Oh, the sweetness and its many forms. One of my favorite pieces of advice during my 40 days of yoga cleanse was from Ali of Just BE Wellness, our nutrition coach for the program. Ali suggested, in those moments during our cleanse when we wanted/craved/were dying to have something sugary and artificially sweet, we go towards sweetness elsewhere. Perhaps a long walk at sunset, or a pedicure, or a tea date with a friend.
In those moments when nothing sounded better than a fat slice of peach pie or a vanilla frosted doughnut, this piece of advice was often hard to channel. Sure, a bubble bath sounds sweet but methinks a chocolate milkshake sounds a tad (eons) better. Sweetness of life versus sweetness of dessert? Um, the latter, please. By the end of the cleanse, however, this practice of finding the sweetness in life was a crutch in moments of weakness.
Reach for the cookie? Or reach for the coastal hike. Reach for the tart? Or reach for that unique quality of time. The kind that cannot be reached simply because you know where it is, you know your way. Your arm is not nearly long enough. It's the kind you can't find unless you get very, ridiculously lost. Reach for the sugar? Or reach for the sweet?
Don't get me wrong. Chocolate's divine. In fact, I think I'll have a piece of dark chocolate right now. One minute. Be right back.
Mmm mmm. That was nice. So, so delicious and delightful. But so are the flowers and their color and abundance. I feel them in my heart, my skin, my soul. The chocolate barely made it past my throat. It didn't help me speak. That was me. It helped me feel content in the moment, but it didn't help me write these words. Words from the shape of things. The light on the mailbox, shaped like a woman holding tight to her hat, as the wind threatens to blow it away. Light on the mailbox, a shadow. Uncertain and always moving.
With open hearts, we find ourselves in places unexpected. Places we weren't so sure we'd fit into. Places surrounded by unfamiliar territory. The shadow on the mailbox. One minute there is a shadow. One minute there is another shadow, of a bottle of wine. Upside down. Empty of drink, but full of a lifted hand. Around it. Outside of it. Outside but full. Dark, and also, a sun.
Where am I and how did I get here? Let's not get started on the salty. The crunch, the crack, the crumble of that taste. One bite, OK, yes, one bite. But this time it bit me.
You've reached a new narrative where sweet is salty and salty is a jet stream and someone is holding your hand. They let go. OK, normal, this has happened many times. We all had to cross the street alone for the first time. We all have a first time of everything. You imagined yourself an Edwardian lady, knowing nothing of what that means. But how glorious a thought. Let yourself flip through the pages of this new narrative and see how it feels. See how it feels in your hands, place it on your lap and flip through it as it's close to you. It bites, alright. It bites.
Soon everything around you will smell like lavender, or the soap you used as a child. You are in a stranger's shower. You're a guest, you rented this place for the weekend. Your hair smells like the lake (unfamiliar) you must wash it with new soap (unfamiliar) and you will feel clean after it all (familiar). But not. They use a different flavor than you do. An unfamiliar scent is refreshing, but who says clean. Who says we must always be clean. You turn the water on, lather up, and wash your face. You wash your hands too as a result of this. This place, this sense of place, this wonderful unknown.
The sweet life. An inedible sugar, all sweet, the goodness of it.