A decade ago, I worked at the Marharishi Ayurveda Products International in Colorado Springs, CO. I thought they were full of crap then. Stop drinking, right…. Stop smoking, right…. no meat? What do you mean, no meat! What kind of hippie crap were they selling? I would never give up my burnt, smoking, tasty meat and cold beer… along with a smoke. That business relationship was doomed to fail, especially as they tried to fix my ADD, my nervous energy, and take my coffee away.
Well, I ended up leaving. I worked telemarketing for a while. Soulless, mindless work. Worked for me, as I was not interested in anything deeper than a coat of paint. I wanted simplicity. Work, drink, eat. That also got old. And then I moved into Hippieville, the community at Manitou Springs, Co. I liked it, the beer was cheap, the mountains were near for hiking, and life was good. I spent some time there, in the mellowness of Manitou Springs, CO. I learned a few things about life from the bikers who lived there, the hippies who smoked pot on the balustrade on Saturdays, and the die-hard residents who loved the free spirit of the place.
1. Everything can be medicine or poison – the difference is amount and intent.
2. Everything matters.
3. You can’t take back anything you do, no matter how bad you want to.
With that, I started a new journey. I went back home, I got a degree, and I started teaching. Still drank, still smoked, still ate a LOT of meat.
After the birth of my son, 26 weeks along and weighing 14 ounces at birth, he spent 4 months in the NICU. I couldn’t smoke prior to entry because of the high sensitivity of the younglings’ undeveloped lungs. So, I ended up quitting. It wasn’t easy. Lord knows that it wasn’t easy. I was fit to beat someone up for a while there. I needed to quit, for his sake. Everything matters.
Now, I barely drink. I had two beers one night with a friend playing Rock Band 3 and I was hung over like no one’s business. So, drinking is down to a few rare nights, like once in forever. Maybe. I just don’t like the nasty vibrating feeling and the sick feelings afterward. Getting sick the next day while running home from the gym does not constitute cardiovascular training. That day, I wish I hadn’t been drinking, but you can’t take it back, no matter how bad you want to.
So, this leads me to another thing – eating. For those who never saw it, there was an article on this lady’s 6-month-old Happy Meal she put on a plate and left out. It got hard and shiny and never molded, completely desiccated, or any of that. If you heated it, it would probably end up looking it was just out of the restaurant. Can we all do it on three, please? 1…2…3! Ewwwwwwwww…. If it doesn’t break down, its not food, its poison. I can’t eat crap anymore. I mean, I can if I want to spend an afternoon being ill in the restroom (TMI, I’m sure) and feeling nasty for a day or two. None of this is conducive for living, since its hard to do anything when your stomach is protesting at the way you treated it the night before. I’m serious – the more I try and train myself back into some kind of shape (other than round) the more my stomach likes simple foods. Greens. Baked chicken breast. Light on the starches. I think I may go back to lacto-ovo eating. If it makes you feel bad, it’s not food, it’s poison.
So, what does this mean? Food is medicine, as I am learning. What you put in your mouth directly affects how you feel and how you perform. I should thank my friend Michael Pleasants for it, AKA Montanha, commonly referred to as Mo… he once told me, “I don’t eat stupid.” in reference to a Saturday post-capoeira meal at Freddy’s Steakburger. I finally get it, Mo.
So, eating is medicine. If you eat vegetarian, then good for you. A good place to get an idea of how you are doing and what your body needs for ayurvedic balance, check out Joyful Belly. If not, then keep it clean. If beef is hard to eat, skip it. Same for pork. Same for any flesh that does not agree with you.
Yoga is also another good step. Whether you want health club yoga, hot yoga, nude yoga, or tantra, its all good. Yoga is a sanskrit work for yoking – to yoke together your physical self and spiritual self. Its also about learning who you are, since so much of our emotional and mental lives are tied up in our physicality. Its gentle nature is good for people who are unable to sustain the impacts and strain of traditional workouts, as covered here on CNN. In the western world, we tie so many things into discrete little packages, and ignore the relationships in between. But things aren’t discrete packages of data, irrelevant to each other. Everything is connected. At the quantum level, each place is also everyplace else.
We can’t ignore our own selves in regards to maintaining this earthly vessel. Our duties to God, our higher selves, whatever-you-adhere-to, dictates that we are luminous being inside this flesh, and in order to be truly ourselves, we have to not only live in the physical world, but also in our spiritual world. We can’t ignore one over the other.
Eat. Pray. Love. Its a movie, I know. I think that we all should, though. Eat the things that are good for you. Pray and keep yourself holy, in whatever context is appropriate. Love like you’ve never been hurt.
Sat Nam – there is only one God, and he is Truth.