There’s a feature deeply installed in our human hard drive that often makes us do just the opposite of what we know we should; of what love tells us to; of what is good not only for our survival but also for our health and our wellbeing, in every possible area of our humanity.
I can still remember the smell of roasted skin when, at four years old or so, my mother told me not to touch the heated iron. “Why not?” I asked in a baby accent. “Because it burns, that’s why!” she said from above the ironing board. The first thing I did when she turned around is press the palm of my hand against the burning metal with all my strength. They had to scrub off the dead skin later.
But I don’t think the rebellion syndrome is exclusive to humans. Every animal I’ve ever lived with has rebelled at some point and for no apparent reason other than to do the opposite, to create conflict, to see how it feels, just ’cause.
I wonder if plants are also made of the same non-compliant material—to a much smaller degree. In fact, we are now seeing nature rebel against us more than any other time in history. Maybe she’s trying to imitate us (or maybe she’s just pissed).
A couple thousand years after the iron-in-hand incident and with a PhD in pain, I’ve managed to become a wellness aspirant of some sort. Though I no longer go around sticking my fingers into electrical sockets, I’m still possessed more often than I’d like, by this self-destructive drive to make a No into a Yes or a Yes into a No, whichever is just the opposite of what I should, must, need, really want to do.
I recently thought of a shortcut, a way of tricking my Self and yours, if you’ll let me.
I thought I could turn my mental house upside down, so the floor would become the ceiling. This way, whenever I feel like defying gravity, as I’m often “pushed” to do (apparently) against my will, I will be walking on the actual floor.
Because even though I know nearly everything that I should eat or do in order to live a healthy life, the should and the ought get old with repetition. They lose the eye-opener status over time and I stop being in love with the truth.
When myself and I turn into a cranky old couple who’s about to get a divorce, the 4-year-old in me wakes up and wants to scream, touch things, cut into things, destroy things.
So, let me switch those things around and take you down into an enemy of thy health, say, the heart disease inferno. Why there? Well, because it just so happens to be the number one killer in the Western World and it’s robbed us of many restless and beautiful souls.
In addition to being the center, the heart is also the most constant organ in our body. Perhaps the most honorable thing we can learn from it is how not to give up (on it, on ourselves).
Now hurry up. The train to Hell is leaving the station. Yes, you should bring a camera. You might want to remember all these steps that, if combined, will pretty much guarantee that your heart takes a permanent break from beating. And after reading, I hope to God you rebel:
1. Eat meat in abundance.
Eat it every day, at every meal. Eat it for breakfast, lunch and dinner, when you wake up and even while you’re sleeping. Always have a bowl of meat ready by your bedside or wherever you’re sitting.
Don’t listen to the wacky vegetarians brainwash you about free-range animals or swear on their vegan and organic mothers. Aren’t we all organic, after all? Isn’t all meat an organ? They’re like a cult, these crazytarians. And where in the underworld do they get their protein?
Numerous studies funded by the trustworthy meat industry have proven that factory-farmed meat is not only the best way to grow a healthy heart but is also especially good for your intestines and for the planet.
And when I say good, I mean, of course, good in a dying way. How else are we going to make space for future generations? We’ve lived enough already. So wipe that mouth and keep on eating.
2. If after devouring all the flesh you can manage (preferably from factory farms), your cholesterol levels are still too low to completely kill you on the spot, you can supplement with dairy products.
Fat and low-fat alike will do. Just make sure that like the meat, they come from factory-famed animals, and that they are as processed as it gets.
Here is a sign of thorough processing: the more enriched they are with all sorts of extra vitamins and minerals, the more manipulated.
I mean, whatever vitamins and minerals they may have had while they were still edible, must have been so utterly destroyed in the processing, that in order to fulfill FMA (Food & Me Administration) requirements, new vitamins and minerals had to be added in. Your arteries will also grow richer with the experience.
And don’t you worry about all the parasites that are not destroyed in the pasteurizing process. As long as the dairy comes from factory-farmed animals, you are sure to ingest a good dose of those gut-friendly antibiotics that were previously given to the cows.
This will keep you safe from colds or any other immune diseases and if anything, it’ll provide your heart with a prolonged, breathless hug.
3. The way you cook your food is just wrong.
Where are all those vegetables going to get you? Living longer is for cowards. What is this, heaven? But if you just follow my advice, you’ll get there in no time. So stop cutting that lettuce like a baby, and have some real food.
One of the greatest joys of deadly eating is frying everything you can. Throw a cup or two of any refined oil into a pan, make it burn and let your hunger dive in.
Refined oil –especially when fried– does not clog your arteries, as many conspiracy theorists like to prophesize. What it does, scientifically speaking, is sing a lullaby to your heart so it slowly goes to sleep. And isn’t that what we all want at the end of the day?
4. If you already drink and smoke, increase your daily dose.
If you don’t, you should seriously consider picking up these two wonderful habits.
Never mind that even the tobacco industry is now placing severe warnings against herself on her own cigarette packs (like a bipolar sociopath); even after all the millions that this action—along with the increasing smoking bans throughout the world—is costing them.
As for your heart, Tobacco and his brother Alcohol, are some of the best artists out there. They love to decorate your arterial walls with their pictures of death, reducing the blood supply to your dear heart-muscle and basically suffocating it.
If you’ve always dreamed of having the heart of a sick 90-year old at 30, 40 or 50, this is your chance. Call your funeral adviser now.
5. When you go to the supermarket, wear 3-D sunglasses so you can hardly see anything else other than the colorful packaging in the highly processed section.
Again, fresh vegetables are for hippies and green freaks who think they’re gonna’ make it to 80 on spinach.
Not you. Your eyes know better what design rocks the most, and as a result, what product is best for your health.
Don’t you dare check the ingredients. You won’t understand anything anyway. It’s all written in a foreign language they made up especially for processed food, just to save you time for more pleasant activities, like watching TV while you eat it.
You work too much anyway. Let the people who make food worry about food. You worry about more important matters, like how to get a second or third job to be able to pay for medical expenses. Because it seems like your heart is finally getting the idea.
6. But if you’re stubborn enough to skip my 5th advice and like to read ingredients, then you should at least know that trans fats are always a good sign.
And even if the label says 0 trans, as long as there’s any trace of hydrogenated oil in the list of ingredients, rest assured that the transies (as I lovingly refer to them) are hiding in there, somewhere.
Those lovely, innocent trans! They’re like the angel of light who will speed up the process of heart reincarnation. Because saying heart failure is so pessimistic.
And who could blame the poor thing for failing, anyway? It’s not like it has eyes or a body or even worse, a mind. It’s just an organ after all and it has the right to quit whenever it wants to.
7. Whatever you do for a living, let it not involve movement.
And when you’re at home, do not, I repeat, do not move. Movement is your enemy! To begin with, movement increases circulation, sending oxygen throughout your body and activating your brain; when fully awake, the brain might be a liability to our mission of putting the heart to sleep.
So please, go buy another couch if you have to.You can do pretty much anything from a couch nowadays. You can run an entire business without ever having to get out of bed.
After all, isn’t the lack of movement stillness and isn’t stillness meditation? Sitting on a couch and not thinking? Mighty yogic of you.
Tell you what, TV is sure to help you with the not thinking part. In addition to a new couch, I suggest an extra set of screens so you can have a deeper spiritual experience while watching others move.
8. Medicate as often as possible and for any minor pain, like your elbow itching.
Don’t worry about the side effects. That stuff only happens to other people. Not to you (or me!).
The Pharmaceutical industry is not really an industry but a peaceful NGO that really wants you to get better so that you stop buying their meds and they stop profiting from illness, so that we can all finally move to Utopia.
To honor their commitment to your well-being and just to make sure that the heart is fully insulated from the troubles of this awful life, you should be taking at least five different pills a day.
9. Stress is sexy.
Who is not turned on by the constant rush and adrenaline of all the things that could go wrong, dancing with you, holding you by the throat every time you’re in need for an adventure?
If, at the end of the day, you’re short of breath and you feel like there is still one inch of your mind or body that’s not exhausted, get your bowl of meat from the first point and watch horror movies.
Fear is to stress what sex is to sexy. It will make for an unforgettable night, filled with anxious, sweaty romance. Don’t forget to hide the knives and check the closets when you’re done.
10. Be unhappy.
Why you? Be as ungrateful as you can. Why here? Shut up all desire within you. Why now? Life sucks. Why this? You should have been 20 in the 20s.
Anytime but now. Anyplace but here. You are never enough, no matter how hard you work and everyone owes you something.
Make a list of all the people you envy and who you’d rather be and meditate on it for 30 minutes every morning.
Never see the good in others, their mistakes are much more fun to point out. Dwelling on the negative is more addictive than Soda. It never quenches your thirst for blood.
Upon completing this last exercise, it will probably be Ronald McDonald himself or any other worthy change-maker (call Monsanto) who, with the power invested in him by millions of people around the world, will write your eulogy.
As for myself, I have to undergo many hours of surgical meditation after writing this, to recover from the irony of being me. Never mind that I can’t sit still for more than 15 minutes and that I sometimes even star in homemade horror movies, smashing my heart against any available wall.
But in that cathedral which I refuse to abandon before I become, as Henley put it, “the master of my fate”, maybe there’s enough space to be a goddamn saint as well. The kind of 21st century, sinful saint who gets so bored among painted glass that she needs to regularly blow it up and then rebuild, changing the place of the furniture, time and again. Because truth, out of all things, should be the most versatile and recyclable material.
Et toi? What house do you need to turn upside-down to make it habitable? What truthful lie do you need to tell yourself from time to time?
Be as outrageous and creative as you possibly can. It’s the first step into genuine, inner-house cleaning.
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