Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Enhance the Experience

We are always in a rush. Not us exactly as in my family, but the human race as a whole. We want to hurry up and get things done, find the quickest route, the easiest solution. We want microwaveable popcorn and coffee that brews in 8 seconds. We want instant grits–well, some people do for some reason (yuck)–and shorter books. We are in a hurry to finish the mundane so we can quickly get on with the monotonous. Yet, faster does not always equal better. It’s just faster.

Life should never be lived in a microwave. It needs a preheated oven to allow the aromas to waft through the air and tantalize the senses, making the nose constantly sniff the air, the mouth to water, and the stomach to growl with eager anticipation. Life is about the experiences and experiences that are rushed are soon forgotten and rarely enjoyed. Slow down. Enhance even the simplest of experiences.

I took the girls to lunch at Red Ginger the other day, a new Chinese restaurant in our area. The thing that stood out to me was the simple container of soy sauce. Most restaurants just throw out bottles of condiments and packages of sugar. The Red Ginger actually had a small, ceramic pot for their soy sauce for their guests to use. Simple, but it very much enhanced the experience by giving it a classier feel to it.

This is what we need to do in our lives. It is what I try to do in ours. I will take something as simple as hot tea and slow it down. We have one of those fancy Keurig machines that can brew your beverage in eight seconds. Before you can blink you are sipping coffee, tea, or hot chocolate. It makes more than that but my taste buds are simple, so I keep my beverages equally as simple. However, to enhance the experience, you must slow down the process. Choose everything about it carefully. For instance, boil the water in a tea pot, ceramic if possible. Don’t drink out of a coffee mug, use a tea cup and even then add a saucer underneath. You can go a step further and purchase loose leaf tea as opposed to the mass produced tea in a bag and I promise you it will even change the flavor. I use honey in mine at times, never sugar. Now you will notice a distinct difference between drinking coffee and hot tea because you have created a small ceremony almost in preparing it and the whole experience has a different feel to it. You’ve slowed down and enhanced your experience of something as simple as drinking tea and even what I have described can be added on to.

These little things help focus your mind and calm your spirit. It’s like people who skip the shower for a bath and then add bubbles to the bath and surround the tub with candles. Something simple has been given a fancy flair and as the hot water relaxes your body, the candles soothe your mind.

Find out what wine glass you should be using for your favorite wine, drink margaritas out of margarita glasses, and use nicer containers for your condiments at the family dinner table. Don’t be in such a hurry to get these everyday things done and over with. Slow down and savor the experiences, adding to them with your own unique touches. Life is a celebration and demands ceremony. Don’t be in such a hurry to reach some destination that you miss out on the nuances of your journey. Take delight in the smaller things that bring color to your life. You deserve it, after all.

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