A Case Against Positivity

life sucks

Hear me out.

I overheard a girl talking to her two friends on the way down from the Chief a couple of days ago saying:

“I’m really trying to be more positive in life and look at the bright side of things.”

There were excited mini-cheers of endearment and support following from her buds.
Which is cool n stuff…truly, if you’re at a place in your life where equanimity floods your daily conduct, and Muggle things like getting eggshells out of your scramble leaves you unphased, or running through the pissing rain has you all “extra shower”, or your roommate’s bass from their music upstairs (why is it ever OK to listen to Pit Bull okhmmm?) then (*cough cough Buddha) you’ve past some lifetimes and #jahbless.  But this is a case for being Human and understanding that the only way out is through.

Enter the concept: spiritual bypassing.  Basically, this is when we try to act as if we’re already where we want to be in life, without taking the truck through shit to get there.

This is not a negative striving though, truly, it’s actually pretty damn (not darn, never darn, sweet Jesus) beautiful.  The fact that we really genuinely want to be the best people we can be as quickly as possible is lovely.  The problem is that the very experience of human states and accepting our annoying complaints without superimposing rainbows and butterflies into our life is what leads eventually to that learned lesson in life.  When we go through the acceptance, the ability to let go of Life’s little annoyances I think eventually lets go of us.  Because the thing is, maybe we can teach ourselves to plaster a smile on our faces whenever we feel a frown, and conditionally impose the stimulus-response Pavlovian science on our human habits, but for how long? How long before we see a puppy shit on our newly planted vegetable garden and just lose it? Before Pit Pull comes on in the checkout line when we’re hangry and our blood curls and we take it out on a loved one when we get home after seeing that dinner’s not prepared as was promised?

My point is that I believe if we are on the path to self-betterment, then naturally we will want to achieve what we aspire towards.  Of course, ideally, I really wish that I wouldn’t get to frustrated when my gut is fucked up (STILL) from antibiotics and I’m shitting like 10x/day.  Of course maybe you don’t want to feel anger running through you when you hear yet another vegan rave about cashew cheese or zoodles (is that just me?), or when your latte tastes burnt, or your yoga class is cancelled, or or or or…but fuck, we feel those things though, don’t we?  Is it really our faults we came to this earth, learned our behaviours, got shit passed down from neurological pathways and evolutionary tendencies for survival of the fittest such that our minds are wired to be little pieces of shit?

Nope.

So, I stopped the group of friends on they way down and 1.5x podcast speeded through the above to them (thanks for not telling me to fuck-off), and they were like “Whoa, true, hey?”

I honestly trust that there’s a process we go through to get to where we want to be, how we want to feel.

I don’t let go of my thoughts.  I meet them with understanding, and then my thoughts let go of me.

–  Byron Katie

So, I’m choosing to acknowledge the suck.  I choose to accept that I feel pissed right the fuck off sometimes, and others, maybe pissed a little the merde ouf.  Either way, I feel it, name it (powerful practice to name the emotion–creates a distance from living it, and observing it.  With this space, we can see it pass through us and not embody us), accept it.  That’s step one.

I think if I tried to just press fast-forward, I would end up exploding and throughout the process, most likely indulge in more coping mechanisms to dissipate the excess “scabbing” that takes place to bottle-neck the emotions.

e-motion: energy in motion.

A.K.A. that shit has gotta move.  Somewhere.  So avoiding it just traps it.  Facing it is bloody bold and courageous.  Feeling the feeling, and acknowledging it is both empowering and admirable.  If we simply express the anger without acknowledging it, then we are no more awake that were we to superimpose happiness on shitty situation.  So the golden formula is:

Feeling + Acknowledging = Growth

The whole point of spirituality is connecting more deeply with ourselves.  And what better way than to let ourselves feel.  After all, truly, our soul genuinely is love, and with compassionate understanding, the shit will eventually brush off of us, and with gentle insight and inquiry into our feelings, we’ll uncover what’s beneath them.

Something like that.

Namaste, mother lovers.

Ps. If you haven’t yet listened to Iliza Shlesinger saythatfivetimesfast then you have so much room for activities!

How Food and Emotion are connected

In Ayurveda, there’s big emphasis on the state of mind, and how food affects us.

Did you know that food, and the way we eat, and how we feel while, during, and after eating plays a huge role in how we live our lives?

yoga-diet

Hansaji Yogendra of The Yoga Institute in Mumbai, India, has great insight onto this topic in her article Yogic Principles of Healthy Eating:

The ancients knew this long ago – they equated food with God. Thus, were developed rituals and practices like praying before meals, eating with full concentration, relishing the meal, etc. Therefore while eating, one should attend to the way food is being chewed, the subtle tastes of the different food items, the way it goes down the oesophagus to the stomach, etc.

When food is eaten thus, with one -pointedness, the assimilation and absorption of food is at its best. This is the ideal way to eat food. Alternatively, one could also indulge in polite conversations bringing joy and happiness. Avoid watching television while eating. One should also try to go beyond likes and dislikes and not have a negative opinion about food. Most physical ailments are caused due to unhealthy food habits.

Moderation is the key word. Eat food as a duty, eat only as much as will make you feel hungry after 4 hours. Remember that food we eat is only to sustain us and our body’s proper functioning, avoid overeating just because you like the taste of the food. Instead eat what you love slowly, relishing every part of the meal; that way you will feel fuller faster and not crave for more food.

Furthermore, here are some key points to take home:

Tips to eat right from dawn to dusk

  • While lying in bed on your back inhale 5 seconds and exhale deeply 5 seconds. While going for a walk inhale for 2 steps, exhale for 2 steps. Follow this pattern for about hundred steps. This will help you wake up feeling happy and relaxed.
  • Appreciate whatever there is on your plate. In case some taste is unpleasant for you, instead of becoming critical, enjoy every morsel of food and be happy that you have some food to eat, unlike others who do not. Our likes and dislikes have to be tempered by what is good for us. Remember to chew your food thoroughly. Make sure you do not have another morsel ready as you chew, this will tend to rush your meal. Wait till you have swallowed the food in your moth before you pick up the next morsel.
  • If your job is a sedentary one, get up every half an hour and walk a few steps.
  • Change the position of your legs often, this helps prevent swelling in the legs and keeps your blood circulation in order. Whenever possible close the eyes and think. Listen more and speak less.

Now here is a log that I used to track my emotions and how I felt after eating different foods.  I noticed consistently that there was a theme to how I felt after consuming different foods.  The Ayurvedic food groups are tracked into 3 Categories:

According to Yoga, the type of food you eat determines the type of mind , you have. As the food, so the mind; As the mind, so the man. Therefore, eat easily digestible food or

  1. Sattvic food which includes: Milk and milk products fresh fruits and dry fruits seasonal vegetables, cereals (like wheat, unpolished rice, jowar, bajra, corn), pulses (like moong dal – green with skin and yellow), sprouted cereals and pulses. A little ginger, turmeric powder (haldi), cumin seeds (jeera), coriander powder (dhania). Honey, jaggery, crystal sugar (misry), raw sugar (gud shakkar), ghee or rice brand oil and filtered oil (groundnut or till oil). Eating this food brings relaxation and a feeling of peace.What not to eat?
  2. Only little of rajasic food may be eaten. This food is difficult to digest and leaves one in a disturbed state of mind. All non-vegetarian foods, hot spices, onions, garlic, non-seasonal vegetables and salt fall in this category.
  3. Tamasic food is unnatural and stale. All refined, processed, artificially coloured, flavoured and deep frozen foods are Tamasic in nature.

NOW: Keep in mind that moderation in moderation is key.  This info is powerful knowledge, and so use to your digression.  Every body is different, so why not experiment with the log below to see how you feel?  It’s a cool self-experiment.

Mind and Body Reaction to Food Intake: Rate each which is applicable /10

This is a log which is a tool to use in order to see how our food choices affect the way we function in our minds and bodies. Food is a powerful medicine that affects not only our body functioning, but also our state of mind and state of being. This log is a way to watch how we feel after eating the food we eat, in a way to mindfully shift our behaviours after becoming aware of the way our choices are driving our sense perceptions.

  Morning Afternoon Evening
Time of Eating      
Food      
Mental state prior to eating      
Perceived Quantity      
Calmness      
Clarity      
Stress-level      
Mental comfort      
Physical Comfort      
Energy Level      
Happiness      
Self-Image      
Confidence      
Anxiety      
Ease/dis-ease      
Satiety      
Other      

Here’s an extra vid of brilliant insight if you want to hear more about Hansaji, and what she has to share: