(June 26, 2015)
In my University of Maryland days, I used to LOVE the #2 Extra Value Meal at McDonald’s. (In case you aren’t fast food literate – that is two cheeseburgers, fries, and for me, a diet coke.) I probably ate it 4 or 5 times a week, but I especially loved the it after running anywhere between 10 and 20 miles. It was my TYPICAL Sunday routine. It was my standard. My regular. My normal.
But it wasn’t natural for me. Eating hyper-processed food after overexerting myself doesn’t seem like it would be something that my body, as a natural organism, would enjoy.
I also used to feel like it was normal to be in the same space with people and not greet them or make eye contact. Feeling isolated and scared to connect to others was my standard. I’m also pretty sure that my biology didn’t enjoy this either.
This all started to shift when a yoga teacher invited us to begin each class by greeting our fellow classmates with a Namaste and eye contact. I remember being terrified at first, oddly scared that my neighbor would refuse my Namaste. But, surprisingly, my Namaste was never refused. Whew. This led me to greet people passing on the street as a sort of experiment and even though some people seemed surprised or possibly pretended not to hear, most people happily returned my greeting. I felt good doing this, not just less terrified in social situations, but I actually began to feel like a welcome, active participant in life. So I continued. The habitual me shifted and became something else. I became someone else.
Eye contact and connection are now the norm. So is eating in a way that gives me the nutrients that I need without the chemicals and processing that I don’t. I like to think that now my normal has moved closer to natural. This doesn’t mean that I don’t slip up occasionally and become too involved in my thoughts or enjoy the occasional bowl of chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream, but I am fairly certain that what I usually do lines up with nature and feeling good in my biology much more often than not.
I guess sometimes we just need an invitation to make natural normal.