Is it okay to write one post to respond to two challenges? I'd say in this case it is, since neither challenge explicitly stated that they won't allow such a practice. And as for me, I'd rather get disqualified from both than writing pretty much the same information in two separate, though virtually identical posts. The topic of both questions is essentially the same: In it's Question of the Week @ecotrain is asking us what we would like to do differently this year, and @naturalmedicine's Natural Wisdom Challenge simply wants to know what our health goals might be. There is still time to participate in both challenges, and the latter one even has some juicy prizes to be won, so please follow the link if you're curious!
My Resolution: No Resolution
New year's resolutions are kinda like wedding vows. What's important about them are the personal and inter-personal promises, guiding our everyday lives. The huge hulabaloo that's usually made around them is actually often quite distracting from what both are supposed to do: remind us of our decisions, simple as that.
I believe the last time I made a New Year's Resolution was exactly twenty years ago: It was my ironic decision to start smoking cigaretts, I described in this post. Ultimately, it helped me develop a healthy relationship with both tobacco, and new year's resolutions. Ever since, I have refrained from making resolutions, though I have had dreams, made plans, followed through with practices, or on occasion even abandoned them, without feeling any guilt or remorse.
One Goal - Get My Ass Up and Get Physical (physical)
Looking back at the last year, it may have been the epitome of sedentary lifestyle. Without very few exceptions I have spent it sitting in this comfy desk-chair, typing blogs or my book, or lying on the couch reading, or on the other sofa watching series, or in bed. Walking my dog twice a day, and going to the grocery store every other day was the only physical activity I had.
Not that I felt bad about it. After all, the previous year was the exact opposite: doing hard physical labor in form of Earthship building or riding my bike was the norm. Still, after a year of inactivity my body is full of minor pains, all over my neck, my back, my arms... from sleeping in a bad position! It always goes away, but then another part of my body starts bothering me.
Fortunately, there is another lifestyle turn on the horizon: my friends in Mazunte are planing on completing the structure we started a while ago, and I am going to be part of it. So once I've got all my loose ends wrapped up here (probably in 1-2 weeks) I'll be joining them on the coast of Oaxaca.
That means we'll start out with lots of tire pounding at first, followed by concreting (which involves lots of shoveling, lifting and carrying heavy things), before putting the roof on (more lifting and carrying). In the meantime we'll be camping on the site, sleeping on the soft forest ground, as well as swimming in the ocean daily.
Spare Me The Sports!
I think I may have mentioned how I dislike sports. My competitive spirit has never been awakened, and running on the treadmill or lifting weights just for the sake of exercise I have always found ridiculously pointless. On the other hand, I just LOVE going on hikes, just to get a view from the top of a hill, taking a bike ride for sheer enjoyment, and going for a swim early in the morning before the village wakes up is my idea of perfect peace.
In addition, I love seeing something awesome develop, especially if I can make it happen by putting in my physical effort. So working a couple of extra hours just to get that course of tires finished may seem obsessive from the outside, but for me it's sheer joy. As for my minor spinal complaints, I've seen them vanish right after the first day of tire pounding.
The Other Goal: Resetting My Metabolism With a Fast
Before starting the construction work, there is something else I would like to do during my first week in Mazunte: I want to hit the reset button on how my body uses the food I put into it, by doing a week long fast. I have done it before, once in 2007 and once in 2010 (though not since!) and both times it had a very distinct effect on my body: for the following weeks (though less noticeably it stretched over the next months and even years) I felt as if my body had become conscious and very determined about what it needed, and what it didn't. I kept feeling a distinct desire for very specific foods, which I consciously knew were good for me. On the other hand my body also told me when it had enough, and I would often finish my meal by leaving a few bites on my plate.
In addition, every taste and every smell my senses registered became an orgy of sensations. Simply walking through a market made me feel giddy and excited, even weeks after my fast. To a lesser extent it also affected all my other senses too, so I got to enjoy the simple pleasures even more, such as listening to music. No other practice or drug has ever had such a strong and profound effect on my well being, not for such an extended time. And having felt these things twice already, I am fairly confident that it will have a similar effect this time too.
I Like to Eat What I Want!
Similarly to physical activity, I hate the idea of restricting myself. I always prefer to give in to my innermost desires, and enjoy eating what I want, and as much of it as I want. But as the sage puts it so wisely: You can do (or eat) what you want, but can you also want what you want? When it comes to food, my answer is an enthusiastic YES! After a fast it really feels like your body takes over. Or let's say it has always known what it needs, but our mind, corrupted by the desire for gratification in form of overly sweet, greasy, and salty tastes, has stopped listening to it. This is precisely what the fast resets, so ultimately most of the health benefits occur during the change of diet following the fast.
If you were wondering about the type of fast, it's known as the Buchinger method, you can read about here. The apple, eaten symbolically as the last meal before the fast, and as the first thing for breaking it, has become a stereotypical illustration of this fast, quite like the tire wall is for an Earthship. Though it's frequently used, it's by no means the most essential part, nor is it really necessary at all. Okay, this is post is not where I want to get lost in its details. However, I plan on writing extensively about it, hopefully every day, while I'm documenting my fasting experience, and especially the effects. So stay tuned, there are lots of posts coming that fit right into #naturalmedicine!
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