“Eat it slowly! You only get your 1st beignet once.”
The lead character, a chef, said to his son as he dove into a plate of beignets while walking along the streets of New Orleans.
That line hit me in the face, hard. I’m not even sure what happened for the next few minutes of the movie as that line tumbled over and over again in my head…my mind exploring it, evaluating it, examining it from every angle.
I was seeing things from a whole new vantage point.
You get a lot of first experiences in life, but you only get all of them once.
They’re not all majestic – in fact – most are in your day-to-day life, if you’d notice them.
The first time when, out on a walk, you notice the trees have changed for the season.
The first time you have a real, meaningful, conversation with a new friend who is becoming a best friend.
The first time you meditate and don’t quit after four minutes.
And then some are majestic as hell.
The first time you stand in front of the mountain range you’ve dreamed of forever.
The first time you realize you’re turning your dreams into reality.
The first time you fall in real love…with a person, with your Self, with life.
Those moments. Life is not “life” without them. You have day-to-day existence. And then you have first experiences.
As Alan Watts put it when discussing polarity, ‘they are different, but inseparable, sides of the same coin…they are the pulse and the interval in any vibration.’
First experiences are as much the moments themselves as they are the times in between each moment, same as a wave is as much the crest as it is the trough.
When you notice first experiences happening, are you savoring them?
I have been known to rush into things. I chewed dark chocolate instead of waiting for the flavor notes to expand and morph as it melted on my tongue. I would go full tilt into a moment, preferring to go from 0 to 100 in 2 seconds instead of allowing a slow build to happen. I’d be drinking my 1st cup of coffee of the day, and already picturing a 2nd cup.
Nothing gravely ‘bad’ came of those moments.
The rushing in worked. The chocolate tasted of chocolate. The 0 to 100 speed provided a rush of endorphins I could easily work with. There was always a 2nd cup of coffee.
So why change.
We are ever-evolving creatures. I am. You are.
I’ve written before about how finding ‘awe’ in your daily life (a responsibility bestowed on all humans by the way) is sometimes as easy as expanding your field of view. Awe might have been sitting just left of where you were looking, and until you expand your field of vision, you’re going to keep missing it.
Things can be ‘good’ and yet, that’s not a shackle that needs to keep you from exploring further.
When you realize there’s something just off to the left of your field of view, and you know that exploring it will be good for your growth, even if you don’t hang on to it as a key part of your operating system for life, it’s worth expanding your view and exploring further.
The value of rushing right in.
The ‘rush right in’ route works. But it’s by design a one-note thing.
To rush in means to operate off an early impulse. Rushing in, by its very nature, means that you take that first signal that ‘this is good’ and you dive right in on the hunch that what follows will also be as good.
Think of that beignet the boy was eating…the first bite I’m sure was a fluffy, powdered-sugary, warm signal to his brain that ‘THIS IS GOOD’ and naturally, he dove in to get more, as quickly as possible.
Our brain says ‘my god that is good give me more and do it quickly’.
There is a time and place for doing just that…
Sometimes, just rush right in. do it. Do It.
Other times, when you want to explore the edges of your field of vision on what your understanding of first experiences is, slow your roll a bit and check into the moment instead of checking through.
The value of savoring.
You cannot, cannot!, stop time. The time this first experience is happening in, it’s already moving past you. You have no hope of slowing it down – unless you actively engage in savoring what is happening in this first experience.
To savor a moment, a meal, a book, a person, is to become intensely aware of your presence with that person, thing, food, or place.
To savor is to acknowledge that the goal you are in the process of achieving,
the sight you are in the process of seeing,
the feeling you are in the process of feeling…it’s you. You!
Seeing this. Doing this. Feeling this. Being this.
You’ll bank the memory in your mind, or on your Instagram. You’ll talk for years to come of the tastes, the efforts, the views of this first experience.
Will you catalog the feelings, the depth, the richness of this first experience as well?
If you savor it, not only are you are far more likely to create a textural memory, you are capable of stepping outside yourself for just a moment, creating space to witness yourself witnessing the moment.
So, eyes open, gang. Ever on the watch as first experiences are headed your way. You’ll have to choose a mode of operation to respond to them as they arrive. You don’t always have to rush. And you don’t always have to savor. Each first experience is a one-time deal. Enjoy every one of them, as richly as possible.
Want to be an excellent caretaker of your body?
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