Brief notes on healing and awakening and occasional personal things – vol. 35

This is one in a series of posts with brief notes on healing, awakening, and personal things. These are more spontaneous and less comprehensive than the regular articles. Some may be made into a regular article in time.

AGE OR LIFESTYLE?

Since early in life, I have suspected that what many attribute to age is really about lifestyle, whether it’s poor memory, bad physical shape, being set in one’s ways, or similar.

As kids, we learn every day and are physically active every day. (At least most are, biking, running, climbing trees, and so on.) We train ourselves to learn, and we stay physically fit. We try out new things and seek out new experiences.

Later in life, many don’t learn as much and are less physically active, so there is no wonder if this is reflected in our mind and body.

Also, I suspect much of what we think of as typical for older age has to do with the weight of wound-conditioning that’s been with us for decades – traumas, emotional issues, unquestioned painful beliefs, limiting identities, and so on. (These are all names for essentially the same dynamics.)The longer we carry these with us, the more strongly they impact our mind and body.

RURAL VS CITY LIVING AND MY SLEEP & WAKE CYCLE

Since early in life, I have noticed that my sleep patterns are quite different in nature versus in the city.

If I am in nature, for instance at the cabin in Norway or at Finca Milagros, I naturally go to sleep early and wake up early. I tend to wake up around 5am. (This is even more pronounced the times I sleep in nature in a tent or outside.)

If I am in a more urban environment, it’s more tempting for me to stay up late and wake up later. (It’s a tendency, and one I often intentionally counter since I feel better if I wake up early after a good night’s sleep.)

This is not a very profound insight, and it’s probably something many have noticed. But it is interesting.

I imagine our ancestors slowed down and slept when it got dark, and woke up when it got light to make full use of daylight hours. That pattern kicks in when we live in nature, even if we live indoors in nature.

And it gets skewed by city living and a stronger disconnect from nature.

MAY 18, 2023

HOW CHOCOLATE FITS INTO MY DIET

After returning to Norway this time, I noticed a craving for chocolate. For a while, my mind interpreted it as a craving for chocolate bars. My current Teflon brain had forgotten that I often have had hot chocolate in the past when in colder climates. And after switching to the usual hot chocolate, I found that the craving was satisfied. (I use pure chocolate powder in hot water, sometimes with a little cinnamon and/or cardamon.)

Chocolate is considered a stimulant, and it has some caffeine, so I limit my intake. I treat it as an occasional (delicious) medicine. It helps my system balance, it gives me a welcome boost, and it doesn’t seem to make me wired the way caffeine from other sources (tea, coffee, sodas) does. (And if I have too much, my energy system becomes disorganized and weird.)

In this case, the craving seems to be for something my system actually needs in order to function better. It seems to fill a niche not covered by bone broth (which is deeply nourishing) and the herbs I used to take. And I am open to finding an alternative if it fills the same niche and seems better.

MORPHINE’S EFFECT ON ME

I have tried nitrous oxide a couple of times at the dentist, just to check it out, and it had no noticeable effect on me. (Maybe because of the dose?) I also received morphine once when I had kidney stones, and it did seem to help the pain (they had to give me quite a lot), but it didn’t have much other effect. If anything, I experienced it as a bit unpleasant and only took it one day.

I am not sure if I have a slightly atypical response to these kinds of things. (I have not tried any recreational drugs so don’t know how that would impact me, and I don’t really want to try.)

If it’s atypical, I don’t know why. Does it have to do with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, which seems connected with an altered function of many bodily systems? Or trauma? Or the awakening? (Anything happening within the content of experience happens within and as me, so perhaps I am less impacted by it?) Or something else?

For me, food seems to have a more obvious impact on my body-mind than small or moderate amounts of nitrous oxide or morphine. Certain foods help me feel more clear and balanced. (Fruit, vegetables, simple grains, bone broth, etc.) And other foods tend to immediately bring my system out of balance. (Dairy, bread, refined foods, cakes, sugar, caffeine, etc.)

MAY 23, 2023

WHEN RESILIENCY IS ONE-SIDED

Resiliency is about how we relate to both our inner and outer world.

It’s about how we relate to our emotions, thoughts, states, and so on.

And it’s about how we relate to our life in the world.

It’s like a bird with two wings.

And we can over-emphasize one or the other. We may focus on handling our life in the world and overlook our inner life. And we may focus on dealing with our inner life and not being a good steward of our outer life.

I did the second at a crucial time in my life. I was in a relationship that didn’t feel deeply right, and that relationship brought me to abandon most of what was most important to me in my life. (Zen center, friends, graduate degree, and so on.) I spent a lot of time dealing with what came up in me around it – despair, grief, and so on. And I didn’t take action in my life, I didn’t stand up for what felt most deeply right to me.

And yes, I know that the terms “outer” and “inner” world are not entirely accurate. I find them useful here, even if both – to me – happen within and as what I am. They are both “inner” without an “other”, and the terms don’t really apply apart from in a very limited and conventional sense

CHOSE THE OPTION THAT INVOLVES A BIGGER CHANGE (?)

A recent study found that if you have a choice between two options, and one involves more of a change, then you may be happier choosing that one.

This is obviously difficult research. It’s impossible to know how it would have been if we chose the other one. The one with more change may look more attractive in hindsight. People also tend to justify their choices, especially the ones bringing about bigger change, and tell themselves they are happier now. It likely depends on personality, since some like adventure more than others. Happiness and choosing change may both have to do with a third factor, for instance enjoying adventure. And it obviously depends on the situation. If you are in a situation that feels deeply right and you are happy with, then abandoning that is more risky.

Faced with a choice, I gather information, imagine myself in the future in the different options, check in with my intuition and which one feels more deeply right, and I may also lean towards the one that involves a change. I like adventure, so I am often drawn to the one that brings about a new kind of life.

If I have trouble making a decision between two options, I have another pointer for myself. If one option is clearly better than the other, it’s not a difficult choice. And if they seem about equally good, then it likely doesn’t matter so much which one I chose. I may as well just go with one and see what happens.


INITIAL DRAFTS

Bone broth deeply nourishes my system and fills up my deeper energy reservoirs, and it’s something I use mostly daily, especially in colder seasons and climates. This is a kind of base in my diet.

I’ll also sometimes have hot chocolate made with pure chocolate (no sugar), and with a little cinnamon and/or cardamon. This gives me a welcome boost.

I’ll occasionally use chocolate bars as emergency food, but I try to keep it to a minimum. It does help me if my energy dips and I don’t have ready access to food, but it also comes with some unpleasant side effects. (For instance, the sugar in it tends to trigger sugar cravings.)

Some of the boost from chocolate may be from caffeine. But that’s not the whole picture. The effect of caffeine – for instance, from green or black tea – is different. It creates a sense of superficial wiredness in my system and is generally unpleasant. I generally avoid tea for that reason, although I’ll have some on rare occasions. (I have herbal or spice infusions instead, which I drink a lot of.)

Note: After returning to Norway this time. I noticed a craving for chocolate. And for a little while, my mind interpreted it as a craving for chocolate bars. After remembering hot chocolate (without sugar), the craving went away.

……

And although I know chocolate is considered a stimulant, it doesn’t make me feel wired the way other sources of caffeine does. I don’t seem to respond to it by overriding my body’s signals and doing too much.

WHEN RESILIENCE GETS HIJACKED BY OUR HANGUPS

There are many upsides to being resilient and good at relating to our own experiences.

The downside is that we may emphasize being a good steward of our inner life, and not so much of our life in the world.

That’s not a problem with resiliency itself. It’s a problem with our emphasis, and also how we see resiliency. Resiliency is as much about engaging with our life in the world as it is relating to our inner life. And we cannot be a good steward of our inner life unless we are also a good steward of our outer.

The solution is to stand up for ourselves more, change situations that don’t work well for us, and be a better steward of our life in the world.

And to do that, we may also need to address some beliefs, identities, hangups, wounds, and perhaps traumas.

Our resilience in the outer and inner worlds are intimately connected and really one and the same.

Note: I use the terms “inner” and “outer” life here. That’s the conventional way of talking about it. In reality, it’s all “inner” since – to us – it’s all happening within the consciousness we are.

Note 2: This brief note was more of a train of thought. If I was going to make it into a regular article, I would organize it differently.

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