Tuesday, March 4, 2014

La La La - Lost on Stage

Transitions. Are. Tough. And I'm talking about the choreographic transitions in a dance (and then I'll go into detail about another, lonnnnnggggg transition of my life - related to diet). 

When I am crafting a dance, I tend to focus more energy on certain chunks that I find appealing to work with. I will get these great ideas for what comes next, however moving my dancers to that formation and taking the time to do so, is always a challenge. 

For anyone who isn't into dance and doesn't know what statement I'm trying to make, I'll just say the transitions are the roads between point A and B, point B and C - and determining what those transitions are going to look like in a visual fashion are a headache for myself. There is the basic walk to your next spot - or run - skip - hop - move real low as if to completely forget there is even a transition at this moment... haha I bet other choreographers know all too well what I mean by that last one.

But what I have come to realize the more I have had opportunities to choreograph, is that the transitions are equally as important as the rest of the content of the dance. I can't just pretend there is no milieu movement between my half-circle combo and bust it out dance section. Whether or not I give care or attention to it, that transition exists - people see it, I "made" it, dancers do it. 

In my own personal journey towards health, I have been stuck in the same transitional sequence for well over a year now. I've hated this transition, wished it didn't exist and I could just move on, ending it already. I disrespected the possibility of the transition and the chance to learn as much as I possibly could, and instead only allowed myself to take in a small amount of information during this time, instead of books and books worth of knowledge. 

On May 22nd, 2012 I made a huge leap. I was in a short transition phase before that as I briefly pondered changing my diet to a plant-based, animal free diet - vegan. I was pescatarian/vegetarian for several months before that. I didn't ever think I would decide to jump to veganism, but my transition before that was only about 3 weeks long - during this time I questioned the lifestyle with underlying intentions, made judgements towards those already living the lifestyle, and did a little bit of research.

While reading the book Skinny Bitch down in North Carolina, near half way through the book, I said "Okay I'm going vegan." Had my last dairy milk ice cream cone that day and began one of my favorite chapters in life - the one where I take on this new lifestyle I knew I was designed for. 

Shortly after becoming vegan - maybe 5 months in, I found myself extremely interested in the living foods movement. To become a raw vegan was so appealing to me, but still to this day I haven't made the complete jump and commitment to this new lifestyle. I've done days raw vegan, added many raw foods to my diet, pretended to be fullyraw at times, etc., all because I so badly wanted to be finished with the transition. Truth is, I know the next chapter for me is the fullyraw lifestyle, but ignoring the transition has only pushed back this next phase even further - the resistance to the transition put me in a state of ignorance, and if it looked like a dance I was crafting, one dancer would be running all around the stage confused, not sure where to head next or what her next movement was - stuck in the dreadful transition, not knowing that she needs to embrace this transition to get to the next movement! 

Since I don't have many raw vegan friends, I imagine a lot of people would ask me "Why?" Why do I want to have the living foods diet? What I want to share is that those weeks that I was fully raw, and that one time I lasted 30 days, wow I never felt so good, clear-minded, superhuman. 

So here is what is happening. The last time I made the jump into the next chapter, I was reading a life-changing book. The 80/10/10 Diet by Dr. Douglas N. Graham is a book I have wanted to read for over a year now, since the beginning of my interest, and somehow I am just now getting to it. As I read this, I realize it is exactly what I need to get out of this transition and into the next chapter. So March 3rd 2014 was the day I made the decision to go raw, and had my last truly unhealthy Mexican meal at El Dorados. When I went vegan, I didn't allow myself any non-vegan meals because I didn't want to go backwards. I'm doing the same as I jump into fully raw, with the exception of my bridal shower day this Friday (which I expected) and my wedding dinner in May (but I could change my mind then and just vow for a big bowl of fruit =D). These non-raw meals have been in my foresight for so long, and I am not going to let them hold me back from otherwise fully committing to this next chapter. I am going to go as far to say it is different than a vegan eating a non-vegan meal, because regardless I'll always be vegan. 

And here I am - looking at the transition phase that lasted about 19 months - and realizing I need to be thankful for this time. This transition has only proved to me what I truly want. I'm so excited for it, too! 

Abundance, life, color, well-being, and adventure are what comes with this lifestyle choice, and I'm ready to start busting a move. I'll appreciate the incredibly long transition I had, and be happy that I've finally come to start the next important chunk in my dance called life. 

Deliberately creating. Eating from the tree of life - which to my guess, is a piece of fruit. =D With gratitude. 

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Waning Gibbous - Creature in the Night Light

I can’t let her get away.

I can’t let her escape my mind so I’m writing – thankful for her presence, being that it brought me to realization and understanding; and it also brought me to write and reflect.

Feeling guilty about being up until 3 or 4 a.m. is strange. Why should I feel guilty? Does the most disciplined person have to be he/she that goes to bed early and wakes up early? The person who doesn’t eat food late at night (and by food I mean that which doesn’t fit their standards of perfection)? The person who chooses to be alone over being with people?

Perhaps I feel guilty because I do not like my late night habit. I see myself as making poor choices for myself, and as a result I turn to self-judgment and self-expectation. This desire to be a “disciplined” person has been an estranged haunting since I can remember. I haven’t stopped striving for obedience and perfection since maybe elementary or middle school - even in high school my first thoughts of wanting to lose weight showed up, and ain’t that sad? From the beginning, I haven’t been able to achieve what I say I’m going to achieve – to obey what I tell myself I need to obey, whether it be to lose 10 lbs, to go to bed early, to stop being so emotionally driven, etc. So why is the striving exhausting if the results I want aren’t showing up? It’s because my mind is doing all the work… it’s the strivingest striver of all my organs – and while I thank my mind for being such a great great fabulous tool, it sure could use a break.

She freed me.

My heart skipped a beat as I glanced out our laundry room window and spotted a dark outlined figure against the white snowy ground – the moon’s waning gibbous glow only enhanced the contrast of the grazing figure upon the white backdrop. Not that she was scary, but she did take me by surprise.

My first thought was that she was awake at an absurd hour. I mean, who eats at 3 in the morning? (Oh wait… I do). Then I wondered why she was by herself (ah… I am, too). And then I wished for her to be sleeping (Well I’m awake).

Continuing to watch her as I folded towels, I understood what was so mesmerizing about her. She was perfection in the shape of a grazing animal, with her angular body and delicate movements. And she was awake. And eating. And by herself. How could I come to see her as a perfect joy as she was, even though she has the same habits I have? When I passed judgment on her, it quickly faded as soon as I let my eyes see her, my heart hear her.

Time, food, behavior, thoughts, everything becomes irrelevant. Her beauty is undeniable, and so is mine, I must tell myself.

Coming to that point – that moment of perfect synchronization where I feel the truth in my heart - is glorious. It doesn’t matter what I am doing, when I am doing it, and whether alone or with people; I am fine. In fact, god tells me I am great. There are no standards, rules, or expectations of/for me except for those that I give to myself. That beautiful deer was just doing what she was doing. I doubt she was emotionally eating, but even if she was, I only saw grace and beauty in her actions. When I came to view her true essence I didn’t see her as the loser-loner who wasn’t very good at socializing. I also did not see her as an undisciplined late-night rebel who must think poorly of herself because dawn is just 3 hours away and she must be up and productive throughout the day. Behind it all, no matter what we are doing on the outside, nothing masks the beauty of our spirit…

Moving forward, I plan nothing but joy, which can be experienced at every hour and second of the day. For someone who is accustomed to seeing deer every day here in the North American biosphere where deer rule by population, I am thankful to have actually embraced the present moment upon sighting her. And it's so easy, that I should not give this much more thought. 


All is well.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Word Pass

Take a bite of food.
Put down bowl with food in it.
Type in XXXX to unlock phone screen.
Set phone down. Type in XXXXXXXX to unlock computer screen.
Pick up bowl and take another bite.
Keep hold of bowl with left hand for the rest of the time.
Check text message and type out a long response with just one hand.
Set phone down and go to email on computer.
Type in XXXXXX to get on email.
Pick phone back up, unlock screen with XXXX.
Type another message in response to text just received.
Use right hand to feed self again from food in the bowl.
Back on the computer, go to Facebook and type XXXXXXXXXXXX.
Get bored quickly.
Go to Pinterest and type in XXXXXXX.
Scroll for a few minutes.
Take another bite.
Pick up phone, unlock it with XXXX.
Write another message.
Back to Pinterest.
Bored again.
Go to career services account to look for jobs.
Use password XXXXXXX to access account.
Pick phone back up and unlock screen with XXXX.
Write another text message.
Set phone down and stare at computer screen thinking about what to do next.

Get tired. Close computer. Leave phone. Vow to never return.

Come back 15 minutes later. Repeat.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Marriage and the Energy I Give to it

Promises, vows, duty, responsibility, rite of passage, reproduction, and family

What if we did not consider any of these words when we humans get married?

I'm in a transition phase, where I am about to marry the boy-who-turned-into-a-man whilst dating me for seven years (we were fifteen when we became boyfriend and girlfriend - so for me, girl-into-woman). We have been engaged for almost a year now and will be having that thing called a wedding in three months.

As an engaged person - to be married that is - I have read several articles and heard from several friends their perspective on marriage. It's been fascinating really, but it has only shown me how different my view of marriage is. Call me unrealistic, but hey, we have kept a strong partnership going for 7 years and there has not been any huge bumps in the road, and in fact, not even that many minor ones. Especially that I recall in the last few years of being together. But in truth, this view I have seems so much more real to me in my reality than any other view of marriage.

When bumps came along for us, they showed up as a result of personal growth. Personal growth, both he and I know, are essential for our growth as a unit.

The words I italicized at the top, these are what people associate with marriage the most. I don't.

If I were to describe the marriage I'm about to enter, it's going to look like this:

No expectations. Support, Friendship, Love, and Intimacy, all without obligation. Adventuring. Experiencing. Growing. 

I'm in love with this man, but we do not need each other. I joyfully choose to be with him, and I don't expect him to make money for both of us, to give me children, to do the dishes, to clean up after himself, etc. People who are awake and alive, well life flows for them. The focus is on our personal growth, and as individuals, what we both want most is to awaken and keep expanding as individuals.

Here's a good way of putting it, and a lot of this ties into my spiritual beliefs, and his - if I am focusing on my personal growth and feeding my soul, physical health, and mind with love, then my perspective can be controlled about everything. Any anger or frustration I feel would be the result of me losing control over myself and others. Any loneliness I feel would be a result of me depending on others for my happiness and placing the responsibility on them to make me happy. Any hurt I feel would be me denying the responsibility for my own feelings. No one can hurt me without my permission. Any self-pity I have would be me indulging in helplessness as a luxury. (Emotion descriptions realized from reading compassionatedragon.com/emotions). The point is, I control me, and he controls himself. If we constantly analyzed each other's emotions and reactions, we're stunting our growth by forgetting to look at ourselves and learn from what we do. We love loving ourself, our god/spirit, and others.

To end, I just want to say that it is possible to be in a relationship where you do not make promises to each other and still remain happy. That doesn't mean we're going to go out and break each others hearts and accept no responsibility for it. It means we love without limitations. I'm not sure yet what he and I will say at the wedding ceremony, in the place where people typically say their vows, but one thing is for sure and the most important for us - if I have one wish for him, it is that he love himself unconditionally. There is nothing better than a heart without any burden, guilt, or shame, that faces towards the sun and glides towards it with an understanding that all in this world is perfect, we choose to be here in love, and we love our source of love more than anything. And I know his wish for me is the same, that I love myself unconditionally, because to him there is nothing more beautiful than a woman without shame, attachments, and burden, who lives knowing that she is beautiful just because of who she is - the god she comes from, that he comes from.

So that is my perspective on marriage. I feel love. I think love. I am love.

Thank you for allowing me to share. =D

Monday, November 4, 2013

Transitions - Living Life with One Hand

Can you imagine what I mean by the title? Let me give you the image.

There's a woman headed to her car, which if you were to look inside, is much messier than she would like for it to be because she hasn't had the time nor the energy to get around to cleaning it. Her backpack is heavy and loaded with her "academic stuff" for the day and in her hand is a water bottle, a piece of fruit usually (gotta eat), keys, another bag with personal items such as wallet, make-up (especially that lipstick yo), hair ties, clips, and any other change of clothes needed for the day. As she opens her door she tilts her back ever so slightly to allow her left arm to release one side of the back pack and plops it down in the drivers seat. Because she is parked on the street she has to worry about cars driving by so she squeezes in with the backpack still in the drivers seat, closes the door with one hand and remains squished in her present spot. Next, the backpack is lifted with a huge grunt as it is always heavy, and then thrown awkwardly, with pain in the neck I might add, to get over to the passenger seat. Then the items of the left hand/arm find their way to their position in the car whether it be on the passenger side floor, backseat, or glove box... before it is all regathered up to head into class/work/rehearsal/café/house etc. Sometimes the image looks slightly different in which she opens her driver side door and instantly tosses her belongings all the way to the passenger side with a slight worry that this action was dumb being that her laptop was in that bag. Other times she may actually go to the passenger side door and set down some of her items before going to get in the driver's seat. Truly it depends on the day and if she is rushing, but it mostly depends on her mood.

 The load is heavy, and the crud is in the transitions which require the heavy load as well as the rush. This woman has one hand free usually, and often it has a phone in it, communicating in these transitions because communication has become so important and necessary that to miss a text just makes things inconvenient for the text sender if it is a question about school/work, or a family member needing something. Sometimes even the random text from a friend you haven't heard from in a while becomes a burden in which there is no time to respond to them, and in those few minutes of transition time, it is not desirable to be texting/talking on the phone. The woman feels this way, with her tilt of back to the left as her bag hangs from only her right shoulder, left hand full of stuff, and right hand with phone, thumb busy.

 Since when did this become this woman's reality? When did one hand become her only free limb to use and access doors? With the schedule I have had lately, this woman has been me... and even though I've never really come across an article or blog in which someone has addressed this reality in the way I have, I know that this is the case for more than just this woman, me. Another image I have is this: sitting from a distance in space the world is seen in rotation. Around this world we can see humans all traveling in the direction the world is rotating, towards the sun... to the east. I am one who desires to walk. But all around me people are freaking running. While I get lapped if I choose to walk, it doesn't make me want to run any faster.

 We live in a world where humankind is running faster than the world rotates, which explains why there isn't enough time in a day... as soon as the sun rises we start chasing after the sun and it sets before it should because of our distance traveled. Now perhaps this metaphor doesn't make sense to you... but I see it clearly. It'd be comforting to know that you get what I mean, too.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Vegan in France - Alors, Végétalien(ne)

Consuming a vegan diet became fairly simple while living in the states. Being in France for the past month has shown me that veganism hasn't reached the ends of the world yet.

I don't like the idea of evangelizing a way of eating... at all. If someone wants to become a vegan, they'll express that they are interested and then I can "assist" in their transformation. It's no different than religion really... And I hope that no one ever sees me as someone who feels superior to others just because of this diet I have.

But... it's been quite a challenging diet here in France, and EVERYONE wants an explanation and asks why, therefore I have so many conversations with it as a subject. I prefer that people ask why I am a vegan rather than me just coming out of nowhere and saying the reason for my complete 180 in diet. But in this case, I'm communicating to humans with a different reality when it comes to cultural activity (such as the way animals are mass produced and mass murdered in the U.S.A.) and to them, the idea is quite absurd. In fact, the idea has crossed my mind that perhaps I should write a book on veganism/rawveganism in French...

I'm not much of a writer, really. Brad is way better at it. =D But with guidance and determination it might work someday. Even though this diet has been a challenge here, I've somehow succeeded with the help of my host family and the program directors. Many still don't comprehend what the diet includes/excludes, but that's okay. They just haven't had the resources I have had when I made my transition. There are so many youtubers and books written in english about studies and the reason for a vegan diet. Perhaps Americans are searching way more than the French, for a cure to cancer, for a cure to sickness, and for a cure to all that is ill in our nation.. that's just a huge leap of a statement though.

That's what this lifestyle has been for me, a search for healing but also a liberation. And no, I don't feel I have missed out on French cuisine at all. My host mom makes the most amazing vegan stuff without even a recipe book. She accepted the challenge and has been nothing short than perfect in accommodating for my diet.

So in case you're wondering if you can be a vegan in France, yes you can. Despite challenges nothing is impossible.

I'm not starving at all.