There are so many amazing foods that begin with O I could have chosen from this week. There is oat bran, oils, olives, okra, onion rings, onions, oranges, orange juice, omelet, oatmeal, octopus, oysters, orecchiette, and oregano. I could have even gone with some O brands such as Oreo’s or Olive Garden. Any of which would have been interesting, but it was a recent viewing of a commercial for Silk Almond Milk and a conversation with my wife Zoe a few weeks ago about trying turkey pastrami, which reminded me of how often we are not open to new experiences in our lives and in our food.
My conversation with Zoe was similar to the conversation between the man and the almond in the commercial. Would you try this? No. Why not? Because I don’t know what it is going to taste like. Well, if you won’t try it, how will you know? I don’t like it. Eventually, like the almond, I was able to get her to try a small piece of it. Now it is the lunchmeat she asks me to buy for her sandwiches and salads. Getting her to try almond milk was a bit easier, I just swapped the soy for the almond, and she never knew the difference.
How many amazing foods, tastes, and textures are we depriving ourselves of because we are not open to trying something new? How many aspects of global culture have we not experienced because we were not open to doing so in our lives? Some of us are comfortable with those foods we have grown up with and the way we know them from the first time we ate them. I know people who have told me they do not like x, y, or z because they had it once and it was awful. I can appreciate that feeling. I had calamari once and it was horrible, but a friend of mine convinced me to be open to experiencing it the way it was made at this one restaurant and it was amazing. It completely changed my views on eating calamari. However, I had to be open to experiencing this food anew. Zoe used to hate squash, she would tell me to squash the idea of making squash. Now she is eating it at least once a week and sometimes requesting me to make it. Amazing things happen when we open ourselves up to new experiences.
The same is true for us spiritually. Growing up in a traditional Jewish home, which is all I knew and was allowed to taste spiritually. The one time I asked to “taste” Christianity, I was punished, which I think made me want to “taste” it even more. Over time, my “taste” for spiritual foods and my palette changed and evolved over time. As I became open to the way the Infinite speaks to the world, I have been able to “taste” and “feast” on spiritual foods from a diversity of faith traditions and spiritual practices. I have enjoyed meals which came from an intuitive tarot reading from my friend Gloria, having conversations with stones from my friend Maryanna, writings in the Qu’ran and the Bhagavad Gita, teachings from the Toltec’s and Osho, words from spiritual leaders from a diversity of faith traditions and practices, conversations with my body, dreams, divining rods, and the world.
Each in their own way has fed my soul and nourished me on my spiritual journey. Like those things that are prepared in and come out of the kitchen, however, if I am not open to experiencing them, I am depriving myself of the opportunities and lessons they have to teach me. So just for today, open yourself up to experiencing something new in your life.