“I can give advice on this, I just can’t follow it myself.” I get this statement all the time. I hear it from random acquaintances at parties and from clients trying to uncover their health issues. Mostly I hear people say this about foods that they eat or their workout regimen, but I’ve seen this applied to situations regarding careers, relationships, and constructive communication.
When a new client said this to me yesterday, I realized it was time to dig into this phrase and understand where it comes from and what it really means.
After I wrote my post about trust being more important than certainty, the importance of this lesson throughout history kept coming back to me again and again. I wanted to share another story of how courage, trust, certainty, and heart all work together.
Last week, my yoga classes were all based around the myths of the yoga asanas. One of these myths is the story of Hanuman, Sita, and Ram. This famous Hindu myth revolves around Ram and his wife, Sita. Sita is stolen by a rival in Sri Lanka, and Ram desperately wants and needs to go rescue her. He can’t go because he was defending his own land from war, so he calls upon his faithful and most beloved friend, Hanuman. Hanuman is the monkey god, always known for play and joy.
You all know that I love my kitchari. This beans and rice dish is delicious, nourishing, and easy to make. My digestive system is primarily vata, so I tend to favor heavier, more grounding kitcharis. That means my kitchari will have a generous amount of oil, sweet potatoes, and grains like rice or quinoa.
The early spring is Kapha season, however, and we could all use a little lightening up. This past week, I put together a lentil soup that is a play on my usual kitchari recipe, but specially formulated for kapha season. It’s light, warming, well-spiced, and will leave you satisfied and happy. For a little extra nourishment, add some of my homemade chickpea crackers.
One of my favorite wind-down activities? Reading all the made-for-teen dystopian future novels. I read and watched Divergent a few months back, and a particular lesson I learned from that series still replays in my head on the daily.
Like most of these novels, teens are the heroes and at the center of the story. At one point in the movie, all of the teens are told to jump off of a building as part of their initiation to their “faction”. They have no clue how tall the building is or what’s at the bottom. They just have a scary, pierced-eyebrow 20-something yelling at them to jump if they want to be part of their community. Everyone’s looking at each other like “this is crazy…”, and then the lead character Tris volunteers to go first.
The more time I spend in this world, the more I’m reminded that we have to be our own heroes. Happiness doesn’t come from a new house, or getting the “perfect” job, or reaching milestones. Happiness is something that’s internally generated. Something that we choose day after day after day.
Same with our health. We’ve been conditioned to look outside of ourselves for health and healing: visit the doctor, get a prescription, put on the band-aid, it will all be over soon. I always laugh (and cringe) when I think about how many girls in my high school were put on birth control pills to control wide-ranging symptoms: heavy periods, not getting a period, even acne. (Think about this: you have a skin condition, so let’s jack up your *entire* hormonal system to take care of it, without trying anything else. Pretty crazy if you ask me).
So while so many of us have “taken back our health” and embraced natural solutions and healthy eating as medicine (which is SO awesome), I still see how so often we’re still looking for band-aids. The only difference is that we’re looking for certified organic, holistic ones.
On Thursday, I had the pleasure of speaking with Ingrid Vaicius, health coach and headache expert, at Sweetgreen. Our topic was listening to your body: paying attention to the annoying health symptoms like headaches and bloating. These symptoms are annoying, not disastrous, but they take energy to manage and make your day more stressful.
As we were discussing the various symptoms, what they signaled about your body, and how to prevent and treat them, you could feel the air in the room get a little heavy. These kinds of conversations can be overwhelming: first you have to cut out dairy, then you have to drink water, then you have to reduce stress…on and on and on.
But as the evening continued, I came to an important realization: the point understanding these symptoms isn’t to make your to-do list longer. Rather, we understand these symptoms so we have information. This knowledge is empowering.
Well! The 3 day kitchari cleanse is over! The most common question I’ve received since embarking on it is why the heck I decided to do a 3 day cleanse. Here’s what I was thinking:
I have traditionally stayed away from cleanses and fasting. I’ve done one 3 day juice cleanse, and I only did that as an experiment because so many clients were asking me about their efficacy. I undertook the kitchari cleanse in the same way: I wanted to know what were the impacts of this cleanse (which unlike most others is made up of whole, balanced foods) on my body, so I could decide whether it was a regular practice I wanted to pursue, AND if it would be a useful practice to recommend to my clients.