One of the greatest lessons my meditation practice is teaching me is that everything changes from moment to moment. In other words, whether we are aware of it or not, what makes up ‘Life’ (including us), is in a state of constant transformation. But in many cases, those changes are so subtle/slow, that we fail to notice them. Look at yourself in the mirror everyday and nothing will jump at you, but take a snapshot of yourself in 10 years time and it’s a different story. Another way to describe this process would be to call it ‘growth’.
When we stop for a moment and look around us, Nature itself shows us how growth is a fundamental part of Life. It’s easy enough to see how we, as adults, are no longer in children’s bodies. There is also a less obvious kind of growth; one that is made up of becoming better human beings by learning from our mistakes and making peace with who we truly are. I feel that, although we may not always like it (especially when we’re caught in the midst of some crisis), personal growth is the real reason we’re here. Whether it pertains to the physical or the psychological/spiritual, growth is often a slow and organic process, not to mention painful at times (no kidding! lol)
I was telling you in a recent post about Karen Knowler‘s excellent weekly publication, “Successfully Raw”. Aside from her engaging writing style, I also enjoy how she examines the raw food diet, not as an ‘end’ in itself, but rather as part of a greater journey of self-transformation. In her latest, truly inspiring article, Karen points out how vital it is to honor our own timing – or what I like to call our ‘flow’ – when it comes to changing our diet (or anything else, for that matter!) She also describes some of the obstacles that may be lying in wait along the way, and how we must trust the process.
In case you’ve missed Karen’s outstanding piece, I feel it’s so powerfully moving and relevant to this season of new growth, that I thought I’d share it with you.
Over to you, Karen…
Extract from the “Successfully Raw” newsletter, published on 6 April 2007:
“When struggle is present I like to remind people about the journey of the caterpillar to butterfly. If you know how the journey plays out, you’ll know that the most struggle happens just before the butterfly emerges fully from its chrysalis – its own private version of the dark before the dawn.
I’ve seen this so many times that when I hear about struggle I know that it’s actually a GREAT sign! A major breakthrough is usually only just around the corner, it’s simply about recognizing the struggle, relaxing into the situation and letting things clear as we make peace with the emerging new – that’s how we come out flying the other side.
With this in mind, this week’s article is all about the importance of timing. Again, drawing on the caterpillar’s incredible story, you may also know that if the butterfly tries to fly too soon before its wings have had a chance to fully dry, then it dies, and flying never becomes an option. So too, do you experience pain when you push harder and faster than is necessary with yourself or with life (or your diet!). This week’s article will give you a new perspective on why sometimes, when you’re struggling with your raw food journey, what appears on the surface to be “less” is actually so much “more”.”
The Importance of Honoring Your Own Timing
One of the great things about working with so many clients at the moment, both in group and 1:2:1 situations is that common themes, patterns and problems become even more obvious than usual.
This week there have been many themes coming through over and over again, but the main one that I’m going to pull out of the mix is the importance of timing.
It is only too common that I come across people who want to go raw “overnight” or “now!” or “in the next month” or at least some time really soon. Now, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with having that kind of passion and excitement about something; in fact I wish there were more of it in this world! However, as I learned myself and as I see time and time again, sometimes these transitions take a fair bit longer than we hope, think or expect.
For my own part it took me five years to go and stay raw. Which I did for the next 5½ years, with no effort at all – but only because I was then fully ready.
I share this with you firstly to put some perspective on things (yes, five years of yo-yoing for me, that’s a long time!) and second of all to bring up the importance of honoring your OWN timing.
As with all things in life, whether they be moving home, changing jobs, leaving or starting relationships, generally speaking we do this, if circumstances permit, in “our own time”. And sometimes this can be a fast process and other times more lengthy.
Along your raw food journey you will encounter challenges that you never knew were possible. You will come face to face with things you have been burying for years (usually using food), you will realize things about yourself that both amaze you and sometimes sadden you. You will be able to sense a potential that before you had no concept of, and while one part of you will want to reach out and grab that with both hands, another part of you will cower away at what that might mean.
All of these things and more can mess around with our mind as we try to figure out what on earth it is we really want. “To be raw or not to be raw?” That is the question!
Add to this the most common derailer and demotivator of all – fear (and fear comes lurking up at every corner) – and it’s no wonder that the “overnight”, “now” and “within the next month” can stretch on to become months away or even, as in my case, years.
I have a belief that goes something like this:
“The greater your fear, the larger your potential.”
Ponder this for a moment in relation to your own experiences on your raw food journey so far, and see if it doesn’t bring up some deeper sense of knowing for you…
One of my biggest and most constantly pressing observations is that for those of us who choose to live life “in the raw” the world is not really that brilliantly set up for us. And this can be why it feels like it’s hard to play “big” or full out as the person we truly are or know we can be.
And no I don’t just mean food-wise, I mean in all ways.
Indeed, the further I go on my own journey (and right now the whole thing for me has speeded right up – more later), the more I realize how incredibly important, nay imperative, it is that I only do things I love, only surround myself with like-minded people, only make choices that work for me and everyone else (and not just everyone else!), and that I am true to myself on a moment-by-moment basis.
Now, getting to this place can take time. And sometimes “time” means a long time. For me this has been 14 years and only now am I operating consistently in the way that I have aspired to for probably every single one of those 14 years.
Walking this path has been riveting, amazing, fascinating, challenging, turbulent and even grueling at times, but not once have I ever felt it wasn’t worth it; even though I may have sometimes wished I could have gone back!
Indeed, no other path has brought me so wonderfully and so consistently back to myself and to a place of peace that is unparalleled. There is no price that is too high to pay to feel this level of peace.
And yet, to get to this peace, we do have to struggle through the swamp sometimes. And that swamp, if you haven’t already figured it out yet, is largely, if not completely, self-created. It’s the world, the life that we have created through choices we made days, weeks, month and years ago and it’s the canvas that we have chosen to paint, whether that be consciously or unconsciously.
Rewriting your life script takes time and energy, no doubt about it. And, although I am normally a “shades of grey” person, typically seeing subtleties in life and gradients in most things, when it comes to being “in the raw” or not, as far as I can see it, there is either a sense of moving forward with things or a sense of going back – never standing still, as life is always moving alongside us as we move forward with it, or past us, which leaves us feeling “behind” even if we thought we were standing still.
So as far as timing goes, sometimes on our journey, when things seem to be going a little fast, it is exactly the right time to pause, or to stop. Sometimes we DO need to let life pass us by a little so that we can feel cocooned from whatever growth was feeling intimidating to us. Some of us will choose a hefty chunk of bread or tub of Ben and Jerry’s to work this magic, others alcohol, others some other form of “less-than- supportive” behaviour which may or may not be of the edible variety. It’s all just detail, but the essence remains the same: We need to pace ourselves.
Learning when to stop, when to go, when to pause and when to leap forward is all part of the intuitive journey. Only YOU know what feels good and when. And often there is no external rhyme nor reason to this, it just feels right.
And then sometimes it can feel very wrong!
All these feelings, the good and the not-so-good, are simply signs to us as to what we should really be doing. And this can mean upping the ante in our diet, or stepping it back for a day or more, in order to recalibrate before moving on – when it feels right.
As far as words of wisdom go, if there’s one thing I want to leave you with you this week, it’s that giving yourself permission to be real with yourself in this way, to hear whether your whole person is giving you the green, amber or red light is to take a huge step forward in your evolution even when the outside appearance might appear to dictate otherwise.
Awareness is everything.
It’s what you do with it and how you approach that “what” that really counts.
Growth is not always linear and it’s not always what we think it is.
When you got at your own pace, you are only ever really moving forward, even if you choose to believe otherwise!
When you relax into this knowing, conversely, the whole journey can seem, in its own sweet and irony- laden way, to suddenly speed up and us with it! But when it’s on your terms and only yours, then speed never equals “too fast”, it can only ever truly be present moment perfection when you honour your own timing, precisely because it is your OWN timing.
This is where you will find your peace waiting for you too.
© 2007 Karen Knowler
Karen Knowler is The Raw Food Coach and former Managing Director of The Fresh Network, the UK’s Raw and Living Foods organisation. With over 14 years of personal experience of eating a raw food diet, Karen has been teaching, writing and coaching professionally on raw foods for almost nine years.
She publishes “Successfully Raw” – a free weekly eZine for raw food lovers everywhere. If you’re ready to look good, feel great and create a raw life you love, get your FREE tips, tools and recipes now at www.TheRawFoodCoach.com.
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