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Affogato: To the Bitterness and the Sweetness

Written by on August 6, 2019 in Conscious Living, Inspirational with 0 Comments

I’m currently living in Europe and I’ve had the pleasure through, both hosting a yoga retreat as well as vacationing, to spend some time in Italy. It’s in Italy where I discovered perhaps one of the most beautiful culinary delights—The affogato. 

For those who have not heard of this perfect Italian dessert, let me explain: An affogato is espresso—aromatic, rich, and earthy—in a cup large enough to accompany a dollop of delicious, sweet, and creamy gelato. Delizioso!  That’s affogato. I love affogato because it celebrates the bitter and the sweet, the hot and the cold, in a way that is balanced and deliciously satisfying. 

My biggest affogato moment in my life happened several year ago when I was forced to close two yoga studios exactly one week before I married the love of my life. Ever noticed how kick-ass and ass-kicking have two totally different meanings? That’s affogato! While I was going through this roller coaster of events in my life, I could almost hear a voice from above saying, “Please keep your arms and legs in the ride at all times.” 

One afternoon that year, before the businesses closed, I was driving home from teaching yoga and worrying terribly. I looked up into the sky and swear I saw a cloud that looked exactly like God’s hand was offering me a fist-bump. Serious! It was a message like, “Bro! I know. Wild ride. But don’t worry, I gatchew.” And you know what? Despite the bitter worry and heart-break of closing my studios, several years later, I’m doing better than ever, moving forward in my career with a sweet stride, and thriving in a way that I could never have imagined. 

One of my dear teachers is Dr. Richard Miller who help to begin my journey with teaching Yoga Nidra. My studio hosted Dr. Richard Miller for an incredible weekend of workshops. After the last night of his workshops, we all went to a student’s house for dinner. I had to come a little late to the dinner because I had the arduous task of having a meeting with all of my teachers at the studio to tell them that we were going to lose the studios and would soon be closing the doors. Once I got to the dinner, I started talking to Richard Miller and explained to him where I was and what I had just done. He paused for a moment as a big smile spread across his face. He leaned into me and said, almost in a whisper, “congratulations!”  He understood that my struggle of closing the studio was inconsequential compared to an exciting new journey of personal growth and expansion without it. It reminds me of Matsuo Basho who said, “The moon is brighter since the barn burned.” During those bitter moments it was difficult to see the sweetness that lay just ahead.

A week after closing the doors to the studio, I married the woman of my dreams and set off for new learning and adventures. She’s the woman with whom I expect to spend the rest of my many years, right up until the day we decide to roll our motorized wheelchairs into an active volcano together. Now THAT’S affogato!

Holding two extremes together has really been one of my overall lessons in life. 

Yoga and mindfulness has taught me that the beauty of life comprises the largeness of the entire experience, good and bad. Just enjoying the sweet isn’t large enough. Ananda means beyond joy. It means seeing the whole mind-blowing experience as complete and perfect. Balanced. 

What are your affogato moments of life? How do you think appreciating this truth can help you prepare for the struggles that will inevitably come? Please add your voice by leaving a comment below. 

So I raise this affogato cup to you all and toast to all the bitterness and all the sweetness of life together!

Scott Moore is a senior teacher of yoga and mindfulness in the US (New York, Salt Lake City, LA) and abroad and currently lives in Southern France. When he's not teaching or conducting retreats, he writes for Conscious Life News, Elephant Journal, Mantra Magazine, Medium, and his own blog at scottmooreyoga.com. Scott also loves to run, play the saxophone, and travel with his wife and son. Check out his yoga retreats to places like Tuscany and France , his online Yoga Nidra Course and his Yoga Teacher Mentor Program

 

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