If You Love Pizza, Give it Away.

“For it is in giving that we receive” -Francis of Assisi

Do you want the last slice of pizza? I know I do, I also want the first one, second one, the crispy corner one and the cheesy middle one.  What are the chances I’m getting the slice I want in a room full of equally crazed pizza-loving friends?

I’m proud to say the odds are pretty good these days (we even shared with a FedEx guy last weekend!).  This behavior was not always the case.

Wrestling to get a slice.

I remember back to slumber parties I would attend while growing up and how filling my pizza appetite felt so difficult. The chance of getting the last slice seemed nearly impossible, even getting a fulfilling amount was a challenge.  Picture a rabid pack of sweaty 13 year-olds lunging on a pizza, snarling and devouring it’s entirety like a pack of starved wolves.

It felt like the goal was to shovel down each slice as fast as possible in hopes of getting another.  This struggle to adequately meet my pizza needs haunted me through daycare, middle school sleepovers, even into college parties.  After awhile I was conditioned to grapple for whatever pizza I could get my hands on.  Eventually I started acting selfishly and feeling bitter when I didn’t get my way.  I had developed a sense of pizza entitlement.

The pizza universe shines down.

As I got older, I started reading more and became intrigued by ideas commonly presented in eastern philosophy like mindfulness and karma. I’ve always been intrigued by karma; the idea that you get what you give or you reap what you sow.  That idea always seemed so simple and practical; live and treat others well and things work out well.

I realized I had to start sharing my pizza, and start exchanging some good karma with the universe. Learning to give was a challenge at first, as I fought the selfishness I had developed.  I had to figure out how to be content with my conditions and to empathize with others.  I had to get back to the basics of what makes pizza fun; enjoying it with someone else.

Give it away and enjoy the party.

The true greatness of pizza is it’s ability to connect us with other people.  Pizza is delicious and fun to eat, but it’s all about the time we spend together.  When I share my favorite pizza with others and get to see them light up the same way I do, a new level of happiness emerges.

Sometimes after I’ve shared a slice, I’ll receive one back when I want it even more.  Though I’d like to think it’s karma, I always try to remind myself there is no keeping score and I should expect nothing in return.  Giving is all about helping another person and the reward is knowing you brought them satisfaction.

What pizza taught me:

When giving to someone the highlight is knowing you contributed to their happiness. Pizza is delicious and versatile, but more importantly social and fun. Sharing it is the best part.

Learning to let go of the things we desire most in life is tough, but worthwhile. If you want to enjoy the best pizza, let your last slice go to someone you love and the law of karma will bring that slice full circle.  It’s the circle of pizza.

  • What I’m eating: Rosa’s Pizza, Whitewater WI, sausage and pepperoni.
  • What I’m reading: “The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success”-Deepak Chopra
  • What I’m listening to: Do Make Say Think “Horripilation”

 

Photo credit: Sarah Kroll

One Pizza the Wiser.

“I am not what happened to me, I am what I choose to become.” -Carl Gustav Jung

homemadebbqchickenI’ve always lived by a simple mantra “work hard, eat pizza hard”.  I go strong all week; work hard, avoid temptations, exercise and abide by a strict diet.  My finish line is Friday, and oh boy do I finish lavishly. I’m a firm believer in having a cheat day and mine happens to be Friday, which of course is also pizza day. As much as I love pizza, you could probably imagine that there is a lot of excitement and anticipation built up into this day.

So, I get home Friday night, the perfect pizza I’ve dreamed of all week in my hands.  I open the box, peer inside and to my horror the pizza sucks!  Imperfections scream back in my face.  A big, charred crater from a collapsed pizza bubble wreaks havoc over a third of the pie.  There’s at least one topping unaccounted for and where’s all the cheese?

Cue mental meltdown.

We’ve all been there; the pizza is burned or underdone, lacking cheese, deformed, delivered an hour late or cold. So, what happens when I wait all week, come home and the pizza is bogus?

Though I feel like crying, I attempt to focus all my energy towards a big deep breath and a smile.  It’s hard and a constant practice, but I try to take a bad outcome and creatively reconfigure it into something positive.  This time with the help of my wonderful wife Tess, the result was a delicious homemade BBQ chicken pizza.  Mmm, mmm, mmm.

Stumble, laugh, figure it out.

I try to salvage what I can or just move on.  I’ll make a frozen pizza or tear the kitchen apart and make my own pizza (Tess really does not prefer the latter if I’m on my own).  I feel just by taking charge and moving forward I can bring myself more joy than the original outcome could have.

I try to figure out what I can learn from the experience to improve for next time. Maybe, now I know not to order from a certain pizza place, or not to order a particular item, or not to order at such a busy time. I’m going to learn, get back up and continue on; one pizza the wiser.

It’s all about how you come back. 

Resilience makes all the difference, whether life dealt you a bad hand or you burned your frozen pizza, how you react and move forward is everything.   Our ability to turn rejections around can help us excel, pizza misfortunes can show us the way. If the pizza you looked forward to all week sucks; make your own pizza.

Everyday I pride myself not on the outcomes of situations, but on my response to situations. It’s not easy, but when I try to remind myself I have mental control, I feel I come out on top.  This allows me not to get swept up in a heated moment and move on.

What pizza taught me:

With a positive view and reaction to failure, we can grow and find even more happiness in life. If we embrace rejection and learn from it, we gain new insight and have a better ability to adapt to life’s obstacles.

  • What I’m eating: Homemade BBQ Chicken Pizza: Sweet Baby Rays, leftover grilled chicken breast, mozzarella, cheddar, red onion and cilantro.
  • What I’m reading: “Good to Great”-Jim Collins