I’ve just finished a four hour stint on the beach….FOUR HOURS!!!! I’ve had four days to myself (FOUR DAYS), as my husband took the kids with him down to visit his parents in Melbourne (for whom I am incredibly grateful for this time; both Lindsay and his Mum and Dad). So, one would assume that some great epiphanies perhaps would emerge after spending so much time in nature. And I truly went to the nature end of the beach, where there was NO ONE else, except the birds, the waves, the sun, the sand, and a wallaby that graced me with his or her presence when I pee-ked in the bush:-).
Aside from collecting a beautiful assortment of unique stones on my merry beach way, I do feel I gathered a few thought gems as well. One of them was the result of contemplating what I need in life. This was spawned in particular by my discomforts in life. For example, as I was walking along the beach my right foot really began to hurt. This has been an ongoing, intermittent pain issue that I have been working with, contemplating and seeking help with for the past 2.5 years (it started exactly the day after my last baby was born)…to say the least it has helped me experiential deepen and integrate my Pain Care Yoga approach to chronic conditions. So, as I was walking, I was thinking AGAIN about what I might need to get the pain to go away.
I’ve had all sorts of philosophical, physical, spiritual and emotional contemplations about pain in the past, a familiar colleague on the path to be sure. I feel like I have been coming at it from many angles, some days trying to change it, some days trying to accept it, some days trying to connect compassionately to it, some days trying to disassociate from it…but nothing I have tried has truly worked (in regards to my foot pain that is, I have had successes elsewhere in my being re: changing pain). Sure, some things have made a bit of a difference, some things alleviate it for some time, and then it returns, so the mystery continues.
Anyhow, the point is that the pain inspired the question of “what do I need?”, and curiously enough, as I’ve had all this time with out my family, I’ve taken up the opportunity to do with less than what I usually think I need: I decided to start a cleanse. I’ve been going without my cup of coffee as the thing I NEED first thing in the morning, as well as experimenting with delaying my breakfast. I’ve been trying out the 16/8 intermittent fasting diet, where you don’t eat for 16 consecutive hours, and then you eat all your caloric needs in an 8 hours window. I usually would have breakfast at 7am, whereas for the past four days I’ve been waiting till 11am to break my fast. I’ve been also eating much cleaner, having a green smoothie for my breakfast, greens and protein for lunch, and a bit of wholegrains, veg and simple protein for dinner. What has been most surprising is how easy it has been. I have felt great, I haven’t really felt that hungry through out the day. In fact, I almost don’t feel hungry at all until I decide I’m going to eat. And so this has further inspired the wonder of what do I really need?
Now, carrying these food/fasting reflections over to my foot pain dilemma, I started to reflect on how impactful having less of what I normally think I need felt, it felt upward spiralling, healthy. Although I was expecting the fasting to be challenging, it hasn’t been, and the ‘so far’ benefits of feeling light and clear have been pretty instant. So, I wonder how this sort of “less is more” or “reorient your perception” approach could help my foot? I mean, the first reorientation might be perceiving my foot in its perfection, not as a problem that needs my fixing…is that teetering towards delusion? Hold that thought.
So, as I was riding my bike home from the beach and saw shops full of people buying things, I remembered: I once thought I needed those nice things too, but I feel such relief and freedom to have woken up and realized I don’t need any of those pretty things, they won’t fix what ever hollowness I feel inspired to fill with pretty things…especially when I realized that my personal hollowness feeling had more to do with not feeling good enough in my life, and less to do with not having enough in my life.
Really starting to get somewhere here, summary so far: I thought I needed coffee first thing, but I don’t, I thought I needed pretty things, but I don’t…and now I can see that I think I need to rid myself of this foot pain, do I?? My previous experiences tell me that once I let go of the misguided wantings of “somethings” (coffee and pretty things), they no longer pained me to not have them…so, will the opposite be true with pain? If I let go of NOT WANTING my pain, will it no longer pain me to have it…will that possibly cancel out the pain??? Is this crazy fasting talk? 🙂
When I got home, I was thinking: do I EVER get a definite response when I contemplate what I need in life? I mean, I know sometimes I think I know what I need, or a take a stab at it and go with a hunch, but how often can I say I am CERTAIN about what I need? Perhaps the more uncertain I accept I am about what I need, the less I end up feeling I need at all…it’s like as I accept uncertainty I shed the false presumptions, I shed the false solutions or remedies or answers or expectations, and perhaps reconfigure my attitude towards my needs in the first place.
As I continued this train of thought I was getting all cocky, thinking “Yah, I don’t need much”. And then in my fasting hysteria I thought “maybe I don’t need anything, maybe everything I think I need is just a construct of my mind” (I need to lay of the existential material I think).
But then it hit me, as I walked up the stairs, entered my home, went to the loo, looked in the mirror…thirst. Thirst. THIRST hit me. And with ABSOLUTE CERTAINTY I KNEW: I NEED WATER!
And then the rest of the clear thoughts came tumbling out after that, saying “Yes, I need earth, and air, and water, and sun”. Everything I need I can find in nature. Nature provides everything I need to live, and everything I don’t need from what nature gives, nature can easily take back. What ever waste in my exhale nature can take back. What ever waste from the food I eat from the earth, nature can take back (as in poo…just in case that wasn’t clear!😂). What ever waste from what I drink (as in pee)…you get the point. Nature not only takes back my waste, she puts it to good use, she makes more life. Amazing, talk about alchemy!
Now, I’m not being totally delusional re: what is currently happening compared to this ideal relationship with Nature. I realize that currently we don’t handle our waste products with respectful reverence for the reciprocal relationship we’re meant to have with Nature. I also realize that we don’t currently handle our consumables (which really needn’t be much more than food, shelter and appropriate clothing) with respect and reverence for the bounty and beauty and sufficiency in which Nature provides. And because of this we are destroying our home, and/or creating a lot of toxic mess for us to undo if and when we don’t actually destroy our home but then have to clean up the mess WE created.
Now, the most dangerous and crazy perspective that tries to disassociate from this reality is the one that thinks those of us who die before shit hits the fan won’t have to deal with the mess. I realize it sounds like crazy talk to suggest that we’ll have to deal with the mess we helped create even after we think we’ve hit the escape button and left this mess behind in our dying process, but this would deny the law of physics that states nothing is ever gone or destroyed, just changed. Not to mention current quantum physics research and consciousness research supporting and even suggesting that our consciousness continues after death. Putting it most simply, as I’ve come to understand it, if every other “thing” in this entire cosmos isn’t destroyed, but only changed and recycled, why would our consciousness behave any differently? Why would consciousness be the ONLY thing that didn’t follow the laws of nature? It would seem entirely IRRATIONAL and SUPERSTICIOUS to assume or conclude that our consciousness wasn’t recycled like every other element in space/time/existence. Furthermore, if everything is all there is…as in nothing exists outside of everything…as in NOTHING is a false reality: since our experience confirms that thing/s exist then “no thing” is impossible. Which means there is only everything, and science shows that everything is connected, and so if we are experiencing everything as a recycled consciousness then no one is getting off the hook…which really just means we all need to see each other as a part of ourselves, say sorry, forgive, and dream a better future TOGETHER. It’s really starting to sound like what I learned when I was five, funny how we forget.
So anyhow, I’m actually starting to feel really hungry. But basically, the point of the whole story is: my vote is love. I choose to love it all. To both be in love and become love with everything…
which I guess includes you, how lovely!
Thanks for reading.