At 6 a.m. this morning, the sound of chimes flooded my eardrums until my eyelids blinked open to the surrounding darkness.
In the summer, I allow myself to wake up to the sun’s rays peeking through the blinds, but it’s too dark in the morning these days and I am an early riser. My mornings are sacred—they always have been.
When I was in middle school, I remember I would wake up on my own at 5 a.m. to flip on a particular TV show that only aired at that time. This was my sacred space. The house was dark and quiet and I felt the autonomy I was granted by being up before everyone else—even the sun.
There’s something so holy about watching the dark gray sky steadily pass through lighter shades of gray until it’s painted a baby blue—and if we’re lucky, maybe even an orange hue or pastel clouds tinted pink.
To me, this feels like nature’s way of saying, “What a blessing it is to be alive another day.”
And in my head, I hear Mary Oliver’s voice asking, “Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?”
And my answer is always the same: what I plan to do with my one wild and precious life is to live—fully and slowly.
I don’t want to live fast. I want to savor each season and taste love from the tip of my tongue down into the depths of my open heart. And I do. I taste this love from the vibrant yellow leaves in autumn, from the sound of rain on a rooftop, and from the lips of my lover.
But I also taste this love in my ability to take a sacred pause and say “yes” to the yearnings of my heart. This is how I live fully and slowly.
And you know what my heart yearns for?
Mmm, yes. Decadent, dark, rich, heart-opening cacao.
And so, what do I do? I listen.
And oh, baby, I eat that chocolate every damn day because to me, this is living.
But this is not to be confused with overindulgence or unhealthy habits. I understand there must always be a boundary set when it comes to particular desires, but the important bit here is that I am not restricting my desires based on a belief of what I “should” do.
And, of course, this also requires awareness of which “wants” are healthy and which are not—and that is a practice. It’s a practice of checking in with ourselves and asking ourselves why.
Why do I want to eat chocolate right now?
Why am I saying no to chocolate?
Why do I want more chocolate?
Okay, the answer to that last one is obvious: because it’s damn delicious. But also, maybe the answer is that saying yes to the simple pleasures of life (such as chocolate) also means saying yes to living. And maybe it means saying yes to my heart and saying yes to what makes me truly happy.
And I don’t know about you, but if slowing down to taste that bittersweet bliss melt in my mouth makes me feel like I’m living, then f*ck it, I’m in.