In the Aramaic language it means: “to create as I say”. That has pretty big implications in terms of the mind-body link, because what we perceive is all created in the mind, right? Also noteworthy is that Jesus spoke Aramaic during his time. I can bet you he walked around brandishing a Harry Potter-esque wand shouting “abracadabra!” Or maybe something a little more classy.

This is a real book, apparently.

I learned that fun little fact during my crazy day yesterday.

第三天:To start my day off, I got to sit in a short meeting with Susan and her friend Anna, an ex-samba dancer who wants to fully dedicate herself to building up a non-profit dance exchange program in Panama. Anna needed some insight on the world of marketing and websites, both of which I am completely new to.

Susan seriously knows her stuff. The biggest point Susan drove home was commitment. Basically, you can’t toy around with too many ideas and logos for too long. What you end up with is a confusing, unfocused message. The lack of belief in your own design can (incorrectly) imply a lack of belief in your own work.  You have to commit to the image you want to present, and once you commit, you can build on your foundation and develop a great looking marketing campaign. Pretty simple.

There’s also a commitment to your story. When you’re putting yourself out there, you need to be able to explain concisely what drew you to your work and why you think the person should be interested. You also want to genuinely convey your passion for your experiences in under half a minute. Without commitment, you’re going to end up rambling for a good five minutes until you realize you still haven’t actually made a point and you’ve got your listener thinking about the next Kung Fu Panda movie (HEY guess what I’m looking forward to – no shame).

For lunch, Susan drove me to her friend Jenny’s apartment in Berkeley. Jenny is a Blue Bottle Coffee employee by day and a seriously talented artist by night (and day). While eating some oragnic Mac ‘N Cheese and delicious fresh vegetables (which they showed me how to cook – I wasn’t kidding when I said I was hopeless at cooking), I listened to Susan, Jenny, her roommate’s son Walter and his friend brainstorm ideas for a mini telenovela series on Sôcôla’s saucy seasonal flavor: Sriracha Flying Rooster. I won’t give anything away, but expect an enticing love story that’ll spice up your life in the next couple of months.

I’m not known for being quick-witted or for being able to pump out delicious puns on the spot. I’m more of your sit-for-a-while-and-let-things-stew kind of girl. So watching them let their creativity run loose was really energizing, not to mention hilarious.

The creative process in the neurological realm is extremely hard to define (if you’re wondering why the neurological tangent, click here). Shelley Carson likes to break it down into seven different aspects with its own neurological pathway: Connect, Reason, Envision, Absorb, Transform, Evaluate, and Stream. What the brainstorm team was doing largely falls under the Connect brainset. You could define this as thinking divergently rather than convergently.  Basically, your “brain censor” turns off and allows your brain to make unusual, PUNNY associations.

What does this look like?

Copyright 2010 Shelley Carson at Harvard U.

  1. There’s deactivation in your left prefrontal cortex (narrow thinking, also related to inhibition of the right hemisphere) and activation of your right PFC (broad thinking)
  2. Activation of association centers in the left hemisphere’s parietal and temporal lobes

My biggest issue is that my self-consciousness/fear of judgement (amygdala and left PFC activation) inhibits my creative process. When they say let go, they mean let go.

Ok, enough neuroscience. ONE LAST THING: Jenny did make a fascinating comment that made me really excited about my potential research. She told me she’s been feeling “in a funk” the past week and she seriously thinks it has to do with her lack of yoga. She practices regularly but hasn’t gone to a class for a few weeks. Since then she hasn’t been inspired for any of her creative projects. Maybe there is something related to opening the mind and deactivating the judgmental pathways in the brain during yoga and creativity…to be further investigated.

After three hours of observation of the creative process, Susan let me be her sidekick for a port and chocolate taste-pairing meeting downtown. My friends and I are huge wine and cheese fans, but never before have I seriously accosted port. And now I’m hooked. The complexity and depth of ports brings out the flavors of truffles much more intensely than red wine. Something about the heaviness of the dessert wine settling on your palette warmly invites the luxurious dark chocolate and its respective ganache.

My top two faves: 1) a woody, Warre’s Otima port paired with the Jasmine Tea Truffle (I had a ridiculous reaction after trying that one) and 2) a heavier, fruitier vintage port paired with the Sriracha Chili Truffle. I am so pumped for when I get to serve at the tasting event next month. Champagne, organic cheeses, and irresitible slow-drip coffee will also be part of the parade. Surprisingly, they don’t hold a lot of port-chocolate tastings in SF, and they really, really should. To our dear friend red wine: please step aside.

To finish up the day (and this extremely long post – I do apologize), I joined Susan for her weekly hour meditation at the Spiritual Learning Center. Now I’ve tried meditating on my own for ten minutes, and I get really antsy towards the end thanks to the Harvard complex that makes me feel like I always need to be doing something productive.

This time, there was a small tickle of boredom in the beginning, but by breathing and settling into the feeling of boredom it disappeared. I don’t really know how to describe the experience, as my thoughts were pretty random. Sometimes my mind was completely blank, and sometimes thoughts I had always brooded over came up. Random memories returned from freshman spring and my high school graduation. The weirdest moment was when I suddenly thought I was naked, and also when there was a reflection of someone’s face etched in bright red in front of my eyes. I will admit I freaked out a little.

Any revelations from the experience? Not particularly. But there shouldn’t have been or at least there doesn’t have to be. My hour of just “be-ing” rushed by faster than the ten minutes of meditation I’ve tried to do on my own. So that was pretty sweet.

So yesterday, during all the craziness, I got to explore the creation of self-promotion, ideas, tastes, and the mind. Abracadabra, baby.

Daily Nutrition Report:

I had port and chocolate for dinner. Enough said.

Lesson of the Day:

We all need to remind ourselves to notice the little things everyday. Notice the care and detail that goes into a logo, notice how your food mixes and explodes with flavors in your mouth, notice something awesome about someone, notice the fact that you’re walking, breathing, and living, damn it.



Filed under adventures, chocolate, creativity, marketing, neuroscience

3 responses to “ab.ra.ca.dab.ra


  2. ShelbyRaglan

    You need to get up to Canada for some port and cheese. we can have chocolate for dessert 🙂

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