Monday, November 21, 2011

Mind the Body

This weekend, I was catching up on reading some of my favorite blogs...not an easy thing to do when I'm busy writing my own! But they inspire me, so it is a must. One of the blogs I read regularly, Carrots 'n' Cake, brought me a great reminder...that what we want -- read: what our mind wants -- isn't always what's best for our body.

Not brain surgery, I know. How many times do we continue eating after we're full? Who hasn't had more than their share to drink because it sounds like such a good idea at the time? And what about ignoring our physical limitations?

While we are not our body, our continual trip around the sun is made possible by it. We are in partnership with it whether we realize it or not, and as such, we'd best mind it to a degree, or pay the consequences.

So how can we listen more carefully to our bodies, to what they are trying to communicate to us?  How do we realize that while mind-over-matter can be a remarkable thing to behold, there may be some things that are in our body's best interest not to do...regardless of our mind's commitment to the contrary?

Tina from Carrots 'n' Cake was blogging about her recent New York Marathon adventure and what she learned about herself from the experience: "I love running more than my body does." You have no idea how relieved I was to see someone admit this.

Because in a very small way it gives me permission to admit it, too.  And not just about running.

My body and my mind have come to blows many times in my life regarding who has seniority. Illnesses and injuries -- in many cases debilitating -- all because my mind eagerly picked up the gauntlet, time and time again, pushing my body farther than it could handle.  I have never been one to back down from a challenge, physical or otherwise, and am one of those wild types who will sometimes invite a challenge simply for the opportunity to remind myself I can do anything I set my mind to.

I like to say this is the Sisu in me...but I still wonder if it's not just some level of pig-headed egoism instead. When "Bring it On!" becomes your war-cry, perhaps the Universe simply decides it's time for some different lessons instead...ones that require a bit less reckless abandon and more, how shall I put this, fine-footed-finesse?

As a firm believer that experience is the greatest teacher, what I've learned is that no matter what wild adventure I'm in the middle of, the experience of how I'm listening to -- or rather not listening to -- my body trumps everything as the most important. Perhaps it's because I've spent so much of my life idolizing the god of the mind that the lessons these days are less about a pure exploration of what I'm capable of and more about asking the hard question: how on earth can I get my mind and body to work together?

My mind believes it's invincible. My body knows otherwise. While it's priceless to know of your toughness, to trust without a doubt that you have the mental stamina to make it through any possible challenge that presents itself, it's also a beautiful and precious thing to learn to honor the body and what it can handle.

This is a perfect reminder for me going into Thanksgiving week at the bakery -- one of the busiest holidays of the year for us, all crammed into three exceptionally fast-pace, yet very long days. Thanksgiving 2009 is my most recent example of how I can let the signals from my body get hijacked by my desire to do it all.

Gratefully, I'm learning -- ever so slowly -- to mind the body. Staying connected with my body through eating well and yoga asana is crucial. Meditation helps. And presence is key.

What is your experience striking a workable balance between mind and body?//

What's For Dinner Tonight?
Our impromptu Friends and Family Week continues tonight as we go out for a belated birthday dinner with friends for the three of us with October birthdays. Even though it's a busy week, we are taking advantage of an open night for all to make this happen...since last year time got away from us (and real life happened) causing us not to celebrate until January!

Now, I'm all for extending my birthday celebration and everything, but that's ridiculous!

Last January's dinner was at Carmelo's Italian Restaurant in St. Paul and we had such a wonderful experience, we thought we'd try it again.  I LOVE this place!  And I love what they stand for (quoted from their website):

we do not believe in “ready-made” we believe in homemade that is why everything we serve, from the bread to the pasta to all of our sauces, they are made from scratch & all from generational recipes, just the way grandpa carmelo intended it to be

Sniff, beautiful, I could cry!

Buon appetito!

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