In November we talked about Gratitude and Thankfulness. We turned over every stone and looked in places we sometimes didn’t want to go, but we found it! The turkey carcass hasn’t even been stripped clean and we are in the midst of the Christmas season. Shopping, “Bring a Dish to Pass”, Cookies, Decorations, Family Dysfunction & More Shopping. This month, we’re looking at Comfort & Joy. LIFE Comfort and Joy! What brings you comfort and joy? We’ll share ours and we hope you’ll share yours.
For your listening pleasure…Barenaked Ladies “God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen”
I seem to be more analytical now in my mid life years. I wonder why things make me angry, I wonder why I get frustrated, I wonder why I can become so intolerant and I even wonder why simple small moments make me happy for the rest of the day.
5 years (or so) I stumbled into a little shop that only sold flavored olive oils and balsamic vinegars. It was a quiet shop, just me and the gentleman who owned the shop sitting behind the counter. We said hello and he asked if this was my first time in the store. When I said yes, he jumped to his feet and gave me a dissertation on the benefits of olive oil. He suggested I try certain combinations. The little plastic cups stacked in front of each stainless steel urn, where there waiting for everyone to try out a new combination of olive oil and balsamic vinegar. When he first made the suggestion of trying a taster, I thought he was mad! It sounded crazy – tasting straight up oil and vinegar.
With some suggestions of great pairings I began to sample. Persian Lime Olive Oil with Lemon Balsamic Vinegar…Chocolate Balsamic Vinegar with Blood Orange Olive Oil….Espresso Balsamic Vinegar over Ice Cream! OMG, I was hooked! I purchased Cranberry Pear Balsamic Vinegar and Blood Orange Olive Oil and made a salad that night. My husband and I have been eating this same salad almost every night. Every night I say, we should be getting sick of this salad by now….a couple of bites in we look at each other and say “nope, still good”.
That first store (The Bleu Olive) was in Wheaton, IL. When we moved to Minnesota, my first mission above and beyond the need for a new hair salon, or doctor and dentist was to find another Olive Oil and Vinegar Store. A quick search and I was dragging my husband to Stillwater Olive Oil Company. We were able to satisfy our need to try new tastes and friendly people. In less than two years we were moving again – this time we were headed to Atlanta. I launched another search and found Oli & Ve.
One of the first Saturday’s we were here we plugged the address to Oli & Ve into our GPS and headed out to find my new store. I don’t know what it is about these stores, but I have found the people working in them to be to be especially good at welcoming people, sharing their knowledge and encouraging them to try some suggested pairings. As we walked out of Oli & Ve with our new tastes bagged up, I was conscious of an overwhelming feeling of Comfort & Joy.
The analytical part of me wondered what it was about this store that made me feel so good. Just like my anger, frustration and intolerance, I wanted to know where my comfort & joy comes from.
As I let my mind wander and find the reason, I was surprised that the basis for this Olive Oil obsession that brings me such comfort & joy comes from the same source as my anger, frustration and intolerance. I remember even as a small child being curious about new foods and their tastes. When I was 12, all I wanted for my birthday was to try Lobster. When I was much younger than that even, I remember seeing honey in my mother’s cupboard and I wanted desperately to taste it. My mother (who didn’t have joy in anything she did) said I couldn’t taste it. So it is said, so it is done. Honey was off limits. We all know what happens when you make something off limits to a kid…their need becomes even stronger. Every time my mother would open a cupboard and I could see the honey in plain sight, I’d see it and imagine what it might taste like. So close, but yet so far away….I NEEDED to know what this honey tasted like.
I never dared cross my mother, fear was my babysitter as a latch key kid. I knew her rules and the fear of being caught not following the rules was an equal partner with my own curiosity. One day the curiosity won over fear and I crawled up on the counter and grabbed the honey. I put a small amount of honey on a teaspoon and got myself ready to taste….or break the rules. I didn’t know which one was winning in my overall internal battle.
What surprises me about my honey experience is, I still remember the complete Joy in trying something new and being alone to do so. It was my first experience at finding my own Joy and not letting my mother dictate what I could or couldn’t try and what I would like or not like.
I like knowing the root cause for everything I feel, it seems to help guide me to make better choices. I stay away from things that are going to set me up for frustration, anger and intolerance and I purposefully seek out my comforts….my joys.
Tell me about something that grew out of your childhood that brings you joy today.