PREPENT DAY 12
Elul 12 5775 – August 27 2015
The word ‘diet’ comes from the Latin diaeta – “prescribed way of life,” from Greek diaita, originally “way of life, regimen”, related to diaitasthai “lead one’s life,” and from diaitan, originally “separate, select, restrict.” It’s connected to our very basic systems of desire.
Today is the day I get back home to NYC and back to my preferred diet and regimen of what works best for digestion, health, and feeling. The past two weeks have been on the road, a guest at other people’s kitchens, with generous hospitality, foreign treats, plenty of temptations and holiday mode.
It’s all good but that extra heaviness around the middle is, subjectively, just a few pounds too much. Lovingly, but with firm resolve, I want to get back on track. Again.
Body image is a big problem in our culture and body pride, no matter what size or shape, is another big and important issue in the area of self love. I too am struggling with it, trying to love my self, gently, exactly as I am, right now with a bit or more of a belly – and still take seriously the fact that for both exterior and interior reasons I want to be a bit more fit and fit better in the new Paris fall fashion that I just got.
Like diets, this Prepent season of return to one’s best practices and way of life, is seemingly an endless battle, or maybe, a dance. The key I find, to make this Elul journey one of both remorse, resolve AND pleasure is the attitude of kindness to one’s self. We try, we fail, we get back on track. Less judgement please.
I’m learning that from the one practice I have taken on in recent months and mostly manage to maintain: A simple morning meditation. Using short Insight Timer’s guided meditations that focus on the breath, I sit for 5-10 minutes each morning, eyes closed, observing my breaths. In, out, again and again, noticing when my attention has wavered to worry about this or that, and then, gently, bring the attention again to the breath. When the bell gently rings I am sometimes surprised and sometimes fully present, but determined, again, to try and be here for a more centered self.
We get off track. We speed as we drive and suddenly notice and get back to more or less the legally permitted/suggested in the interest of everybody’s safe return. We overeat. Forget what makes us happy. Binge on too much ice-cream/TV/whiskey/email/rage/excess, often all combined. For some of us eating disorders are a real issue that requires love and treatment. For others, a spiritual-physical awareness is called for as our eating habits bring up mindfulness as a key to happiness and health.
Low carb or Paleo, organic or not, today’s a good day to resume commitment to a dietary system that works best for you. Probiotics, anyone? Vitamins? Cut out the sugar or try a day of juice fast or meatless monday or friday fish. Whatever works. Everything in moderation including moderation. Say no to this and yes to that and gently let’s get back on our own track. We’re all in this together. Welcome back.