Today I wake up in another special place. It’s a rather non-spectacular forest with a dirt path where people run, bike and walk their dogs. The landscape is full of natural born trees; they are randomly arranged, many of them curved. Some small rocks are also scattered throughout the land in a random fashion, giving a sense of tranquil chaos.
The sunlight seeps through the trees carefully, as if trying to prevent disturbing the peace of the land while, at the same time, providing the right amount of light to paint this place with all the greens and browns that show its life.
I just prepared coffee. Coffee is a sacred morning ritual. It’s starts with selecting the right roast for the right place and the right time. Today was, clearly, a day for Guatemala Antigua; a medium roast bean with subtle cacao flavors. The ritual continues swiftly be pouring the right amount of beans into a manual grinder. Manually grinding coffee is a troublesome process, only worthy by the process itself. It, inconveniently, takes too long and makes me forearms tired after a few minutes of vigorously turning the lever. I have never counted how many times the lever must be turned to grind a cup of coffee, but, if I had to guess, I’d guess a couple hundred times.
I’ve been asked by people if it’s not too much trouble and if getting an automatic grinder wouldn’t be worth it. Truth is, I actually already have an automatic grinder. The trouble is the point. It slows you down. What could have been done in a few seconds of electricity-powered blade grinding is slowed down to a manual battle that takes several minutes? Those minutes are not wasted though! Those minutes give you some time to build anticipation and appreciation. This can’t be overstated. You’ve already smelled the beans. You know what’s coming and so do your taste buds. You start becoming ready for it. And, isn’t this an act of self love? The appreciation you build is not just for the process. It’s for you. It’s a statement: I’m taking a few minutes of my day to love myself by preparing the best cup of coffee I can. This is just for me. I love myself. Today. Today I love myself. For everything I am. And through that love, I’ll love everybody else.
That has become my mantra a few months ago.
Today I will love myself, for everything I am, and, through that love, I’ll love everybody else.
I don’t repeat it all the time, not even everyday, but I do repeat it every once in a while and it does brighten my mornings. It prepares me to face the day with love.
Vipassana teaches us the same message that airlines have been brainwashing us with for the past few decades: in case of emergency, put your own mask before helping your children. You have to love yourself, wholeheartedly and honestly, before you’re truly able to love others.