April 17, 2023

Finding Clarity & Walking the Sugarless Joy Path.


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“If you can win over your mind, you can win over the whole world.” ~ Sri Sri Ravi Shankar


Be careful what you ask for. I wrote these fateful words as we rung in the new year just a few months ago:

“This year, I’m seeking CLARITY

Clarity around what I do, my mind stream and what I’m putting in it, what I offer, what I love, and what I want to share with the world (i.e., my community) through writing and teaching.

Clarity around my body, spirit, soul, brain, and heart

Clarity in relationship

Clarity in ceremony

Clarity in daily practice

Clarity in kundalini energy ascending and descending and balancing

Clarity to design, create, and build

Clarity to edit, interpret, and translate

Clarity as to how to be in this moment fully

Clarity about what I want in the future, where to go, how to serve and benefit myself and others

Clarity on the past and all the events and choices that have brought me to where I am now

Clarity in Life and Love

And to achieve all this clarity, I need to consume mindfully.

May I find clarity. May I be clear. May all beings find clarity and be clear.”

The clarity I wasn’t looking for came along just a few days later, on the full moon, Friday, January 6. It was my daughter’s 10th birthday, and my husband and I had a major blowout. He crossed a boundary, and I replied with outrage.

This drama prompted me to seek refuge on the Pacific coast in late January. I then co-led a delightful yoga retreat for a week in early February that I’d been planning for months. Laughing a ton and practicing in community was a much-needed healing balm. My partner and I have been gratefully getting along and communicating much better ever since.

The next wave of clarity hit me like a tsunami. In mid-March, I went to the gynecologist for a pap smear and, thanks to a blood test, found out that I have type 2 diabetes.

The news was a shock, and I struggled to hold back tears as I spoke with the gynecologist and then a general practitioner.

Sugar is raging through my blood at an inflated level. I started taking a daily pill to lower my blood glucose. I also immediately restricted my carb intake and cut out sugar and sweeteners altogether. At first, not eating bread, rice, pasta, tortillas, cookies, or potatoes was an uphill battle, as those foods had been integral to my diet pretty much forever.

I’ve been doing intermittent fasting—eating between roughly 11:00 a.m. and 7:00 p.m. and fasting the other 16 hours.

The medication I was taking (metformin) was fine at first, but after a couple of weeks, I started feeling a slew of adverse gastrointestinal side effects, so I’ve quit taking it. I’ve also started on Ozempic, on the advice of a diabetic friend who is taking it and has lost 50-plus pounds in the past six months. However, I’m only planning to take it in the short term due to the unwanted side effects.

So, yes, 2023 is bringing boatloads of clarity.

Though the diagnosis was stunning, it makes sense in retrospect. My dad has had type 2 diabetes for around 15 years, and my mom is pre-diabetic last she checked.

I have been overweight since my late 20s. I may even have had gestational diabetes when I was pregnant with my daughter over a decade ago. That’s when I started waking up to pee multiple times per night, which I initially blamed on the pregnancy. But it didn’t end after her birth and has continued to persist to this day.

It was just one of those things I’d learned to accept and normalize. It felt unchangeable. Like my weight, which I mostly carry around my midsection as belly fat. Like my frequent overuse of marijuana to check out, stave off anxiety, and relax.

I’ve had chronic yeast infections for the past several years. They started when I was visiting my husband’s family in Colombia for the holidays. The diet there is super carb-heavy and sugary. So if I didn’t have full-blown diabetes yet, I likely got it then.

For years, I’d been telling myself this bullsh*t story in my head: I carry my weight in my belly and I’m middle-aged, so I can’t change my body shape or eating habits and therefore I love and accept my body as it is and just keep on keeping on.

Once I became aware, I was empowered to take action. To rewrite that story. To change my eating habits. This is a gift.

I read The Diabetes Code by Dr. Jason Fung the weekend after my diagnosis. I learned so much and felt inspired. Unchecked type 2 diabetes has a ton of secondary effects, from heart disease and stroke to nerve damage to dementia, among others.

But the good news is that it’s reversible and preventable through diet and lifestyle changes. Namely, limiting carbs and eliminating added sugars, as well as exercising more and doing intermittent fasting. My goal is to lose 25 pounds and reverse this frightening diagnosis. To that end, I’ve even started jogging, for heaven’s sake.

In sum, while the clarity I got may not have been the clarity I wanted, it is nonetheless a blessing. Here’s to finding love, balance, health, and beauty on the joy path!

“I am not caught by this body. I am life without boundaries. I have never been born,
and I have never died.
Look at the ocean and the sky filled with stars, manifestations from my wondrous true mind.
Since before time, I have been free.
Birth and death are only doors through which we pass, sacred thresholds on our journey. Birth and death are a game of hide and seek.
So laugh with me,
Hold my hand,
Let us say good-bye, to meet again soon. We meet today.
We will meet again tomorrow.
We will meet at the source every moment. We meet each other in all forms of life.”

~ Contemplation on no-coming and no-going by Thich Nhat Hahn


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