As in chorizo, as in life. Who would have thought that a package of $8.99 chorizo would hold great lessons from the Universe?
I will begin by admitting that I picked up two packages of that red salty meat while in the refrigerated section of the supermarket, and my boyfriend said No, one package was enough. Thank god.
As we cooked breakfast the next morning, I noticed how full of chomp I was about that chorizo. I love self-excavation, and was very jazzed to find lessons right there in my breakfast chorizo. So, I am baring my heart and soul, and sharing what I learned from, ahem, my breakfast that morning. And because I love irony, the last one is my favorite, but don’t peek ahead.
1. Listen to your inner voice.
My boyfriend put two large red chorizos in the heavy black cast iron skillet, and because I love a big breakfast, I threw in two more. I heard a voice to slice them in half and roast them in the oven, but I ignored it. He heated up the pan and asked for oil. Oil in the pan? I heard a voice that said No! and yet there I was, handing over the extra virgin olive oil. The next moment, the hot oil splattered everywhere. I mean, everywhere. All over the stove, the counter, the wall, on his clothes.
I hate big kitchen messes, and I got instantly cranky. He could feel my frustration. The room felt thick and tense. He started cleaning it up, and I took over cooking the chorizo. The next thing I knew, a dollop of oil flew up and landed, of course, in my eye. My mind flashed back to high school science lab, and in a flash I was under a cold eye rinse in the kitchen sink. As the cold water ran across my eye, down my face, into my ear, hair and down my neck, a resentment ran through my head: if only I had spoken up and put the damned chorizo in the oven.
Everything around me turns to sh*t when I ignore that voice. I forget that the little things, like chorizo in the oven, are as important as the big moments in life. Everything starts with listening to that voice of knowing. It shows up as a whisper, and when I tune in to listen and then follow her, life becomes smooth, connected, joyful. When I don’t, well, I get chorizo oil in my eye.
2. Say it in real time.
Don’t hold back. When you have something that needs to come out, say it. Now.
I withheld a lot of myself that morning. Any curbing of speaking my voice, no matter how small, creates a veil of fog between my partner and me. Yes, even holding back that I wanted the chorizo in the oven, or that I was annoyed about the oily mess on the counters and in my eye. They are all withholds that keep my partner in the dark about what is really happening inside me. Pretty soon, he isn’t even relating to the real me anymore, but to the mask I put on over all the things I won’t say out loud. If I am holding back this minor stuff, what else am I leaving unsaid
Withholding hurts all relationships, and it’s a conditioned subtle way women don’t reveal the truth of who they are. A vacuous space slowly builds up behind you, filled with dusty old truths that haven’t been said over time, until one day there are mountains of them. That’s grimier than an chorizo-oil-splattered kitchen. It’s okay if the truth comes out sloppy at first. In fact, it probably will. Speaking truth in real time takes practice. Expecting it to be perfect is like expecting to go to the gym and begin with 100-pound weights. Start small. Start with saying any little truths you’d normally keep to yourself. Like cooking chorizo, sometimes it’s messy, and it definitely takes practice to get it right.
3. Be willing to change the plan.
My man sensed my frustration with the splattering oil, and asked if I wanted to switch the chorizo to the oven. No, they’re already in the pan, I thought. Why move them? So we could have two messes? Men and their messy dumb ideas! My not-listening-to-my-inner-voice resentment permeated me while the oil splattered against the lid we just added as damage control. The chorizo looked oily and my body told me not to eat that. I suddenly felt trapped by my breakfast meat choices.
The truth is, we can change the plan at any moment. Simple, but not easy. It means accepting the full-out truth as opposed to tightly holding on to self-will, ego, resentment, and a plan that is clearly not working. Where else in my life do I stick to the plan, even when it feels miserable and uncomfortable, just because it is The Plan? It’s as simple as saying I changed my mind. Yes, let’s put the chorizo in the oven.
4. Keep your tank filled.
A key part of this story started in the grocery store we found in an online search. We were in a cute coastal town, tired from the day and ready for dinner. We decided to pick up groceries for the next morning before heading home for dinner. When we walked into the supermarket, there were endless aisles of packaged unhealthy food, the deli counter was dusty, and the store was generally not that clean. Not terrible, but not great. I have been eating lots of vegetables, avoiding sugar, and working on deeper emotional sobriety. Being in that supermarket felt draining. I don’t want to admit this, but because we were hungry, we stayed to make it work.
I didn’t want to go back to the car, do another online search, and start all over again. We were in a supermarket, for goodness’ sake, and there must be something decent to eat here. We would overlook the dust. When I am hungry like that, I don’t think clearly. I had let my tank get too low that afternoon by not having a snack before dinner, and now I was hangry and undesirable food choices seemed like a reasonable idea.
Undesirable and reasonable is not how I am committed to live. When I make choices from a place of scarcity, it creates a sequence of events that feel slightly off, like oily chorizo burning my eye the next morning. When I take exquisite care of myself, attending to my body’s needs, like I would take care of a newborn baby, I feel nourished from the inside and everything around me feels in alignment.
5. Don’t eat chorizo*.
After all that, my belly felt pretty sick afterwards. The grease of it stayed with me all day, sitting on my chest, oily and thick, reminding me to listen to my inner voice.
*unless you really know how to cook it well, then cook up a storm and please invite me.