The Tyranny of Consistency
We want to make sense to ourselves, string together with a thread of consistency our experiences and the meanings we make of them. Have a sense of being able to weave meaning that falls within an acceptable parameter of values, beliefs and comfort levels.
Feel that we can, from hour to hour and day to day, be recognizable to ourselves. I do this, not that. Believe these things, not those. Have emotions that are okay to feel, and others that are on the no-fly list.
Some of us would trade our anger for sadness, contentment for the endless struggle of living up to an image or constantly perch on the anxious edge of being not quite good enough, rather than accept with appreciation our quirks, foibles and eccentricities.
We trade the potency of the moment, with all the disruptive change it might contain, for the confines of the storyline of who we think we should be.
There we bump up against our contradictions, and rather than see them as the wild unbounded edges of our growth, we slice them off with a firm, “I’m not like that,” I’m not that kind of person” or “I would never…”
Contradictions deeply challenge our carefully cultivated status quo, the personal fiction we cobble together from how we’ve made sense of our experience with the ever-changing causes and conditions that arise in our lives. We prefer a sense of consistency to our lovely, broken, slightly off-center, completely balanced wobble.
Yet, inhabiting our contradictions, or at least inviting them close enough to hear the other side of the story they hold, can open hidden opportunities. Much like balance comes from having both a right and left foot, and the fact that music unfolds its magic through the interplay of silence and sound, so too our contradictions can unlock our creativity and generate previously unimagined options.
The parts you leave out can be used against you. The parts you include with joy and appreciation add to your strength.
Breaking the addiction to being “consistent” means opening a line of communication to the shadow part we call “not me.” It’s about being inquisitive, open — and finding a sense of neutral in the stormy discomfort of inhabiting both sides of our contradictions. It’s about cultivating the ability to wait until a more integrative answer lands with a deep, soft sense of “Ah, yes, this.”
Ginger and Cinnamon Tea
This is some spicy stuff. It will make you sweat, and that is the whole point. This is for the kind of cold where you feel chilled and achy. There might also be a fever, but it is the chills and lack of sweating that are the key signs for this brew. (Do not use this recipe for the type of cold where you are hot and sweaty.)
The remedy is simple and effective. If you take appropriate measures early on with this kind of cold you may avoid it completely. If it has already set in, this brew can help reduce your down time.
There are four key elements to getting this to work.
- You need to brew this tea strong. It will be spicier than most of us like if you brew it right. Adding a bit of brown sugar helps to take the edge off.
- You need to lie down, cover up with a blanket, close your eyes and rest after drinking the tea. If you take off a couple hours now to beat the cold, you can save yourself days of miserable recovery time. Do the math.
- You need to get a light, whole body sweat. It is not uncommon for the muscles and joints to feel achier just before the sweat occurs. If you don’t get the sweat, down another cup of tea and follow it with a small bowl of oatmeal or congee (broth or porridge). This helps to stoke your inner fire and bring on the sweat. Also, avoid greasy foods or meats at this time.
- After the sweat, it is best to rest for a while and it is vitally important that you do not get chilled or exposed to drafts.
Cold-busting ginger tea recipe
Take a piece of fresh ginger about the length of your thumb and slice it into disks about the width of a quarter.
Add the ginger with ¼ teaspoon of cinnamon to a quart of water.
Bring to a boil, then simmer for 20 minutes.
Add a touch of brown sugar to taste.
Life on the Other Side of Sugar
One of the last participants of the Journey Beyond Sugar journey recently had this to say:
I'm not doing sugar any more. I can resist this stuff. Really. I can look those pieces of sugar fudge in the eye and just say, “Hey fellas…hope you find some takers, but it won't be me!”
The Journey Beyond Sugar process is a distillation of my clinical work, the ancient wisdom of Chinese medicine, modern metabolic science, mindfulness practices, the principles of neuroplasticity and the joy we always get when we get curious about something and explore it.
Ready to get some traction on changing your relationship with sugar?
Download the Transform Your Relationship with Sugar Resource Kit and get a taste for what this 45 day journey is all about!
Misconceptions about Meditation
- You are supposed to be able to turn off your mind
- It should be a peaceful experience
- It's a short cut to making my life better
- I'll never again get angry or impatient
If you have spent any time at all with meditation, you'll know these simply are not true.
Meditation does not turn your mind off. Human minds are constantly squeezing out thoughts, much like the pancreas secretes insulin or the gall bladder drips out bile. That's just what a mind does. Meditation will not stop your thoughts, but with practice it can help you to find some spaciousness between them. And more importantly, in a moment of being emotionally triggered you might find you have some extra time to choose your action, rather than being a slave to your reactivity.
The experience might be peaceful at moments, but often is more like you are sitting in front of mirror that shows you what is constantly going through your mind, and the panorama of emotions that accompanies them.
There are no short cuts to making your life better. Hacks, tricks, short cuts and other clickbait like invitations to instantly transform yourself into a different version of yourself are usually thinly veiled ways to try to sell you something. What's in the way, is the way. Do the work.
Anger and impatience go along with being human. Meditation will not make these go away. In fact, you don't want them to go away. These feelings can be the source of valuable information. Meditation can help with getting to the underlying issue that arises as anger. And give you a little more room between feeling angry and taking some kind of action. Sometimes going from having a two second fuse to a five second fuse can save you a world of trouble and regret.