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I always loved the chewy taste of a rare, juicy, meaty steak and even when I would have “bouts” of vegetarianism for a week or a month I always said it was just for healthful purposes, I wasn’t one of those people who wouldn’t eat meat because it was mean to the animals because it seemed an unrealistic premise–we were born omnivores. Recently I have been having a change of heart and stomach.

The steps on this journey are as follows:

  • Watching the movie “Avatar” of all things and being reminded of the ancient, native traditions of blessing all animals that give us food and killing them in kind ways (reminiscent in the movie of Native American traditions where the animal is given a blessing as and after it is killed).
  • Reading John Robbins (heir to the Baskin Robbins throne) Food Revolution which was by mandate for yoga school but brought me to a new consciously aware place about what I eat, where it comes from, what that food can do to me, and what was done to it before it got to my plate.
  •  The desimation of our Iguana population at work by people poaching them for food.
  • And Max The Duck who wanders in front of our door (at work) with more and more frequency and who I find myself conversing (well briefly) alone with at 730am when I come from meditation to work very early and he is waiting hungrily for the crackers I feed him.

 

My realization that my consciousness about what I am doing and what is being done to others calls me to see that as a real piece in the process before my trip to the supermarket for plastic wrapped limbs. My learnings from yoga school to the amazing lecture by Richard Rohr who was introduced at the beginning of his lecture on his new book The Naked Now as part contemplative mystic and a proponent of eco-spirituality. He spoke about all the same wisdom as my yoga teacher in terms of our relationship and treatment of the world around us and how reflective it is of our inner selves–how neglect of these things are as much spiritual void as nature negligence.

My world and life, as it often works, seems to be circling back to an eco-friendly framework. One that spans beyond just recycling when I can and trying to be sustainable in a small scope. In a world where livestock has become an industry of warehousing and cruelty unless I plan on building a humane farm for one there is no way to really participate in mainstream omnivore lifestyle without being an affront to consciousness and conscience-ness.

This is of course a personal plight and journey and I by no means want to send waves of negativity towards the vibrantly carnivorous among us (ahem, my husband). I have not decided yet how this new attempt at gastronomy is going to go or what I am going to leave on the table–literally or figuratively.

What I do know is that I will have to do whatever I do with awareness and mindfulness of what I know and not be capricious about eating at any level. I think it is, also, no random coincidence, that my dietary suggestions for my chronic illness (endometriosis) include avoiding, if possible, most meat and most dairy altogether. Perhaps I am on a path I was meant to be on–spiritually and corporeally.


“Fall seven times, stand up eight.”
Japanese Proverb
 

I have spoken about them before but nothing amazes me more than the resilience of an iguana. In the recent frosty cold nights and chilly Florida mornings teetering at temperatures under 50 degrees the iguanas have had some frozen slumbers. Below a certain temperature these amphibious creatures are unable to maintain a body temperature to function and their large scaly figures will freeze where they lay–often meaning that those seeking shelter in a tree will catapult to the ground, frozen, upside-down, but somehow unharmed in their statuesque state.

This unintentional game of red light, green light goes on as long as the temperatures drop at night and the sun returns to the sky to thaw them in the morning hours. And, as if nothing had changed, or any time had passed, the iguanas shake off their frozen slumber and head back out into the world to repeat the cycle again.

To me this is the epitome of resilience. The iguana may be made frozen and non-functional by life circumstances but they return again to consciousness and mobility ready to forge forward despite the snag of lost time. They come out of their slumber and back to life, not altogether unscathed or undazed but moving forward into the present, into the now.

What a perfect metaphor for trauma and resilience from traumatic experience. We can survive and thrive in the life we were given, work past our stuck points, and frozen moments of existence. Life moves on, we defrost, the chill passes and the sun shines. Iguanas, to me are the ultimate symbol of what is possible in ourselves.

Enjoy the cold, stay warm as you can, and persevere!

” They must often change, who would be constant in happiness or wisdom.”

Confucius

 

Iguanas are everywhere in Florida.  Outside my office window on any given day I can hear the tapping of iguana lips on a glass door, heavy thuds of thick scales, beckoning to be noticed and not so subtly asking, “Food Please Humans Who Sometimes Feed Me!”  Sometimes they even make squawking sounds when they become furious at being ignored–they are persistent and insistent creatures with never-ending bellies.  I have also learned that in a chill, yes they occasionally occur in South Florida, an iguana will freeze and then thaw again when in warm sunlight, completely unfazed by the experience.  How Zen of them.

Sometimes in life we become frozen in our lives, stagnated by circumstances, complacency, or just comfort.  I have spoken about this before and my own experience with this phenomenon.  I realize more every day, as I feel my life flower and bloom in exciting new ways, how much I was in such a iguana-like freeze prior to leaving New Jersey.  I was in desperate need of sunlight and a thaw and I didn’t even know it.  Surrounded by the coziness of a place I had always known, friends I had for a long time, family that surrounded me I had to try very little to effect anything in my life and as a result I effected very little. 

In moving into the sunlight and out of the freeze–both literal and metaphoric–I have shifted something, shaken up the mix, and out came all this blossoms of change that have been wonderfully rich.  I have met amazing people, adventured on many new projects, and stretched my own imagination of what might be possible.  I think we all need these moments from time to time to push us forward into the new–it is a spiritual invigoration. 

Amid all of this thawing and stretching in the sunlight (and I cannot stress how much I feel emotionally revived by sunlight and warmth in the Holiday Season) I have decided to commit fully to writing the book that has been on my mind and in my heart for quite some time.  It will be a labor of love and adjectives and it may take me the better part of a year to fully bring to paper (well to laptop virtual paper that is) but I have decided that it is something I must stop procrastinating on and start literarily enacting.  It will encompass all of this journey of complementary medicine, yoga, equine facilitated therapies, and my personal exploration of each into a memoir-like account.  I am excited and intimidated by the challenge.

I now throw out this thawing momentum to everyone to push your limits, step out of your box, and thaw a little in the sunlight.  Breathe out your inner iguana-like metamorphosis, updog into the sunlight (like the iguana in the picture above), and find how far you can stretch yourself.  Be uncomfortable, be intimidated, but be invigorated and alive by the prospect.  Dream big, think tall, and screech out loud like any impatient and persistent iguana would. 

“Forget not that the earth delights to feel your bare feet and the winds long to play with your hair.”

Kahlil Gibran

 

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