lessons on flow from the bourbon trail

Note to Readers:

Hey readers! Thank you for continuing to support Maja Cooks! Just wanted to give you a head’s up: This post is going to be a little different than most. For one, it’s not about food. Gasp. 

I’m going to continue, of course, to write about food on a weekly basis. However, I’ve realized lately that there is another important component to health that I haven’t been addressing here, although I’ve been very focused on it in my personal life: Mental health. So many of our bad habits, when it comes to food and attempts at healthy living, are rooted in unhealthy mental habits. Often, our reckless or self-destructive choices are just a reflection of our unsettled states of mind. Beyond that though, operating from a place of self-love, acceptance, and joy allows us to create a life that we actually want to live — which is why I’ve made it priority #1 to learn more about how to get in tune with myself and live a life I love (this blog is obviously part of that).

In the last year and a half, I’ve been on a journey towards a more intentional, less anxious, generally happier mental state, and I’m proud to say that the girl I am today is so much more in tune with herself than the girl I was a year and a half ago. She’s happier, more sure of herself, and thereby better able to serve and support others. It’s a wonderful thing, and something I’d like to begin to share.

All that said: Let me know what you think! I’d love to hear your thoughts and insights on whether these types of posts are helpful to you. My heart wants to share them, so I will share them with you and hope that they prove themselves useful. Let me know. ❤

lessons on flow from the bourbon trail

Good people should be celebrated.

This is why, for my boyfriend’s 27th birthday this weekend, I decided to surprise him with a bourbon tasting and dinner party with friends, and then a weekend on the Bourbon Trail.

For a bit of background, Alex has loved bourbon for several years, but in the last two years, this love has grown into a full-blown lifestyle. Everywhere we go, we hunt for rare bourbons. We have a piece of furniture dedicated to housing the bourbon. When we got it a few months ago, he doubted that it would ever be full.

(It’s full.)

Although I think sometimes he thinks I just support the bourbon stuff because I love him, I think it’s more than that. I support him because he’s passionate about it, and I really believe that everyone, especially good, hard-working, loving, caring people, should feel free to pursue their passions whole-heartedly. We need more people in this world who love what they do, who explore the world through a unique lens and uncover its greatest treasures.

Plus, it’s such an exciting adventure to be a part of. Everywhere we go, we’re on the hunt. My eyes are now trained to holler anytime I see the words “liquors” on a store sign. Him loving bourbon has helped us discover new parts of towns we visit, and meet cool local people who can give us recommendations for where to eat and stay. It may be a new level of dweeby, but it’s very us, and I love it.

cacti and flow

Often, our bourbon stops will also present opportunities for me to pursue my passions — food, of course, and plants. For example: I’ve been hunting for giant cacti for our apartment for months now. Months. They have so much character! They’re just brimming with coolness. I love them.

Well, on our way to Four Roses Distillery, we saw a sign that said, “Norma Collectibles and Cactus.”


“Yes, okay, we’ll go after the tour.”

God bless this man, who knows that the appropriate question at the cactus store is not, “Are you going to get one?” but “So which ones are we going to get?”

These cacti proved (again) the power of flow to me: Like I said, I’ve wanted large cacti for months, and I’ve had a few opportunities to buy them (for a significant amount of money). One thing I’m grateful that Alex has taught me is to be patient and let things flow when they’re meant to (rather than forcing things to come to me). I’ve always been quite trigger happy, so this has been an interesting challenge for me. He tends to use this flow-based approach for bourbon hunting: He doesn’t just snap up any rare bottles he finds — he keeps his feelers out for the right price and the right opportunity.

So, about the cacti, here’s the difference between my standard trigger-happy approach and a flow-based approach:

Normal Maja would think: Want large cactus. MUST FIND CACTUS. Must spend find way to force cactus into my life, no matter the cost. Ugh, it’s expensive. But MUST FIND CACTUS. Order now. 

Flowy Maja thinks: Want large cactus. Will start stopping into nurseries when I’m close to them. When a cactus comes along at a good price, I’ll get it. Until then, I’ll live without my cactus.

So of course, flow won. Not only did we find a beautiful, large cactus, we found two. And we got them for maybe a third of the price of what I’ve seen so far on cacti of this size. They’re beautiful. We packed them in the car the best we could, and hoped they’d survive the journey home.

particularly ghetto cactus transport
secured by a combination of marketing books, sports equipment, and headrests

the birthday bloom

And perhaps as a reward from the universe, this happened: This particular cactus only blooms for one night a year. Over the course of a few days, it sprouts these little buds. One night, like magic, the buds open to reveal beautiful, fragrant white flowers. When we bought the cactus, it had buds but they not had bloomed yet. Many of the buds shriveled up during transport, but one on the very bottom of the cactus remained healthy and green. We returned to Nashville in the evening, and went about unpacking and cuddling with Laszlo, who had been staying with one of his uncles all weekend.

finally home!


patient little nephew

At about 11pm, with less than an hour of birthday left, our little bud bloomed. It was magical. It was one of those incredibly humbling, God-given moments that could never be recreated by force, or money, or will. I, of course, teared up at the beauty of it all. This flower could have bloomed on any night, and it chose that night. What a perfect gift from the universe to conclude an equally perfect weekend. ❤

blurry, dark photo, courtesy of childlike wonder and excitement

coming soon! tips for healthy road trips, and highlights from the bourbon trail

I’ll share more on our experiences from the Bourbon Trail (including healthy road trip tips) in my next post — but for now, I wanted to share the happiness lesson I learned: Pursue your passions with an open heart and mind, and encourage others to do the same. Good things will happen.

2 thoughts on “lessons on flow from the bourbon trail

  1. Sounds like a great trip. Lucky boyfriend! Love the photo of the 2 silos with the text about cacti. Love the concepts you present about the way you are choosing to live, embracing your passions and sharing your experiences, going with the flow and trusting that good things will come. Those who read your blog know how generous you are with recipes, advice, friendship and inspiration. How could the universe not reward you with at least one or two cacti?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Mia,

      Thank you for your kind words! I’m glad to hear that you enjoyed this type of post. I’m looking forward to writing more like this. Pleased to report that the cacti are adjusting to their new home nicely. 🙂

      Thanks for reading,


      Liked by 1 person

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