In case you’re wondering why I haven’t been blogging for a while, it’s because I went on a two week trip to Northern California. For ten days of that time I was in a silent yoga and meditation retreat in San Rafael. For ten days I was served delicious organic food for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. I had a little coffee in the morning, but otherwise I was caffeine and alcohol free. Between the healthy food and the yoga and meditation, I was feeling pretty purified by the time I got out of the retreat. The day I got out, the friend who had joined me for the retreat also joined me for a couple of days in San Francisco. We first went out to eat some sushi in Japantown and then to hear a talk by Will Kabat-Zinn (son of Jon Kabat-Zinn), who is a wonderful teacher of mindfulness. Afterwards I had the thought, “Gee, I think I’d like some dessert.” You see, there was dessert at the retreat but it was made very healthy and I didn’t really feel like I’d had any dessert for ten days. We popped into an Italian restaurant nearby and ordered a dessert calledChocolate! Chocolate! Chocolate! (Milk Chocolate Mousse, Chocolate Pecan Crust with Chocolate Gelato and Chocolate Sauce) to share. This dessert didn’t say triple chocolate for no reason and it was delicious. But, by the time I’d eaten my half, I felt a little ill, it felt like I’d been plugged into a light socket, and kind of like my body could fly (this was not a particularly positive feeling). If I had eaten this before the retreat, I probably would not have noticed the significant effect of caffeine and sugar on my body. After just ten days it was amazing how sensitive I had become.
The lesson in this story is that it is easy to get accustomed to eating and drinking substances that might be having a deleterious effect on our body and we won’t even notice. The body gets accustomed but we are not doing our body any favors by making it put up with overindulgence. Why not try a little experiment of your own? For a couple of weeks, cut out sugar, or alcohol, or caffeine, or fried food, or sugary soda. Notice what effects this has on your body. When you re-introduce the food or drink, notice how it feels.
Personally, even though I usually eat and drink pretty healthy anyway, I am making changes based on my retreat experience. The main reason I’m making new choices is because I feel better and have more energy when I treat my body this way. Isn’t it funny how we make choices that make us feel bad just to get a quick sense of pleasure? The quick sensation of pleasure is over much quicker than the overall feeling of health that’s possible to us when we pay more attention to what we are doing and the effects that it has on the body.