“Coffee brings out my better self.”
Coffee. Just saying the word makes me pause. I began my relationship with coffee in my early thirties. I knew almost immediately this would be a lifetime of Bean Love. I constantly search for the perfect ratio of cream and sugar. I like my coffee medium oak in color, two cream one sugar.
I like coffee so much that I have a little shrine in my kitchen. It’s the only place in the entire kitchen that I get a whole shelf to myself. And this is the only place at home, at work and at play where everything feels neatly put together.
In a way, coffee brings out my better self. Less of the Crazy Me, and more of the organized, careful, contemplative and in-the-moment Me. Coffee is not my Higher Power, but some days it can feel pretty close.
I feel happy when I have a coffee. I look down into my cup and the beautiful brown color makes me feel a little less alone in the world. The round cup gives the feeling that you and I are less boxed in by life… somehow a circle is just more inviting than the box.
“Coffee warms the heart and lubricates the soul for change.”
Coffee and addiction recovery go hand in hand. You cannot find a 12 step Meeting without the Black Juice. For many, coffee warms the heart and lubricates the soul for change. Some argue that Coffee has a place among spiritual practices as a symbolic beverage. The spiritual-coffee link got me thinking. Why not use the coffee brewing as a meditation?
So I did. This month I am working at being more mindful of my behavior. I did what I call a Coffee Bean Meditation. I thought consciously about each part of the routine of selecting, grinding and making a pot of The Black Beautiful. I put on my favorite slippers and I recorded all of my sensations in my journal so that the experience was contemplative, warm and fuzzy.
January 6, 2015: I poured the beans into the grinder, they crashed and clinked. For a few seconds, the grinding was all that I was aware of. Yet almost at the same time the ear crashing was confronted by what I can only describe as Grace: the sweet aroma of slightly burnt chocolaty bark. I loaded the dark brown dirt like mixture into my brewing station (No, it cannot just be a plain coffee maker. It has to be a special station where The Brewing can occur).
If this was 300 years ago and we told our friends we had a special place for Brewing, we would probably be accused of being a Witch!
When I poured my cup of Java Lava Luva, I looked at it… and it looked back at me. I felt a little like a proud father looking at his child. It was like one big black eye staring up at me, expectantly. By the time I was ready to drink it, the aroma of anticipation had my complete attention.
My Coffee Bean Meditation woke up my soul a little, and not just because of the caffeine. When you and I mindlessly go through our routines, we lose a little bit of our humanity. If our day is made of mindless act after mindless act, then what is left of our selves?
Why don’t you try it?
- Pick a routine that you tend to do mindlessly and, well, bring your mind back from wherever it has gone. (ie: Brushing your teeth, putting your clothes on in the morning, listening to music that you like, eating supper…). Unite your mind and your body, and for a moment… the two shall become one.
- Take in the sensations: the smells, how it feels, the sounds, what you see, how it tastes and if it’s food, how it feels as it free falls into your stomach.
- Experience like this can contribute to a feeling of thankfulness and being more present. Some call this mindfulness. Jeffrey Rubin has an excellent and balanced article about the topic. (I first learned about this article from Brent Potter via Facebook.) No, being mindful (Mind-Full) will not change your life and cure everything… but it will bring your mind back for a few moments.
For me, whenever I can bring my mind back into my body, that is one heck of a good day!
Coffee is part of my self care ritual and it helps me to become a better man. Without it, I would sit and stare at an empty cup. And that would be really sad.
How is coffee or tea part of your day? Please, leave a comment about how your coffee brings out your better self.
Keep it real
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