reshaping the ordinary

dance artist, jivamukti yogini, raw foodie, doula and lover, traveling to perform, create and share my light with the world.

Month: August, 2014

genetic identification

Chandogya Upanishad taught tat twam asi meaning, you are that.

you are what?

we are comprised of so many things:

  • you are your thoughts.
  • you are a result of your decisions.
  • you are the summation of your actions.
  • you are a mashup of all the souls you have ever encountered.

or

  • you are what you eat.

and clearly from my last posts we eat so much more than just food!

in the words of Ralph Waldo Emersoni cannot remember the books i’ve read any more than the meals i have eaten; even so, they have made me.

but even with that in due consideration, why do we eat what we eat?

as a child correct answers at school were rewarded with tootsie pops and hard candies. birthdays and other milestone events go hand in hand with cake. holidays are associated with rich heavy meals as the cornerstone to creating a “special” occasion. in this way we reinforce the perceived value and comfort of these foods. we entertain ourselves with food when we’re bored, we compromise quality of our food sources, of our lives, to accommodate the clutter of overbooked events and overstimulating iScreens, losing track of the circadian rhythms to fall into the Standard American Diet (SAD) and lifestyle. sinve i’ve gone raw, i actually had someone beg me to eat a doughnut at their birthday celebration saying please, eat it for me, its my birthday. what has happened that food, deeply processed foods, are such an integral part of our cultural climate. i did a google search of comfort food . . . check out the results. how are these items contributing to obesity, pollution, global warming, deforestation etc etc comforting to us?

we have to consider what consumption we were raised with, tv shows, living environment, lifestyle and of course tv dinners and happy meals that actually reward you with a toy for the way you are eating.  and in looking at what consumption we grew up with, this begs the question, how much of it is genetics. we can work to resolve karma’s, and change our diet, our actions. but is there a certain amount that is hard wired in us?

 please take a minute to check this video out, it is heartwarming, and difficult, but such a great reminder of how this plagues our society. Standard American Diet.

my mother was just with me for a few days visiting. there is so much of myself that i see when i gaze upon her. so much of her voice that i hear in my own opinions and views. and beneath that, so much of her personality in how i organically react in different situations.

at around the same time, my mother and my second aunt (her cousin), were told they had all the pre-diabetic signs and needed to do a major overhaul regarding both food and exercise habits or they would be getting progressively more and more ill. my aunts reaction was oh, diet and exercise works for some people, but not me. my mother, with similar news reacted the opposite way; drastically changing what she ate, did, and how she lived.

my mother went on a sugar free, nearly grain free, heavy on the turmeric simple foods diet. her intake is quite different from my own choice of raw fruits and veggies. but holds many similar tenants and facets, and the similarity lies in our approach. yet despite the changes, there are things she is up against inherently, just from the pool gene she was given.  the same pool i was then born into. even after 16 months of nearly completely pure raw living, tendencies are slow to go.

i’ve found that patience and time are the key for any changes. as my guru Sharon Padmaji Gannon teaches, joyfully sit with something again and again. each time will bring fresh perspective, give in to the repetition and through this again and again, a gain is made. slowly, but inevitably, i am finding even the seemingly “hard wired” patterns in myself can change, be they sugar addictions, trigger responses or thought patters we change over time like the shape of an iceberg. for now, i work towards steadiness and joy for all sentient beings.

through repetition, magic is forced to arise.

Sharon Gannon

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a glimpse

so to answer the question what do you eat, as i discussed in my last post, i can’t just talk about food, what we eat is who we surround ourselves with, what we read, what we watch on TV. so, to answer this question, i’ll share a glimpse at a day in the life.

beginning with the breath, a clean slate, a clear dance floor.

each day is not ideal, some days it’s more of a gravitational battle to get out of bed, some days i work 8am-7:30pm and just can not manage to fit in all of my self care practices. yet some days kundalini is high and all is smooth. here is a glimpse at a pretty typical day, this was my day yesterday .

6:27 my alarm sounds “good morning starshine” i snake around in my bed, slowly easing my systems back in to this plane of reality, sliding out of the bed and thinking through my internal gratitude list. actively reminding myself of all that i have to be grateful for and silently giving thanks. it’s not always so smooth, but always meaningful.

my first contact to the earth has been heavy these days, like a sloth, i suprise myself with the weight, as through most of the day i am airy, and i reach over for the coconut oil.

my first protocol of the morning is oil pulling. i started pulling over a year ago, and do it pretty much every day. i use coconut oil, as i understand it has all the benefits of sesame but also antiseptic qualities. and i pull for 20 minutes, usually while getting dressed, organized and ready for the day. this often includes performing the Jivamukti Magic Ten, using eft to decide what to wear, and always always, putting on my selfic piece from Damanhur the blue mascara and pikake oil that i have been wearing since my early childhood years. after that i brush my teeth, scrape my tongue.

as an aside, i never thought of the word protocol until i began listening to extreme health radio, which is often informative, if frustrating, they host amazing guest speakers and implant innovative ideas. protocol is such a funny word and an interesting way for me to consider the activities in my life. i’ve found placing value on activities helps, organizing and setting aside time for everything i want to fit in.

your life is as valuable as you make it.

7:02 i head to practice. i try to get some movement in prior to breaking my fast {breakfast is meant to be just that, breaking a fast, which is why i try not to eat after 8pm.} my days are so varied so i’ll go with today, i did a ballet practice. living in community i do not have access to many technique classes, but i keep myself on point {en pointe} with at least barre if not more as often as possible. at omega there is a studio in the woods called hillhouse it is perfection. derelict and moldy, but loved, spacious and with windows overlooking the woods, this building tops my gratitude list every time.

8:15 romp through the forest to breakfast. most days i eat a green shake for breakfast. my shakes tend to overwhelm the average smoothie drinker, with inspiration from the wisdom of David Wolfe‘s “live it” philosophy i tend to throw in everything but the kitchen sink. i  harvest as many  usually i’ll eat outside with good company. today it was a darling devoted yogi friend and student. because i eat mostly raw whole foods, i don’t need as much time to digest, and after eating am pretty much ready to go for the next activity. today i walked with my friend for a while, he had a stuffed nose and we got him organized with a neti pot so he could practice jala neti.

10:00 lakeside yoga practice. following the 14 points of Jivamukti often with a podcast or recorded class from Padmaji Sharon Gannon and David Life. often followed by good conversation down by the lake. today it was with my darling fleeting fairy friend the guard of lives. practice is transcendental for me.

12:00 teach. one of my co-workers arranged a weekly lunchtime yoga dojo a 60 minute time for practice in the middle of the day. it was an honor to be asked to share in the dojo and i taught the Jivamukti Spiritual Warrior class

A brisk, guided, led vinyasa class. The class offers a well-rounded practice as a set sequence that includes a warm-up, the setting of an elevated intention, chanting, surya namaskar, standing asanas, twists, balances, backward bending, forward bending and inversions, as well as meditation and relaxation, designed to be completed in one hour.

13:00 lunch. today a green salad. followed by fruit. i’m finding as a raw vegan that fruit is my mainstay, particularly grapefruits and bananas. nuts, and seeds, are great in moderation. but i’m finding too much reliance on those foods leaves me feeling less than happy.

14:00 arrive at work. i am working at the Omega Institute in upstate New York at the Wellness Center.  i am a reservationist or party planner and my job requires sitting at the desk ready for walk in and phone in guests.  mostly this is a solo job, but points of connection are everywhere. in my shift i find time for decompressing with co-workers, allowing angry or triggering customers to act as teachers and tools for self study, strengthening my communication and listening skills. i am forever grateful that my current role at Omega also affords me time to work on personal study (i’m learning sanskrit, deepening my knowledge of holistic nutrition, developing class curriculum and organizing classes/events as well as writing, reading, and generally organizing the goings on of this rawesome and busy life. 

at some point in my shift there is a dinner break, meal breaks on shift are short, too short for me as i take so much time for food preparation, but recently i have been making banana ice cream for dinner and eating it with field greens creating a sort of raw vegan ice-cream wrap.  i’ll write more about this delicious nutritious meal option at a later date.

20:30 get off work. munch on a grapefruit and, as i’ve miraculously managed to fit in my dance, yoga and meditation practice in for the day the night is free to spend with friends, depending on the day of the week, different events; kirtan on thursdays, reiki sessions wednesdays.  today it was the full moon gathering at COSM Alex Grey and Allyson Grey’s art church. with live art being created inside along with the entire house exhibit of Alex and Allyson’s work.  dancefloors and dj’s a huge bonfire and various tents and spaces for yoga, fire spinning, cuddles, and recreating. as a dancer, i just want to dance and find the environment of young adults expanding their consciousness to be the perfect venue. bouncing from friend to friend, deep discussion to joyful dance, this is the perfect end to a beautiful day.

as the sober representative of the group, munching on an apple i drove 14 of my dear friends home (in a 15 passenger van) and was in bed by 3:30am, all to repeat step 1 at 6:27.

so, in sum, today i ate; a green shake, a banana, 2 apples, a green salad, 2 grapefruits and banana-ice-cream. but really i ate in so much more.

living in sweet abundant bliss (which often requires rigorous work, but if the goal is lofty, we must be willing to work hard to get there).