On Michael Jackson's Thriller album, producer Quincy Jones talks about how the music gives you chills. He calls it "the chill factor" and says this is nothing less than divinity.
And it's precisely how I feel about exquisitely fine milk foam on a cappuccino or latte. The texture, the sensual wholeness, the smooth taste. There is nothing quite like spectacular milk foam.
This is why, as I stood watching one of my favorite baristas make my favorite drink recently, I literally stood there and cried. Slow, graceful, pausing tears. The kind that drip devotedly, in love with what the heart's eyes are seeing.
Why the hell was I crying about an espresso drink?
It is quite simple: Tears are a sign of an open heart. An open heart is willing to give and receive love. And Love is beautiful. To elaborate...
- Happiness and love are close relatives. There is great happiness found in simple joys. One living breathing moment to the next, all we've got is a taste of our latte, a fold of the laundry, a flush of the toilet. If we can't find happiness in the small things, where will we find it?
- Telling the truth is far more powerful than we acknowledge. The drink I like, with the kind of foam I like, is very, very uncommon. "Can I have a deep-wet-foam latte...? Every time I approach a cafe counter, I contemplate whether to ask for it or not -- and if so, how. Do I just order a coffee, or do I try to convey what I really want, and see what shows up? How annoyable does the barista appear? (And boy, this varies.) This process has allowed me an opportunity to clarify what I want, refine my language in asking for it, and surrender to what shows up, knowing it usually won't be exactly as I hope. Telling the truth takes courage. Owning our desire takes courage.
- It also takes courage to be stay true to your dreams -- and shizz, I really love this drink -- especially when it's not popular. The more we live authentically, the stronger those muscles get. Still, sometimes it seems a lot easier to just. Order. Coffee. Just go with the cultural flow. Stop dreaming, stop your fantasy world imagination, go with what is. There's power in that too sometimes, yet authenticity sure can fire up the heart.
Jessica Rios, Founder of Leaning into Light, is a lifelong letter writer, a mother, freelance consultant and eternal fan of Mr. Rogers and Sesame Street. This deeply personal blog and our recorded talks and workshops are devoted to one of her great passions: illuminating the beauty of the human spirit.