Using Dark Chocolate to Evolve Yourself

Posted on June 21, 2013


Patience is a virtue….that I didn’t acquire until my 32nd year. (I’m a slow learner). Rick Hanson “In “Just One Thing” says this about patience: “Patience means handling delay, difficulty or discomfort without getting aggravated.  Patience makes us more tolerant and keeps us open to the bigger picture rather than focused on the wrongness of things.” Conversely, he says this about impatience: “Impatience interprets circumstances as you being hindered or mistreated, so you feel frustrated, let down, or annoyed.  Impatience is dissatisfaction; it is resistance to the way it is,” oh my god that is so the Old-Me… :-/

Now, patience can vary from person to person, and there isn’t one “right” amount of patience for every person. BUT, after the millionth joke by friends that I have zero patience, it got uncomfortable. (Like I said, slow learner.) I started to wonder if maybe, just maybe, I should raise my patience level just a bit. In fact, one little tease from a friend led me to use dark chocolate as a tool to do a major evolve on myself. My friend said ‘you should never chew dark chocolate.’ (he’s right) To which I said, ‘not possible’. To which he hashtagged me #impatient. That stuck with me.

So, one night, I sat down with a few squares of dark chocolate. I said to myself, “Enjoy this chocolate until it melts. No biting. Just chill.” Ya see, Old-Me always ate quickly; if I had a mint in my mouth, I’d have chomped it to pieces and swallowed them long before the people around me even got close to finishing their mint. And I ALWAYS chewed dark chocolate. It was hard for me to make anything last. I’d rather have had it all right now in one big rush, than delay it out and savor it for a long time. Me always chomping on dark chocolate and mints as fast as I could was a habit that supported my choice to be impatient elsewhere in my life.

The dark chocolate test was highly uncomfortable for me. Several times I almost bit it without even realizing what I was doing, and I had to ask myself, ‘you can’t even sit here for a few minutes, and just “be” with the chocolate?’ The answer was ‘yes, I could sit there,’ but it was painful to do so. It sounds like such a simple, unimportant thing, but the simplest things often foretell of bigger things, and as I’m reminded by people wiser than me – everything is important.

Successfully consuming the chocolate without biting it was an eye-opening moment for me. I was uncomfortable, but, I was letting things be for once. I was slowing down & savoring the moment I was in right at that second. I was practicing patience & letting go of control…all things that were a rarity in my prior life.


Fast forward to yesterday: The Universe tested me to see if I really had gained patience. I was taking the train downtown to meet one of my faves, Jen, for dinner. I touched up my makeup in the parking lot of the train station before leaving the car to head up to the platform. My day-to-day makeup, including some new not-cheap blush, my toothbrush, my makeup brushes gifted to me by my mom, etc. were in that bag. I clearly recall zipping the case up, and putting it in the seat behind me.

Seven hours & a plate of blood sausage & beef heart later, Jen and I walk into the house – & I can’t find my makeup bag. Like, ‘it grew legs and walked away because we’ve looked everywhere’ can’t find it. Old-Kate would have had instant panic & anxiety set in during a situation like this. (I told you, I used to be very impatient, and impatience is a sign of an underlying ‘need for control’ and I would have interpreted this as ‘out of control!’) Old-me would have turned the house upside down and struggled with sleep as my mind wouldn’t want to let go of the “where the F$&# is my bag?? How the hell could I have lost it?? I’m so dumb” type thinking.

Yesterday, I chose a different path. I allowed myself to calmly walk back through all the places it might be, and when it wasn’t in any of those places, I let myself rationally walk through my steps of the last 7 hours, and when that didn’t enlighten me to the bag’s whereabouts, I chose to detach myself fully from the bag & its contents. I thought about how I was due for a new mascara anyways…I wasn’t using bronzer anyways right now since I was tan…I didn’t LOVE my new blush anyways…a toothbrush & deodorant is really cheap to replace… Losing my bag was turning out to be really not a bad thing at all!

Make-up bag gone, I went to sleep, got a fantastic nights’ rest, and woke up the next morning with curiosity about how in the world I lost it,  but without any judgement of myself or the world for getting myself to this place of non-bag-ness. Rather than throw judgement & hostility out into the world, I put patience and detachment out there. I went out to buy a new makeup bag & a few essentials for the bag, and went on about my work day. In the past, I’d have let myself be attached to *that particular* stuff, despite the fact that I really could get the EXACT same stuff tomorrow at the store. Old-Kate would have been mad that *that* stuff was gone and thought that no other stuff would be “as good.” (Sound crazy? Imagine not being able to see that craziness, and you’ve now got some perspective on how my mind worked previously. Feel free to judge away, I’m cool with my old faulty-thinking patterns, and I’m happy to share mine because I know there’s others out there that struggle with the same things.)

A few hours later, I was cleaning up the basement and right there-on the floor-where we’d looked several times last night,
I couldn’t believe my eyes – we’d absolutely looked RIGHT THERE last night. How did it get there?? How was this possible?!

I didn’t know, and didn’t care. I was happier than a first-grader who got a gold star on their solar system diorama. I’d just been tested and I’d come out the other side successful in my response! I’d actually acted differently when given the chance to either repeat an old pattern or test out a new one! I happily went to the store to return all my purchases, and felt so rich, partially for now having that money back in my wallet, but more so for the value of my newly tested (& proved) patience & detachment. It feels *really* good to be on this side of that beautiful virtue patience, and this whole detaching-from-the-outcome thing is feeling pretty nifty as well.

I’d urge you, if you’re doing some self-evolvement like I am, to take a look at your most common reactions to situations and see if anything sticks out at you as ‘possibly not ideal for creating your most awesome self’, and consider addressing it in some way. Maybe with a piece of dark chocolate?

Posted in: Evolve Thyself