Can you tell I’ve been procrastinating? For 10 weeks, I’ve been diligently (well maybe just being good enough) following Martha Beck’s The Joy Diet: 10 Daily Practices for a Happier Life. And it’s finally coming to the end! I have to say this is one diet, I’m sad to say goodbye to. It’s been a difficult ride-what with having to do nothing, be truthful, focus on my desires, be creative, take a risk, indulge in treats, have fun, laugh, connect with others and now feast.
Okay maybe it sounds a lot more fun and easy than it was! But all in all the journey was a life-changing one. It’s given me insight into what I really want in my life and the hope that I can achieve it. It’s taught me the importance of indulging in play and in laughing while also being conscious of my self and others. And while doing it saddens me, I must continue on to the last and my favorite part-the feast.
Here’s a story I’ll use to describe this section.
Martha uses a similar story in the book as well. Anyway, 10 years ago I worked at a chocolate shop. At that time, I didn’t like chocolate too much (I know! I can hardly believe it myself being the chocoholic I am today.) At the time, I was not very honest with myself or others for that matter. I actually told the owner I adored chocolate and that I was taking this as a permanent job, not the part-time summer gig I really had in mind.
After working there for a month, I started to develop a craving for chocolate. Maybe it was the aroma of melted cocoa that warmed me up to it or the temptation of being able to grab gourmet chocolate pieces like chocolate covered mint leaves and chocolate covered oranges anytime I wanted to. But whatever it was, I blame my chocoholism to this store.
The funny thing about it was that while working there I actually lost weight!
Why did I refrain from pigging out on any piece of chocolate I could get my hands on? It could have been the mean manager who I think didn’t like me. But more than likely it was because I fully feasted on the experience of being there. The chocolate aroma, the feel of the sweet brown cocoa melting on my fingertips, the spicy ginger flavor mixed with bitter dark chocolate. All of that was more than enough. All my senses were engaged without needing to overindulge on the experience.
This is the main focus of the last chapter. Indulging on things that are filled with beauty, that arouses our senses, that feels like a “feast” helps bring us to joy, more than cash, food, and things alone can do. It’s the pure enjoyment of life that can bring us to the highest levels of happiness and joy.
When I think about my honeymoon, for example, I think of many things. But the moment that stands out most to me?
The chocolate pyramid.
When I say those three words, my husband knows exactly what I’m talking about. It was a rich chocolate dessert put atop a beautiful arrangement of white eggplant drizzled with honey. Sitting in an open restaurant in Santorini, Greece with the sounds of soft Greek music playing, the feel of the warm night, and the simply gorgeous heaven on a plate in front of me. That was real joyous living!
She ends with the feast because it is one of the most important things to remember in being joyful. Sometimes we forget when we get caught up in the busyness of life to simply sit and appreciate the world around us. If you’re feeling that way, get back to feasting. Experience life’s small moments, breathe it in, then sit back and feel the joy!