On Thriving

The first video post of my M.S. in Nutrition and Functional Medicine program was an intro to the program and to functional medicine by the director, Dr. Alex Vasquez.  Dr. Vasquez seems remarkable: a DC, ND, and DO who is a very philosophical and funny speaker.  He quoted someone saying something like (least specific sentence ever), your best ideas come while walking .

It shouldn’t be a surprise then, today, when walking to work, I had a little epiphany. I recently read Robb Wolf’s post on convincing someone to try paleo (it was about way more than that, but that is the easiest way to describe it), and that post and my usual thoughts while walking (why don’t people walk more?) combined into an ‘aha’ moment.

I think we, in the paleo world, are all saying the same thing when you step (far, far) back and look at it.  We are all saying that life is short, that simply living through it is not enough; you have to thrive.  You need to get outside more, move more, feel the earth under your feet, play, savor your food, be well rested, learn, be a part of a community, be passionate…

And you can’t do any of those things if you are sick, so changing your diet is the obvious first step.  Because if you don’t value what goes in your mouth and essentially gives you life, how will you value anything else?

I am not saying I have it all figured out and I know this has been said before.  I have said it before.  I just needed a reminder.  I am just coming out of one of the most difficult, fun-devoid years of my life.  When given a task, I have a tendency to put my head down and just work, relentlessly.  My task this past year was to put my wonderful, appreciative, handsome husband through nursing school.  So I worked 11 hour days, and cleaned the office, babysat, and cooked and cleaned our home on the weekends.  I eliminated fun.  My diet was as clean as ever.  And guess what?  I got sick.  Because diet isn’t everything.  

So, this year (I appear to be on some strange calendar where my years start in May, but that is due to nursing school starting and ending in May), I am devoting myself to thriving.  I still have to work and go to school and cook and clean and clean the office, but I have to fit fun in there too.  I have to fit in going outside, being barefoot, adventure, passion, laughter, delicious, nourishing food, friends, and just living this goddamn life to the fullest.  The end.

“One final paragraph of advice:  Do not burn yourself out. Be as I am – a reluctant enthusiast…a part time crusader, a half-hearted fanatic.  Save the other half of yourselves and your lives for pleasure and adventure.  It is not enough to fight for the land; it is even more important to enjoy it.  While you can.  While it is still there.  So get out there and mess around with your friends, ramble out yonder and explore the forests, encounter the grizz, climb the mountains.  Run the rivers, breathe deep of that yet sweet and lucid air, sit quietly for a while and contemplate the precious stillness, that lovely, mysterious and awesome space.  Enjoy yourselves, keep your brain in your head and your head firmly attached to your body, the body active and alive, and I promise you this much:  I promise you this one sweet victory over our enemies, over those deskbound people with their hearts in a safe deposit box and their eyes hypnotized by desk calculators.  I promise you this:  you will outlive the bastards.”

-Edward Abbey (my personal hero)

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4 Responses to On Thriving

  1. Penny says:

    Love the quote!

  2. Tom Pentzer says:

    I find that quote to be very true. Not only do I get the best ideas while walking (which I sadly forget the moment I sit down in class), but if you think about it, we’ve spent even less time sitting as a species sitting than we have been eating grains. I’m sure our brains get a circulatory boost from the motion of our legs and arms. Nice blog!

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