Tag Archives: play

Trickster or Treatment

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First of all, I am so sorry for my absence.  I’ve missed writing here.  My mother, who has been ill for a few months from pancreatic cancer, passed away.  My sisters and I were there in the room with her, holding her hand when she went.  It was very peaceful.  Then, we got to plan the memorial service according to her wishes, held at the beach.  It was really quite lovely…even in the midst of a hurricane.  The waves were the largest I’d ever seen them here.  The water is usually mirror still.  I’ve spent the past couple of days sleeping..finally.  So, that’s pretty much where I’ve been.  It’s good to be back.

I love Halloween.  Even better is the Day of the Dead tomorrow or All Saints Day, whatevs.

When this time of the year rolls around, I generally turn my thoughts to death.  I’ve spent a lot of time cultivating what I consider to be a healthy attitude towards it.  My own death doesn’t frighten me.  I don’t hold many things to be True, unchangeable and steadfast, but this I do: facing and accepting the inevitability of my death is the most important work that one can undertake to set oneself free.  The inevitability of everyone’s death should also nurture in us a deep respect for their fragility.  This is more true than True because somehow my own death is far easier to accept than the inevitable death of those I love.  Their death makes me feel clingy to them instead.  But, lately, I’ve done my duty with death.

Here’s what I really wanted to talk to you about.  In all mythologies, there is a trickster.  In the mythology of my country, we have the gede (hard “g”).  Tricksters are generally given high status in human stories because tricksters dare to see things and push us to see things that can be uncomfortable but are ultimately to our own betterment.  In essence, they are the archetype of dangerous play (and if you’re playing doesn’t have even a touch of danger, you may not be doing it right.  🙂 )  The danger come from pushing the guidelines of society to their breaking point and often past it.

When I think of health (held up as a nearly impossible ‘holy grail’ these days) and society’s role upon it, I see that we can take one of two approaches to it.  There is the treatment of the ‘condition’.  The treatment is sanctioned by society, does not mess with the status quo, often creates a dependence of some kind, and generally doesn’t demand anything of the person undergoing the treatment.  It is all quite passive, prescriptive…..and, gulp, dull.

Enter the trickster.  With the trickster comes the game.  For a game to be well played, there needs to be knowledge of the rules.  This helps you look the rules in the eye as you break them.  With the trickster, you need to engage fully in the process with awareness.  The trickster will get you question everything.  She will get you to play with the issue.  The trickster will urge you to detach yourself from the social ramifications of a situation.  He will get you to laugh at the constraints you’ve placed on yourself.  The trickster shatters preconceptions.

Let’s look at the same “problem” from the two points of view.  We’ll look at weight loss.

First the treatment:

The very first assumption that the treatment subjects you to is that you have to lose weight at all.  You really might now have to, but the societal prescription to be ultra-thin is already assumed.  With treatment, you get very clear markers of progress that may have absolutely nothing to do with you.

Next, to maintain its own…integrity?…society will make sure that you understand that this problem is somehow all on your shoulders.  These are some of the things you will hear: you have no willpower, you have no self-love, you have no merit, you have no intelligence, you have less worth.  You will NOT hear: this culture that we humans made up a while ago has failed you.

Then, you will be given the party line.  Watch your portion intake.  Eat everything in moderation.  Exercise 3x a week for 30 minutes.

If you fail (and according to this treatment, you WILL), you can repeat the whole cycle for the rest of your life with a never questioned dependence on the treatment.

Enter the trickster.  Enter a little insecurity.  Like I said before, with the trickster you must engage.

The first question the trickster may ask might be along the lines of this:  Do you really need to lose weight or are all your girlfriends just really jealous of your public speaking ability?  Do you really need to lose weight or are you really just wanting to get a divorce?  Do you really need to lose weight or do you feel weighted down by this job that is stripping all the joy from your life?  Is your weight the issue or do you wish you knew how to fly a plane? (Really, the treatment finds safety in attributing your malaise to something visible that they can point to.  The trickster loves to play with dreams.)  If you decide that you do really want to lose weight, the trickster won’t be satisfied with that.  She’ll want to know why.  He’ll want to know what that MEANS to you.

Then, and this is the fun part, comes the process.  The trickster will not be satisfied with pat answers to anything.  Your journey will depend on your ability to question the answers that you’ve been given.

Why should my portions be the same size every day when some days I’m hardly hungry and other days I’m famished?  Why should I eat everything in moderation if some things just aren’t good for me?  Why should I exercise 3x a week for 30 minutes a pop when I would rather hike for three hours on a Saturday and deadlift my bodyweight for 5 minutes on a Wednesday?  Why should my culture dictate to me that I should be 5’11 and 110 pounds when I’m 5’3 and feel ill when I drop below 130?

Most of all, the trickster will get you to play.  Concepts become toys and regulations become malleable.  You become your own authority.

Following the treatment is easier.  Being passive is always easier than being engaged.  But, it sure isn’t nearly as much fun.
Speaking of fun, here’s a video from my favorite Haitian roots band.  I’ll be at their Gede Ball tomorrow night.

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same but different

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I like to get feedback from my clients.  Yesterday, I found this waiting in my inbox.  I have the best clients in the whole wide world.  I currently have a couple open slots for distance coaching (Skype!).  Together, we can have the same results as far as your satisfaction but totally different because you are a different person with your own unique life.  

“Thursday 1:00 pm.  Every week for 3 months, I would rush to my computer for my precious Coaching appointment.  This week, instead, I’m having lunch : carrot soup cooked with homemade broth, coconut milk and cultured butter,  plantain chips, cooked in palm oil and no chemicals added, and trying cod liver.  I am also admiring the beautiful yellow flower that blossomed this morning in my room, close to my bed.

It started in my backyard.  We were seating on a colorful warm blanket, on the grass.  I was asked to briefly connect with my 5 senses.  Then, we moved to skype appointments to shorten the distance.

My feedback: Life changing and down-to-earth. Health and Connection.  Empowering, personalized, logical.  Really Nourishing Freedom !!!

I come from 20 more years of therapy, coaching and personal development workshops.  Anorexia, anxiety, depression, burn-outs, workaholism, perfectionism, control, isolation….are all in my resume.  And all the professionals that I had paid before had told me that the real remedy is to “practice self-love, connect with my inner child and take care of my self”.  Okay, I always responded.  But in my head the question remained “HOW do I f….g do  that” ?

It is so concrete, simple and natural!!!! Sleep well, eat well, have fun, breathe, relax, spend time with people that you love or that you can have fun with, spend time outside close to trees, water, the sky and the sun.  Yes, that is Self-Love-inner-child-care.  Taking care of my physical body, of my real needs as an animal-human-being.

And that answer to me IS life changing.  Nobody had taught me that before Nourishing Freedom.  And nobody had taught me the concepts of Freedom, Connection and Power in a way that I could understand and experience.

So, I learned the abc’s of sleep.  Quantity and quality.  Then, to eat for nourishment and pleasure.  To know what my body likes and doesn’t.  Sugar makes me tired and depressed, gluten or corn make be bloated, red clover flowers ease my PMS symptoms, broth-soup comforts and nourishes me.   We, focussed on specific herbs and tools to heal the symptoms of chronic stress and to break free from stressful lifestyle habits.  I went from workaholism to working part-time as an aerobic teacher in outside parks.  Gettingg paid to have Fun! Nature! and more time with my kids !

My kids ? The greatest bonus of it all.  Their health was transformed throughout my nourishing freedom journey.  They went from candy eaters to loving eggs, bacon, meat, soups, vegetables, almond butter.  As a result, these cranky-pale kids turned into joyful, energetic thick-colored-skin children.

The greatest transformation for me ? Besides my eating habits which do change EVERYTHING (my thoughts, my mood, how I love my kids) was  discovering my connection with nature and the deep impact on myself.   Walking barefoot in the wild, spending even 20 minutes lying on the grass or working along the river, feeling safe in the middle of nowhere in the mountains …is for me ABUNDANCE.  The real gift of being alive.

Am I now a 24-hour happy and perfect person? NO. Do I now everything about health ? NO. Is the sexual abused part of me healed forever? NO.  I am still this “special-needs-kid” who will always need to take care of herself and make choices to avoid certain uncomfortable symptoms and stay healthy.  I will still go through the gray clouds of life, the storms, rains, earthquakes, ….as well as the sunny days and full moon nights.   The difference lies in the sensation of freedom, connection and power.  Having the tools to take care of my REAL self = my body.  Being able to enjoy this variety of experiences.

Concretely, I am still focussing on decreasing anxiety, building a solid community, playing and nourishing myself every day.  But, now I have enough knowledge to continue the journey by myself.  Some wisdom to choose what I read, to stop believing most of the things people say and to instead trust everything my body says.

I also know that I can contact my favorite inspired Health and Lifestyle Coach if I need to.”  -Larissa G.

You can also find us on facebook!

part tres

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“There is more sagacity in thy body than in thy best wisdom.”

                                                    -Friedrich Nietzsche

Health is simple.  It isn’t necessarily easy in this society that we’ve created with a completely different intention in mind.  Everything from the clothes that we wear to the chairs we sit in are counter to health.

But, we all have bodies.  Each on of us has one.  I know…in the politically correct culture that no longer allows for sweeping generalizations about people groups, this is the one that is still true.  We all have bodies.  And, each one is amazing.  Each one wants to be healthy, as healthy as it can possibly be.

If you are human, you already have what it takes to be healthy:

1. You are curious.

2. You are a problem-solver.

3. You love to play.

4. You crave connection.

5. You thrive on good sleep and generous doses of sunlight.

6. You are a contributing force to the workings of the world.

7. You love to do things.

8.  You love to do nothing.

9. You crave fat and protein.

10. You are happier surrounded by beauty than not.

11. You can hardly help moving to the music.

12. You need a certain amount of stimulation to react to things.

13. You have a body.

This list may, hopefully, look a little different than other “what you need to be healthy” lists you’ve seen.  I grant you that it is not the “all your answers to your burning questions” list that you may have seen, either.  But, that doesn’t make it any less true.  Health lies in how you use the things that are innate in accordance with the needs of your species and beyond.  Your personal health is so tangled in the health of everything around you in ongoing dialogue that it becomes a gift you give to the world.

One thing you may not already have but could be a great present to yourself would be:

14. A great coach.

I would love to hear about what excites you and frightens you in your quest for health as a human being.

Pretty Lies, Deux

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Alright, I may have unintentionally misled you.  I was hoping to tell you all that you needed to have to be healthy this week, but I realized that I wanted to make sure that you could see what you did not need first.  What follows is a list of what you have been told that you would need to be healthy and happy, but you don’t need at all.

1. Gym membership-I actually have one of these and it’s not for the reasons you may think.  I live in a little cabin in the woods with no running water.  It’s a great place to see other people and to get a nice hot shower.  I also enjoy the steam room.  But, I don’t need this for my health.  Neither do you.  I much prefer to be outside, going for a hike, running around with my dog, or just doing some push-ups in my little cabin in the woods.

2. Special footwear-There are dozens upon dozens of articles explaining the benefits of going barefoot.  I hike barefoot, run barefoot, Zumba barefoot, ad infinitum.  When the terrain gets a little too prickly I do wear my Vibrams, but it’s fine to just avoid that type of terrain.  The only possible exception is in the weight room around less conscientious folks.  A barbell on the bare instep is the sixth circle of hell.

3. Juicer-Oh, juice.  Apparently, fresh, raw juices cure cancer, get your children to behave, bring about world peace, and can do your taxes.  It’s a decent treat, but you can get incredibly healthy without one more thing to take up counter space and clean.

4. Vegetarianism-This is the pinnacle (well, right beneath veganism, just easier to attain) of a healthy diet, we’re told.  But, there is and never has been an optimally healthy human population that eats this way.

5. Early wake-up to run or another punishing workout-If you’re setting your alarm early, slapping the snooze button, then dragging your heavy carcass out of bed to work out with bleary eyes, you’re not doing yourself any favors.  The release of cortisol that this stress creates and then the cumulative sleep deprivation that builds will eventually have your body flipping you the bird in any way it can: increased fat storage, flus, lower pain threshold, forgetfulness, and my pet favorite, depression.  Sleep, beauty!

6. Fat avoidance-Dry hair, depression (there she is again!), mood disturbances, hunger, dry skin…really, fat free and low fat diets have done nothing helpful for us.  They’ve done tremendous favors to the diet industry and the weird food products industry, though.  Have some butter or lard today and nourish your cells!

7. Whole grains-Please, please, please, just say no!  If you aren’t ready to get off the grains quite yet, ferment them!  They are not a great source of nutrition, bleak actually when compared to meats or vegetables.  They are also enveloped in little toxins that are only meant for the birds.

8. Caloric restriction-This one’s a tricky one.  When you eat foods that are truly dense in nutrition, they are high in calories but it takes less of them to satiate you.  However, close attention (or any, really) to caloric intake affects the psychology of a person and can easily make one overly aware of every bite and that does not for a happy person make.

9. 30 minutes, 3x a week-Hello, Monotony, this is your twin sister Boredom speaking.  Besides the crushing tedium and it’s cascade of emotional effects, your body is so much happier when it gets surprised by something new and even more giddy when you play stochastically.  How about 15 minutes of intense dog chasing today, a 2 hour hike tomorrow, and floating in a pool the next day?

10. Eliminate all stress-Quite the mantra we have going on these days.  Eliminate stress, eradicate it.  However, you eliminate all stress and it’s impossible to get out of bed in the morning.  Instead, find the appropriate level and the appropriate game with stress.  That’s how I see stress: it’s an ally for play.  It always demands a physical reaction and fluctuated in intensity.  It takes a lot more self-knowledge to discover what is the level that you feel most alive at.

11.  Slather up in SPF 50 and stay away from windows-avoid the sun!-Or, how about instead, you get a few minutes of quality sun exposure a day and bypass the vitamin D deficiency and the rampant sadness that happens when we, heliophilic creatures that we are, avoid it.

12. Detoxification supplements/teas/treatments-You have innate detox strategies.  They are called the skin, the kidneys, the liver, the bowel, the lymph, etc.  Instead of punishing your body with harsh programs and disgusting concoctions, support it with movement, appropriate food to the season, plenty of sleep, and lots of emotional expression.  Laugh ’til you cry and cry ’til the laughter wells up.

13. Superfoods-Do people in the Himalayas ship in blackberries as their super fruit?  I get that there is a spectrum of nutrition that food stretches across.  But, don’t believe the hype that a food from across the globe is somehow superior to the food that grows in your region.  My heart goes out to people that do not have access to much other than food products, but, when food (not products) are available, eat well from the local abundance.  That is super enough.

Local lunch while in Kenya: goat and sukumu wiki!  Nyama choma. 

I’m posting a day early because I am headed to NYC for a couple days before my graduation with some of my dearest friends.  Laughter, sushi, Broadway, and a possible new piercing?  Nourishment and Freedom!  See you next week when I will let you know all that you need to have to be healthy.