Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Hot Chocolate for the Soul

Last Saturday Troubadour and I and our friend Rick headed to Portland after our morning coffee with the bike night crowd. We stopped for dim sum for lunch and then proceeded to multiple motorcycle shops. Sorry no gratuitous pics of the dim sum, although I can say .... dim sum for three in Portland was more expensive than dim sum for five in Seattle. Me thinks they may have forgotten to write down a few of our items in Seattle.

We went to several motorcycle shops and sat on many bikes. Troubadour sat on some Suzuki V-Stroms, Kawasaki Concourses, Triumph Tigers and several others. I sat on the Suzuki TU 250, the Suzuki Gladius and a few BMW F650s and GS650s. We finally came to the conclusion that the best bike for my needs right now would be the Suzuki TU 250. They have quite a following on the internet and seem to be a great all around bike. And in comparison does not feel much different from the Bonneville SE. The Ninja has been listed for sale both in Cycle Trader and on Craigslist. As soon as it sells we'll be buying the TU 250.

Over the years we have realized that with motorcycles as with life, we do not need the biggest or the baddest, the most expensive, or even the newest. We love our small 1970's two-bedroom 912 square foot house, our car that is a few years old, etc. Troubadour came across the following story or essay, if you will, and I though it fitting for our life's philosophy. I am sure you have probably seen it before - with religion and without. I prefer the non religious version as I am non-believer and freethinker.

Hot Chocolate for the Soul

"A group of graduates, well established in their careers, were talking at a reunion and decided to go visit their old university professor, now retired. During their visit, the conversation turned to complaints about stress in their work and lives. Offering his guests hot chocolate, the professor went into the kitchen and returned with a large pot of hot chocolate and an assortment of cups - porcelain, glass, crystal, some plain looking, some expensive, some exquisite - telling them to help themselves to the hot chocolate.

When they all had a cup of hot chocolate in hand, the professor said: "Notice that all the nice looking; expensive cups were taken, leaving behind the plain and cheap ones. While it is normal for you to want only the best for yourselves, that is the source of your problems and stress. The cup that you're drinking from adds nothing to the quality of the hot chocolate. In most cases it is just more expensive and in some cases even hides what we drink. What all of you really wanted was hot chocolate, not the cup; but you consciously went for the best cups... And then you began eyeing each other's cups.

Now consider this: Life is the hot chocolate; your job, money and position in society are the cups. They are just tools to hold and contain life. The cup you have does not define, nor change the quality of life you have. Sometimes, by concentrating only on the cup, we fail to enjoy the hot chocolate. The happiest people don't have the best of everything. They just make the best of everything that they have. Live simply. Love generously. Care deeply. Speak kindly. And enjoy your hot chocolate."

Enjoy life and all it brings.

-Au Revoir

"Frugality is one of the most beautiful and joyful words in the English language, and yet one that we are culturally cut off from understanding and enjoying. The consumption society has made us feel that happiness lies in having things, and has failed to teach us the happiness of not having things." ~ Elise Boulding


  1. Trobairitz:

    mmmmmm, dim sum and hot chocolate with marshmallows, mmmmmm . Seattle was very inexpensive, maybe they did make a mistake on our bill but I don't think so. Portland was just a little too far for us, but Seattle is doable. We are waiting for you (three) to come up here for dim sum, we have lots of places up here. Richmond is probably the HK of Canada, nothing but Asian malls and restaurants.
    As for the cup, I prefer plain glass mugs, nothing porcelain or ornate, so where do I fit on the sliding scale of needs and wants ?

    If Brad is looking . . . go for the V-Strom

    bobskoot: wet coast scootin

  2. A simple life is most often a happy life. After college I volunteered with AmeriCorps for two years. I made about 280 dollars a month which included room and board. No car, no money, no fancy radio or cool shoes but I was purely content....Keep is being happy and I hope that cycle sells soon!

  3. A wonderful and insightful parable from the wise professor. Thanks for sharing that as it is a very good reminder about what is important.

    I prefer simple mugs with handles that allow one to place all fingers within. Also a mug that I don't feel bad about breaking.

  4. Love the Hot Chocolate quote. Seattle was fun. Look forward to going back or even further. Perhaps a ride to Vancouver next summer.