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Pickles are cucumbers. And other obvious but important life altering lessons.

Inspiring, PhotographyChloë Rain

Clock tower in Musée d'Orsay, Paris, France. ©ChloëRain January 6th, 2013

"It's over. One way or another, everything comes to an end. It's all over some day. That's perhaps one of the most fascinating truths we know about the entire universe. The stars die, the galaxies die, the planets die. And people die too."  - There are Things You Should Know, Stieg Larsson  See his letter to his partner she found after is untimely death (at the bottom of the blog).

 

Tonight I had a great epiphany, I turned left outside my door instead of right.  I walked down a different street with completely different energy and this changed everything.

Just when I thought I had it all figured out.  

Just when I thought I knew what I was doing here in Paris, and why I am leaving.

But tonight, tonight everything changed.

    When I was working in hotel development, travel was inevitable. When I landed my "dream job" years ago the travel portion of my job was sexy, 5 years into it and getting on an airplane was like doing laundry; mundane, routine, dreaded, and inescapable.  Life was something like, 7 airports in 4 days or 13 legs, one trip. Modus operandi: dump contents of suitcase at the front door, reload, check in, and then off again to the airport again. My parents once laughed and called me George Clooney from "Up in the Air". I didn't think it was funny. You know, that's a depressing movie. It doesn't have a happy ending.

    I tell you all this to say, I didn't enjoy traveling anymore. I don't like small talk on airplanes or in taxi cabs. So when I got picked up by this Rastafarian taxi cab driver with dreadlocks at the airport in Denver and he started to chat with me, I was less than thrilled.

    He was chatting on in this way about his day and told me that he's just recently had a daughter. He has this funny way of accenting different words that makes me wonder if he just hasn't smoked too much pot and then he asks me a question I will remember for the rest of my life:

    "Do you know pickles are cucumbers?"

    "I'm sorry, what?"

    "Did you know that pickles are cucumbers?"

    "Um. Yeah. My mom and I used to make pickles when I was a kid. I love pickles."

    "I was in the grocery store today. And I love pickles. And I was putting my groceries on the belt and the guy was scanning my pickles and then he weighed my cucumbers.

    and.  bam.  it.  hit.  me.

    PICKLES ARE CUCUMBERS.

    "I saw the whole thing, right there, in front of my eyes at the grocery store. I realized pickles are cucumbers. How long have I been eating pickles, and cucumbers, and I didn't know?! I didn't know!!!! How could I not know. ?  Today I've just been totally blown away thinking about all the other things in my life that are that OBVIOUS but I just never saw it before?"

    PICKLES ARE CUCUMBERS.

    And Oh my God I laughed.... I think I would have wanted to cry if I was in touch with my feelings in that moment.  

    SOME THINGS ARE JUST THAT OBVIOUS AND THAT LIFE CHANGING.

    A few simple and perhaps obvious things that I have recently discovered to be entirely life altering:

    1. Once in a great while, turn left instead of right when you go out your door. 
    2. A red rose in a vase on a table, positively affects your dinner experience, no matter how unremarkable the food. Put some rose petals on the bedsheets or in a bathtub, and you can sop me up with a piece of bread like warm butter.
    3. Be nice. You could get laid or otherwise change someone else's day in a positive way.
    4. Heartbreak doesn't kill you. It feels like it should, but it doesn't actually kill you.
    5. Pickles are cucumbers.

    So its January 6th and everyone in America is working on their New Year's Resolutions.

    Since I've been in Paris, I've stopped looking at myself.

    Not entirely, but at home in Seattle, I have two huge mirrors in my bedroom (even though I've read according to feng shui principles, mirrors in the bedroom are as bad for your love life as herpes.)

    I have two huge mirrors and one is full length and most of the time I walk naked from having just showered to the bedroom and I check out "how things are going" in the aging process.

    Since I've been in Paris, I don't have mirrors in my bedroom and furthermore, I haven't stood in front of the mirror naked and looked at my belly and thought, "Oh we're going to have to do something about this."

    I believe that my belly is still there, I felt it the other night after saying YES! to a plate of cheese for dinner accompanied by a loaf of bread that "looked" like too much for one person, but in fact was not.  

    What is different is that I haven't looked at myself and thought "Oh we're going to have to do something about this".

    I have been going about my day, without thinking that I have to be somebody else before I can like myself.

    I haven't been inspecting my flaws on a twice daily basis, naked in the mirror, and I haven't had the internal dialogue about all the things I need to do before I can walk out the front door and feel good about myself.

    Trust me, there have been other internal dialogues, but this hasn't been one of them.

    I haven't looked at my physical flaws in the mirror and told myself "Not today Chloë, some day when you're skinnier, your skin is clearer, your eye makeup is more perfect, and you didn't have that last glass of wine before bed last night... that will be your day. But not today."

    If pickles are cucumbers and walking out my front door and turning left instead of right changes everything..... I'm wondering if I don't look at my flaws today, maybe someone else won't see them either.  

    If I'm not focused on my flaws and the things that need to be fixed before I can be loved and be smart and be sexy and be creative and be worthy and be liked, maybe this person I'm talking to doesn't know what my flaws are and doesn't see them either.

    And maybe he thinks I'm beautiful because all he sees in this moment, is me.

    And maybe these people like me because I'm being me, not pretending to be some better version of me, that I haven't quite yet fulfilled.  Today, I'm not stepping out my front door with my flaw foot first.

    Isn't that what we all want anyway?  

    For someone to show up right in this moment, just the way we are on January 6th before we've failed (or accomplished) all of our New Year's resolutions and to think we're fucking fantastic.

    Today. January 6th. Today is our day.

    Sounds obvious. Could be life altering.


    Richard Wiseman, a psychology professor at the University of Hertfordshire, set out to investigate lucky people and their good luck. He was curious to understand why it seemed that lucky people got lucky, had more lucky breaks, and seemed to always be in the right place at the right time. Over the course of ten years he studied “lucky” and “unlucky” people who answered a newspaper ad and described themselves as lucky or unlucky- he found that people who described themselves as lucky tend to win more at life. In his book The Luck Factor, Wiseman describes the 10 year experiment:

    I gave both lucky and unlucky people a newspaper, and asked them to look through it and tell me how many photographs were inside. On average, the unlucky people took about two minutes to count the photographs, whereas the lucky people took just seconds. Why?
    Because the second page of the newspaper contained the message: 'Stop counting. There are 43 photographs in this newspaper.' This message took up half the page and was written in type that was more than 2 inches high. It was staring everyone straight in the face, but the unlucky people tended to miss it and the lucky people tended to spot it.
    For fun, I placed a second large message halfway through the newspaper: 'Stop counting, tell the experimenter you have seen this and win £250.' Again, the unlucky people missed the opportunity because the were still too busy looking for photographs.

    Through his research findings, Dr. Wiseman proposed that lucky people actually created their own luck because they lived their lives based on four principles:

    • They are skilled at creating and noticing chance opportunities,
    • Make lucky decisions by listening to their intuition,
    • Create self-fulfilling prophesies via positive expectations,
    • And adopt a resilient attitude that transforms bad luck into good.

    Wiseman found that unlucky people miss chance opportunities because they are too focused on looking for something else. Unlucky people we anxious, lucky people were relaxed. Sounds too simple, doesn't it?

    Unlucky people go to parties intent on finding their perfect partner and so miss opportunities to make good friends. They look through newspapers determined to find certain types of job advertisements and as a result miss other types of jobs. Lucky people are more relaxed and open, and therefore see what there is rather than just what they are looking for.

    Simply stated lucky people are more relaxed, open and remain curious about the current situation at hand rather than become anxious, single focused and future oriented.

    Again, sounds obvious. Could be life altering.

    The good news is that they also discovered that in fact the unlucky people could learn the four principles of lucky people and improve their luck, their lives and their happiness by 80%!

    One unlucky subject said that after adjusting her attitude - expecting good fortune, not dwelling on the negative- her bad luck had vanished.

    Sometimes in life, it is the most obvious epiphany that can change everything.

    Further reading (sources):


    "There Are Things I Want You to Know" About Stieg Larsson and Me

    Chloë has had the pleasure of working with countless women and men all over the globe to heal their relationship with self, success, money and love so they can enjoy the happiness they have always wanted, and experience confidence and JOY in their lives, life purpose, relationships and finances.

    Many of her clients are seasoned professionals, entrepreneurs, and professional creatives and performers who also find that their relationships and careers shift dramatically in new and exciting ways after doing this work, creating joy and freedom in their personal and professional lives. To book a free consultation with Chloë go → here.

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