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Monday, October 3, 2011

When the student is ready, the teacher will appear

I have always taken the above statement to mean something along the lines of - if you do enough meditating, at some point, a small, bald-headed and wrinkled Tibetan monk (think Yoda without the pointy ears, oh and not green) will appear in your life and let you in on all the secrets of the universe. Or, at the very least, you would find a decent yoga teacher (still have not found someone to replace you Heather).

In the past few days, I've been thinking maybe it isn't even as obvious as a decent yoga teacher, perhaps, the teacher may be technology and the lessons delivered in sound bites.

Despite the optimisim of my last post, I found another hurdle that had to be jumped.  While the logic of "keep your eyes on the prize" is undeniable, I found myself thinking "so what?".  I had lost faith in the outcome.  I didn't really believe that eating right would improve my life in any meaningful way.

Then I watched a Louis Theroux documentary on Crystal Meth.  I found myself wondering why people would throw their lives away to take a drug and then I realised I was doing the same thing, I was just more fortunate in that eating Tim Tams doesn't lead to a life of crime.

The thing that really struck me though, was one simple sentence.  Louis was talking to a couple who had been using Crystal Meth for 25 years.  They primarily financed their use by being dealers themselves.  The woman said she would like to stop using it, the man wasn't concerned either way.  He told Louis that no-one could guarantee that his life would be better if he didn't use Crystal Meth.  Louis gave him a very intelligent response, he simply asked "was your life better during times when you weren't using?"  The guy thought about it for a second or so and said "Well yes, yes it was better".

So I asked myself whether I felt better when I ate better, when I cut out caffeine, wheat and sugar and I had to admit "Well yes, yes I did feel better".  In fact, when I did my Paleo challenge back in March, I not only felt better, people commented on how well I looked and assumed I had started working out (I hadn't, other than a few token push-ups and sit-ups every morning, I did no exercise at all).

So, on 25th Sep 2011, after waking up the second day in a row with a hangover, I decided to have a healthy day, and I made it through without reaching for a cup of tea or any bread (not that I didn't spend an inordinate amount of time thinking about it).  And I made it through the next day, and the next day and going to bed on the Tuesday night I felt better than I had in weeks.  Since then, I've buckled a few times on the bread and the chocolate, but, other than for a sip of coke, have stayed off the caffeine in spite of having a cold and knowing it would give me a temporary boost - the key word being temporary, followed by not being able to sleep, followed by feeling worse the next day (know your enemy).

Having had a few slips, the temptation is to throw your hands in the air and say "well that proves it, I will never be able to do this", but I know that is just a cop out. Not even elite athletes eat perfectly all the time.  The problem of what to do with imperfection is a thorny one, but I will try to address it in my next post.