I skipped training Saturday morning. For those who don't know, I completed a ten-day cleansing fast, aka the "Master Cleanse." Since I reintroduced food into my life, the clarity and simplicity I knew for that week and a half has faded into a weak signal, like I'm still on the road trip but my favorite radio station's broadcast doesn't reach quite this far.
I took the break because I have not returned with all the good habits I anticipated I would carry. Example: early on in the fast, around day three when I was enjoying the company of a low-grade headache, I became clear on identifying "hunger" versus "craving." By the eighth day, I still hadn't experienced hunger, but I was eager to gobble a celery stalk, of all things. Celery!!
I HATED celery as a kid. My parents used celery as a punishment, once. If you want to reinforce a child's disdain for something, make it part of punishment. And if you don't understand sarcasm, I wasn't being serious. The worst thing you can do is to mess with kids' opinions/associations with good things, unless you want your kid to have issues with self-love and healthy development. (I might hypothesize that Western kids don't meditate because they already sit mindlessly in classrooms.)
And, yet, here I was, craving celery, the scourge of my developmental years. If I ate it on day 8, I might have ended up with major abdominal pain, since my body hadn't been digesting anything beside water, lemon, maple syrup,* and cayenne pepper. Raw food and roughage is as tough on the system to process as a big, ol' chunk of cow.
I started with simple carbs when I returned to my fast; interestingly, potato chips are loaded with simple carbs, and when I went shopping, I bought a bag, along with pita chips, hummus, and cocktail olives.
By Friday night—apologies for the confessional bluntness—I had already been drunk, snarfed the potato chips along with a bag of cheese curls, and then a buddy invited me over for Korean short ribs and wine. I don't understand Korean-style short ribs, but that's a different story, and I had a craving. Plus, ending the cleanse was a little like getting out of jail. I abused the new freedom, and I abused myself.
I did, however, work out extra on my own after training Thursday, and on Friday I looked at my new, svelte self and said, "You need shoulders." so I went down to my weight room and tried to do some incline flies. I did not train for health; I trained for vanity. Then I stayed up late and treated myself badly some more. By Saturday morning I felt older than I did when I started training a couple months ago.
I can make better use of my time today recovering than training, I thought, and I called Sifu. Even on the phone with Sifu, I felt like I was making an incorrect choice somehow, yet one I needed to make. I just didn't know why. I haven't been training for a long time, but I have felt stronger and more balanced than I have felt in a long time, and I attribute much of this to training with Sifu and the kwoon. Yesterday, however, I felt like something had gone missing, and I was invited to meet another friend and consume yet more things that involved dead animal (tasty dead animal, but...) and staying up past my bedtime.
I got to realize the nature of craving not just poor food but poor life. I began to understand the feeling in my stomach just before I arrive to train, where I know that Sifu is going to push me past my cardio limits, show me how to punch (yeah, I don't know how to punch), or have me stand in horse stance until my thighs catch on fire.
Now, however, my resting heart rate is 20 bpm lower than it was 10 weeks ago; I weigh 15 lbs. less than I did 10 weeks ago, and at home I can watch a run of commercials on television while holding horse stance—without being afraid to feel that burn. Sifu and Sidai Shunyuan even showed me Thursday more about self-defense than I have ever known.
So, what did I learn while not at training Saturday? That I will be at training next Saturday. And Tuesday night, and Thursday morning, and now I need to figure out where to get my fourth session in.
Shi zu, thank you for being gracious and gently insistent on the phone Saturday morning. Thank you for letting me make the mistake. May my actions show this new wisdom.
Peace, all. I am going to see if the celery in my fridge is still crisp.