There are those of us for whom spirituality is as necessary as breathing; we simply could not exist without it. We believe strongly in a higher power, whether it’s a formal deity associated with organized religion, or the omnipresent universe which stuns us at times with its ability to be equally omniscient. There is a dictionary entry for the word spirit that defines it as “the vital principle in human beings, or the mediating factor between our bodies and our souls.” If we extend this idea further, spirituality becomes the process by which this mediation takes place. We live an existence within our physical bodies, but we’re certainly not limited to that, no matter what the skeptics may say. Since mediation is a form of communication, is it so farfetched to view spirituality as the language that creates the dialogue between body and soul? I think not.
What lies behind the furrowed brow of the skeptic? What is it exactly that they question so much? The skeptic attitude is firmly rooted in doubting everything until a mountain of evidence is presented to the contrary. Only objective facts are allowed; subjective interpretation of those facts is simply not worthy of consideration. If we tell a skeptic about a particular sign that we think we’ve received, they will regard us as though we have three heads. My hearts in the snow that I saw back in March? Mere tire tracks. And the events subsequent to my seeing them? Random. Case closed and dismissed. There is often no point in arguing with someone who believes only in what they can experience with their five senses. And while we may respectfully agree to disagree, we know without a doubt that there is more, and that allows us to serenely move on from the argument.
Is it possible to rely too much on spirituality? Of course. As with anything else, extremes are always dangerous. Regardless of how much we believe in a realm beyond what our eyes can see, daily living has to happen within this zone that has limitations. If we allow ourselves to become too immersed in or controlled by our thoughts or spiritual beliefs, we risk falling into the trap of not being fully present and just existing. The process of truly living requires a balance between both worlds: we must meet our daily obligations and nurture our relationships within this plane, but we can allow our spirituality to be that vital force that enriches our human situations and connections in such a beautiful way. We can be open to seeing signs, and listening for messages, and feeling comforted by those who are no longer here with us. I feel my mother’s presence almost every day now, and while I will always miss her, it soothes my soul in such a wonderful way.
So what should we say back to the skeptics of the world who raise an eyebrow at such ideas? We will tell them that our lives, as well as theirs, are all guided by some kind of force. For them, it emanates from facts, and the ideas of objectivity and logic, while we believe in the things unseen, the very definition of faith that is the cornerstone of so many theological and philosophical belief systems. But here’s the thing: when the truly difficult circumstances of life threaten to enclose us in their darkness, more often than not it’s our belief that there is more that lets the first bit of light back in. Dwelling on objectivity, and incessantly searching for a logical answer, will only push us further down. This is a fact of which I am certain. Our souls are a vital part of who we are as human beings, and they allow us to recognize and feel such deep connections that our hearts can’t form on their own, but only if we allow spirituality to give them a voice in which to speak to us.
For today’s cocktail, I found that I needed to take a slightly different approach. I decided to incorporate the four elements of earth, water, air, and fire into the drink because they are an important part of so many religious teachings, and are present everywhere in the universe. I started with a base of Tanteo’s Jalapeño Infused tequila to represent fire. Green Chartreuse, Joto Yuzu saké, elderberry syrup, and pineapple juice are all different expressions of the earth: herbs, rice, flowers, and fruit. The drink was shaken to allow air to bring its components together, and served over one large ice cube so that the water could open and soften its potent flavors. I used this particular glass because so much of the idea of faith revolves around what we can and cannot see. The wood and the marble are materials of the earth and represent physical existence, and the purple napkin is a symbol of Catholicism, my own religion and the basis of my earliest thoughts on spirituality. I raise my glass to all of you who believe so strongly, as I do, that human existence extends beyond just the physical plane. Cheers and Happy Friday.
Add all the ingredients to a shaker tin with ice and shake vigorously until cold. Strain into an old-fashioned glass over one large cube. Enjoy!