While spending the afternoon weaving through the shorefront sand dunes, I observed a few brave souls wading through the very cold sea, flanked by wild whitecaps and thigh-deep in their hunt for clams, and, pressing on with enthusiasm against the wall of shocking, salty oxygen, felt inspired. A subtle shoulder rotation had the wind catching at the seams of my coat, and I felt the lift of the gales whipping me upward over the post-apocalyptic stretch of driftwood in an arcing swing toward the clouds. Closing my eyes, I felt with exuberance and with every sense the buoyancy of flight, and thought myself very lucky indeed to be able to taste the race toward the horizon.
Thérèse of Lisieux’s imagery is like a painting:
Jesus deigned to teach me this mystery. He set before me the book of nature; I understood how all the flowers He has created are beautiful, how the splendor of the rose and the whiteness of the Lily do not take away the perfume of the little violet or the delightful simplicity of the daisy. I understood that if all flowers wanted to be roses, nature would lose her springtime beauty, and the fields would no longer be decked out with little wild flowers. And so it is in the world of souls, Jesus’ garden. He willed to create great souls comparable to lilies and roses, but He has created smaller ones and these must be content to be daisies or violets destined to give joy to God’s glances when He looks down at His feet. Perfection consists in doing His will, in being what He wills us to be.
My grandmother was a violet, petite in stature and simple in her hobbies of sewing, cooking, and gardening. The same hands that bathed me so lovingly as a baby clasped my own as she quietly passed through the veil, confronting a mystery illuminated. I stumble and tremble at imagining it with anything other than faith, and the solid confidence of a heart being made whole in spirit, the ultimate promise fulfilled in the incomprehensible.
My grandmother has passed from this world, and I won’t be seeing her again. The stillness of death is a dirt path, dotted with stones and twigs, dappled light and twisted branches rooting inward and reaching upward until you’re not sure if you’re feeling grief, or joy, or maybe both. Both is good. And in time, I know we will all settle somewhere in between.
I can’t express how grateful I am to have started this blog. While I can’t say that raw foodism saved my life, I can absolutely say that the paths resulting from embarking on my raw foodist experience have changed my life, and in only positive ways.
A year ago, I was at a serious crossroads following some major life changes. Beginning a raw food experiment led me to researching many aspects of natural health, including using alternative (usually homemade!) products for my home and personal needs, the concept of orthomolecular medicine, and other more natural methods to treat symptoms and causes of both chronic and acute illness. It also strengthened my conviction and resolve that a vegan (>;51-80% raw, seasonally-based, whole-food) diet is my ideal way of living.
With all the legitimate information out there on the great range of holistic (physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual) benefits of adopting, implementing, and embracing such a lifestyle, I can no longer claim ignorance to the fact that both people and the animals they eat get hurt by the production and consumption of the standard American diet. I don’t want to hurt anything. I’m not saying that my way is right, or even appropriate, for everyone, and I certainly don’t hold anyone in judgement for their dietary preferences. However, I DO believe the vast majority of people would greatly benefit across the holistic board by adopting a seasonally-based diet of >;51% raw, plant-based, whole foods (organic if possible). I encourage those who are considering making the change to go slowly, be gentle with themselves, and develop and maintain compassion for others. That’s truly the recipe to success, in my opinion; approached with love, grace, faith, courage, and compassion for yourself and others, you will only improve yourself, your situation, and your environment. I have come to realize, acknowledge, and appreciate our common thread, micro and macro, on a much higher level than I did previously, and I now own the responsibility to honor the ethics I know with my heart to be true. This means taking care of my needs in a way that is, at its foundation, more selfless.
I have experienced a lot of schema shifts through this adventure. My perspective and approach to relationships, work, school, and even… myself(!) has changed. It’s as if some sort of switch was tripped and I began to develop and see with a new sort of clarity. I suppose learning about the short- and long-term consequences of eating the standard American diet opened my eyes to what I perceive to be a more outward and objective reality. I am thankful for this.
One of the coolest parts has been the positive metamorphoses I’ve seen in my acquaintances, friends, and family. It’s true; what you do really does influence others, so put out the good shit! My mom uses my homemade beauty products (with great results!) and my BFF and her husband purchased and LOVE their Vitamix. Friends have adopted green smoothies, using them to replace a meal a day, with results including boosted immunity, weight loss, and an increase in overall vitality. After Gary Yourofsky’s lecture, several students decided that veganism was right for them. I think I may have even talked my dad into trying a probiotic, but don’t quote me on that one just yet ;]
In conclusion, thank you to everyone who has ever read, commented on, or subscribed to my blog. The best part of all of this really has been the possibility of touching someone else’s life in a positive way. I hope that you will never stop seeking your personal truths.
As a child, I lived and played in my imagination. Dog weddings and archeological digs in the backyard were common activities, as was my firm belief that if only I believed sincerely enough, I could fly right off of our playhouse, resurrect a dried starfish, and knit gorgeous sweaters from our Sheltie’s winter coat. As I grew older, I would be called a daydreamer, a whimsical personality.
A few years ago, I came to the conclusion that the majority of my attention was fixed on my inner monologue, spinning stories around the people and animals I encountered, and forever whispering snippets of melodies that had caught my ear during the day. I wondered if I was distracting myself from reality, and tried to stop, or at least slow down. I became frustrated with the difficulty I encountered; I realized I was dealing with what I perceived as a coping mechanism (due to its habitual and distractive nature), and while I found the cognitive-behavioral approach helpful in becoming aware of this, I always felt like I was fighting a fundamental component of my personality.
I am reclaiming my right to daydream. Introspection and introversion, when integrated with a dose of extroverted reality, make for a really interesting time. I am sorry that I fought this part of myself, and see now why the creative outlets I attempted, while fun and successful, weren’t completely satisfying. A big part of my creativity is just for me, has always been just for me, and I’m grateful to allow myself to savor the gift of storytelling and wonderment throughout the day. I see now that this has always been a legitimate outlet, one that didn’t ever need to be dressed in a costume and packaged for the external world to appreciate and admire. Funny that it only took awareness for me to identify, vilify, and finally love and accept a huge part of what makes me me.
So daydreamers, this one is for you. Your time in the clouds isn’t wasted; just come down sometime and say hello :]
Last year, when I decided to begin this blog, I had no way of anticipating the radical changes that would accompany the journey, from internal and external perception to my interaction with my environment on all levels. I remember writing an entry early on called something like “Authentic Living” which hinted at this.
As I try to process and express what this means to me, I’d also like to say that while I had no idea I’d at all accumulate any sort of readership- with the exception of family members keeping tabs (Hi Dad!), it has always been my hope that through documenting my experience (or, more accurately, science experiment), I might be able to help others… perhaps those who have become frustrated during their journey through Pharmacologia, as I had.
I knew, as you do, that I should eat more fruits and veggies. Grandma had told me that from babyhood. I knew that processed foods aren’t great for you (but boy are they convenient!) and I had read and researched the heck out of the health benefits of eating vegetarian or vegan. I was stuck in the root of the material plane, however, focusing on all of the benefits to the physical body (I include mental health in this category), and having little idea of the great advantage this sort of diet would present to one’s energetic and spiritual self. This is because my focus and reality lay in the physical realm. The truth is, there’s a reason many great spiritual leaders and thinkers have both recommended and followed a vegan diet: on an energetic level, a cleaner lifestyle opens one up more readily and thoroughly to the flow of spirit (or chi, or kundalini, or god, or life energy, or Bob- it doesn’t matter what you call it as long as the concept lies behind the word). It’s less dampening to the spirit, and to the muse. The same way we use caffeine, nicotine, THC, alcohol, etc., we use flesh and dairy. Yes, our bodies can technically process it, but it’s not the best method if one desires more spiritual and philosophical lucidity or clarity.
Similarly, I have learned that the symbols we use to represent concepts are of little significance, as long as they function personally, and that they often serve to create walls between people who might have found commonality, but instead hyperfocus (and disagree) upon the symbols themselves. It’s the old “a rose is a rose” cliché, where the symbol is merely a vehicle for the emotion evoked. The emotions may be common, as is often the goal, but the symbols themselves don’t need to be.
…So thanks for stopping by, whoever you are. I hope that you find inspiration in your day, in your dreams, and that you find yourself walking a path of endless internal and external discovery and appreciation. The view from here is breathtaking.
I was exhaling a deep breath when it happened, and his hand and face and sparkling room all accelerated me at warp speed as I laid back, gasping at what I saw. Rolling into a fetal position on my right side, I was drawn into another dimension, where neon patterns pulsed and snaked, both seen and sensed on such a basic vibrational level that I was humbled. I was overtaken by a bright light emerging from the sea of glowing motifs, and then there was darkness, an incandescent green drawing me into a paradigm so familiar that I submitted to the wholly foreign kaleidoscopic experience.
My consciousness had completely separated from my body when I shed all the anxieties and fears that accompany a fleshly, material existence; perhaps only for a lucid instant, during which eternity crystallized in such coherence that I knew I was encountering Source, both a mirror and the void, inextricably intertwined. When I finally woke up, I continued to feel gratitude on a cellular level: gratitude for the intensity of my experience, gratitude for the strength of my soul and of all souls, and gratitude for being allowed a glimpse into the esoteric unknown.
Dang. School and other commitments have had me stretched pretty thinly this past month. It hasn’t been bad; it has been a little overwhelming. About a week ago, sleep bank low and emotions amplified, I began thinking about living in the present moment. Sometimes things move so quickly that we get caught up in obsessing about past events or anxieties about the future. I tend to escape into daydreams fairly regularly, which is still eons away from the present. While this has always been a source of great comfort for me, and while I believe that an active imagination is healthy, I am also learning that training yourself (because it certainly is taking practice) to snap back into awareness of the present moment is a really helpful way to come back to earth, put things into perspective, and manage stress. Ways in which I do this: focusing on sensory input (the feel of the shower on my back, the taste and texture of an apple, and so on) and fixing my attention completely on what I’m doing (harder than it sounds), whether that be washing dishes or really listening to someone speak. Meditation can help, of course, but I think you can make most of your daily actions meditative experiences without the formality of setting up on a pillow. I tend to procrastinate or avoid things like the latter, which I can perceive to be horning in on my day. Silly, the sabotaging mind-tricks we play on ourselves.
I know I haven’t been talking about food all that much lately, and to be honest, it’s because it hasn’t been a real central focus. I have some recipes and experiences I’d love to share soon. For now, though, I’d like to leave you with this Emerson quote:
But man postpones or remembers; he does not live in the present, but with reverted eye laments the past, or, heedless of the riches that surround him, stands on tiptoe to foresee the future. He cannot be happy and strong until he too lives with nature in the present, above time.
We are surrounded by subtle treasures. All we have to do now is notice them :].
Go placidly amid the noise & haste, & remember what peace there may be in silence. As far as possible without surrender be on good terms with all persons. Speak your truth quietly & clearly; and listen to others, even the dull & ignorant; they too have their story.
Avoid loud & aggressive persons, they are vexations to the spirit. If you compare yourself with others, you may become vain & bitter; for always there will be greater & lesser persons than yourself. Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans.
Keep interested in your own career, however humble; it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time. Exercise caution in your business affairs; for the world is full of trickery. But let this not blind you to what virtue there is; many persons strive for high ideals; and everywhere life is full of heroism.
Be yourself. Especially, do not feign affection. Neither be cynical about love; for in the face of all aridity & disenchantment it is perennial as the grass.
Take kindly the counsel of years, gracefully surrendering the things of youth. Nurture strength of spirit to shied you in sudden misfortune. But do not distress yourself with imaginings. Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness. Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself.
You are a child of the universe, no less than the trees & stars; you have a right to be here. And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.
Therefore be at peace with God, whatever you conceive Him to be, and whatever your labors & aspirations, in the noisy confusion of life keep peace with your soul.
With all its sham, drudgery & broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world. Be careful. Strive to be happy.
Well, it finally happened. I broke my streak Saturday afternoon when I came down with a gnarly cold. Either A) my body decided it could tackle a bug, maybe loosened by the sweat, or B) I got the same mess going all around school. Maybe a combo of both. At any rate, I spent Sunday and Monday feeling pretty miserable, but I’m feeling loads better today. Not 100%, but I’m thinking I’ll be fine by the weekend.
So what have I been doing? Mega-doses of Vitamin C, friends. Sunday morning, I began taking 1000 mg every hour, in the form of dissolvable crystals. I also picked up some zinc tablets, taking about 3 per day. I know there is a lot of (mis)understanding flying around when it comes to the safety and efficacy of vitamin mega-therapy (I recommend checking out the documentary Food Matters), but the truth is, it’s very safe. It also eliminates the inevitable side effects caused by pharmaceuticals. If you take too much Vitamin C, you’ll get gassy. Maybe some diarrhea if you really overdo it and the excess dumps into your colon. That’s it.
Vitamin C is exceptionally safe to take, even in large amounts. The trick is to take it consistently as soon as you feel symptomatic. There’s a method to find your personal “bowel tolerance” by taking 1000mg every 15 minutes until you get gas or diarrhea. That lets you know where you top out, or your range. A good rule of thumb is to take half that amount on normal days. Because we don’t manufacture our own Vitamin C, like other members of the animal kingdom, our needs are higher during periods of stress or illness. The functions performed at the cellular level require much more than the 90mg/day needed to avoid scurvy. In fact, heart attacks can occur when our stores are too low to facilitate these chemical reactions.