Several years ago, I ended a very rocky off again/on again relationship. I quit eating meat. A couple of years later, my daughter decided she didn’t want to eat meat anymore either. My wife, who never ate much meat anyway, followed suit too.
My charming son, who previously preferred potatoes and pasta to animal protein, no questions asked, has now declared himself the resident carnivore – the proud and mighty meat eating man of the house. I suspect the renewed commitment to meat consumption reflects his quest to define himself, the lone male, in a household with three girl people, three girl cats, and one neutered boy cat, who he tells me “does not count for the boy team, because we had him fixed”. So, testosterone driven or not, we support him in his life as a meat eater, and he supports us in ours.
Several months ago, I gave up crack, I mean sugar… again. After more than two years without the poison, I’d “relapsed” and felt sincerely mortified to find myself deep in the throes of a toxic relationship with it once again. That is always a good sign that you should stop eating something, when you realize that you not only have a “relationship” with a food, but that you describe it as toxic. Never a good sign, but if there is uncertainty, look for other signs you need to give it up. For example, how often have you had a hysterical fit of crying and screaming because someone used the last of the milk, without warning you or replacing it, leaving you with a dry bowl of Fruity Pebbles? If the answer is more than zero, you might want to give it some thought…
While I have no energy for the debate about whether one can be “addicted” to sugar or not, my relatively recently established policy prohibiting “toxic relationships” forced me to put down the spoon and walk away from sugar for good. Yes, I miss cake but there really isn’t anything that tastes better than sanity feels. I’ve resisted forcing my dietary choices on my family and friends, perhaps excessively so, and the living by example thing works slower than I ever imagined. It’s just me, living sugar-free, and while it is a difficult choice at times, I live with certainty that it is best for me (and everyone who encounters me).
Do you know the feeling that comes to let you know it is time to make a change? It is a message that bubbles up from deep within, or sometimes the universal brick to the forehead, that the time to act is now. Sometimes they are strong enough that by simply receiving it, we feel the strength and certainty to move into alignment with it. These are powerful moments and I’ve found that by taking action when the time is right, I have what it takes to actually do it.
Well, not long after I released sugar, I heard that the time had come to make two other big dietary adjustments – releasing dairy and gluten. I’ve done these two before, just long enough to know that my body wasn’t responding well to them. I knew it would come eventually, but when word came that it was time, I freaked out.
Immediately, the voice in my head started explaining how hard it is to give up wheat, to give up dairy, to give them up in addition to sugar, to give them up when I don’t eat meat. It told me that this was absolutely unreasonable. It told me how this would be better to do later.
The good news is that I am impressively tenacious.
(“Tenacious” is the post-therapy translation of childhood labels like bull-headed, stubborn, cantankerous, unmanageable, and just plain bitchy.)
I won’t listen to anyone, even the little voices in my head, when I can discern they are coming from a place of fear. Part of me felt afraid that these changes would be too hard. Part of me certainly — and perhaps even reasonably — felt afraid that I wouldn’t know what to eat or how to prepare my food. I was afraid because I sincerely wanted to make these changes and that meant it would hurt so badly if I failed.
But all of that is about fear and we already know that nothing of value ever comes from fear.
So, here’s the deal: I am a catalyst. I write and teach because these are the gifts I possess to help me blow up obstacles to personal freedom — both in my life and in yours — because that’s what I believe I was created to do. With that in mind, what I’m trying to tell you is this: Once you hear the whispers (or feel bricks) about making changes in your life, the time to take action is now. Period.
When you feel the energy surge, that’s your sign, jump on and ride it all the way. Do whatever it takes to cultivate the health, sanity, creativity, abundance, love, or whatever else you need and desire. That’s how this works. And when you commit, the universe will rush in to support you. You’ll receive the your life equivalent of friends who are masterful vegan cooks to teach you how prepare what you eat now, Kundalini Yoga classes to help you heal, and too-tight favorite blue jeans to remind you why you care about making this change.
While I could write, at remarkable length, about the merits of sugar-free food, being a vegetarian or vegan, food sensitivities, respecting an 11 year-old boy’s need to carve a space for himself in the world by eating meat, and the healing power of self-love, that is not what I want you to hear in this story about what’s changing in my world.
Instead, I’m writing to ask you — plain and simple — to listen when your intuition speaks to you. Regardless of what healing journey writers like me are sharing with you, or what your partner/boss/mother/society believes you “should” be, I’m asking you to find your own answers. What does your body need you to do? What does your soul long for? What are the personal and professional dreams waiting for your attention?
Listen to the beautiful voice inside your heart; the tender one who whispers about your strength and your power; the one who knows, intimately, all the best parts of you and who remembers the reason for your life on this earth. When that voice says it is time, listen… act. Your life is waiting for you.