Archive for April, 2011
Finally, some wool up in here. Two balls in, starting the third. Row, row, row your Rowan…
EZ KAL with Sean.
While I’m certainly honored to be teaching again, I’m humbled by the other 59 teachers who will be there too. On top of that, I’m truly grateful that Tina and Stephanie have invited me to work with them and help put on this truly magical and fun event.
In other news, thanks for the kind words about my silly temporary coffee quitting. After a shower and light slathering of oil (much like seasoning a wok, it’s called abhyanga, Ayurvedic self-massage), I feel a world of difference. Maybe caffeine is loosening its grip on me. Or I needed a shower.
While my lentils simmer, let me tell you about quitting. Barely 48 hours in, and I feel like I’m done.
Before I begin, I realize the walking cliche that I am, posting about eating or not eating or changing my eating. Whining is one of my least favorite activities, especially in the written form. What’s more self-indulgent than complaining about a situation that I brought upon, nay, I paid for to be brought upon myself? If you came here looking for knitting or adorable French bulldog photos, move along. All you’re going to get is a bowlful of vegan soup and some roasted beets.
I forgot about the caffeine withdrawal. It makes it difficult to focus. Like a slowly closing vice on my skull. My brain feels like Luke and Leia as the walls were closing in. This was the worst part of the cleanse last time. I even chundered on the first day. While at work. Midday. I’ll always remember the day because that’s when I learned that word. Chunder. (The nice lady who said, “You better not chunder on my Marc Jacobs bag” did not like that I took to calling her “chunder thighs” after that, but who would?) I’ll also forever remember the cooked apple, zucchini and quinoa, but that’s a little much to dwell on right now.
The caffeine’s iron grip moved from the base of my head to the front. There were points today that felt like my eyeballs had been scooped out with a melon baller and placed back in the sockets. I had a dull ache behind my face. Not the best state for copy editing. All this pain has caused me to question coffee. Not to worry, I’ll be drinking it again soon enough. But, if something can wreak such havoc on your body to give up is that reason not to consume it? Or reason not to quit it?
It’s not like I drink copious amounts of the stuff, but two mugs are a regular part of my morning. Weekends can see a latte plus a cappuccino or two, and maybe the random after-work rendez-vous. I don’t “need” it to wake up or take care of other coffee-related business. However, clearly, my body makes no bones about having a difficult time of letting go, regardless of what I consider to be in the realm of reasonable. It does give me pause to only drink coffee when it’s really good. In general, unless I’m on a roadtrip, I’d rather go without than drink something that’s not going to be good. I’ve been known to go out to breakfast, only to leave the brunch joint un-coffee’ed to order a latte across the street. This kind of hurt is not worth sub-par swill. (After today, I doubt I’ll attempt this gastrointestinal retreat anytime soon.) Withdrawal is for quitters. And, I just can’t quit you, cup o’ Joe.
I knew things were getting bad when all I wanted to do was lie down for a nap. Even the thought of knitting does not bring me respite. I just want this feeling to go away. I am not myself, right now. Although there are plenty of healthy habits that come along with what I’m doing (yoga, meditation, sipping buckets of hot water, eating mindfully, freshly-cooked meals, soups), my gut’s not cool with hitting the pause button on everything it knows. Just cutting out snacking and focusing on 3 meals a day has been a bit rough. Granted, I’m not doing it by the letter of the law, otherwise I would have eaten three hours ago. Sure, I’ll suffer and let it slip on time, but I will stress over whether to eat butter, because the focus of our meals are vegan, except the ghee. (That’s clarified butter.)
Heck, maybe it’s not just coffee. It could be me. I didn’t do my self-massage with oil. (Minds out of the gutter. I really liked it back in the fall.) I was supposed to exercise beyond my yoga, but how I felt prevented me from running. The timing of my meals is off. (That said, I’m feeling better now as I hunger for overdue dinner than I did when I was eating lunch on time. I understand the slippery slope of cleanse into eating disorder. No fear of my falling off that cliff. There’s plenty of bread and caramels and seafood in my future.) I could beat myself up about not doing it perfect enough, but that’s not the point either. Food for thought. Or thought for thought.
The towel’s not thrown in, but I’m definitely considering it.
It’s clear to me that I don’t have the most altruistic and / or spiritually-enlightened reasons for doing this cleanse. Deep down inside, I’m hoping it a silver bullet to drop 15 pounds (very unreasonable over 10 days) and a kick-start to a life of healthy habits. If that was true, why am I doing it a second time? Shouldn’t the yogic living already be ingrained in me from the first time around? Why am I so upset by numbers on a scale? A scale that I have read (and experienced personally) to be inconsistent in reporting numbers. Nonetheless, I am. I know that doing this reflects a deep unsettled feeling or inadequacy in my psyche that I am attached to. Maybe I can just work on letting that go and let this be about 10 days of trying something new and developing a closer relationship with my body and learning how to listen to it more closely.
Heading over to the first class for the cleanse, kind of an intro meeting / dinner / mini yoga class, I was very stressed out. Of course I was running late, but the reason I was delayed was I had misplaced my wallet. Even upon calling the place where we had lunch, then figuring out it’s possible I left it at the coffee place, I felt unsettled, upset and not wanting to be there. I knew there was nothing I could do about my wallet at that moment and that I wasn’t going to devote the time to call up the credit cards to cancel, but still I was stressing. (Not to worry, it was found at the coffee place and they tweeted my dog to let me know.)
Walking into a yoga studio can either be calming or nerve-wracking. It could be a blissed out intuitive sanctuary. Or, it’s a new space, where I am not a regular, so I don’t understand how the flow of traffic, I can’t figure out where to put my stuff and change. Because of my own mind state and the oddly curtained narrow hallways and multiple doors to bodywork rooms, I was more of the later. Even before stuff began, I felt like I was wasting my money. That I would just fall off the horse again. That I was fooling myself and not really going to get a lot out of this because look at my life: it’s a series of failures and things I have quit. (I know none of this is true, but that’s how my mind works.)
That all said, when we stood up on our yoga mats, even in my jeans, I had a moment of feeling home. Look, I know I’m a honky who grew up in an evangelical Christian background, and that I dabbled for ten years of (really good) yoga at work, but never sustained a home practice. So it wasn’t so much that the yoga studio or the modality of movement (and we did minimal stuff) was perfect. My body was just really grateful that I was moving a little. It gave a little grin when I ate the dinner of rice, mung beans and simple salad. A whispered, silent “thank you” for doing something good for me on a deep, no, deeper level.
I still haven’t shopped for all of my groceries for the next four days of gentle eating. I’m relying on the crutch of the eating plan to drive my consumption. I’d be lying if I didn’t admit to be holding onto a hope that this is temporary and that I’ll see infomercial-type results in the next two weeks. I’m already looking forward to a return to pizza, burritos, nachos, beer and bread. I don’t feel like I’m 100% ready to follow this to the letter of the “law,” and I’m afraid of doing this alone, without the support of my coworker Michele, like last time. Heck, I’m not even faking it until I make it.
But somewhere deep down, there’s that quiet voice. Maybe it’s even an invisible nod. My true self’s approval of living a little more in my body. Not going for the quick hit of superficial pleasure, but instead orienting myself on a path that is just a little more right. It’s not really about losing weight or cure-all’s. It’s a nudge towards more balance. A meaningful gift to my body and mind. A break from the easy way out and a moment in something truly better. It’s too soon to say whether this is going to be a miraculous transformation or the theme of my 38th year on the planet. And it may never be said. I’m just going to hop out of the way of indulgence and try to savor the joy and satisfaction and fulfillment mindfulness can bring.
I’m sure there’s a way to mindfully enjoy a beer, once a week. But that’s not part of this here and now. Not for the next two weeks, at least.