Saturday, October 31, 2009

Thursday, October 29, 2009

what we're working with

i am known for having eyes much larger than my stomach.  it seems that i can never really tell how large anything really is.  taking on fifteen projects at once, piling my plate higher than a legos tower, thinking that an hour is plenty of time to run 5 errands, all in different areas of town (on my bike), and that raising a child just means feeding them once in a while is my m.o.  of course, it works the other way with myself.  i think i'm ginormous.  i always experience a moment of shock when i see myself in group pictures and i'm SO SHORT!  SO TINY!

all this to explain that when i "adopted" (returned) to the primal lifestyle, i jumped in with both bare feet.  and not everything stuck.  in a panicked effort to organize (control) all that, i regimented it.  that's when it really fell apart.  once i attach a "should" to anything, my extremely vocal inner child throws a tantrum and my inner revolutionary, well, revolts.

should is, to me, one of the dirtiest words in the english language.  i cringe when i hear it and want to cover my burning ears (EARMUFFS!).  it also seems to be one of the heaviest.  throw it into any sentence and the should side drops down with such a hard thud that it's hard to hear the rest of the words.

of course, i have a much more developed rebel inside me than most.  but it can be very difficult when the one i rebel against is myself, the task piler.

so, i've simply distracted the part of me that needs projects.  i'm buying (BUYING! holy crapola batman!) a new cave today.  so the project princess will be well taken care of for quite a while.

but what am i going to do about the rest of me that doesn't give a should?  i remember when i started this whole thing in july, that one of the things that i wanted to do was to play outside every day with my son. i haven't done that since coming back to the states.  play has given way to regimented exercise, standard american eating habits, lack of sleep, and a loss of community.

no wonder i feel like should.

so, i'm bringing play back as my first priority.  i'm not going to lay down any ground rules, i'm just going  to find fun again.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

6 week (sure) cure

i started the 6 week cure yesterday.  it's the book written by protein power power couple, the dr.s eades.

i went so far off track with everything lately that my body is right back where it used to be before i ever started eating primally.  and, when i say that, i'm not talking about weight.  a little over a year ago, my body got to the point where i could barely move.  i'll never forget driving with my sister for a twelve hour trip and all that i could do was silently cry.  it didn't matter how i sat, laid, walked, or moved, the pain crowded everything else out.

it had been a slow and steady degradation.  i had lived through a war-zone for a couple years.  the level of anxiety, fear, and stress that came with that was more than i could manage.  there was a period of six weeks where i didn't sleep more than 2-3 hours a night because i was so terrified and worried.  in the midst of that, i flew to new york to spend over a month living in a tent on my cousin's bare land.  it saved my life and whet my appetite for a different lifestyle.

once i landed here, the culture shock and what is called here "post-traumatic shock syndrome" and what i used to call "waking up monday morning", my body aches and fatigue began in earnest.  i tried veganism and it worked for a while but then i just felt undernourished and so tired.  i went high-carb because i knew that there was a direct neural/chemical pathway between sugar and the release of seratonin.  but, i had to eat a lot of carbs to neutralize the crash of the carbs i'd eaten earlier.

my road trip and the "vacation" that followed were my body's low points.  i'd always been very active as a dancer growing up and able to do things with my body that other people could only googly eye at.  but, at 35, i felt crippled, crispy, and cried about it often.

i had also gained a lot of weight but that didn't bother me anymore.  i had learned to love my body and i thought that i was doing all the right things for it.

i started eating primally, moving primally, and found my energy again.  but these past few weeks, i've thrown all caution to the wind, thinking myself "cured" and eaten my way back to the pain.

of course, the rainy, cold weather doesn't help.  it makes me want to crawl into a cave and stay, buried in animal skins, until the sun comes back out in the spring.

i am exhausted, constantly.  i can't get enough sleep.  every joint hurts.  i can feel every bone in my body, heavy, like a steel rod that my softer flesh has to make its way around.

so, i do what i alway do in a crisis.  i read.

i found the eades's book "the 6-week cure for the middle-aged middle" and instantly knew that this is what i had to do.  although it's marketing itself as a weight-loss thing, which is something that i know will temporarily work, what really draws me to it is that it is a strong liver supportive plan.

since i started yesterday, i'm in the first two weeks of the six week plan.  each two weeks are a little different one from the other.  i'm in the 3 shakes and 1 meal a day portion.  that one meal a day has been the most delicious meal i've ever had, mostly because i'm hungry by then, but also because i'm finding joy again in food.

so i raise a shake to health.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

thinking and thinking leads to.....hopefully, insight

i've been gone for a little while.

the amount of stress that i've been denying has finally caught up with me and some very old habits and patterns have taken over.

the things that i KNOW would help me deal have fallen by the wayside and i searched out substitutes for the lazy.

i learned about 6 years ago to never feel guilty or to punish myself for these lapses.  they are just what i'm used to doing.

when i started this blog, i think i went in my default "i know it all" mode.  the thing with that mode is that it's false.  i don't know it all.  i sometimes feel as if i know nothing at all!  as someone who has lived too long in her head and been too valued for her smarts, it is painful to admit that there are libraries of books filled with the things that i don't know.

i am a cave girl but i am still becoming one.  there are days when i am not one at all, and am instead a very lost animal grasping at carbs and modern noise to soothe my confusion.

i have been writing with a bit of the 'i've arrived, let me show you the way" tone.  HA!  i'm bumbling around in the dark a little bit.  i know where i want to end up.  i want to live as my ancestors did, as my body and mind are genetically determined to live.  so many other sites about primal life really focus on the food and exercise portions of that life.  that goes a very long way.  but, i'm interested in my entire lifestyle, my mindset, my environment being transformed into something deeply nourishing to my deepest DNA.

i would love to explore this all with you.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Thursday, October 15, 2009

do a little dance, make a little love, get down tonight

It may be true that white men can't jump, but the real problem is that they won't dance.  And if they won't dance, it seems unlikely that they would have anything important to say about movement education.  Dance, after all, is entry-level.  After sex, gathering and hunting, 
it is the original human movement.

Frank Forencich, Exuberant Animal

I attended a private Christian school from Kindergarten through graduation from High School.  The teachers were all mid-western imports from  exotic places like Gary, Indiana and Flint, Michigan.  They were missionaries called by god to save Haitians from a fiery afterlife that was surely awaiting them because the Haitian culture was so satan saturated.

Dancing is one of those sins that ranked right up there with genocide that wasn't sanctioned by the Old Testament god or actually marrying someone who didn't share your skin color.  Dancing leads to all sorts of horrible things.  If you spent time dancing, most damningly with a partner, adultery, pedophilia, and (gasp) homosexuality were going to be the way you wrapped up your evening.  Dancing is the gateway sin.

In Kindergarten, as my class was preparing our part for the annual Christmas pagent, my teacher, Mrs. Gadness (oh how thrilled I was to discover that my mother, first grade teacher, was "serving the Lord with gadness!") took my mother aside with deep concern.  "I understand that Jenny, um, likes to dance, but dancing to Silent Night is a bit excessive, don't you think?"

Later, in my Bible classes, i glared at those teachers who insisted that moving the temple of the Holy Spirit to the beat was just asking for demonic possession.  I would quote the passage about King David, a man after god's own heart, exploding into exuberant dance behind the ark of the covenant as it was taken to the temple.  I would gloss over the part of his strict reprimand by all the killjoys around him.

At home, I consumed any PG movie that had dancing scenes in it.  One summer, my sister and I watched "Girls Just Wanna Have Fun" (starring Helen Hunt and Sarah Jessica Parker) 58 times.  And then, there were Turbo and Ozone and Kelly (Special K...every good dancer has a street name).  White Nights was rented from the video club...over and over and over.  Gregory Hines's solo grew fuzzier with time because I rewound and played, rewound and played.  Misha (that's Mikael Baryshnikov to you) danced deep into my dreams in his JEANS!

I finally accepted my one-way strobe-lit and bass driven ticket to hell.  But, I found a different sort of salvation.  I began to dance a different way. I abandoned the chaste side-stepping I did to Olivia Newton John and opened my hips, liquified my spine, and bared my feet.  Haitian folklore was similar to African dance, but, focused more on the slithering torso than the punctuating limbs.  I danced to the drums, the same drums that were used in West Africa by my ancestors.  All of a sudden, I was out of my head and it was the most spiritual experience i'd ever had to date.  i could feel the cultural, genetic umbilical chord stretching back into time.

i was more than myself.  i was the goddess, the god, the forest, the freedom fighter, the snake (who only symbolizes evil in the judeo/christian tradition: in every other the snake is the symbol for healing, knowledge, and the divine feminine.).  it was so simple, really.  it was my body and some hollowed out wood with some goat skin stretched tautly across it.  but, the sound was the same sound that humans had always made since we could.  the drum was the first external heartbeat.

of course, dancing to me was more than my salvation.  it was what showed me that there was nothing from which to BE saved.  i was primal, ancient.  moving to a hand-driven beat with others doing the same taught me what it meant to be human, to be in my own flesh.

to dance was among our original movements.  it was the original workout.  how sad it is to realize how far we've come.  dancing hard for hours only nourished me.  i couldn't do a step-aerobics class for more than thirty minutes before a homicidal desire to use that far too cheerful instructors noggin as my step took over.  lifting weights was like a metronome, dull and uninspired.  but, dancing, our earliest form of community, expression, and celebration feeds us.  so, turn on the music, feel the joy, and, like my son liked to say when he was three, "do the booty dance".

Monday, October 12, 2009

how to know...part 2

there was that one moment when i probably emasculated my pre-pubescent son.  he had spent the previous two weeks counting his armpit hairs that were sprouting one by one.  one day, he could see a patch of dirty blonde fuzz (or just the shadow caused by the bathroom overhead light) in the valley of his pit.  he came running in to the living room where i was curled up in the deep concentration that i can only summon when reading a book about herbs or self-sufficiency or surfing or the suicide girls.

"mom, have you ever seen so much armpit hair?!" he almost sang.

i didn't say a word nor did i look up from my book.  i just lifted my arm.  i could almost feel the weight of his face as it fell about five inches.

i don't always look like i have don king in a head lock.  but, i sometimes do.  of course, there was that one hippie year when i easily could have braided it all, slapped some beads on, and at least i could have had bo derek's iconic hair...but, you know, under my arms.  the flowing pit-locks look is more of a winter-time thing for me.

i do have my reasons that reach further than my feminist leanings coupled with my ironic life-long struggle to "be one of the boys".  (when i was seven, i pulled my sister and the two boys that we grew up with into the bathroom and proved that i really could pee while standing up.)  i don't feel the need to bow to some societal standard of beauty that is counter to what my body does naturally nor do i understand why that standard only applies to one gender.  however, i think it's healthier to let my body do what it wants to do from time to time.

and, to top it off, the armpits are an erogenous zone but a little fuzz increases the sensation by a factor of ten.  anything that increases my pleasure on this planet is fine with me.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Thursday, October 8, 2009

oh happy day!

the vibram five fingers and i on a hike in the north carolina mountains were so primed for adventure and the luring siren call of winding woodsy paths.  i know that i've been gone for quite a long time.  people, i went to the mountain since the mountain wouldn't come to me.  i camped for 4 days on the shore of a lake.  it was a small tent, very much like, well, a cave.  and this cave girl heard her own thoughts.  it was amazing to be far away from the constant jabbering of society's aimless quest for happiness through consumption.

now that i'm back, i am overwhelmed by the constant noise, the very bright lights, and the STUFF!  sweet baby jesus, the stuff.  it is everywhere, shelves groan under the weight of stuff, floors pant under the strain of holding up stuff, streets are congested with the glut of stuff, closet doors reach for their frames against the bulge of stuff.

so, i'm having a garage sale.  i have too much stuff.  generally, 98% of americans have too much stuff.  (okay, so i didn't consult a census.)  i marvel at the value placed on things.  here, one is considered living in poverty if the household doesn't own a two t.v.s and a microwave.  POVERTY!  i grew up in haiti where lying in a river of mud and pigshit to take a nap because you have nowhere else to lay your head in the carboard slums, THAT'S poverty.

i lived in a tiny tent with a pair of jeans, a skirt, a couple t-shirts, my sleeping bag and a few books.  looking out through the mesh window, there were trees whistling in the wind, canadian geese transitioning from comedic waddling to graceful gliding in the lake, the mist would kiss the water so lightly and the moon shone just brightly enough.  and i felt ridiculously wealthy.

i was camping and attending a women's herbal conference.  herbal medicine is cave girl medicine.  we have evolved alongside plants and even from plants.  that is why our bodies and plants can communicate on a cellular level.  we know what to do with plant information.  with pharmaceutical drugs?  not so much.  plants are not directional.  what i mean by that is that a drug formulated to lower hypertension can only move in one direction.  it will lower and lower and lower hypertension, which is why drug users need to be monitored so closely by their pushers...i mean, doctors.  whereas a plant used for blood pressure is a blood pressure regulator.  it doesn't move in one direction, it works with our bodies to bring about balance.

i will be including some cave girl medicine once a week here.

i've thought a lot about this blog.  i want to take it in a slightly different direction.  the cave girl lifestyle is so much bigger to me than just eating and exercise.  being a cave girl, which is what we all are (except of course, the cave boys), is an entirely ancient way of looking at everything.  everything in our lives is out of step with our true animal selves, not just the way we eat and move (or not).

for example, my teacher, Susun Weed, taught one of the classes this past weekend.  we were talking about stress.  stress has really been demonized in the past decade or two.  we need stress.  stress is what makes our bones stronger, our mind quicker, our muscles bigger, and our emotional range broader.  there are only two stressors that are so hard-wired into our reptilian brains, the oldest parts of ourselves, that we can not adapt away from: loud noises and fast movement.  both of those things signal to us DANGER.  get ready to run or fight for your life.  Susun Weed thought it was very interesting that with all of our talking about stress management, we go out and buy boxes full of nothing but loud noises and fast movement, then, put one of those boxes in nearly every room of our homes.  We then can't understand why those weekly yoga classes aren't working.

I haven't had a t.v. in years.  if one isn't ready to ditch theirs quite yet, maybe one could try to go just one week without turning theirs on.  cover it with a sheet and use the top to place a framed photo of a mountain, or a lake, or a waterfall, or the ocean. or, just tape a picture ripped out of a national geographic. see what kind of difference that makes on your stress level.  i dare you.

Friday, October 2, 2009


so far, i'm 4 days in to the new challenge i've given myself.  i've been spot-on, even in the face of coconut-macadamia nut butter balls by Mary Lou.  so flippin' yummy, BUT, much to my dismay, i finally read the ingredients (i know..rookie) and they contain rice bran.  that totally explains the, um, discomfort in the abdominal region i was having after eating them.

the only slight possible mishap is a cup of mysterious gas-station coffee.

i won't be posting at all this weekend because (drumroll) i will be off the grid, sleeping in a tent, in my new yellow, down-filled sleeping bag.  (where's the cave and the animal skins, right?)  woohoo!

i'll be attending an herb conference in the mountains.  cave girls really should know their plants.  the capacity to identify each plant as food, medicine, or poison was a skill that our ancestors had.  i consider it to be extremely valuable to the primal lifestyle.

i will also get to meet my teacher susun weed ( in person.  i've been taking a correspondence course with her, and i am totally stoked about this!

speaking of plants, the leaves on the trees outside my window right now are a glorious acid yellow.  summer is officially over.  it is time to start changing the menu a little around my cave.  i move from raw chopped salads and ceviche to stews and soups.  it's a gradual transition but the seasons are a wonderful reminder that we are as wild as the earth.

so, i'm off to dance wildly in the woods....and possibly let out a "barbaric yawp"!