Sunday, March 22, 2015

Paleo and Energy: Why Taking Care of Yourself Is So Important

     There are many types of energy around us. In fact, if we break the universe down, we find that it is almost purely expressed in one form of energy or another. And we are energy sensing beings. Our whole bodies are geared toward sensing and interpreting energy. When we see, we are interpreting light energy. When we hear, we are interpreting sound energy. Textures that we feel are produced by friction, which is so energetic, it can produce a charge. Molecules that we smell are made up of atomic energy, and the flavors we taste are chemicals.

     There are many other forms of energy that exist, too, some that we can perceive and detect, and some that is probably completely lost to us because we have no way of sensing them, but for as much as we are energy sensing being, we are also beings who produce and use a large amount of energy. These personal energies are expressed in both science and religion. We all know about metabolism, body heat, and nerve impulses. Movement is kinetic energy. Stillness is potential energy. Energy cannot be created or destroyed, but can be transferred. These are valid scientific statements.

     In religion, we hear of other forms of energy: the Love and Light of God, chi, ki, prana, shi, mana, telesma, ruach, od, orgone, pneuma, numen, kundalini, aura, male, and female. I don't claim to know what all of these words mean, but I do believe that there are sources of energy within and without that we are not capable at this time of measuring in a scientific way, but can be utilized to help us.

     In order to replenish our energy stores, we must take care of ourselves. The first and most important thing (and one we seem to find the hardest) we can do for ourselves to replenish our personal energy is to get plenty of sleep. I personally have a very hard time with this. I hate for my days to end. I want to stay up and talk to Ray, but I know that it's important, especially in a job where my mindfulness or lack thereof can cause others harm, so I try get a decent amount of sleep, and I set my alarm at lunch, so I can get a nap almost every day.

     Female energy is that which sustains us; it is mother energy. It is the nourishment that sustains us, and it should be the best that we can give ourselves because we are worth it. It can be all too tempting to say, "I've had a hard day. I'm going to eat ______ because I deserve it." You will find that your body disagrees. It will say, "I've had a hard day. Why should I then be forced to deal with this." At this point, your overtaxed body will retaliate with gas, indigestion, pain, swelling, foggy feelings, and/or a myriad of other complaints. This is your body's way of telling you that it is not pleased, that it wants pure, unprocessed food. I used to be this way, and Ray was even worse. He was constantly wanting to go out to eat, especially on his days off. He would order pizza, yeast rolls, macaroni and cheese, and cheese on everything. When we did eat at home, he wanted frozen dough pockets filled with cheese, cereal, boxed macaroni and cheese, pasta dishes, cheese on everything, and huge blocks of cheese. And we would talk about how bad we felt, how much weight we'd gained, but the cycle would and did continue up until a year ago when we went Paleo. I have to admit that now those things not only seem unappetizing, but they smell disgusting.

    Male energy is that which is basic to life; it is our father energy. It is the very breath we breathe and the sun that shines down on us. Because our breath is so important, it is very important to get clean air into our lungs. We all know how bad smoking is for us, that it harms our health, and if you're looking into a healthier way of eating, a healthier way of living should be on your list of priorities. I once knew a woman who ate vegetarian, did advanced yoga (including the breathing exercises), and smoked two packs of cigarettes a day. She seemed to have a bizarre kind of courage. I know quitting can be hard (I watched Ray go through it twice), and so can switching over to a Paleo diet, so it might not be something a person should try simultaneously, especially when failure in one could lead to failure in the other, and that could become forever connected in your mind, but it is something to think about. As for the sun, we have contradictions. We know that we need the sun, so our bodies can produce Vitamin D, but we also know that too much exposure can lead to skin cancer. My suggestion is to be smart about it. Spend a few minutes a day in the sun before you put on you sunscreen or sunglasses. I can't tell you what's right because I don't know.

     Divine energy is the unconditional love of God. Sometimes it can be hard to take care of ourselves because it feels like we are being selfish. We put others first, but maybe it's time to see ourselves through God's eyes. Once we see how important and loved we are, it will be easier to see ourselves as a priority. When I think about this, I'm always reminded of the metaphor of the heart. Our beautiful, beating heart knows that without its contribution, life is impossible, so in order to maintain its own health, it takes the first share of oxygenated blood before sending the rest to the remainder of the body. We have to be more like our hearts, taking care of ourselves, so we have the capacity to care for others.

    The Paleo diet is more than just a way of eating; it is a way of life. It advocates eating the diet our ancestors ate, but also moving the way our ancestors did (slow and steady with sudden bursts of speed to escape predators and lifting heavy things), getting plenty of rest and sleep, getting clean air and sunshine, spending time with family, and taking good care of ourselves. And when you think about it, these are really the most important things in life.