“Mama always said life was like a box of chocolates. You never know what you’re gonna get.” ~Forrest Gump
Love is in the air and for many, Valentine’s Day brings to mind that heart shaped box of chocolates. Today, many boxes of chocolate come with a guide. Our need for information and control has forced even a simple box of chocolates to commit to a plan! After all, we are really busy being busy; we don’t have time to waste biting into chocolates and not liking them. We need a map to guide us!
What if …this Valentine’s Day we give ourselves permission to explore? Let’s open that box of chocolates with abandon and allow for playfulness by discarding the road map provided and opting in to the experience itself! Smell, taste, and savor those chocolates, in the moment, with all 5 senses. No guide. Yum!
Forrest had it right; life is like a box of chocolates. We may like some more than others. We may think that one will taste a certain way based on how it looks. The assortment itself may even seem overwhelming. So many choices! There in lies the perfect message. Life is all about assortment. We show up ready for a milk chocolate day and instead get a dark chocolate one. Sometimes we have a terrific and scrumptious day and sometimes we just want to spit the entire box of chocolates out! What is sweet to one person is bitter to another.
So, how do we navigate this unpredictable and random box of chocolates we call life?
At a recent presentation, I arrived thinking that my box of chocolates for the day was going to be a predictable assortment. After all, I wrote this program, knew what the goal was, was excited to begin my workshop, and thrilled at the turn out. My dark chocolates and truffles were lined up “perfectly!” Until I opened the box to find that there were several unpredictable candies to navigate. The space for my event was not set up well, and there were several large parties in an adjacent room making it next to impossible for my workshop attendees to hear what I was saying and to be able to interact with each other. This interaction forms the foundation of more than half of the workshop. Yet I did the workshop. I did it a bit differently. It was possible, but it was not perfect. Or maybe it was?
Allowing ourselves to be in the moment, to go with the flow, to adapt to variety and imperfection in life is the message a good box of chocolates can teach us. If we are willing to embrace the stickiness of some things and the richness of others we can allow ourselves the flexibility to enjoy the moment we are in, even if it’s not the one we planned for. We need to be willing to break the mold now and again, because a good chocolate, like a good workshop does not always conform to a plan or a map. Sometimes we just have to lean into the experience itself. Our power lies in our ability to embrace and learn from every chocolate in that heart shaped box and to love ourselves all the more for doing so. These are our own heartfelt surprises.