How exactly did an ‘ordinary’ meal show up as an ‘extra-ordinary’ experience?

The Experience

The other day I woke up, got ready, drove my youngest to school and set about working.  Being totally engrossed in my work I arrived at 13:30 – all that I was committed to doing was done.  That is when I noticed how hungry I was – really hungry – and so I made my way down to the kitchen.  Around about two o’clock I experienced eating a DELICIOUS meal.  What was extraordinary about this particular meal?

The food? No – it was simply white pasta with green pesto, leaves of lettuce and cherry tomatoes mingling with French vinaigrette.  This is a dish that I had eaten earlier in the week and not even noticed it.

The setting? No – I was sit in my kitchen on the usual stool, in the usual position, at the usual height, looking at the usual stuff.

The ambience?  No – I was alone, there was no television or music or anything else happening.  In that sense it was a meal like countless others I have taken part in.

So what made the experience of this meal such a special experience?   Hunger was present in a BIG way – it showed up in my world as being ‘starving’ and ‘lacking energy’.  Coming from this context I experienced each mouthful – I actually was present to and tasted each mouthful of food.  I tasted the pasta, the green pesto, the salad leaves, the cherry tomatoes and the vinaigrette.  Every mouthful showed up as perfect.

What I am Taking Away From This / Committed to Keeping in Existence

So often I, you, we are looking for stuff on the outside.  How often have I looked for the right restaurant, the right food, the right date to create an extraordinary dining experience – one that I would enjoy, one that I would remember?  Countless times.

Yet the access to the experience of ‘extra-ordinary’ living is on the inside – my, your, our inner state of being.  Notice:  when real hunger is present the most ordinary of foods (in our usual way of perceiving stuff) shows up as extraordinary!

Final Thought

When I mention to people that I am committed to ‘Playing BIG’ and living an ‘extra-ordinary life’ many automatically assume that I am going to do extraordinary stuff like perhaps climb Mountain Everest.  That is not what I am pointing at when I use the term ‘extra-ordinary’.  When I use the term ‘extra-ordinary’ I am pointing at the internal dimension that allows for the ‘ordinary’ to show up as ‘extraordinary’ in lived experience.  Or as Dan Millman writes in The Way of the Peaceful Warrior: “there are no ordinary moments”.  That is the game I am playing: living in a way that all moments show up as ‘extra-ordinary’ moments in my living.  How will I fare in this game?

 

Author: Maz Iqbal

Experienced management consultant working at the intersection of strategy, customer, and technology. Combine a tendency to think strategically with a penchant for getting my hands dirty at the coalface of implementation.

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