipping on a soda in the car for the pleasure of it, or are we just looking to distract from the drive? Do we really appreciate the taste of the smoothie, or do we just want food without having to dedicate our attention?
Don’t forget to slow down and enjoy. A good cup of coffee can completely change your day (and not just thanks to the caffeine). Take a moment to enjoy the aroma. Think about the people who were involved in the planting, tending, and harvesting of the beans. Express gratitude to those that fermented, dried, and roasted the coffee. Take a sip and listen to what your senses are telling you. Even if you’re in a rush, you can still take 30 seconds to appreciate, savor, indulge, and be grateful. I promise you it will be worth it.
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
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.
Why do we tend to drink alcohol in the evening?
A simple answer is that it is not culturally acceptable in most places to drink during the day.
At the end of a long stressful day it is easy to want to reach for a drink. Work has finished and most of our tasks have been completed. It’s time to relax…Read More
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
This year I decided to drink alcohol in way that adds to my health, not harm it. Here is a bit about the journey.Read More