Random musings and activities of a 30 something mom, potential sprint triathlete, vegetarian, dog and cat owner, and a evolving urban homesteader just trying to do the right thing in life for my daughter and the world around us. If the blog seems random, it's because life is and hits us all at 100mph.
Wednesday, April 21, 2010

PostHeaderIcon Peeling Off Your Labels

Sometimes I come across an article or blog post that will stop me in my tracks.  This is one of them.  I haven't quite figured out what to do with it yet, but I can't get it off my mind today.  I hope you enjoy as well. 

Peeling Off Your Labels

A few years ago I did this crazy thing and walked a few hundred miles across the Indian countryside, looking for the footsteps of Mahatma Gandhi. And I found them. At the time, I had plastered myself with the following labels (and many more):

"chef, farmer, organic, local, healthy, vegan, pure, conscientious, clean, dedicated, serious, relaxed"

Labels, like everything else, are exactly what they are: nothing more and nothing less. They're not good, they're not bad, they're just labels.

The funny thing was that with all the penniless walking (the no money was part of the experiment, the contract with the universe) and 100 degree temperatures, the labels started to peel off. And the harder I tried to stick them back, the more of that gritty stuff got between my skin and the glue, and eventually I just had to give up.

Like with the chai. Indian tea, chai, was exactly what I didn't drink. It's made from low-quality over-boiled black tea, assuaged with full-fat (7%) buffalo milk, mountain ranges of refined white sugar, and a few tasty spices. In terms of labour and environmental politics, the tea and sugar are a cocktail of misery and oppression. And it's a far cry from vegan. And it's what I had every day, maybe many times a day, because I was a penniless pilgrim walking through the wilds of countryside and compassion, and the chai was my ticket into people's hearts.

The next step was the cookies. These damn ubiquitous wafers branded "Parle-G" and pronounced not in the French way at all, but rather, "parlee-gee". Refined wheat and refined sugar. Nothing whole or healthy about and yet, it's what the "common man" swears by in India, from villagers to urbanites to wandering holy men, all bow down to the temple of the "Parle-G". So, as you can probably guess, I could literally watch myself, get more comfortable with the little atrocities, relax into enjoying their sweetness and crunch, begin to savor their texture after dipping them in my chai. It's a matter of relaxation, of relinquishing control, and understanding "This is where I am, and at every moment, I must start where I am".

So maybe that's relevant to you. Maybe you're not thrilled about what you normally have for breakfast, or the roles you're playing or the scene you're building. That's fine. But what I've seen is that your ticket Out of There is not through resistance or hatred or pressure but through acceptance. It's where we are. Once we stop thrashing ourselves about it, we can see clearly, and start to deal.

written by Ankur Shah, author, chef, farmer and Spiritual Care Jedi.



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Quotes as I come across them......

“Pain is temporary. It may last a minute, an hour, a day, or a year, but eventually it will subside and something else will take its place. If I quit, however, it last forever.” ~~~Lance Armstrong

"The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy." ~~~ Martin Luther King, Jr.

"I like running because it's a challenge. If you run hard, there's the pain----and you've got to work your way through the pain. You know, lately it seems all you hear is 'Don't overdo it' and 'Don't push yourself.' Well, I think that's a lot of bull. If you push the human body, it will respond." ~~~Bob Clarke, Philadelphia Flyers general manager, NHL Hall of Famer. (Will-Weber's "Voices From the Midpack" chapter.)

The reason most people never reach their goals is that they don’t define them, or ever seriously consider them as believable or achievable. Winners can tell you where they are going, what they plan to do along the way, and who will be sharing the adventure with them.~~~Denis Watley

Perhaps the most valuable result of all education is the ability to make yourself do the thing you have to do, when it ought to be done, whether you like it or not; it is the first lesson that ought to be learned; and however early a man's training begins, it is probably the last lesson that he learns thoroughly. ~~~Thomas H. Huxley (1825 - 1895)