Celebrating Sweet and Savory Choices August 2, 2016 11:31



 We have choice, and our choices direct our paths. They may not define us, but they do lead us from one moment to the next.  Each experience—each moment, has something unique to teach us.

This morning, I chose to drive to Bloomington to attend a lecture at the Tibetan Mongolian Buddhist Cultural Center.  Afterwards, I chose to go to Anyetsang’s Little Tibet for lunch. I do not regret either choice.

Currently, I’m sitting under a red patio umbrella.  A late summer breeze teases colorful prayer flags overhead.  I can hear the sounds of a fountain gurgling behind me.  Cicadas are grinding away the hot afternoon in their shrill, spiral cries as steady traffic hums along 4th Street.

I have the patio mainly to myself, and I have the time and freedom to enjoy a mango lassi—and to savor every bite of the cabbage dumplings—pan-seared and served with soy sauce.  A sparrow hops around under my table, and heads of black-eyed Susans gently nod in encouragement.

I am at ease. I am at peace. I am savoring this present moment.

Earlier, I had considered stopping by the Jordan Greenhouse on the IU campus to see Wally, the titan arum, or corpse flower, in full bloom.  The corpse flower blooms only once every ten to twenty years, and it emits a strong odor similar to the stench of rotting flesh. It’s a botanical wonder, and seeing this plant in full bloom would be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.  However, vegetarian momos were calling my name, so I chose Little Tibet over Wally.  Besides, isn’t every moment a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity? (I Googled Wally later in the day and watched him unfold online--so this choice was a win-win).

Every choice we make carries effects or consequences. The more mindful and present we are, the more mindful and present our choices are. Our lives are like malas, in this way. The beads represent the beautiful aspects of life (prayer flags, sunshine, momos), and the knots represent the challenges (the stench of rotting flesh).  Challenge and beauty are interconnected and balanced, and as we progress through the circuit of our lives from moment to moment, we have the choice to be present—to learn from each experience—to enjoy and savor each bead and knot of our lives.