I’ve come to an interesting point in my quest for holistic wellness. I’m about to embark upon my YogaWorks teacher training, and intent on beginning an education with the Institute for Integrative Nutrition once that’s complete. I’m passionate about longevity and as curious as can be about how to best fuel the body, mind and spirit. I have noticed in the past couple of weeks, however, that I seem to be hunting for “one right way” and, as most of us know, this can result in a cyclical pattern of ending up right back where one started.
One of my most powerful beliefs is that we, as human beings, are all vastly different. We operate on totally different levels, thrive on totally different forms of fuel, are interested in totally different aspects of life…pardon all the “totally’s” (I am a California girl after all), but it is TOTALLY beginning to blow my mind. The more I learn, the more puzzled I become, to an extent. I’m not frustrated or confused, don’t get me wrong, I know exactly where my path is leading me; I’m simply observing something that’s highly interesting to me. Each unique circle of the wellness community is a little bit different, each intoxicatingly attractive to a health-nut like me, but all boasting (in a positive manner) a different recipe for wellness.
Well, what’s a yogini to do?
I am discovering, day by day, what works for my body. What sleep patterns, dietary choices, emotional rhythms, physical activities, interpersonal relationships and long-term goals get my fires roaring. I admit that there is risk involved when one is on such a journey; sometimes making discoveries like seven hours for some reason is not enough sleep, dairy just does not properly digest in your body, highly materialistic friends no longer bring you any joy, running sucks, you no longer want to live in the area you’re in…you get the picture. Change and growth come running when one embarks upon such a journey.
I’ve been on my holistic wellness journey (this particular avenue of it, that is) over a year and a half. In that time I’ve grown immensely, I’ve also changed immensely. I’ve developed my own beliefs and patterns, and I’ve been influenced by the beliefs and patterns of those I admire. I’ve collected some seriously rawkstar role models, whom I look up to with respect and utmost admiration; I’ve also encountered some positively intimidating extremists. I find the latter to shake me, and frankly stick with me more. I get this little voice in the back of my head flinging around the words “should” and “shouldn’t” like they’re conjunctions, and I find myself feeling (infuriatingly) inferior.
The calmer, more passive voice says things like, “Oh that’s silly, don’t let others’ extremism affect you. That’s just silly.” But the other voice pipes in going, “Yeah it’s not silly when your central nervous system gets deadened by drinking tap water like that one guy said.” What the funk am I to do?
One gal brings her own organic, raw, super clean meals to restaurants when she’s eating out with others. Extremism? Yes. But can I blame her for not wanting to be faced with a gluten, dairy and meat saturated menu? No, I can’t. Do I want to limit myself so outrageously? No way, Jose! Would I prefer to eat at organic, healthy cafes when I go out to eat? YES, HECK YES!
So that’s where I stand. I seek holistic wellness, but I also seek balance. I already don’t care for going out to restaurants much because I so adore cooking; I adore knowing that my food is nourishing me from the inside out; I find pleasure in preparing meals that I spent the time and energy shopping for (or growing), preparing, and presenting. I prefer this lifestyle, it brings me great joy. I pack snacks and meals when I travel, I google yoga studios and local health food stores, and am like a kid in a candy store discovering the local wellness community when I am visiting a new place. And, the best part of my discoveries outside of myself, I’ve learned there are a gazillion other totally rad, totally normal, totally everyday people who are just, like, ME! My twitter and facebook are now filled with girls and guys who are as freaking STOKED on yoga, nutrition and learning as I am!
The extremists are few and far between, but they still get to me. I seek balance in my journey, in my everyday life, and (most of all) within my own being. The extremist views that make me fearful of every non-organic, potentially chemically-ridden thing I touch, eat, breathe or entertain the idea of, and the potential that it will kill me or negate the healthy choices of my otherwise healthy lifestyle is terrible. So, here’s what I say, I’ve survived for 24 years, and tap water hasn’t killed me yet! I’m about as clean of an eater as they come, but if I’m out in some random land and the restaurant the people I’m with want to go to is not healthy or organic, I’m not going to pack a tupperware of food and call the restaurant ahead of time (the thought makes me shudder!); equally, I will not judge those who feel oppositely of me. I will never preach my way as “the right way” nor will I condone the “ways” of others for any reason whatsoever.
The most exciting part is, there’s so much I’ve still yet to learn. So many changes I’ve still yet to make, so much growth I’ve still yet to experience. So how could this way, this way that I’m being right now, be the “only” or “right” way? It can’t. It simply isn’t possible because I know the immeasurable possibilities out there waiting for me will continue to help me hone my ways. It’s a journey, not a destination. I’m positively certain that, if I listen to myself and ground down into the center of my being with confidence and assuredness, I’ll always be able to navigate the myriad of opposing views that swim before me. Wading through suggestions and doctrines as I fine tune the recipe that works for me.
One thing I know for certain: on my quest for holistic wellness, balance is a key ingredient.
Be well, be balanced, be happy.