19 Dec An end to a chocolate love affair: metaphor for the year ahead
Yesterday I realised that I hadn’t eaten chocolate for three months. To celebrate this miraculous achievement I treated myself to an old favourite, chocolate aniseed rings. Chewing on far fewer aniseed rings than I would have ever considered adequate for a standard serving size and in a manner considerably less gluttonous, I recognised that the three month “break” from my former love had opened up the space for a new relationship. That new relationship offered maturity. It would be free from torridity and emotional dependence. It all felt very grownup.
It occurred to me that grown up-ness would be very welcome in other aspects of my life, particularly my work, which has seemed of late to more closely parallel a previous tendency to yield to the seductive power of cocoa-based products than operate in something resembling this re-discovered state of calm. In this period that lends itself to talk of new year’s resolutions juxtaposed by the ubiquitous driving desire to have everything done before 5pm on December 24 I used my relationship with chocolate as the perfect metaphor for reflecting on the year that was, and the year that is to come.
As anyone with a healthy appetite for Mayan gold will know, chocolate has the power to get us through times of need. Whether your vice is chocolate, coffee, red wine or organic sweet potato crisps, food endorphins and other very agreeable side effects offer reprieve from stress, disappointment and heart break. Chocolate aniseed rings have helped me through the rejection that comes with starting a small enterprise. Chocolate licorice bullets are a valuable source of procrastination from bookkeeping.
But sometimes heady sugar and caffeine highs cocoon me away from the real issue. A morning under the influence of coffee is productive, in the sense that I get lots of stuff done, but it’s not always good stuff that gets done. With my senses (and nerves) in overdrive it’s easy to bury myself in the minutiae, without coming up to breathe in the important.
So as we find ourselves hung between festive season overdrive and new year inspiration I invite you to make space for some questions: where or what is the lover that you need to let go of? And what would you like to invite into the space that will be left? What keeps you buried in the adrenal-fuelled rewards of instant success, and where do you see your heart really wanting to go?
Perhaps you have already let of some ideas. Perhaps the plans you had this time last year haven’t eventuated. And perhaps that has been for the best. Where have you already created space by letting go of what is not important?
If you pause right now and cast your mind’s eye over the last year, what do you notice? What stands out as important? Notice both the things that happened, that you can mark in a calendar, but give attention also to what hasn’t happened. Why didn’t they happen?
Recognise those things that can’t be seen – the quality of your relationships, the way you think about your Work, your sense of direction and hope.
And now in the midst of this pause, what can you see around you that brings new inspiration, new possibility? Where and how do you see your life beginning on January 1?
After an enforced reprieve from my wonderful chocolate, I no longer need to turn to her in times of boredom. She is there for me to savour from time-to-time, and to share with others. I can let go of whatever chocolate meant to be before (everything!) and embrace the new tastes that come to fill the space that I have allowed to appear.