So this month is a bit of an experiment in our home. Life, right now, is sort of a melange of experiments all flowing forth from my current "zOMG, who am I? What do I want to do with my life? What does it all meeeeeeeeeeean?" angst. This month (and perhaps into the future), the angst has manifested itself in Vegetarian June & a re-re-rediscovery of yoga.
I've mentioned before that way back when, pre-Husband (pre-Boyfriend, as he was before he was Husband), before I lived in DC, I did yoga regularly. Two or three times a week. I started because a therapist I was seeing for depression told me it was either yoga or medication. During my first yoga class, I must have cracked some chakra or another wide open, because by the end of the class I was lying on my mat, sobbing silent tears. It was, I think, the equivalent of a year's worth of therapy in one hour of twisting, stretching, bending, breathing. I stuck with it for the years leading up to moving to DC, became friends with my instructor, and even taught a few classes for her when she was out with the flu.
I have found in my life that nothing heals me like yoga. But I honestly believe that, in some way, it has to break you before it can put you back together. As you breathe deeply into your spine and stretch your heart to the sky, the seams you've sown to hide that hurt, or mend that ache, split under the pressure of the movement of your body and breath, and whatever pain those threads of denial or patches of everyday-life were flimsily hiding comes gushing out. I've been attending a gentle yoga class twice a week for the past month, and on more than one occasion, I have found myself, by the end of class, quietly crying. I started attending the class not for emotionally therapeutic reasons, but to strengthen my back after last month's mystery injury. Even still, the emotional impact remains the same, and perhaps is, at the core, the root of my angst. Which sounds bad. But this angst is (or will be) the impetus that moves me to the next part of my life, so it's a necessary angst. Or so I keep telling myself.
Either way, my back is stronger, the muscles I feel under the stubbornly persistent layer of "baby weight" (can I still call it that if the baby is 4? ) are more pronounced and each class I find myself able to do more--both physically and emotionally.
Also this month, we've gone meatless! It should have been enough when I read Upton Sinclair's The Jungle years and years ago to seal that deal, but it took snippets of things like Skinny Bitch, Food Inc, and just the title of Jonathan Safran Foer's Eating Animals, to really get me to a place where I felt I needed to make a change. I say "snippets" because my tolerance level for the anxiety caused by those types of things is very low. A few pages in, a couple of descriptions of slaughter houses, or of caged animals, and I am sobbing and having nightmares. It's just not pretty (what's in the books, or me, after reading them). So snippets is as far as I usually get.
For me, being vegetarian doesn't feel like much of a sacrifice. Nine days in, I don't miss eating meat at all. Husband, on the other hand, is having a different experience. While not curled up in a ball and crying, he is not quite as enthusiastic about living meat-free for 30 days. It might be making him a bit twitchy. But he's doing it, and I'm proud of him. I know that on July 1st he might disappear within the walls of a Brazillian churrascuria and eat meat off of spits for 24 hours straight. And that would be okay--this month isn't about committing to vegetarianism forever; it's about cleaning a slate for a more healthful life going forward (which I realize frequenting churascurria's could not be a part of), time to re-examine how and what we eat.
My concerns is, how to go meat-free and still eat filling meals that are not comprised of loads of pasta, rice and cheese. We could eat pasta, or bean & cheese burritos every night for a month and have accomplished the goal of being meat-free. But we'd each gain 20lbs, and that kind of defeats a big part of the purpose of trying to eat more healthfully. So if you are a vegetarian could you throw a few great recipes my way that don't involve a pile of fettucini or a slab of cheese? I'd appreciate it.
aaaand, now I'm off to yoga. Namaste. ;-)