Alexandra the Great's Private Papers

December 29, 2009

Chocolate

Filed under: Attitude — Alexandra The Great @ 7:28 pm

Change is  inevitable and I don’t like it. The world, against my will, is in a constant state of flux. I understand this, yet never wishing for change I find even myself involuntarily changing. Some things I want to stay the same for the comfortable sake of habit; still other things I don’t want to change because to do so will bring me face to face with the unknown and that always involves risk, something I am committed to avoiding. Finally, I regret to inform you, there are the things I don’t want changed simply for the sake of pride. Having said that we now come to the subject of chocolate.

This may sound childish to you and it probably is, but I have never cared much for chocolate and this dislike has been something of a point of pride with me. Yes, I sometimes indulge myself in petty pride. How often I do this we need not discuss. Recently, however, my childish resolve to dislike what everyone else seems to love was challenged. While waiting in the grocery check-out line I happened to see various kinds of dark chocolate bars. While I actually like white chocolate and milk chocolate if it’s filled with peanut butter, dark chocolate has been classified in my mind as a thing that one should not eat.

As I age, not surprisingly (for you who have experience with aging), I find that my tastes change. Colors I once disliked have a regrettable appeal. I now wear fabrics I once avoided. I like foods I once hated. Understanding this unfortunate trend and remembering the glowing reports I had heard on the benefits of dark chocolate I thought it might just be time to humble myself and give chocolate another chance. After all, it seems that dark chocolate may be something of a wonder drug. Not only is it an antioxidant and lowers blood pressure, but, I have been told, acts as an anti-depressant as well. Perhaps my tastes had changed. Perhaps I would like chocolate now. Besides, being long accustomed to an afternoon sweet treat I thought a wonder drug would be a suitable replacement for cookies or cake. Wanting to start out simple I chose the bar for beginners. It had no almonds, no oatmeal and raisins or other optional upgrades,  just straight chocolate. The wrapper boasted that this bar was not only organic but also 73%. I had to ask the clerk about the 73% and learned that this figure referred to the amount of cocoa in this particular bar which, he said, would be on the bitter side of things. If I liked this I may want to try the 85% bar but I would have to work up to that.

As it turned out, I didn’t half mind eating chocolate. In fact, I felt I might even be able to acquire a taste for cocoa products…might. I didn’t feel I had just been treated for depression and I have no idea how improved my health might be for having consumed all those wonderful antioxidants but I enjoyed the thought that something healthy could come in dessert form.

Wondering what kinds of toxins these antioxidants might have rid me of made me think of the spiritual toxins we are all familiar with. You know, the things that harm us yet we indulge in any way, things like gossip, envy, and the ever popular complaining. Why is it that we pollute ourselves with these things anyway? The correctives to such things, I am happy to say, are in the dessert category of behavior, a kind of chocolate for the soul. I’m thinking of things such as thanksgiving, praise,  and speaking well of others instead of creating demons in the minds of those who listen to us. Such things actually contribute to our happiness and ought to be practiced often. Not only do they improve our outlook on life but they also make us considerably more tolerable to others, a goal worth pursuing.

Though we are created to receive healthy food for the maintenance of a healthy life, few of us enjoy only that which nourishes our bodies. The same holds true for our spiritual lives; not all our habits are healthy habits. It is not what goes into the body that makes us unclean but what comes out of our hearts through the mouth. It’s no wonder we are told to give thanks in all circumstances and to do everything without grumbling or complaining. Regardless of who we are, life gets sticky, prickly and maybe sometimes even hellish, but that is no reason to self-destruct. As most any woman will tell you, chocolate helps.

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