Saturday, June 09, 2007

Spicy emotions...........


Yesterday, my son and I went out for dinner to a restaurant just the two of us. As usual, our conversation ran the gamut of topics, from the latest Stanley Cup winnings to his insights on the millenium. He seems to be stuck on this topic of late......as I have written before, Max is a numbers guy. The whole millenium thing strikes this chord in him. We also talked about writing, as he is in the middle of a provincial assessment on reading and literacy at school (my opinions on this topic will have to wait until another time........I have LOTS to say about provincial assessments!!) and he has a very enthusiastic teacher who introduces the "word" of the day........Fridays was "autonomy"............as well as arranges time every day for creative writing on a topic they pick from a hat of many topics. He loves both exercises. It has also generated an interest in my writing, and he often asks me about it.



So......................I told him the topic for this week's Sunday Scribblings was "SPICY", and that I was thinking of writing about emotions and how you could describe them using the names of different spices. Without a blink of an eye he said.............



"Happiness would be cinnamon then wouldn't it?"



Our lives are more fulfilling and more exciting if we allow ourselves to savour the sweetness and the sourness of emotions. Though we try to avoid the bitterness of some spicy emotions, you know the ones that can make you wince with shame or guilt, or the feelings that leave you writhing with firey heat. And yet, it is experiencing the sharp tang of a deep gutteral feeling which makes us sometimes feel the most alive. Funny that.


Grief, the bitterest of them all is making it's presence felt in our family right now. It is a sorrowful time and I don't really know whether there is a certain spice all on it's own which could label the multi-layers felt when one is grieving. Perhaps it's a special curry, or a peppery concoction where the spices are blended that represents grief and sorrow best. Interestingly though when you taste the blends you can often pick out hints of individual spices.........much like grief.


Grief encompasses anger, sadness, confusion, vulnerability, fear, dread, anxiety, and fatigue. But you know what? It also combines hints of peace, relief, wonder and calm too. Grief unprocessed is bitter. Grief acknowledged and processed allows for the bitter to turn to sweet. And, along the way, it offers a chance to feel alert, alive and aware. Perhaps it is through drinking from the deep well of grief where we learn life's most important lessons because it is a vessel for people to come together to share in the acknowledgement of life........our own and the life of our loved one. It opens our eyes to the importance of love and belonging.......


Someone once said that variety is the spice of life. Not quite. I think the variety of emotions is the spice of life. And may I offer the suggestion that happiness would always taste like cinnamon, baked into an oatmeal cookie?

for more spicy sunday scribblings..........click this link.......

11 comments:

kenju said...

Nutmeg makes me happy! I also thought of allspice, for the myriads of layers of emotions.

Shaz said...

OMG this post was so perfect.
I love the mix of emotions and spices.
I love the layers of emotions and bitter sweet distinctions.
Very cool.
I love the way you write. XXX

paris parfait said...

Dana, your clever son is right - happiness would be cinnamon. Your post is wonderful and wise, in your exploration of the spices of emotions and feelings. I've found in my travels and talking with people all over the world that people who have suffered grief or loss in their own lives tend to be more sympathetic and understanding of others. xo

gautami tripathy said...

Nutmeg and cinnamon maks me feel elated.

I love cloves and ginger as they keep the cold away.

I loved this post. Beautiful picture.

Sentient Marrow said...

I agree with your imagery that grief would be a multi-layered spice mixture as I am experiencing my own form of it currently. Some combinations are spicier than others depending on the situation but all lead to the mix of peace, sadness, anger, relief, etc. that you mentioned.

Great post!

Awareness said...

Judy....I love nutmeg....such a wintry flavour....makes me think of baking on a cold winter day :)...or perhaps sprinkled on top of some spiked eggnog at Christmas :)

Hey Shaz... You my Aussie friend are allspice!! Just like me.
There times when I read the sunday scribblings prompt and an idea POPS up right away which niggles at me until I write it out. It was that way this time....I knew i was onto something when Max reacted right away and was able to make the connection. Glad you enjoyed it.

Tara....I think that is the case.... personally, I know that my understanding of what it feels like broadened much more when my grandmother passed away a couple of years ago. It has helped me tremendously......perhaps it was the last lesson she provided for me because before that, I had such a huge aversion and fear of death and grieving. Some of that is still there....but I am much more able to help my children understand their emotions than I would've.

hey Gautami....I'm glad you enjoyed it. Thanks... I too love those spices and find I'm always putting them into my recipes

Sentient marrow...thank you for dropping by.....i've learned how important it is to recognize (and accept) that it's alright to feel all those feelings....the positive and the negative when it comes to grieving.

Matthew said...

A nice sprinkling of insights throughout your post. I too find that those spiciest of emotions have much to offer in the way of self-learning.

I think you are right on about processed and unprocessed grief. This model would of course work for the full range of emotions. If you never process that which arises in you then you are missing out of the fullness of experience.

So important to find the sweetness in that which is bitter.

Thanks for the brain food!

Kamsin said...

Oh yes, happiness is most certainly cinnamon, such a warm, comforting, sweet tasting spice. Beautifully written post.

Rob Kistner said...

Excellent post! I was drawn in.

It takes the variety of emotions to feel fully alive... the balance of the yin & yang.

The bitter defines the sweet.

The aniseed I think would have to be the spice of grief/sorrow...

colleen said...

I agree that grief is a strong bittersweet spice of which the medicine can be healing if we let it. It can deepen us and allow us to hold even more feeling for life and for others.

Awareness said...

thank you kamsin....it is warm and comforting....i always put some in the pancakes i make on Sunday mornings for my kids. I think that's why my son mentioned it. His favourite meal of the week is Sunday breakfast.....with cinnamon.

Rob...thank you...aniseed is a very good choice. i hadn't thought of it.

colleen....i agree....it is the recipe to empathy isn't it?