On Chocolate

Is there shame in guilty pleasure?

What a great gift to human kind chocolate is. It’s not heroin, it’s not cocaine, it’s not rock climbing without a rope or driving recklessly at 150 miles per hour. It’s not facing the barrel of a gun.

No. Chocolate is the perfect refuge from the prison we erect around ourselves, trying to live up the expectations we believe others have for us. What a burden that is: Living life as if someone in your environment might hold a key to your worth as a human being.

Our self-concept comes from how we see  ourselves contrasted against how we believe others see us. Mother Nature made us this way to drive us together, to make us beholden to each other, so that survival is assured. At its roots then, she imbued us with a great “need to belong.” And it is this need that is both the very joy of life…but also the bane of our existence.

Let me ask you this: How would you know sweet victory if you did not also taste bitter defeat? It’s only by experiencing one that the other can be appreciated.

All of our expectations for ourselves and for others are rooted in an internal projection. That projection is founded in constructs that we have built since the time of our birth as we assigned meaning to our world through our experiences. These constructs have both biological and environmental beginnings. We inherit some of our traits, others we create from living. Combined, they become memories that form beliefs.

Some of them can be upgraded. We may think deeply and find a root memory at the crux of a belief. Other times we may stumble upon one because life demands we find another way forward. We can often find the “silver lining” in a memory, to enable a new and improved belief to form. In this way, we can be less tyrannized by our past.

But, in the end, if we just remember that all of our expectations are driven by projections that are internal, we may find that we can no longer be so quick to blame ourselves or others. We just accept as it is, working to adjust our beliefs as the situations arises.

Once this core concept is integrated more fully, chocolate becomes a perfect vehicle for change. At first we may reach for chocolate to escape our limitations, seeking a tiny bit of bliss in the maelstrom of our internal dialogue. But just as the sweet taste is revealed for its fat and bitter constituents as it slowly melts on your tongue, you may find the self-talk imprisoning you is also dismantled.

Perhaps not today, or even tomorrow, but soon…maybe the next time you think of a piece of chocolate you will know the thoughts that sustain your discomfort are laid bare, exposed for the simple ingredients they are: Memories, beliefs, constructs and projections that you believe threaten your need to belong.

And just as the chocolate disintegrates in your mouth, becoming not chocolate anymore but rather just sugar, fats, and bitter cocoa, so too will the parts of your projection disappear.

That’s when you will realize chocolate is just chocolate–its victory an illusion. And just as it requires others to put it together to make it what it is, so does your discomfort and self-doubt.

You may find neither holds any real power over you. Pass that dark piece, I just did a workout.

©2015 CKWallace, Author, Drinkers’ Riddle

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