Friday Musings: Make a List, Check It Twice

Don’t let the name of this drink fool you. Unlike many retailers across the U.S, I am not moving directly from carving jack-o-lanterns into trimming the tree. Today’s inventory effort is centered around something entirely different. This week on the blog we’ve examined a creepy poem and interpreted an unsettling song, all in celebration of a holiday whose theme happens to include the spooky, the scary, and the downright frightful. It occurred to me that it might be interesting to consider the following question: What it is that we’re most afraid of? I decided to consult the experts. Back in March of 2012, Psychology Today published an article entitled “The (Only) 5 Fears We All Share,” in which the following list was compiled by Karl Albrecht, Ph.D. As humans, we are terrified of extinction, mutilation, loss of autonomy, separation, and ego-death. Did you have those same items in mind? I confess that I did not. Upon further explanation, however, they do become far more understandable and relevant.

Let’s look at extinction, for example, as simply translating into death. We tremble at the thought of dying, which manifests itself in phobias like fear of heights where we cannot get to close to the edge of a high structure without being convinced we’re going over. Mutilation equates to injury. The idea of no longer being fully intact and having a body part missing or compromised by some external element or event is indeed a terrifying thought. According to Albrecht, this fear gives rise to phobias that center around animals, bugs or other creepy crawlers. Any arachnophobes out there? This is your category. A loss of autonomy results from any situation in which we no longer have control, including things like confinement, kidnapping, and suffocation (claustrophobes raise your hand), but can also include issues with relationships and intimacy that represent emotional suffocation for some people. The last two entries in the list are the ones that I’m most interested in for this post. We can read separation as fairly synonymous with abandonment and rejection, both of which are characterized by that awful feeling of not being valued, wanted, or respected by our fellow human beings, especially those that are close to us. To tap into our emotions about this fear, Albrecht invites us to consider if there is anything worse than receiving the silent treatment. That brings us to ego-death, or our fear of being humiliated and shamed so terribly that we descend into an absolute maelstrom of self-disapproval in which we lose our own sense of lovability, capability, and self-worth.

If it’s pertinent to ask the question as to what we fear the most, it seems to me that the logical follow-up has to be what can be done to counter these fears. I considered an answer to that question in terms of the two final categories. If our sense of our own lovability and value does not come from within ourselves, but rather has its root in the opinions or behavior of other people, even those who love us, we will always succumb to fear, and to the inevitable risk of losing our sense of who we are. We will silence our own voices, or hold on tightly to situations that do not serve us, just to mitigate the terrifying thought that we might be rejected or abandoned, even when it might be by a person who has become toxic to us. The greatest weapon we have against these fears and anxieties is self-awareness. If we can develop a strong understanding of who we are and what is most important to us, then we will able to cultivate a true sense of self-love and self-worth that comes from within and is rock solid. Once we arrive in this place of awareness, we will be able to fend off any threats to the peace we’ve created and open the doors widely to everything that is good, including security, happiness, and love.

This may all make perfect sense, but how do we get there? I came across a post yesterday morning on The Blog by Darius Foroux that provided the perfect answer. In “8 Core Values I Base My Life On,” Foroux encourages us to look deep inside ourselves and write a list of values that already exist within us. He has come up with 20 questions to help us take the first steps on this journey of self-discovery. Click here to go directly to that link. I went through this exercise yesterday and now have my core values printed on an index card in my kitchen. Making this list requires considerable self-awareness, but once we have it we can begin the process of strengthening these principles and adhering to them on a daily basis. We will learn where we need to expand and where we need to draw boundaries, and, most importantly, what it is that brings us closer to our own truth. When we begin living in a way that holds us accountable to that truth, we learn to trust ourselves, and we become whole. Once we have that wholeness we bring a complete person to the table every day, allowing us to have interactions and to form and strengthen relationships in ways we never thought possible.

For todays cocktail, I focused on four components: awareness, trust, expansion, and boundaries. I have often said that I think tequila is the spirit that is most eye-opening in any cocktail, and this one is certainly no exception. Because the awareness that we’re trying to achieve is rather serious, I chose Herradura Reposado tequila as my base. The aging process gives it significant depth. I then went with Yellow Chartreuse and Amaro Nonino, two very complex spirits that are both made from a combination of many herbs, plants, and flowers that we will never know. We just have to trust in the secret recipes. I thought in the direction of citrus for my next ingredient, but in an effort to expand I decided on Joto Yuzu saké, which tastes like a blend of Meyer lemons, Key limes, and Mandarin oranges. And finally, I made this an equal parts cocktail to represent the idea of boundaries, but I found those limits to be quickly challenged by the potency of the Chartreuse. It was a truth I had to recognize and respect by making the necessary adjustment to the recipe. The end result is a blend of four boldly flavored ingredients that come together to form a new and completely different entity with its own sense of wholeness. Cheers everyone. Happy Friday!

Make a List, Check It Twice

¾ oz Herradura Reposado Tequila
¾ oz Amaro Nonino
⅜ oz Yellow Chartreuse
¾ oz Joto Yuzu Saké

Add all the ingredients to a shaker tin with ice and shake until very, very cold. Double strain into a chilled cocktail glass. No garnish. Enjoy!

Print Friendly, PDF & Email