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

Management consultant. Working at the intersection of the Customer, the Enterprise, and Technology. Deep interest in human existence. Disposed favourably to the Existentialist stand. Penchant for originals and original thinking, as well as stimulating thinking and rocking the boat. Otherwise, thoroughly ordinary.

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