630-484-2336 ben@bedo.org

All right, so I enjoy a good cocktail, and especially a single malt scotch.  However, usually my budget only allows for the more moderate $20 bottle, from time to time, and the really delicious stuff tends to be a little more pricy (ain’t that always the case).  Strangely it was only a couple years ago when I realized that I could cash in my change jar every year ad give myself a special annual birthday gift of a more complex, tasty and refined bottle.

So I did just that last week.

Now the thing about good scotch (like a good wine) is that there is usually a complexity involved in the flavors.  Now, I’ll admit that my palate is not apparently as sophisticated as some “professionals” who seem to distinguish “ripe green apple, a hint of bacon and a soupson of sweet asparagus”.  I just taste “good scotch”.

Also, to preface, I teach in my class (The Fast Pass to MasterFull Coaching) that an easy way to “get present” with our clients is to first practice “getting present” with ourselves.  And an easy way to do that is to direct our focus and energy towards the experience with a particular sense (sight, smell, taste, touch, sound.)  I suggest that we pick a sense and then spend 5 minutes focusing on one thing with that sense.  Kind of like isolating a specific muscle when we’re exercising.

So I decided to try this with taste.  And specifically with the new scotch.

I took a sip and let it swirl around on my tongue, over and over, breathing air gently in to mix and release the vapors.  And I discovered an amazing and complex levels of flavor in just one sip.  Slightly smokey, and a little sweet.  there was a hint of salty at first, and then at the end an aftertaste of vanilla.

Curious, I decided to do it again (was that a little orange present this time? Or apricot?) my tongue now fully awake and searching frantically for more salty, sweet, savory, and bitter tastes.

A sip of water to cleanse the palate and start fresh, only to explore this few drops with even more depth.  (There’s something kind of nutty.  Ever so faint and light.  I probably never would have noticed it before.)

Then, I got distracted and I took my next sip while listening to my wife talk.  (“Hm, good scotch.  tastes scotchy.”)  All those wonderful flavors disappeared.  they were gone.  How could this be?  It was the same scotch from the same glass.  nothing changed, except my focus and energy and attention.  Instead of drinking automatically and absently, I resumed my intentional and focused and curious drinking.  The flavors resumed.

What’s even more exciting was that after each sip i was very aware of the flavors lingering for several seconds, perhaps 30 or even a full minute.  Whereas when I just sipped and swallowed, the flavor lasted about as long as it took to sip.

Now this isn’t the first time I’ve done this–I’ve enjoyed scotches, wines and foods and savored the complexities and stretched out and deepened the experience before–but it was the first  time I did this with a clear context of growing my coaching sense of “presence” and “awareness”.

I can sure tell you that Thanksgiving dinner was a very different experience for me than for just about everyone else.

So I’d love to hear about your own savoring of the moment.  Perhaps where you isolated a specific food (cheese, chocolate, coffee, tea, or anything else) or maybe just take a few moments and pick and object to study, a sound to explore, a touch to truly feel, a smell to deeply inhale–just for 5 minutes–and then please share your experience  in the reply to this post.

I can’t wait to hear what happened.