Indulgence, A Practice

A hike up Lion's Head Mountain in Cape Town

A Hike up Lion’s Head

A healthy lifestyle is a funny thing.  It is constant work- riding the ebbs and flows of life with self-respect and self-compassion.

Giving yourself permission to indulge – and fall apart at times – and pick yourself back up and return to a healthy rhythm. Without guilt. Without shame. Moving on.

I just came back from a beautiful three week trip in South Africa.

I went to see about a man and explore a life together.

We met five months prior under a full moon on an unseasonably balmy Christmas Eve in the District.  He brought the South African Christmas with him.

On our first date I tell him my spirit animal is a peacock. Without skipping a beat, he informs me that he is a snow leopard, and furnishes his phone, with a wallpaper image of the famously elusive Himalayan creature for proof.

When I visit him in his native Cape Town, I do my best to create space for myself in his world and on the road, tending to my rhythm and healthy lifestyle practices.

Even as we journeyed into AfrikaBurn, the largest regional Burning Man event in the world outside of Black Rock City, I managed to stick with my meditation, yoga, and healthy eating. I brought kale and quinoa with me into the desert.

Ultimately I discover he was not the man I thought he was. While he was a true love of mine, I would have had to shrink to fit. And lose myself to be by his side.

But no regrets. It was a tremendous experience in the practice of living and loving in earnest. If I didn’t make the trip and explore the connection, it would have haunted me for the rest of my life.

It brought me to a stunningly beautiful corner of the world where I walked down some of the most gorgeous beaches I have ever encountered and hiked up two mountains. I immersed in the creativity and generosity of the human spirit and made new friends.

And I continue to discover how strong I am.

One day, the Snow Leopard chapter of my life will make a fine short story in the Peacock Chronicles. But for now, back Stateside, I’m allowing myself to heal and restore.

I’ve reconnected with my self-care rituals and retreated into my tribe of friends, mentors and clients.

I’ve also allowed myself to unravel into the requisite comfort foods of the break up diet.  Lots of it.

On a Saturday night, I had eggrolls and a Snickers bar for dinner. And nutella sandwiches before noon the next day. And continued to indulge in unholy amounts of fried chicken, and cheeses and breads, and all of the sweets at a friend’s birthday party.

By the time I taught my Sunday evening yoga class, my belly was so bloated I could barely demonstrate a forward fold.

And it’s fine. It’s the practice of allowing ourselves to be human. In which we ebb and flow and ride the joys and disappointments of life. And pick ourselves back up again and move forward.

After all, the pursuit of perfection is ultimately rooted in shame… the inability to be human.

And so on this Monday, I am happy to start the week returning back to my healthy eating practice.  For now, it starts with buying three dark leafy greens from the market for meal planning this week.

And all is coming.

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