A Product of ‘Emotion’

Happiness is a choice. I believe in that. I believe we can will ourselves into a positive space. I believe that our mood does not rule us or dictate our path at any moment in time. We are not a product of our emotions, our emotions are a product of us. I believe that we determine how we feel and that begins with a choice.

I also believe we can use an assist sometimes.

There’s a thousand ways to help yourself into a good space, to rule how you feel, when you are feeling stuck. You may exercise. You may write. You may meditate or do yoga or pray. You may run naked through a mall in a fireman’s helmet and argyle socks. Like I said, there’s a thousand ways to do it.

I go with smoothies and Barry Gibb.

(Bear with me)

I am not always a peach in the morning, I will be the first to admit. My parents, wife, kids, old roommates and anyone peddling religion before 10 would be a close second to admit. Nearing the completion of my fourth decade of being generally pissed when I wake up, I think I have finally found the remedy for my sourness. Though, I’m not ruling out a future trip to the mall in extreme circumstances.

I kind of stumbled onto this solution, then again stumbling is about all I do right when I wake up. Well, that, furrow my brow and swear a lot. The general routine goes something like this in the morning: My wife, being the lighter sleeper, wakes as soon as the kids do. She then dedicates a good chunk of time to getting me to join the party. Once I stir to vertical, I head to the kitchen to begin the daily preparation portion of our show, which will often include firing up the old Pandora for some background music. In an effort to please the masses, I don’t opt for the Tool station I might otherwise choose and find something a little more bipartisan.

I’m a uniter, I know.

So, one morning, with my first cup of coffee still steaming and my brow rigidly furrowed, it happened. With a quick but gentle drum intro and an almost Caribbean disco organ riff (did I just invent a genre?), a breathy woman’s voice oozes into the morning air.

“It’s over and done, but the heartache lives on inside”

Damn, that’s smooth. I remember this song. Who is this?

I make my way back into the kitchen to continue the routine and realize there’s a glide in my step. ‘ello?

“And where are you now, now that I need you”

Mmmm, buttery.

Now I’m standing at the fridge gathering ingredients for a new breakfast choice in our house that plays along with our perpetual attempts to make better food choices.

“Tears on my pillow wherever you go-oh”

Apples, spinach, ginger, coconut water….is my ass moving?

“I’ll cry me a river that leads to your ocean”

With a couple deft whacks of the knife that strangely is hitting the cutting board in rhythm, everything goes into the blender.

“You’ll never see me fall apart”

I hesitate to hit ‘liquefy’. Still can’t place the song, but notice that my brow is peaceful and I am unabashedly swaying.

“In the words of a broken heart, it’s just emotion taking me over”

Barry Gibb, you sonofabitch!

My morning duties were then officially delayed for the next two minutes and thirty eight seconds. The admittedly natural feather in my morning hair bounced right along with me.

I was owning it in the kitchen.

As Samantha Sang, Barry and the boys faded out the blender fired up, bestowing a beautifully speckled green beverage. I took a sip to test my concoction and knew that mornings were to be forever transformed. Like the haunting Seventies cheese that filled our house and moved me to groove only moments before, the smoothie was velvet. Earthy, but sweet. With just the right understated kick.

I drank about half of my breakfast and relived the chorus at the top of my lungs walking back to see if I could iron something for my wife. I checked the clock. 7:15. I felt great.

7:15 and I was dancing.


Happiness is a choice. But sometimes we need help making that choice. Sometimes we can make little choices that can start us down the right path, like what we choose to eat or bathe our senses in. I hadn’t, to that point, figured out how to choose to be happy as I approached a new day, even when that day is destined to be filled with joy and laughter. I needed help and managed to find it, strangely enough, in a green smoothie and Barry Gibb. Don’t judge.

Here’s the recipe for the velvety smoothie, henceforth called The Green Barry, and here’s Barry laying down the velvety assist to Samantha Sang. Sit still. I dare you.


About Mitchell Brown

I am a stay at home dad with my two daughters who are a lot stronger than they look. When I'm not cooking, cleaning, dancing, reading, teaching, playing or protecting my eyes and groin, I am writing about this whole experience in all of its ridiculousness.
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22 Responses to A Product of ‘Emotion’

  1. mudly says:

    MITCHELL!!! My ass is swaying right now. And I’m drooling over that smoothie, I plan to dream about it tonight. I’m going to wake up excited as a little kid at Christmas, ready to hit play and blend… In that order.

    I’m ridiculously excited to hear that you now know the pleasures of dancing before 7 am. I have done this many times… both pre-sleep and post-sleep 🙂

    • Get down, get down. I hope the smoothie treats you right, but how could anything be wrong with such sultry sounds.

      Thanks, Mud. Yeah, the post-sleep one is kinda new to me – but I (and those around me) sure enjoy it.

  2. Adam says:

    “music is everything”…
    I can’t tell you just how much this resonates with me right now in my life…Music seems to be a large part of how I both connect and escape to just about everything..

  3. David says:

    Thanks Mitchell. I will try to remember that with my furrowed brow each morning. Every little bit helps, not only for me, but more for those around me in the morning, and you know who She is. Peace, Love and Happiness to you and yours.

  4. Seattledad says:

    Great post. I need to try that Saturday morning. Might put me in a better mood than listening to stories about Shifts in political power on NPR.

    • Thank you, sir.

      I have found a direct correlation between how in tune with current events I am and how free and easy I feel over the course of the day. It’s a tough balancing act because I don’t want to just check out but I find myself getting so frustrated with it all when I pay close attention. Especially now with two little girls, I fear for what their world will look like. Hell, I fear for what this one looks like now.

      Maybe I’ll just stick with Barry Gibb and Wait, Wait Don’t Tell Me. Seems easier.

  5. Jared Karol says:

    Good stuff, Mitch. I think Holly’s right – you gotta get that recipe book going. Include the stories (if not the full blog posts) behind them, People will dig it.

  6. Maggie Batt says:

    I love using music to shift a mood. Lately we’ve been listening to the O’ Brother Where Art Thou soundtrack. Heavenly spirituals, blues and country jams. In my Kinder curriculum I mention having “Happy Hour” around dinner making time with lively dancing. This is the time of day I’m most low on energy and music lifts us right up. But heck, why not for breakfast too? Thanks for the lovely read and for a moment I thought the Barry Gibb pic was you in your youth….LOL!

  7. Laurel says:

    Oh! I am SO pullin the OBWAThou cd out today!
    It was my am cd for a year straight!

    Thanks for the smile today friend!

  8. Meka says:

    So glad you dicovered the tunes to get you tuned in!! I can’t start the day without them!!! I’m just a bit curious what you plugged into Pandora to get Barry Gibb to come up in the mix! He sure hasn’t surfaced in mine yet…..note to self….must investigate my pandora settings! As for the smoothie… I am right there with you. We have all been starting our days with spinach smoothies and now I’m like a junkie who can’t start my day without my fix.

    Thanks for the smiles!

  9. Robyn says:

    Haha, this post is AWESOME! I totally agree with you, and I should share this post with my husband – Happiness is indeed a choice! 🙂

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