(Sitar player illustration courtesy of Google.com via www.dailypainters.com, an abstract painting by Mark Adam Webster)
Have you ever stopped to think about a time where you were truly happy - blissful - present in the moment - just observing that NOW is a good time? Well based on an unofficial survey I've conducted over the past several years when I randomly ask people the question "Are you happy?" the answer is usually a resounding "no" and then they go into a rant about their current circumstance.
Well this post is not going to be some universal, woo woo lesson on bliss. Nor is it a dogmatic writing on salvation. Anyone can take a course on the teachings of Joseph Campbell, The Dalai Lama or Jesus Christ and there are approximately 84,000 churches in the USA that you can visit to feel comfort and direction. I'm talking about [not only feeling BUT] being happy. My weekend began happy and is in progress of perpetual happiness.
First, I was invited to an exclusive wine tasting hosted by bottlesnotes which is an Online Wine Community. I attended alone - by choice - so sans peer pressure. The location was the Petersen Auto Museum in Los Angeles. There I was in the company of fellow wine enthusiasts from all over Southern California. It was one of the most selfish things that I have done in a long while and it felt just right. The event was called Around the World in 80 Sips - a spin on the classic French novel published in 1873, that was turned into a movie first in 1953 by United Artists and re-imagined by the Disney Movies in 2004.
(Image courtesy of www.bottlenotes.com)
There I sipped a variety of delicious wines, ate tasty finger foods and laughed and raised a glass with strangers. No one knew me and I knew no one. An empty canvas that we all painted together. You might think "Of course everyone was friendly you were drinking alcohol and getting buzzed." Well not really. We all started out friendly waiting in the museum lobby anxiously looking forward to the event. And when you attend a tasting you drink swirl and spit or pour out, you're tasting not consuming. Anyway why would we all be in a good mood? You see the profits from the tickets sold benefit the non-profit organization St. Vincent's Meals on Wheels.
Here is a photo of me and my event friend Jane La Trace. A extremely friendly real estate agent whose boyfriend Michael was the DJ spinning music all night - a lawyer by day - mix master by night.
After meeting and cheesing it up with Janet, I walked over to the Heritage Link Brands table displaying South African wine brands like: House of Mandela and Seven Sisters which was the star of the display. Seven Sisters was created by the Brutus Family who has seven daughters and one son. The family escaped the oppression of apartheid law returning twenty years later to South Africa to create fine wines. Each varietal is named after each of the seven daughters. The seven sisters are: Carol, June, Dawn, Twena, Odelia, Yolanda, and Vivian. The showcased red varietal was "Dawn" a Pinotage Shiraz [a grape variety created in South Africa in 1925] and I tell you that Dawn was delicious. Imagine tasting a full bodied [meaning richness in aroma and flavor] peppery, smoky red wine dry with hints of plum and blackberry. Seven Sisters is produced by African Roots Wines based in Tygervalley South Africa.
[Pro Black warning here.] In an industry that advertises Caucasian families both in the US and Europe as the only people who have knowledge about and access to wines and spirits, it was wonderful to see black sommelieres at the event talking about a black owned and operated brand. My ignorance made me happy because I learned something new. Nothing is more stimulating and powerful than incoming information of any kind. After the event I conducted more research about Heritage Link Brands. Lovely, lovely, lovely to see a young black smart and beautiful couple that happen to be a CEO and CFO of the company. After decades of only being exposed to white experts in the wine industry. I thought people of color were not permitted to the information or that culturally we had no interest or business in this area. I AM certain that this information is as pleasant to you to read as it was for me to research and report. Click on the highlighted links to read much more on your own.
Second, Am I Happy? Yes... I was happy to be in my own company attending the event. I was happy to have been invited to the event. I was happy to find a great street parking, avoiding lines in the parking garage. I was happy to shake hands and raise a glass with new people with smiling faces. I was happy to drink endless bottles of wine. I was happy to receive a commemorative wine glass [photo third in from the left below]. I AM happy to have an interest in wine. I AM happy to share this information with YOU. Most of all I AM happy to know that happiness is a choice, every day, regardless of ones circumstances. Bobby McFerrin was not a lunatic to write his most famous song. Joseph Campbell was on to something when he merely suggested we follow our bliss, The Dalai Lama smiles from deep inside for a reason and Jesus Christ [even on the cross] thought all was and would be well. They each made a choice to be happy.
[Side note & possible woo woo alert:] I AM are supposedly the first words spoken by God. I AM THAT I AM. Very powerful words to speak out loud. You see whatever words follow I AM is an action put into the atmosphere that comes into being. The proverbial wheels are set into motion. I encourage you to just try it. I AM...
(Images courtesy of www.bottlenotes.com)
Finally, I AM happy to report there will be much more later.