Monday, September 23, 2013

War and Peace

My right hand has written all the poems that I have composed. My left hand has not written a single poem. But my right hand does not think, “Left Hand, you are good for nothing.” My right hand does not have a superiority complex. That is why it is very happy. My left hand does not have any complex at all. In my two hands there is the kind of wisdom called the wisdom of nondiscrimination. One day I was hammering a nail and my right hand was not very accurate and instead of pounding on the nail it pounded on my finger. It put the hammer down and took care of the left hand in a very tender way, as if it were taking care of itself. It did not say, “Left Hand, you have to remember that I have taken good care of you and you have to pay me back in the future.” There was no such thinking. And my left hand did not say, “Right Hand, you have done me a lot of harm—give me that hammer, I want justice.” My two hands know that they are members of one body; they are in each other.
-Thich Nhat Hanh

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Life lessons from Cycling

My husband and I are avid cyclists, endurance, long hours in the saddle and the training time to be able to do so.  You could say it’s part of the glue that nurtured our early relationship.  Shortly before we got married, we bought a tandem bicycle.  Not the kind you leisure on at the beach, but the lightweight aluminum tubes, high performance disk brakes, and itty bitty saddles kind of bike.  We rode this bike fairly often, and as two strong cyclists, we realized we could average high speed on long distances, faster than each of us could average individually (definitely me).

In cycling, or endurance anything, comes an awareness of the physical body and the psychological phases that go with strength and fatigue.  On a tandem bicycle, where both are a contributing engine, the common goal is pungent,  sharing the passion for the undertaking, and the absolute of “doing your best”.  Doing your best sometimes means fresh legs, optimism, friendliness.  More notably though is when doing your best means sitting in, gasping for air, peddling lighter than you or your partner would prefer, and accepting that it is a necessary means to continue on this path together.  To allow, even in your own exhaustion, that your partner needs this time to recover, as a normal ebb and flow of being human.

We had a joke, a joke that spawned from frustration and strain, that is perhaps one that only a couple can humor together: “You’re not peddling hard enough”.  Affectionately, as awareness of each other’s need to sit in and refresh throughout the ride.  With life and two kids, we rarely get the tandem out any more.  But some days, when looking at a sink of dirty dishes, or another chore-in-need, I still hear in my mind an affectionate “You’re not peddling hard enough”, and I move forward knowing that we’re both Doing our Best, every day.

Nutrition Card

Admittedly and proudly, studying nutrition is one of my hobbies.  Nutrition, by which I mean, the act of eating mindfully.  My daughter put it best, "It's good for my mouth, but not good for my belly".  Even at 3 years of age when she said this, she's aware that some foods are better choices than others, and that it effects our moods and energy.  But don't we all stuff the cookie in our mouth regardless at one point or another. Mmmmm, cooookie.

One of the important topics in this blog and in discussion, for me, is the topic of what we eat.  How to minimize the rut of white flour and cheese, and maximize munching sun warmed kale from the garden's edge.  I have a surreal angelic image in my imagination at the moment.  And, how to help my kids make good food choices when they are outside the home.  "Good choices" is such a subjective statement, and the path we walk to attain that is fluid and fascinating.

Here is a card I wrote when my son was young that seems to capture our general nutritional beliefs.  I used this card to help guide our day care family.  As well, it is our grocery buying philosophy.