BY MARY-ELIZABETH HARMON
Founding Mother, Chard & Stripes
I was working at Trader Joe’s when a customer approached me, seeming unsure:
“Um…uh…do you guys sell that mix of onions and carrots and…”
I knew she meant mirepoix before she said celery.
“Do you mean meer pwah?” I asked, already sure that’s what she wanted.
“Oh!” she said looking pleased, “Is that how you say it?”
I pointed it out and thought, “That must be nice,” as she walked away, mirepoix in hand:
At $2.99 for a tub that would make about two pots of soup (the way I cook), mirepoix was pricey ‘cause I could make gallons of soup with three dollars’ worth of onions, carrots, and celery I chopped for myself.
Mirepoix was a luxury for folks with means, which didn’t describe me, or so I told myself.
Prosperity—like poverty—is a state of mind, not bank account.
Though I could have bought mirepoix when I wanted, I had the mindset it wasn’t for me.
Fast forward about two years from my mirepoix encounter.
I was a caregiver for my father and had what I call “medical-grade” exhaustion. Something needed to give, but I wasn’t sure what to let drop…until I had a change of mind in Giant supermarket.
I caught a glimpse of mirepoix and jumped straight to my story:
Mirepoix is for folks with money, I thought.
Had I not been so worn out, I would have left the stuff on the shelf.
Instead, I had another thought: F-it, I’m not killing myself to make soup.
Plop! Mirepoix went in my cart, and I haven’t hesitated about getting it since when I want.
In no time, …
I achieved mirepoix prosperity by “doing” a new story: I changed my mind and bought some.
Mirepoix went from a luxury to a necessity for my sanity.
But why is that what it took for me to buy it, especially when I had plenty of my parents’ money?
Wanting mirepoix and being worth it were reason enough for me to have it. And once I became mirepoix prosperous, I questioned other things that I said were beyond my means.
Prosperity grows from a decision to do something different, whether conditions are “right” or not.
I used to dream about having a personal chef waaay in the future when I was rich.
In other words, I was waiting for the “right” condition of financial wealth to put a plan into motion.
But if I could have mirepoix just by deciding so, why not decide to have a personal chef much earlier than I’d imagined when I was poor of mind?
And why not give the idea some thought even though I had a sorry-looking bank balance?
There was no reason and I started thinking.
And by giving myself space to think—from my newly prosperous stance—I got clear on what I wanted:
I didn’t want a personal chef. I wanted healthy meals and liberation from the kitchen. And that was something I could work toward right away by buying spring mix and other “luxuries” that reduced my cooking time.
For you, chopped onions, carrots, and celery may have never seemed like a luxury, but what’s something—within your reach—that you’re not letting yourself have?
And what’s a dream you can decide to achieve sooner rather than later?
Dr. Mary-Elizabeth Harmon is a scientist turned storyteller and Founding Mother of Chard & Stripes, a “school” of prosperity making and word-of-mouth marketing platform for businesses in food, fashion and more. Subscribe to her weekly newsletter here.