Twice recently I ate poorly. Too sugary. Too rich. Too late. Well-worn, poor choices. Within an hour each time I was sure of my failures. Not just the failure of my food choices, but my failure as a teacher to sequence correctly or instruct wisely, my failure as a parent to get through the tasks of the day as planned, my failure to my self to find a moment of quiet to reflect and relax, my failure as a friend to reply to the email I'd been meaning to for days... the list went on.
On an ordinary day, I would pause and write considerations of how to alter or tweak my teaching knowing it would lead to better classes and that's always my goal. On an ordinary day I would alter our schedule, finish strong with the kids and spread what wasn't covered into the days ahead. I would feel the bumps in the road, I would act on them, they would smooth out. This is the practice of my life; act, observe, receive, refine, restart, act again.
But this time my blood chemistry was against me. I was a science experiment, pure and simple. I was familiar with the ride. What I eat affects my temperament, my perspective, my judgement, my creativity, my sense of what is possible or impossible. Simple put, food changes my outlook on EVERYTHING.
So the simple solution - change what I eat to I change what I think. The inner rodeo concluded as my digestion did its best and I could start again and watch with amazement and appreciation as my self-love returned, my self-respect returned, my faith that I am unconditionally held and helped by a power greater than my own returned.
This is one of the reasons food matters so much to me. I can teach you all the yoga I know, but when you leave the room and return to your plates and your kitchens, you are doing the real connecting or disconnecting to your Self. The chemistry of food becomes the chemistry of us and the chemistry of us becomes our thoughts and our beliefs. I work hard to create classes and sequences and experiences that remind you of how astounding and miraculous you are. How worthy of care and investment and attention. And food can support / amplify that or it can diminish it completely.
Notice, I started with how I'd fallen from the choices I'd LIKE to make. We all do. We all get hurried. We all get frustrated. We all do what we can in the moment. Me for sure. However, this is what I would offer you:
For the next few days, notice how you feel after you eat. Does it lift you up, create focus and accomplishment? Does it thicken your thoughts and make your limbs heavy and slow? Does it sadden you, uplift you, space you out, fill you up? Just notice. When you want to feel this way, eat that way. Only you know. Your kitchen is a pharmacy. Use it wisely.
This ties to our April sequence for victory because food has mattered to me for over 20 years since my sister hauled me out of a bathroom stall where I had collapsed from an eating disorder. After that I tried everything to eat Right, to feel Right about what I ate. It was years of effort and little progress. The only thing that started to make sense and provide traction was to start to simply enjoy what I ate. To eat with other people. To take my time with shopping and preparing and clearing up afterwards. When I allowed the food to get larger and consider it an act of loving and being loved, I started to make progress. A victory, right? (Go, go April sequence!)
I have wanted to share teachings on food with students for years but it felt too personal. I wasn't brave enough to help with how to eat. A week ago, the first Martha's Kitchen dinner was held. I smiled for three days straight afterwards. I was SO excited, so happy to open my fridge and share what I know. It was a huge, healing victory for me as a woman coming through eating confusion for so long, as a teacher offering more than what fits on a yoga mat, and as a friend and participant in our community to open my front door and find some of you there. Victory victory victory.
So, as we come into the conclusion of this month, what will heal you? What would you love to offer out into the world but have hesitated? What feels like victory - big or small?
For example - a wonderful, wise student of mine had an idea to teach cooking in her son's school. While the school commitee meets to decide on the details, she has had a class of one and taught my daughter about sourdough bread. Now we are feeding a yeast starter every day and making bread better than we could imagine and her skills and interests are loose in the world. You matter. What you love and what you know are needed. Find it. Let it loose. Big or small. One student or a whole school. Feel into it. Maybe no one else needs to know - or if you like, tell me. I'd love to know. I'll cheer you on.
May you be victorious xx
Much love, Martha