Mr Moo, my dog, gets very excited when I start rummaging around in the pantry or the fridge.  He sees me lifting things up, checking the use by date, and it either gets put back or goes in the pile – his pile. It’s written all over his face and I can well imagine what he is thinking: “Oh yeah, I’m in for a treat tomorrow!”

I’m a bit fussy when it comes to use by or best before dates. Even though the logical side of my brain tells me quite loudly that manufacturers put in a buffer and one simply wouldn’t get food poisoning after consuming it a few days past the date. I’m also a plain eater. It’s rare for me to have sauces etc plastered over my food.

So it was with some surprise last night that I cooked my dinner and had a strong yearning for tomato sauce. Out came the bottle and I happily started spraying the stuff all over my food.  I ended up having some dinner with my tomato sauce; not some tomato sauce with my dinner!  And it was delicious!

After finishing my meal, I sat there thinking how nice it was and I should have tomato sauce more often! The bottle is sitting right in front of me, so I pick it up, flick it over and suddenly the best before date jumped right off the bottle.  Oh no. 11th January 2009.  I’m thinking, “This must be some kind of mistake!”  All that tomato sauce has gone to my head and I’m on a high… I’m hallucinating!

But nope. My tomato sauce was almost 3 years past its best before date! Yikes! How did that get past my inspections?  My inspections I have been carrying out since… well, forever. I’ve missed this bottle for 3 years?!  How can that be?

Before I knew it, I felt sick. Never mind that 5 seconds ago I was thinking it was the best darn meal I’d had all week.  Never mind that when I was eating I was thinking it was the best darn tomato sauce I’d ever had. No. Forget all that. I’ve just eaten 3 year old tomato sauce for crying out loud!!!

I rush to the bin to destroy the evidence; throwing the bottle away will hopefully make me feel better. I hurriedly put the dishes in the dishwasher so I don’t have to look at the red stuff that is left on my plate. None of this works. My dinner feels heavy in my tummy and I can taste the awful sauce (yes, I know, it was beautiful not long ago).  So I scoff down some liquorice to get rid of the taste.  That worked.

I sit down and am sure my stomach is going to rebel any time soon! Then I couldn’t help but laugh. What a lot of nonsense! The tomato sauce didn’t taste any different – in fact, it was normal.  It tasted wonderful.  So the slight sick feeling in my tummy and the bad taste in my mouth was all mind over matter!  So I just imagined in my mind that the bottle really said 2012 not 2009. And voila! I felt fine.

So I started thinking about that bottle. Why had I missed it all this time?  And why did the date reveal itself to me that day?

Maybe my spirit guides kept me from discovering the bottle and waited for a time when they knew I would benefit from my experience and the lesson it provided.  After some reflections, I realised that I am procrastinating with something in my life and, after thinking about the tomato sauce, I came to a decision that it was a ‘mind over matter’ thing and I just need to get on with it!!!

Maybe my spirit guides nudged me into having the tomato sauce so I could also share my experience and thoughts with others because someone, somewhere, would relate to the lesson and get value from it at a time when they needed it.

The tomato sauce gave me a valuable reminder that life can be a bit like my experience with that sauce – where I felt mildly ill when, in fact, I was fine. Sometimes we have feelings or thoughts that are, quite simply, mind over matter.  Our brain is so powerful and if we allow it, it can give us an illusion or perception of things that aren’t necessarily true.

This is when it can be valuable to put on the brakes and ask:

  • “Is this a mind over matter moment?”
  • “What is real and what is perceived?”
  • “What would happen if I totally flipped my thought or feeling of _________ and took it in the opposite direction?”
  • “How do I now feel?”

Even the simplest and seemingly unrelated events that happen in our life are presented to us for a reason and a lesson to learn.

I’m grateful to my tomato sauce 🙂