Variety is the spice of life
The need for variety and change is constant. You want variety and choices in your workout routine, in the places you eat, the things you do, where to hang out, what to do when you hang out, and the types of movies you see.
As training is my sandbox for life, I caught myself looking for a variety for no reason, and I could see a direct connection to my reduced patience. From being unable to wait in line without picking up my phone to dick around, the issue boils down to items across various timescales.
The red light is your friend
Recently, I had the chance to do something interesting - to eat by myself. I thought I could do this anytime. But that's because I did it while reading a book, which for some reason I didn't think was the same as a distraction like watching TV. It is, as much of a book snob, as I might be.
Because I am not focusing on my food, am I.
But having this opportunity to eat in silence was fascinating. There were two things I had not paid adequate attention to. One, I paid a lot more attention to the taste, the texture, and the entire process of eating. What the food felt like, how did chewing affect it, what did it feel like in different parts of my tongue etc?
Two, I started thinking about how the food came to my plate. This was inspired by Thich Nhat Hanh - if you've read him, you know what I mean.
It is frickin’ nuts if you think about it.
Let’s take the dosai + chutney, or the paratha + pickle.
The grain, the rice or wheat, was harvested in a village probably not anywhere 100 km from you.
By people who don’t know you, doing their job.
The veggies for your chutney, likewise. But harvested rather recently. All of these were sent on trucks/rail, handled by 100s of people along the way. And then sent to the market, bought by someone to your local market and then to the local grocery, and finally to your house.
As Thich Nhat Hanh says, the clouds are in your food. The soil is in your food. The sun, the rain, they are all in your food. If you look closely enough.
Choices, Distractions, Entertainment
But in a world which seems to only be about infinite choices and distractions and entertainment, who the fuck wants to think about this kinda stuff?!
Who wants to eat and NOT watch TV or read a book when there are 100s of books and shows waiting to be consumed?!
Back to Thich Nhat Hanh, who I discovered rather late in my life. Someone’s hard work and sweat went into making my food possible.
We are all interconnected and this is just one of those connections. The entire ecosystem of the world is interlinked way beyond my comprehension, and I don't mean only how we are affecting the rain elsewhere, or creating deserts and all that dastardly human stuff.
When we stop, there are things available to us. They are always available but obscured by the veil of Netflix and pulp fiction.
It requires us to stand still and possibly swim against the current.
It isn’t easy.
When I get the opportunity to eat alone, I am often tired and want to be distracted. Funnily, it is easier to eat alone when I am not tired. When I am tired, I want a distraction. Which makes no sense but there it is.
What does this have to do with constantly wanting variety? Well, we are all constantly distracted, constantly looking for something.
When that something requires us to stop moving, to stand still, to smell the roses, to see the clouds and the sun and rain in our food. to stand firm against the current.
And make an effort.
Where does this leave me? With a message to self.
Make an effort to stop and smell the roses.
Since everything is a rep, every meal is a chance.
Even if it is a minute, even if it is for a morsel.
To stop and see the sun in my food.
I hope you will too.