Wednesday, September 11, 2013

patience, process, progress, peace

{day four of the sand mandala}

when i was a child our family car was a source of embarrassment for me.  it was a huge lumbering brown cadillac with an 8-track player and four very large doors.  that wasn't the embarrassing part.  my mom put a bumper sticker on the back that read, "please be patient god isn't finished with me yet", complete with cartoon person in all her hapless happy glory.  i despised that cartoon person's inability (or intention) to get with the program.  in a counter-intuitive way, this bumper sticker may be the foundation of my lifelong issues with perfectionism.

yesterday i sat again in the peace of the college's chapel and watched the monks quietly at work on the sand mandala. and i started thinking about progress and how it never seems to unfold or look like you thought it would.  

eighteen months ago, i became a vegetarian for the third time in my life.  this time around the decision was made because of mostly ethical reasons.  i could not in good conscious eat animals when i loved them so much.  and i wanted to feel some political power in a world where i feel mostly politically powerless by saying no to inhumane and unhealthy food processing.  i felt really really good about this decision and was very proud of myself.

in the last few months, i was surprised by the increasing frequency of cravings for animal product in conjunction with really low energy.  i tried upping my intake of plant-based iron and protein and increasing my b12 supplementation.  to no avail.  also, as with the other times i was vegetarian, there was the slow weight gain.

i slowly added more eggs into my diet.  then fish once a week.  i witnessed that i felt much more whole on the days i ate fish.  last month, i totally caved and ate a hamburger (an organic hamburger from a local humane source).  i was amazed at the almost instant response in my body.  i can only think of the word wholeness to describe it.

but while i felt whole, i also felt shame.  and disappointment in myself for not being disciplined, clean, ethical, etc.  i thought maybe it was a phase and i could go on identifying as a vegetarian (an identity that i love).  but deep down i knew that this was a connection i was going to have to let go.  my body told me so.

so now what am i?  conscious meat-eater?  locavore?

maybe i am just a girl paying attention to her body and her needs and all the other junk that comes with that is part of the process.  by maintaining awareness, witnessing my own process, being patient and remaining open to how things unfold, i can be in progress without being that "unfinished" hapless cartoon person on the back of the cadillac.

i am really looking for peace, not perfection.