Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Midlife Musings

I realize as a yoga teacher and student, part of my journey to to seek, or at least gravitate towards self awareness and maybe, just maybe...one day...enlightenment.  Well, I have never felt as if I am an old soul, so over time, I have let go of the illusion of being able to control where I one day "end up"...so while enlightenment may happen one day, I truly work towards just doing the best I can.

So far so good.  Not that I have such a good track record of decision making...but who's counting?  I made a comment a little while ago in response to a longtime friend regarding her musings about our paths that we've taken and expectations that I had never really expected to "...survive all the crap I created".    Key words...I created...

I created a life for myself and son that I had never imagined nor expected.  Not that I take a bunch of credit, mind you.  Through a series of some pretty screwy decisions along with some really superb ones, I am here.  It's not been pretty at times...in fact, it's been quite ugly many times. 

But so far...I have survived the crap.  Even more importantly, I have friends and family whom I love and live me back, and I get to spend a majority of my time doing things which bring me and others joy.  Still though, there's crap here and there....I am currently in the longest 2 yr holistic nutrition program known to mankind (about 3.5 yrs now) and have lots of issues focusing and studying; I have some health issues as a result of some pretty poor decisions from 25 yrs ago; I lose patience with my mom; I get angry and judgmental at times too.  Oh...and I have "issues"...with food, thoughts, and addictive tendencies in general. 

Cool thing is that I am open to the possibilities of life without all the defects.  Not that it will ever be defect-free...just that there is a silver lining.  Over the years, between discovering yoga and getting older and maturing, humility guides me more than my ego.  Which brings me to my impetus for writing this morning: my perception of the self righteousness of a few with whom I have recently come into contact.  More specifically, I had an interaction with a few who are vegetarians who appear to be quite judgmental of anyone who is not. 

Don't get me wrong...I think it is awesome for people to abstain from eating animals for reasons of social consciousness and their own morals and values.  I don't especially like the idea of living creatures dying for any reason....even when watching a National Geographic special when a hyena or a lion captures its prey and a feeding frenzy ensues.  I feel for the animal who was captured.  For years, in my early to mid 30s, in fact, I adopted a raw vegan diet.  No animal products at all...and taking it to the next level, nothing cooked or heated over about 110°....not to mention the fact that I also refrained from gluten, flour, fermented foods (like tofu and soy), sugar, and certain vegetables and fruits.  I loved the food that I did allow myself...perhaps too much.  Despite the fact that most people get very slim eating a raw vegan diet, I binged on raw "uncookies" and other raw desserts, raw sprouted pizzas slathered with cashew "cheese", soaked nuts, mock tuna wrapped in nori rolls, and so on.  On top of that, I didn't thrive energetically and I was about 30 pounds overweight.

Today I am a big fan of mindful eating and listening to my body.  I believe in the theory of biochemical individuality and support the slow food movement.  I adore Michael Pollan and Alice Waters.  I support my local growers, frequenting my local organic weekly farmer's market regularly.

I estimate that 90% of the time, I eat local, seasonal and organic foods...farm fresh eggs from chickens that are truly free-range (as opposed to the industrialized "free-range" chickens who do not necessarily have the freedom one would think they should have), okra and tomatoes that were grown within about 5-25 miles away and picked that morning, and occasionally (about 1-2 times a month) I even eat some red meat from a local farm. 

I get it...no matter what, if one eats red meat, chicken, pork, even fish, then a life ends in order for another life to eat.  However, I DO believe that it IS possible to raise animals with respect and in a humane way.  There is a HUGE difference in animals raised by corporate farms and those raised in a traditional environment...meaning  that the cows are NOT herded into small areas, force fed genetically modified corn, given hormones and antibiotics, and slaughtered once they have quickly become obese and diseased while other cows watch their fellow cows meet this horrible fate. 

So, today, I am working towards growing in self awareness, not just with my personal food choices, but also in not judging those who seem so quick to judge others who do not subscribe to their standards.  Perhaps true enlightenment means being a breatharian...after all, produce is alive too...maybe I too can live strictly off of prana.  Or not.  While I cannot know exactly what the future holds, I can't imagine this happening in this lifetime for me.

Today, I'll do my best....it's all I can do...and that includes having compassion and openness to accept the rights of others, and that means I release my own judgments amidst theirs....or at least lean towards that direction.  Ultimately, no one can "make me feel" a certain way without MY permission.

Things we can all do.....
Be aware of our thoughts and actions and how they impact ourselves, others, and the environment.
Move and breathe.
Be kind to ourselves and others.
Know the source of your food, your clothes, and any items you use or consume.
Walk when you can walk; only drive when you must.

Perhaps this post was inspired by the fact that the baby birds grew up so fast and flew away about 10 days after they were born.   Or maybe because my son is leaving to study abroad in Europe in about 24 hours.  Or hormones.  Perhaps it just doesn't matter.


  1. Amen to all of the above, Lisa. You're closer to enlightenment than you realize.

  2. thanks Tommy...I'll try to remember that before going off on my mom or those "crazy" drivers (not you or me, just everyone else..lol) or before I decide to get intimate with a cupcake instead of connecting with my own inner truth! Namaste~miss ya dude.