As a child I "gave up chocolate" for the time leading up to Easter. It was difficult and not very successful. My heart simply wasn't in it and my motivation was low. This year I decided to eat chocolate cake for lent. Mindfully. With great awareness of it's sensual pleasure and history as an aphrodisiac. To paraphrase Virginia Madsen in the movie "Sideways": With each slowly consumed morsel I like to think about the life of chocolate. I like to think about what was going on when the beans were growing., how the sun was shining if it rained. All the people who tended and picked the cacao, and the sugar cane and if it's older chocolate, how many people might be dead by now. I like to think about how chocolate production has evolved and how the flavor changes with temperature and manipulation. Sometimes I cut a slice of chilled cake and leave it on my desk and eat it throughout the day noticing the changes as it warms to room temperature. It appears to be alive and constantly evolving, gaining complexity.It peaks with the first bite so by savoring, and spreading out consumption of that one piece I feel like each bite is the first. Until I reach the inevitable last crumb. I try to vary my selections and the sources, thinking about the bakers and service people who make my experience possible. And the countries who build their economic structure on the ingredients. I try to buy fair trade, organic and wonder about the cows and chickens who contributed to the product. Were they treated humanely, with dignity? When possible, I walk to the "bakery of the day" so the purchase becomes a pilgrimage for me, too. Silly perhaps, but much better than the fasting and self-flagellation of my previous years.