On the Chocolate Trail

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Minding Our Chocolate

How does chocolate help you?

For me a piece of chocolate here and there smooths transitions from one project to another, one task to the next.

At a congregational visit after the Senior Rabbi blessed the Associate on her last Shabbat, someone said, “we need chocolate for our stress at her departure.”

At other stops On the Chocolate Trail several people have shared their approaches to using chocolate for meditation and mindfulness. Here are a few:

From Michelle Lalouche Kadden:

As a psychologist, I do a mindfulness eating exercise with a piece of chocolate. This can be useful for people with eating disorders or for anyone who wants to increase mindfulness. In a relaxed and slow pace, take one morsel of chocolate and slowly unwrap it, smell it first, then take a tiny piece into your mouth and allow it to melt on your tongue. Become aware of feelings that arise, or sensations, thoughts memories, even fears. Continue to slowly and mindfully become aware of your senses as you consume a piece of chocolate paying attention to all its qualities. It is helpful to talk about the experience after and notice whatever arises from it. This is a good exercise in a group as well.

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Ellen Silverstein Levitt mentions:

I used foil wrapped candies with my ESL students when they were learning about senses. First, they looked at the wrapped candy, then they slowly unwrapped it and looked at it. Then, they smelled it, touched it and finally were able to eat it. Probably taught them some patience as well – all of life isn’t instant gratification!

Michael Shefrin writes:

Encourage your participant to breathe, get comfy in the chair, seek stillness, come to where they are.

Place in front of them a wrapped piece of chocolate (I love doing this with individually wrapped [pieces] with foil !! Take a moment to really look at the package, notice the colors, the ingredients, logos, size, the weight, pick it up  – engage all senses (except taste).

When ready, open slowly, hear it, smell, notice the change when the chocolate enters the air, where did it come from, who brought it to you, is there some significance that needs to be accompanying this exploration?

A Bracha/blessing would occur here if someone so chose to …

Slowly put in mouth, noticing each bite, does it stick in your teeth, is it melty, other elements & tastes, what are the sounds in your head, what are the sounds that someone else might hear, chew slowly, dissolve it on the roof of the mouth, feel the impact on individual teeth, swirl the tongue around in the gooey goodness …All senses should be engaged, close eyes, concentrate on the squishing in the mouth, don’t be in a rush to finish it …

When there is no more tangible chocolate, stop and continue to sit for a minute afterwards to notice the aftertaste, explore the surroundings, what do you do with the wrapper, are your fingers dirty, was there someone else in the room that joined you, what is their facial expression, etc ..

When ready … thank the One who brings forth Chocolate !!!

The manager of a fancy French chocolate store in Manhattan confessed:

She confessed that she has a metaphysical response to eating an intense 99% French chocolate just before she studies from the mystical text known as the Zohar.

Please feel free to share how minding your chocolate works for you.

Astor

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