A Trip To The Deli


True Facts Are The best

A true fact (as if there could be any other kind of fact) a trip to the deli is a wonderful experience. The warm homey aroma of wonderful home cooked food, the cases filled with luscious desserts, the seemingly endless list of sandwich variations, the pickles sitting all sliced up and ready to be put on the tables for appetizers for hungry guests.


Hooray For The Deli

All part and parcel of the deli experience. If you like tuna, this is the best ever, If you like sliced cold cuts piled high to the ceiling on fresh rye with a dollop of mayo or deli mustard as a garnish, on toast if you like. Or maybe just a bagel with a schmear of cream cheese or some latkes. Virtually endless amounts of tasty treats to delight the eye, the nose and the palate.

One of those experiences not to be missed if you can help it. A truly miniature version of heaven right here on earth.

So let’s consider a trip to the deli for a minute here and see if we can figure out what the fabulous attraction is. Just what it is exactly that makes it so going to the deli is almost a spiritual experience.

Could it be the friendly service, nice people working there who always have smiles on their faces and are ready to bring you the deli creation of your dreams.


Could it be the other patrons of the restaurant, happily crunching their dill pickles and wolfing down superhuman servings of sliced deli meats and cheeses?

Could be.

Could it be that the main attraction is the beautiful display of desserts waiting to tempt you when you walk into the front door, beckoning to your with their chocolate eyes for you to choose them for your meal or carryout.

A definite possibility.

All nice things; but still there is something that supersedes those wonders and makes a trip to the deli a wonderful adventure.



A Lot Of Choices

A veritable plethora of choices, actually. Maybe even 2 plethorai, there is so much choice.


Or Maybe Not So Many Choices

But what if it wasn’t that way at all, what if you took a trip to the deli, there was no choice at all.

Or worse yet, what if you went to the deli and the guy that was seating you at your table was polite, friendly, made sure the table was wiped off, and as you sat down at the table, instead of handing you a menu and taking your drink order, he looked at you and said,

Welcome to our deli, let me tell you what you will be eating tonight. Since you are seated at table 6, you will be having a grilled salami sandwich on a hard roll with mustard, mayo and catsup. With a side of garlic French fries and coleslaw. Please enjoy your meal.


Sounds kind of strange, doesn’t it?

What About The Truth

But the truth is, if you had grown up with the idea that when you go to the deli, that it was somebody’s job to tell you what you were going to have to eat, you wouldn’t think it was a strange thing at all. You would simply accept the fact that someone else was making choices for you as the way the world is in a normal sort of way. That would be the truth of how your life was supposed to work when you went to the deli.

And that would be all there was to it. That was how the world is, and there isn’t any other way or anything to say about that.  No choice for you, and that is the normal way to live.

But what if you lived in this world where other people told you what you were going to have to eat every time you went out and one day everything changed. A new deli opens up and when you go there expecting the maitre d’ to seat you and tell you what you are going to have for lunch and instead of doing that, he hands you a menu and asks you what it is that you want to have for your meal?

“Houston, we have a problem”


Waahhh !!

This is different, this is wrong; this is not the way life is supposed to be. I don’t care if this is something new and different and interesting and all kinds of other adjectives, I don’t want this new sort of complication in my life. I just want someone to tell me what to do. I don’t like this, and other assorted sorts of whining kinds of words and sounds.

It’s different and different usually means bad. You had your life all figured out, you knew when you went to the deli that somebody would pick something for you to eat, sometimes you liked it and sometimes not so much, but it was the job of someone else to choose for you and now, Holey Moley, buddy, this is not what I am used to doing with my life.

This choosing business feels weird and uncomfortable.

But then you think, we’ll since I am here already, I might as well play along and pick something to eat for myself, just this once, and you do.

And you like it. As a matter of fact, you like it a lot, the choice you’ve made. A pickle and Swiss cheese sandwich on a toasted whole wheat bagel with Russian dressing. Yummers, you think, this is a good choice I've made.

And right then and there, you discover how powerful the idea of choice is to bring you things you want in your life.

Yes, true enough, at first the idea that it is OK to choose something is a bit off-putting.

And yes, the secondary thought of “Man, I have no idea if I have the ability to make a good choice for myself” can rear its head up in a heartbeat.

And the third thought of “Oh Oh what if I chose wrong?” comes along and can play havoc with your life for a short while.

But truthfully, you find that you like choosing for yourself. And once you get used to this process, you get pretty good at it.  So you look around for a few more situations where you can exercise your new-found skill of choosing. And you fill your life with choice.


Then after a while you find yourself wondering how you could have ever lived your life any other way. And now you don’t have to.

You can have any kind of sandwich you want. Yum.

23 Comments on “A Trip To The Deli”

  1. Robin

    How true … and how quickly we forget that we ALWAYS have choices … no matter what is going on in our lives!!! Choices are gifts … take advantage! And, as you said, it’s okay if we make a wrong decision. BUT, is it really wrong if it leads us down a road to yet another choice that then puts us on the path we want to travel!

    1. Michael

      Hi Robin, thank you for coming by to comment today. :-) An excellent point about no wrong choices. All choices lead in the direction we are thinking about. And it sure feels better to not be wrong. :-)

  2. Patti

    Ahhh….but what if the choices you have made have not turned out the way you wanted them to? What if you choose wrong? What if the tuna you chose, over the turkey, made your stomach hurt. Can you then look at it as a positive thing? A stomach ache?
    Or in more appropriate terms…heartache?
    I like being able to choose BUT the fact that we have so little control over what happens in our lives, makes choices often wrong and wrong feels bad.
    Not to be completely negative here..
    I will say that even WRONG choices have some merit. They are teachers and they are opportunities for growth. They hurt. They cause confusion and they often times come at the worst possible times in our lives.
    BUT….if looked at in a more positive light…EVERY CHOICE WE MAKE is just another step on our journey, good or bad, right or wrong, helpful or not. Every choice is our way of becoming our authentic selves.

    1. Kostas

      Even if our choices turn to be wrong there is still something positive from it. After we see the coincidences of our wrong choice we take a lesson from it and the next time we make different choices. So no matter what, having the opportunity to make our own choices and not leave our life in the hands of others it has only positive effects in our life even if we make bad decisions in the beginning…
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    2. Michael

      Hi Patti,

      Thank you for coming by to comment today. :-) Our lives are built from the results of the choices we make, and out of all the time we spend making those choices, the only time that truly counts is right now. I have certainly made some choices in my life that had I known what I know now, I would have made differently. I kind of think that most people have some memories like that. But this is today, it is right now, it is the only moment I have any power in.

      If I spend my day trying to send my energy back to the past to try and redo something, I will have spent my today energy on something that cannot be changed anyway. If I spend my energy on the day in which I am living right this very minute, I can make choices in this instant that will change my life and my heart in this very moment. You have said it so well in your comment – every choice we make is another step on our journey, And when we view our power that way, from the thought that we are Powerful Creator Spirits, then we get to decide exactly how our journey is now, in the only time we have control over. Thank you again for your words today. :-)

  3. marquita herald

    Okay, now you’ve done it – all I can think of is a pastrami sandwich and we have no deli’s where I live! Ah choices, the truth is that we make dozens (if not hundreds) of choices every single day – and with decision and choice we are creating our future. Thanks for the inspiration!
    marquita herald recently posted..Do You Consider Yourself a Leader?My Profile

    1. Michael

      Hi Marty, Pastrami is da bomb. Especially on grilled rye. You are right, we do make many, many decisions during the course of a single day. And each one brings us a step into our future.

  4. Donna Merrill

    Michael, Although I am a vegetarian, I’m salivating for a pastrami on rye with a Kosher Pickle! Oh those deli days in New York…I can smell the aroma right now! Thanks for taking me on that trip.

    I love the analogy you have given here. We face choices all day long when you think about it. It is funny I read this today, because I had to make a business choice yesterday which I was confident about because I weighed my pros and cons and also gave it time to fester in my mind. It was a choice I wanted to make with mind body and spirit! But I couldn’t sleep. My subconscious was waking me up all night with the negative side of the choice. You know, all those what ifs’ …

    I woke this morning weighing that choice again and found I doubted myself from this crazy night. But when fully awake, I knew this choice can be a crap shoot. But I made it and I will carry on. Will I fail? Maybe, but who cares? Choice comes with responsibility. I am responsible for all my choices. If I do “fail” I will only be learning to do it another way!

    Thanks for this mind provoking message.
    Donna Merrill recently posted..LinkedIn – My Secret WeaponMy Profile

    1. Michael

      Donna, I live in California now, right close to Palm Springs, and there a couple of excellent delis here. You are right, our world is full of choices, and many of them we learn to make in a habitual way, and sometimes that helps us. but many times it does not, and those are the places where it is OK to form new habits about how we decide things. And if a decision brings us a result we don’t want, then it is perfectly acceptable to choose again.

      With no beating up of self. :-)

  5. Steve Vernon

    What a creatively written post, Michael. I thought I had a pretty good idea where you were going with it when I started reading the first couple of paragraphs, then WHAM! . . . you took me off in a totally different and very thought provoking direction.

    Too many people on our planet DO live in environments where they are led to believe they DON’T have choices in life, that they are destined to live a certain way, live in a certain place, marry a certain person, act in certain ways according to tradition, and so on.

    Thankfully, people are becoming increasingly enlightened to the fact (the TRUE fact, as you put it) that not only DO we have choices, but through those choices, we have the power to create our own reality, our own today, our own future, our own destiny.

    Thanks for a nice bit of inspiration I was certainly in need of today.

    1. Michael

      Hi Steve, thank you for your kind words today. :-) I do think more people are becoming aware of how their thoughts impact their lives and just how much they really can have power over their choices. It takes a bit of learning sometimes because so many people are taught to just accept what they are told, but i think the number of people really making conscious choices about their lives is on the increase.

  6. Julieanne van Zyl

    Like everyone else, you’ve got me thinking Michael! I’m thinking about my visit to the deli a couple of days ago. We had been scuba diving, and naughty me put the keys in the ignition to turn on the ignition so we could listen to the radio while we took off our wetsuits and packed up all our gear.

    Only, I forgot to take the keys out of the ignition and then I got distracted talking to people about diving, and guess what? The car battery went flat. So, while we waited for the road service to come and jump start it, I went off to the deli for the yummiest salad sandwich I’ve had for a long time! Boy was it good!

    If we were born without a world of choices like we have now, I understand we would probably think it was normal. however, I think also, we would start to wonder “what if I could have something else”?

    We are so lucky to have so many choices, and as you say, sometimes we forget that we have the power to choose.

    Thanks for the fun post Michael! Regards from Julieanne

    Darn, can I make a choice between doing arithmetic or not, before I submit my comment:-)
    Julieanne van Zyl recently posted..What does a Network Marketing Opportunity and a Franchise have in common?My Profile

    1. Michael

      Hi Julieanne

      The world of choices we live in is a thing of beauty. I think you are right, if the re were no choices, somebody, somewhere would start asking why not. And that would be enough to start the ball of choice rolling. Fortunately for us, we do have a world of choice, and it is infinite. Maybe that’s why we see it occasionally as no choice – because it is just so hard to conceptualize infinity. I am glad you got your battery fixed, and I am really glad you chose to do arithmetic. 😉

    1. Michael

      Hi Gary,

      Thank you for your kind words. I grew up believing in a small amount of choices were available in my life. But I have learned (and happily so) that I have way many more choices than I ever really thought I did. :-)

  7. Rick Lelchuk


    Nova, eggs and onions, bagel, cream cheese and grape jelly. Very happy with that choice!

    To the point, people have gone to war to maintain their freedom to choose. It is a Universal principle and a gift. In a way, it’s what my wife and I teach our clients. Be open, choose wisely. There is nothing to fear in making a choice, be it right or wrong it guarantees complete control and responsibility to the chooser.

    In Clarity and Happiness,

    Rick Lelchuk recently posted..Our AskMy Profile

    1. Michael

      Sounds like quite a breakfast snack, Rick. :-)

      Choosing is a gift and definitely a Universal principle. The power that comes with consciously making a choice feels quite amazing and once you do it a few times, you never want to go back to living any other way.

  8. Raena Lynn

    Hi Michael,

    It’s been while since I’ve visited your blog. I’m so glad to be back. I decided to randomly choose one of your past articles and it was a wise decision. I love this post and your writing style. Using a deli as an analogy to making choices in life is brilliant. I am very aware of the conditioning that is going on and when the alternative to having to sit down and be served “their choice” according to a specific seat in the deli made me cringe. What about people who have been conditioned to think that is how it is supposed to be? This is happening all the time and new generations are living in a completely different world than a measly ten years ago. It’s ironic because on one hand it seems we have more choices, but on the other hand, people are being born into a world which they believe their choices are limited or they don’t have a choice….and that belief system will become their “normal” existence. It’s sad that they don’t understand that their natural state prefers freedom and choice, but they don’t know the difference.

    This post reminded me of the movie “Pay It Forward” with Keven Spacy. He lived alone and was conditioned to believe that his routine is the way his life had to be. He accepted liking the way things were. When love enters his life, he panics and doesn’t know how to handle the disruption. Sometimes change feels like a disruption, but it’s a good sign to pay attention. It is an opportunity to make a different choice which in the long run turns out much, much better. Thanks Michael for another awesome post!

    Raena Lynn
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    1. Michael

      Thank you for your kind words, Raena. Choice is a funny thing, and the way we learn about choosing things in our world can be even stranger. Given a choice of 100’s of flavors in an ice cream shop, many people will choose the same thing they always get, just because . . .

      Most times we do OK with a couple of options, like green or red, Facebook or Reddit, mustard or sauerkraut, but when we are faced with trying to make evaluations of hundreds of choices with thousands or permutations, which is kind of what we have in our world with many things, our brains go on overload and we wind up choosing the safe and familiar.

      Its about the amount of thinking power and attention that goes into making 100’s of decisions in a day, many of which are meaningless, but which use up our thinking power so we don’t have any left for stuff that really counts.

      Choice is a good thing, a fabulous thing, and we grow up believing that we do have the ability to make all kinds of choices, but after a while lots of people just get tired out from choosing and go back to default mode. Kind of like when hackers run exploits for grabbing tons of passwords and usernames, those numbers are big in part because so many people choose stuff like admin because it’s easy. :-)

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