Tag Archives: meditation

Cropdusting Hipsters

31 Oct

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It all started when I farted in yoga.

It happened once, twice, three times a lady flatulist.

Not many girls own up to a fart, so at first I pretended that the pop was simply a wayward hip joint being wrenched from its socket like a newly-weaned, puppy farm kelpie. It kept happening though: every class I’d cropdust inner-west hipsters like a leaky Vietnam war jet, blithely turning the yoga studio into a miasma of my own special brand of Agent Orange. And sure, those bastards were breaking wind in uttanasana waaaaaay before it was cool, but some poor fucker was going to get their improved flexibility with a side of asbestosis. Seriously, I was about to be swapped out of the class on an emissions trading scheme for a sacred cow. I had to do something. So I tried a champagne cork. My li’l butt-plug became a rogue missile that rebounded off the wall and wedged in my instructor’s man-bun. It nearly took his eye out, actually. Thank god he had those vintage horn-rimmed Ray-Bans on.

Blaming it all on poor digestion, I briefly turned vegan. That was an experience. A windy one: I didn’t realise that eating legumes would cause me to fart more. Why did nobody tell me that? I dropped my guts so often that I’m probably due for a stoma. And it’s fucking hard to be a vegan. Not because of what you can’t eat; but because you have to master a brand-new tone of voice. The most important part of being a vegan is telling everyone that you’re a vegan. And you have to learn to say this correctly. You want only a modicum of snarkiness. You should imply superiority without sounding grandiose. Do this wrong and you’ll get punched in the face. And you absolutely cannot get punched. Trust me. A physical blow is devastating to a vegan- they’re all dangerously low on iron because vegan food tastes like unwaxed cardboard, elder abuse and broken dreams.

Next I tried The Paleo Diet: one of the most baffling marketing gimmicks this side of a Toohey’s commercial. Paleo is astoundingly popular in Australia- Woolworths are in the process of creating a mastodon section in the frozen food aisle as you read this very paragraph, so it’s not likely to become extinct anytime soon. In my brief stint as a cavewoman, I discovered that you can eat a large variety of foods. Such as bacon and olive Paleo bread served with thick, creamy clarified butter.

I wasn’t aware that Cro-Magnon man cured meat. Or baked, actually. Is Betty Crocker that fucking old? And what cavewoman churned butter? Was that while getting Bubba Yum Yum to stop scrawling on the walls of the cave and consume their autism-averting bone broth? And I have a math problem for you: how much kombucha do I have to drink over what period of time before I get the ‘Pete Evans manic gleam’ in my eye?

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That man is the Charles Manson of the food industry. Have you seen his Instagram page? It’s just drenched in clarified smug. I’m fairly certain that if you scroll backwards through it at a high velocity you’ll generate enough Newtownian energy to play Helter Skelter.

Another weird Paleo thing? Activated almonds. Yep, just because Pete Evans is a dick, it doesn’t mean we can’t enjoy his nuts. How do you activate nuts? Well, first you soak them in salt water- so the special, miracle Paleo enzymes are released- then you bake them over a low heat. And yes, cavemen totally did this. It’s how we evolved evolutionarily- activated almonds gave us the energy burst needed to outrun the sabre-tooth tiger. Everyone knows that. God, read a book. Activated nuts are easier on your colon, too. So not only will your anus love Pete Evans’ nuts, your shit won’t stink, either. I have to admit that my nuts felt awesome after they were activated. They were so salty and warm! I couldn’t stop playing with them. And I don’t know why Pete Evans doesn’t say to women, “Hey baby, do you want to come over to my place tonight and help me activate my nuts?”

There are people in this world who spend their time thinking about the dichotomy of capitalism and world peace. Me? Paleo pick-up lines.

Anyway, when my Paleolithic era died out, I latched onto the I Quit Sugar bandwagon and rode it to glory.

I Quit Sugar isn’t a diet. Sure, it involves drastically reducing your calorie intake and cutting out entire food groups- just like a diet- but it’s more than that. I Quit Sugar is a cult way of life. That will make you healthier. Glowier. Better at calculus. See, your body metabolises fructose differently to other sources of fuel. For example, when you drink Coca-Cola, your pancreas release insulin. You knew that, right? Well what you may not know- and I didn’t until I started reading Sarah Wilson’s blog- is that insulin then reacts with the soda, causing the glucose molecules to bind together to form a miniscule troll that will then take refuge in a pocket of your liver. Consume enough, and the pocket will begin to harden, calcify, and resemble a cave (this is why I Quit Sugar is so similar to the Paleo diet). If you keep consuming sugar, your body becomes acidic, and the troll will magically procure a pitchfork. The pitchfork then permeates the cells of your mitochondria to give you diabetes, adult acne, unfuckability, and high-magnitude emotional instability. Before you know it, you’re spinning off into a banshee’s orbit, screeching at people, dousing the world in vitriol because some lazy motherfucker forgot to refill the photocopier’s paper tray. Again. Bastard. This causes a chain reaction: the other person gets angry, stews on it, goes home, kicks the dog, slams the fridge door, and crushes their son’s 5th birthday cake- the Power Ranger one that the nice old lady down the street baked for him. The son will then grow up with soul-crushing feelings of inadequacy, which leads him to externalise, shag your only daughter, and dump her in front of the entire school, breaking her heart.

All because you drank a fucking Coke. Shame on you.

So, in summation: Sugar is evil. And, like Buffy, we must roundhouse kick it in the temple.

Odd things happened when I quit. My shopping trolley, for instance, was suddenly stuffed with kale, maca powder and coconut water.

Coconut water. Something that I once proclaimed to be “the only substance in the world less palatable than jizz.”

As the month wore on, my blood sugar levels stabilised, my stomach flattened, and my energy levels increased in direct correlation to my sense of puffed-up superiority. Before I knew it, I was becoming one of those horrible people that post their dinner to social media. Although, I must have retained some modicum of CC-ness because I added the hashtag ‘peteevansisadick’ to everything.

By day 35 I was running at 88% macrobiotic: almost at full Gwyneth. I felt amazing. I was a better person. Better than you. Better than Jesus. So I decided to bake brownies for everyone, which is what Jesus used to do for his disciples.

Don’t believe me? It’s true. Jesus used to bake all the fucking time. He wasn’t a Palestinian. He was a Paleotarian. It’s just a mistranslation. Pete Evans is writing a book about it. It’s self-published. Due out later this year. I believe it’s called, You have to eat Paleo to get into heaven. Apparently Bubba Yum Yum got smart from being fed bone broth instead of breast milk and wrote delicious recipes on the cave walls, which Jesus then found when he spent three days in there over Easter. He was resurrected to bring Paleo to the world. Where do you think the “loaves and the fishes” thing came from? It was smoked mackeral on gluten-free Paleo bread.

Anyway, since I’d been so healthy for so long, I decided to eat some batter. I dipped my finger in the mixing bowl, scooped out a large chunk of sugary happiness, and-

It all unravelled quite quickly.

I came to three hours later, snapping back into reality like a KGB sleeper agent who’d just heard their trigger phrase. I was on my kitchen floor, foetal, with a mixing bowl on my head. Around me, a nest of sugar packets, brownie batter, a mangled rubber chicken, clotted cream, and pinking shears. I have no recollection of what happened and my thongs are still missing. It’s possible that I traded them for some sugar. Or a rubber chicken. And I spent the next seven days consuming more chocolate than Honey Boo Boo’s entire family- including the inbred, extended brother-cousins. I was more saccharine than Delta’s post-leukemia album.

Banning sugar had given me a total ‘don’t push the red button moment’, and when I allowed myself to linger within the vicinity of the button again I not only touched it, but licked it, fondled it, and spanked it with synthetic poultry. I needed a detox day, I told myself. 24 hours where I consumed nothing but vegetables and green tea. That’d pull me out of Willy Wonka’s rabbit hole. I’d reset everything and I’d be okay.

I made it to 5pm before driving to the shops and purchasing a large jar of Nutella, which I then consumed for dinner.

That’s not true.

The double bacon cheeseburger with extra avocado (that’s a vegetable…right?!) was my dinner. The Nutella became dessert. A dessert that I ate directly from the jar with a tablespoon while wearing little more than shame, a basketball jersey and a pair of Batman knickers. Well, I could only bring myself to eat ¾ of it before coming to my senses and throwing it in the bin.

Okay, that isn’t true either.

I consumed roughly ⅞ of the jar before digging the remaining slivers out with my fingers, smearing them across my cheeks like war-paint, and watching Gonzo: The Life and Work of Dr. Hunter S. Thompson on Netflix, because when I cross that sticky brown line into debauchery, my instinct is always to round it like a marathon runner and sprint into the forest faster than a Delorian trying to travel through time.

At 32 years old I should know what I can and can’t do in relation to dieting. Unfortunately, I’m not the kind of person that can airily attend a few extra spin classes and skip dessert in order to fit into last summer’s bikini. When I diet, it starts as, “I’m only allowed to eat broccoli and cottage cheese, upside-down in a darkened room, while an organic lemon myrtle candle burns,” before eventually degenerating to, “So, I’ve spent the morning burning myself and smearing Ben & Jerry’s ice-cream into the wounds while crying and listening to The Smiths.”

So I quit quitting sugar because I didn’t want to be a quitter anymore. I had to. I Quit Sugar nearly turned me into Sally Struthers. So I threw the whole thing away and decided to face reality, to be a grown-up and be honest about where my digestive issues stem from.

Blocked chakras. Obviously. Specifically the sacral one.

So I’ve just booked the Flowering Lotus Spiritual Retreat. It promises to be a “magical journey through Mother India” which includes meditation, reiki, introspective rituals of the sacred goddess and, for some lucky participants, a Delhi Belly purifying cleanse. Inner Peace is guaranteed in the fine print and since I’ve booked before December 1st, I receive a free colonic irrigation upon arrival. Woo!

Zen and the Art of Googling Random Nonsense

10 Oct

After upending a display in Coles before storming out of the store this afternoon, I’m wondering if I should perhaps try to harness my inner zen.

Okay, so that didn’t happen, but lately I have been pondering the benefits of meditation.

This year has been a bit…unusual, I suppose. I don’t think that “unusual” is the right adjective but it will have to do. Not a bad year- there have been liberal amounts of toe curling happiness mixed in, but it’s been a bit emotionally intense. There are a number of small things on my plate at the moment. Separately, none of them are a big deal. However when these things are arranged into a little teepee, poured with a liberal measure of “quitting smoking”, and lit with a match, they erupt into an inferno.

I’m not an angry person- though I do have my moments. I’m not a depressive person. If I have any monkey on my back it’s anxiety. I have always been a little bit highly strung, when my thyroid was out it was a zillion times worse; now it’s much better, but I still exist in the ‘Ah, fuck! Shit! Fuckshit!’ part of the bell curve. I know where it comes from, high ideals and high standards and a small amount of self doubt. Thankfully, I have enough self reflection- or self obsession- to understand my shortcomings and want to do something about them. I don’t want to be a fuck up, I want to be a girl who has her shit together, and most of the time I am. But there are days where my inflated ego doesn’t propel me into the ceiling to wake me up before my alarm clock, and, consequently, I don’t leap out of bed feeling like a demigod. On these days, it’s all too easy to come down with a case of the what-ifs.

I have pondered meditation quite a bit. I tend to drift away and daydream in daily life, often with disastrous consequences. I see meditation as the cerebral knight in shining armour who will carry me away to a land of flowers and stable moods.

That might have come from a recent daydream.

However I can’t meditate. I have that monkey mind thing that Buddhists talk about. My brain jumps, alarmingly, from one topic to the next. The calm, level headed CC that lives within me often rises to catch said monkey, hoping to subdue it. But the monkey is slippery, maybe it’s covered with soap. Or coconut oil. Or banana skins. Or something. My point is she can never quite catch it.

For me, meditation is this:

Okay meditation, breathe in…and out…in…and out…that guy at the bus stop was cute, I think he was giving me the eye…maybe…was he really giving me the eye? Maybe not, maybe every guy who gives me a second glance is not checking me out…vain little princess, shit, that’s not conducive to meditation, okay, start again, in…and out…in…and out………..oh wow, I’m not thinking anything, I’m actually doing it, I’m shutting my mind off, I rock – SHIT, okay, in and out, in and……I’m hungry, oh this is so frustrating…

I managed to stick with it for a few days. Life was still the same, as it often is, but I felt slightly different. That’s the point of meditation, isn’t it? You learn to view the thoughts but not follow them. My natural baseline of angst was still there, but instead of letting myself get carried away I recognised it and laughed it off. It was good, but then I got busy and conveniently “forgot”. It’s funny how I never “forget” to dick around on Facebook. I never “forget” to check my WordPress statistics. And I can always remember to Google random shit, such as, “is PMS a myth?”, “pineapple juice semen”, and “is Jonah Hill a douchebag?” The answer is yes to all three, by the way, which is surprising because he was so loveable in Get Him to the Greek…and I don’t know what this says about Google, or my search history, but I typed in “pineapple juice” and it suggested the rest.

So it has occurred to me, while Googling “Barbie Liberation Organisation”, that my monkey-mind may have returned. Or been there all along. Maybe, just maybe, finding some Richard Gere-esque inner calm might be a more appropriate use of time on the bus.

I read the Damien Echols autobiography last year- a book I would highly recommend to anyone. Seriously, read it. Now. Leave the blog and find this book. It’s fantastic. He regularly practised zen meditation while on death row and credits it to helping keep his sanity. So if it can help wrongfully accused, persecuted men, surely it’s good for a nervy nurse?

One of my friends is bipolar and he told me something that struck me enough to stick with me. He said that by learning about and accepting his condition, he can now recognise it and deal effectively. When he starts feeling off: ‘Oh, that’s just my condition’, he shrugs. He knows he has it, he has come to terms with it, and when he feels manic or sad he flags it and continues on with his day. Hence, he manages to exist quite well in the stresses of day-to-day life with something that is quite debilitating to most people. So, by accepting my prerequisite towards the odd internal freak out, I’m hoping that meditation will allow me to flag it and continue on, rather than getting trapped in a rabbit warren of worry.

I thought this, shut my phone, took a deep breath, and said, “Ohm.”

Which is a good way to get a seat all to yourself on the bus.

Of course, my short-lived zen could simply be a placebo effect. I started doing something expecting a response, so I looked for it. Is meditation a self fulfilling prophecy for me? Is my cerebral knight only to exist in bad daydreams had whilst I should be paying attention on the freeway? And why doesn’t Rose Byrne ever smile in photographs?

Perhaps this is something to meditate on. Or Google.

Ohmmmm……