Saturday, April 30, 2011

The Brick Wall

Day 230 - Facing the brick wall.   After a strong run, the brick wall has found me... Somewhat.  No, I haven't fallen off the vegan bandwagon and with enthusiastic strength, I am confident I shall remain vegan for the rest of my days.   I am however, human with human emotions, feelings, and actions.  My number one challenge has always been comfort eating.  I used food as a cushion to soften blows of hurt.  I would just treat myself to some decadent “thing” and gorge.  It was the one thing I could control at times when I was not able to control that which hindered me.  I was so swept up in my new vegan world that when I opened my eyes and ears to my former world, I received a heartfelt blow that caused me to revert to old seek comfort in the very foods I had to get away from.  I ran head first into that wall and gave up eating raw for about a week.  I stopped sharing with my vegan friends, and just ate things not good for me:  white potatoes, breads, beans, rice, pastas, peanut butter.  All the while, I was able to give advice to others, I did not seek any for myself.  I let the brick wall crush me. 

Poisonous words - another set of bricks

You may ask, after all this time, what happened?  I realize now that the wall had been slowly building a brick at time.   It’s no secret that over the past seven months, I have experienced a great amount of weight loss.  I don’t know how much because I refused to be a slave to a scale as the objective of this journey was not about losing weight.  Never considered “obese”, my last check-up two years ago revealed that , I was at the top of my weight range for my height.  At 5’9”, my weight was always distributed evenly and people always thought of me as slender.  Despite this, I easily fit double-digit sized clothing.  As I mentioned in, "Sad vs Glad", the purpose of this shift is to improve the quality of life, to avoid "death by diet".  If a little weight loss due to purging of animal products occurred, then so be it. 

Unfortunately, all do not see this as I do.  Now that I wear single-digit clothing, people who physically “see” me (family, friends, associates)  have begun to make remarks about my weight loss and it feels negative.   Some consider this a “hobby” and fear I am becoming obsessed, some have called me puny, skinny, a few have poked me or placed their hands around my arms or legs as if to “measure” how small I have become.  No one notices or mentions that I am strong as an ox, that I have energy, that I am… happy.  As my body transitions, and as I learn, I realize that I must continue to build muscle and healthy tissue.  But, alas, no one sees the finish line as I do.   Outside of my vegan world, in my physical world, all I seem to hear is remarks about the juices  and the raw dishes and “I don’t know how you eat that stuff”.

Bunk the “stick and stones may break your bones but words will never hurt” adage.  Words do hurt and we must be mindful of them for each word becomes another brick in the walls we build for ourselves or others.

Soulmates and Sledgehammers

 I paid the price of my week of eating badly.  Lethargy, skin breakouts, no desire to work out, and depression.   I kept it to myself.  With a big sigh, I slowly started over and decided to do what was right for me not other people.  Funny thing happens when you hit the brick wall, most of those who drove you to it don’t even realize their part in helping to create it and that you are carrying your bricks "around your neck like an albatross* (from the poem “The Rime of the Ancient Mariner”©1798,Samuel Taylor Coleridge) .  In the poem, an old mariner is forced to see, deal, and profess his indiscretion.   It is only after he confesses, that he is given a chance of hope.  This same rang true for me.  On my own, I confided that I had not eaten well and that I would start anew by completing a detoxifying 5-day juice fast. 

Soulmates are the sledgehammer
needed to break down walls.
On day three of the fast, a friend from the other side of the world, Jo Hazelhurst, spoke of similar food experiences, unbeknownst of my own transgression.  Speechless, I realized just at that moment, we were soulmates.  I was at the same place in the same time as she.  This isn’t the first time we’ve been parallel.  In, "Breaking Fast", I mentioned that she was “Vegan Girl goes Yoga”.  We use the same quote by Gandhi as our personal motto, and we’re both on the path of raw living,  positive coaching, to give more than we receive, to practice yoga, to live peacefully.    While words that hurt build brick walls, the strength of soulmates become the sledgehammer needed to break them down.  I realize that no matter what, I really am not alone.  My physical world is only one aspect of many.  I learned not to be afraid to reveal my wall, my vulnerabilities, and to ask for help.

Trying Again  (if at first you don’t succeed)

Kale, snow peas, squash, tomato, granny smith apple, sprouted raw beans
Topped with nutritional yeast and a splash of Bragg's amino acid
I know what I had to do, I had to pick myself up, dust off and try again.  I looked to the foods that were successful and realized that I have learned a lot from beans.  I learned take it slow and to practice patience. Now, I have learned to try again. A month or so ago, I attempted to sprout raw garbanzo beans with dismal results.  After a great start, they decayed and went foul.  I walked away from it.  Two weeks ago, I tried again with fantastic results.  The beans were delicious and I made this salad with them.

The lesson here is that like me, sometimes, you too will soar, but “sometimes you won’t...sadly, it’s true that Bang-Ups and Hang-Ups can happen to you... when you’re in a slump, you’re not in for much fun. Un-slumping yourself is not easily done…yet, somehow, you will escape..” (from the book: Oh the Places You’ll GO” ©1990 Dr. Suess aka Theodore Geisel)  

So, discover a new way to comfort yourself:  find a soulmate,  grab a sledgehammer, break down your wall, and try again.

Yoga: Tadasana -  Mountain Pose

The starting pose in most yoga practice.  The purpose of mountain pose is to strengthen or improve posture, to signify that is time to begin.  You can stand in mountain pose in meditation, as long as you need to.  According to The Expanding Light, the mountain pose “has a very special purpose, it sets the tone for all that will follow.  It is the neutral pose between other poses.”  

For me, it signifies deep cleansing breath, standing still, on strong feet, in alignment, releasing all prior negativity, ready to try again, ready to begin anew. 


rex tyler said...

i LOVED YOUR ARTICLE the brick wall the city of bricks gets my ticks.

try tahini and miso 1 part miso to 8 parts tahini mix and spread on a rice cake

Yoga Girl said...

Thank you Rex! It is responses and comments from dear people like you that gives me the strength to continue to break through.Thank you for the recipe. It sound delicious. Namaste.

donna said...

Excellent article, I should have posted this last year when I hit those same walls. As a somewhat leader as of late, felt I could not expose the"bricks" in my wall, Bravo to you my angel to come forth with your feelings of failure. I am here to tell you firstly it is PRACTICE, it is part of your journey to learn to climb back in to your natural self, to feel the damaging effects of dead food, how else can you speak of it, unless you again become aware of what it does to right down to your cellular self. But cheer up my prettypretzel, it is now your past, we have all learned from your journey, march on with your badself and get your SexyRawVegan back ON <3

Yoga Girl said...

Most humble and grateful "Donna". Thank you for always being a cheerleader and source of inspiration. I appreciate that you also share your vulnerability. You are so correct about the feeling the dead food! Since I have been away from it, the effects were immediate! I am reinforced with your love and support.