“Live each day as if it were your last”…
A familiar phrase, and a wonderful notion. And utterly impossible to actually carry out, like trying to teach Twiglet, our pet stick insect, to dance.
Nevertheless, I still find something pretty wise and compelling about it. The idea of getting over petty things and attending to what’s really important is worth trying out. Tackling the whole idea of Life is probably a bit ambitious, so I thought I’d start with Pizza.
Untangling any big, knotty issue can start with one pizza, and can go from there. If a person stops for a moment and just carefully chews a morsel that they can get their mouth around, a chain of events will inevitably unfold and solutions will begin to present themselves. I believe this, utterly.
For several months now I have attempted to condense the Living Life idea into pizza (apart from March, when I wasn’t eating gluten or dairy) with a little experiment following these rules:
– Eat alone (preferably at Franco Manca, the most delicious pizza in the world…ever)
– No distractions: no books, doodling, chatting with waiters
– No multi-tasking: no loading of forks or cutting at the same time as chewing
– Chew each mouthful thoroughly, just like mama said
– Pay attention to the pizza, and only the pizza… but everything about the pizza
Forget living my whole life like each day were my last – it is a struggle enough to eat a pizza like it were my last. There is so much compulsive productivity and distraction to overcome. It’s the same feeling as meditation: all I need to do is sit quietly…why can’t I stop thinking about dinosaurs?
But my goodness, there are moments when the pizza tastes amazing. Hey, I’ve never really tasted the tomato before! And even the anticipation on the walk to Northcote Road is pretty intense.
It now feels more like pizza is something I experience rather than something I do to myself.
It has begun to extend to chocolate. I began to notice when I wolfed down a mouthful of choccie as if it were a snakebite antidote, not a moment of delicate enjoyment. I began to apply it to cuddles (with children and wife mostly I guess, but now I’m good to try it with anyone). Perfunctory cuddles while at the same time running through a mental to-do list are better than nothing I suppose, but a deep, primal cuddle is a transcendent feeling. There’s definitely a subconscious thing going on there which I don’t understand; I just know that I love it, as two people’s heartbeats gradually synchronise.
All these things make life feel simultaneously a bit lighter, deeper, richer. It is a vitalising experience to allow myself to really feel something, and that awareness inspires a universe of possibilities.
How easy it has been in the past to work so hard and end up with nothing. To feel like I have given it everything, but realise I have merely burnt calories being busy, and given little of my true self.
Recently my wife and I wept, because we felt we had passed a threshold where our children were no longer babies. Were we happy or sad? That depends on whether it felt like it was something that we were truly, wholeheartedly there for. Had we remembered to immerse ourselves in one of the richest human experiences possible, or had we mindlessly gobbled?
This I know: it’s about the pizza, nothing but the pizza, and everything about the pizza.