Fermented grapes make wine.
Fermented molasses makes rum.
Fermented agave makes tequila.

But what do you get when you ferment tomatoes?

You get tomato wine but only if you have the family recipe passed down to Pascale Miche the owner of Omerto, the world’s only commercial producer of aperitif tomato wine.

The wine looks and tastes like white wine. Even professional sommeliers are often fooled into thinking Miche’s wines are made from green grapes. Pascale, started this business in 1998 when he moved to Quebec and started planting tomatoes in his back yard. He has since grown it to a thriving business producing 50,000 bottles annually.

Pascale’s choice of making wine from tomatoes goes a bit against the grain. When we choose to thrive amidst chaos, we too are going against the grain. We are choosing to act in ways that work when others are frantically reacting to events around them.

There are at least three things you can do to thrive amidst chaos:

1. Form a positive intention
2. Choose small actions
3. Handle inner barriers

1. Form a positive intention
Decide how you want to navigate the crisis. How would the person you want to be handle the situation? We all have heroes. people we look up to. Make sure you have a realistic but aspirational idea of how you want to handle this difficult time. Don’t expect you’ll achieve it perfectly. The idea is to set a positive direction that you can move towards.

My positive intention during this time is to take care of my mind and body and to do everything I can to help others do the same.

2. Choose small actions
Once you have a positive intention, you can now list the actions that you will take. The big mistake is to choose massive action. Massive action can be stressful. Since the world is already throwing big challenges at you, pick up a tiny feather not a huge anvil.

Do something small that moves you towards your positive vision. Instead of trying to renounce all comfort food, choose to eat one small fruit or vegetable. Instead of trying to run 10 miles, walk around the block. Instead of trying to get to perfect peace in the middle of life’s storm, aim to feel just a bit better for a short while.

Yes, we can always achieve more. But a tiny spark of progress is enough to eventually lead to a full-blown fire. There’s no need to rush. Slow down. Take your time.

Although I go to the gym every morning, I am terrible about exercising at home. It may sound ridiculous but it’s much easier for me to get out of the house every morning and go to the gym than to follow an exercise video in the comfort of my home. So, my small action is to do some form of exercise such as walking every day. I will also do one thing a day where I’m using my time well such as writing for a few minutes daily rather than watch hours of TV to go unconscious and escape what’s going on.

3. Handle the inner barriers
Even though you may have chosen a small action, there may still be some resistance to taking it. Maybe you think you shouldn’t have to make changes as a result of the virus. Or you think you can get by without doing anything different. Or maybe you want to shove your head in the sand and just pretend nothing is wrong.

If the mind wants to retreat out of fear, anger or other feelings, we can turn to the Lefkoe Occurring Process to help us let go of those feelings so we can take effective action. Here are the steps:

  1. Think of an event that you still have negative feelings about.
  2. Notice the feeling you have about the event.
  3. Uncover the meaning you’ve given to the event.
  4. Notice that the meaning and the event are two separate things. Focus your mind on this distinction.
  5. Notice if the meaning goes away. If the meaning is gone, look inside to see if the feeling has gone as well.

Here’s how I used the process recently:

I was laying and looking at Facebook with my laptop. A friend of mine suggested a video made by someone I knew and trusted. I clicked it. The speaker was talking about COVID-19 as if it were a conspiracy. He said it had been intentionally released and that he has proof. I closed the video. I started to feel upset. I decided to get some shuteye. I lay there unable to sleep. Finally, I used the Lefkoe Occurring Process to help me deal with what I’d heard.

  1. Event: A man I trusted said on a Facebook video that someone intentionally released COVID-19 and that he has proof.
  2. Feeling: Upset
  3. Occurrings: It’s true that COVID-19 was spread intentionally
  4. Distinction: This man that I had trusted said these words “There are people who spread COVID-19 purposefully. I have proof.” That’s not the same as seeing that his words are the truth.

I realized that I don’t know anything for sure because he said this. Then I finally got some sleep.

We all need our rest during this challenging time. We need to increase our sense of calm so that we can choose actions that will support ourselves and others. When you take good care of yourself by limiting your stress and avoiding the virus, you will not just protect yourself. You’ll protect others by keeping them healthy as well.

Take care of yourself and others without stressing yourself out. The three steps I outlined above: Form a positive intention, choose small actions and handle inner barriers will go a long way towards accomplishing that. If you’re feeling stress, all of these steps will help you reduce it, especially that last one since so much stress comes from the meaning we give events.

You may not be able to turn tomato juice into wine but you can still find a way to thrive during this challenging time.