I’m going. Going. Back. Back. To Cali. Cali.
My attempt at humor, ha ha ha!!
Anyway, yes. I am going. Not going to California, but going to my roots.
Yes, my roots.
I know what you’re thinking No, I don’t dye my hair, so I am not going back to being my normal dark-haired self (praise God, I have NO WHITE HAIR). And no, I am not journeying to Japan or Okinawa this summer (although something about Japan will be involved as I “go back”).
With a slew of end-of-the-year school meetings to attend and papers to read, the planning for the new business venture, the training of clients at the gym…let’s just say I have been a bit frazzled. I wrote about my return to yoga in my previous post (balance and breath!), and honestly, ever since then, God has been revealing to me how I have been subsisting on ungenuine and falsified STUFF to keep me going. And in doing so, I was losing myself.
Let me explain.
Every morning I start my day with a sip of coffee. And then a sip of an energy drink. And then more energy drink. I eat my breakfast of egg whites, spinach, turkey bacon and rice crisp with peanut butter as I frantically drive in traffic to drop the kids off then go to work, drink some Sparkling Ice water between classes, and then munch on a Quest bar at break. Lunch? I’ll pack a sandwich with Kirkland deli turkey slices, and eat that with some pop chips and fun size Snickers while grading and meeting with students. I dart from class to class, period to period, so that by end the day I am rushing to my car so I can beat traffic down the street to pick up my daughter and go to the gym so I can train clients or do my own weightlifting training and then rush home so I can get dinner prepared and make sure the kids get fed and bathed and the dishes get washed and the dogs fed.
It is a busy schedule for sure. Busy, but manageable.
Everyday my eyes would open at 4am, and as I laid in bed, I would go through an exhausting list in my head of the chores that needed to be done, the items on the to-do list that needed to be checked off. The sun wasn’t even up, and I would already be daydreaming about when I would be able to go back to sleep that night. I felt continually fatigued in my mind and body, so my answer was to supplement with more caffeine (yay, caffeine!) and easier food options (because the less time to meal prep meant the more time I could be “doing stuff”). This lifestyle APPEARED to work, but in truth, it was a mess.
Because in all actuality, how bad is it that I couldn’t “get going” without caffeine? And a lot of caffeine? How bad is it that I would drink a TON of water laden with artificial sweeteners to give me some kind of bubbly carbonated boost mid-afternoon (and morning and night energy)? How bad is it that the majority of the food I ate in a day was manufactured and processed using ingredients I can’t spell or pronounce well?
Don’t get me wrong. A candy bar here and there is not the end of the world. I will not die from drinking Splenda. But something is wrong when those fake products are (supposedly) giving me energy and are (supposedly) making up ME. I didn’t just want them. I needed them. They were a bright spot in my otherwise crazed life. Something is wrong when I craved the taste of Equal in my coffee and I daydreamed about these packaged snacks like an addict salivates over his drug of choice.
I was living on artificiality.
What’s even worse (besides the fact that buying all those Monsters and Sparkling Ices were putting a dent in my wallet) was that I felt, well, pretty artificial too. It was almost as if the fake food I was ingesting was making my spirit fake as well. I hid behind a “I’m-doing-great-just-a-bit-tired” smile, when all I really wanted to do was hibernate in my bed watching episodes of “Entourage.” I was overwhelmed, I was tired, I was lost.
The question then: How do I get back to ME? How do I get back to my roots?
After much prayer and thought and prayer and thought, I’ve decided to embark on the following “makeover” of sorts. I’m holding myself accountable to these following actions for AT LEAST the next thirty days. What am I going to do??? I am going to “go back” to an Asian-influenced, Japanese lifestyle.
I know. I’m not originally from Japan even though my father is full Japanese and my mother full Okinawan. But whenever I think about the Asian lifestyle (the serenity and wholeness associated with it), there is something calming and peaceful and home-like that stirs in my spirit.
Eating hot rice and drinking miso soup reminds me of a loving childhood.
Seeing the delicate cherry blossoms dotting the Japan countryside brings to mind rest and regrowth.
Sipping hot green tea fills my spirit and body with warmth and love.
I need to go back to my roots.
How then am I going to accomplish this task?
Step 1: Spend five minutes every morning in prayer and meditation.
Although the Japanese are incredibly busy and productive (one look at the train stations will tell you that!), they still find the time for quiet and peace. I am not Buddhist nor do I attend a Shinto shrine, but I do find spiritual freedom through prayer and meditating on the Bible. When I don’t do those actions, I feel incomplete. Empty. So I am devoting the first five minutes of my morning as I lie in bed to feel my breathe go in and out of my belly and chest, to thank God for the blessings He has given me, to praise Him for His presence, and to sit in the peace of His Holy Spirit.
Step 2: Eat my meals sitting down.
I know. This will be hard. But I remember sitting with my mother every morning to eat breakfast as we listened to the news on the radio. It was peace. I sat with my friends at the cafeteria table at lunch and we talked about, well, anything teenage girls talk about. It was fun. I sat with my family at dinner time, teriyaki chicken and rice on our plates, discussing the day’s events. It was love. There’s something holistic and welcoming and wonderfully inviting about sitting and eating. Food is more than just fuel. Food is a conduit for relationships, and relationships make a person feel loved and whole.
Step 3: Eat meals that are not fake.
This will also be a challenge. I’m a creature of convenience. If it’s in a package, great. Less for me to prep and clean up. But the Japanese way of eating is not as such. Breakfast is complete: miso soup, rice, pickled vegetables, protein. My husband’s mother is from Japan, and when we visit the relatives there, it never ceases to amaze me how their breakfasts consist of a green salad, fruit, fresh yogurt, rice, soup, and fish. Every. Day. In all seriousness, I probably will NOT be able to get my kids to eat that kind of full breakfast every day (going from frozen waffles to miso soup and rice and ume would be a stretch!), but baby steps!! I am committing to drinking at least one bowl of soup a day (and making it for the kiddos too), trying natto (that will be an experience!!!), eating more pickled veggies, cooking more at home, and getting more fresh food in my diet (so long, Quest bars!). This will not be easy–I am planning on going to the farmer’s market for produce so I can buy local, and I am ok with the fact that not every single one of my meals will be Japanese-like (because, well, a birthday party at Chuck-E-Cheese will not have sushi). But if possible, I will refer back to my roots…and hopefully my family will follow suit!
This will be a challenge. For sure. But I know I need to do it. Ultimately, returning to my roots is exciting. It’s exhilarating. I desire to recapture the peace and joy and balance and wholeness I felt before being inundated with the fallacies and stress of my current state. And so, here I go. As you read this post, I have already gone through three-quarters of the day going back to my roots. I meditated this morning. I had my rice and veggies and protein for breakfast while sitting at my kitchen table and NOT while driving. I drank no Sparkling Ice drinks. I sat and ate lunch with a co-worker and talked. Yes, if you see me out, ask me how I’m doing. Keep me accountable. And if any of you want to join me on this, please do!
Would you ever want to “go back to your roots”??? Comment below!!