White or Whole Wheat?
When we sit at the diner for a bite to eat, we have to make due with the options we are presented. The thought to order off-menu items rarely crosses our minds. We just need something quick and easy. Whole Wheat for me, please.
We are assessed and graded throughout our formative years. We’re brought up in a system that rewards hard work and conformity. We have to meet prerequisites, gain experience, and grind it out. No problem, I’ll just work through lunch.
We’re diecasts out of moulds that were formed long before we were born, and we are thrust into the real world without training on how to handle food and life stresses. Do More. Be More. Make More.
… and accomplish these things in the least amount of time possible. Akin to machines built for more efficiency and effectiveness.
Capitalism of our beings, no?
I’ll just throw something together quickly for supper.
These quick fixes are usually in the form of refined foods that are nutrient deficient and in the form of microwavable dinners, bagels, sandwiches, fast-food, etc. As long as your belly feels full you should be good to go!
I’ll just throw a slide show together before the meeting.
Throwing something together implies a lack of patience and want for convenience which is ultimately bred by a cultural norm of immediacy. Our expectations of each other to deliver has risen dramatically over the last 30 years; we expect answers from each other just as fast as we can open an app. Humans are not apps, and we evolved over millennia, let's keep this in perspective.
There is a clear linkage between stress and time. I challenge us to explore how we work, treat each other, and ultimately live.
But how? A favourite read of mine is The Urban Monk from Pedram Shojai. In Pedram’s book, he reconciles our Western society with Eastern practices. He understands the pressures we are faced with, and the fact each of us can’t live in monasteries high in the mountains meditating for hours on end. Pedram wonderfully constructs the term Time Compression Syndrome.
In short, Pedram effectively says we are overcommitting ourselves on an unprecedented level in our daily lives -- and he’s right! Playdates, meetings, events, activities, commuting, charity work, etc.; we’re expecting more and more of ourselves and each other that very few of us can truly fulfill. Which leads us to his other term JOMO, the Joy of Missing Out. Which is in stark contrast to our pervasive society of FOMO, the Fear of Missing Out.
Think about that for a moment - the JOY of missing out. JOMO means removing yourself from activities that detract from a life of fulfillment. As attractive and inviting as JOMO sounds, what does it mean? What activities are crucial to your happiness? What is crucial for your family’s happiness? What foods work with your body? What is meaningful for you? Answers that are only learned through introspection, experimentation, reflection, and time.
You’re not going to have all the answers at once. As the saying goes, “life is a journey not a destination.” In his book, Pedram shows real world examples of individuals who are stressed out, low on energy, and searching for more meaning in their lives. He combines practices of meditation, eastern medicine, and nutrition to help change their lives.
While reading his book I found I related to most aspects of each individual’s circumstances. I could empathize with and understand their struggles; which ultimately gave me the ability to empathize with and understand my own struggles.
I was at a point in my life where I had experimented with a few of the items Pedram speaks to, such as Qi Gong and meditation; however, Pedram’s book inspired me to wholly view my life spiritually, physically, and mentally. I began thinking differently about the interconnectedness between each facet and how each is not mutually exclusive.
Armed with this new information I experimented with different meditation styles, setting boundaries, and had a hard look at the foods I was ingesting. Most importantly the teachings in the book helped me begin my journey on a purpose led life, a journey I am still wonderfully exploring.
I’ll leave you with Pedram’s information and hope you find it just as beneficial as I have!
White or Whole Whaaat?
What will you have?