Wednesday, July 27, 2011

BFF, let's talk about commitment and your hypothalamus!

So....I have been inspired to write this post by a few things: an old friend introducing me & my blog to others, a question about my veganism, and Deepak Chopra. The first two have to do with commitment & the third with the brain. I have been thinking for a while about writing on my "commitment" to being vegan, and I am now reading Reinventing the Body, Resurrecting the Soul by Deepak Chopra, which has brought it all together for me.

Sorry BFF, allow me to begin at the beginning. Several weeks ago, while at a picnic, I was asked how I can maintain my vegan lifestyle. Now, let me first say that my guard was down because I was with a group of friends who know me pretty well & eat out with me often. That is to say that I really don't get many vegan questions any more. But my friend's husband mentioned that he could never be vegan & wondered what I did when I got a craving for a big juicy hamburger (ack!). Guard down and all, I was a little annoyed at the questioning & mentioned that I never crave meat because animal corpses do not appeal to me in any way. As the questioning continued, I shrugged my shoulders and said that maybe I was never a really good carnivore in the first place, hoping to end the conversation. BUT, the last thing he said to me really gave me pause. He said that being vegan must really be a "commitment" for me. Hmmmmmmm.....

I thought about my commitments in life. First to my husband. I definitely do not wake up every day and worry about keeping my commitment to be faithful to my husband. He is so much a part of me and my life...being married to him is as essential to me as breathing air. And that is how being vegan is as well. I don't wake up every day committed to being vegan any more than I wake up being committed to breathing air. This is who I am! The day at Farm Sanctuary that I became vegan, changed me on a cellular level. There was no question or just was. The only commitment that I made was to research foods and recipes so that we could really enjoy being vegan and get all of our nutrients. But once I stocked my kitchen...the rest was easy...and here I am, 2 years later, feeling like I've been vegan all my life.

Are you wondering how Deepak Chopra is involved? Well, in his book he talks about Subtle Action. Subtle actions are those that "involve only the mind, whereas gross actions involve direct contact with the material world". And even though subtle action comes naturally to us, it can be broken down into steps. Here is how it works according to Deepak Chopra:
         1. You go inside and make your intention known.
         2. You believe in getting results.
         3. You don't resist the process of change.
         4. Your body shifts effortlessly at the physical level.
         5. You repeat your subtle action until you have mastered the change you desire.

An example in the book is of Tibetan monks who meditate in caves at subzero temps overnight wearing nothing but a thin silk robe and emerge the next morning unaffected. Using subtle action, they tap into the hypothalamus (you were wondering where this would come in!) which controls body temp, and are able to raise their internal temperature by as much as 8 degrees F. Is that incredible or what?!? I also imagine that subtle action is what women in labor sans drugs are tapping into, especially those women using Hypnobirthing techniques. But I digress....

My apologies to Mr. Chopra if I am misunderstanding or misusing his explanation of subtle action, but this is what happened to me when I became vegan. I had a very strong reaction to the animals at Farm Sanctuary and the stories of abuse in the meat and dairy industries. I told myself that I was now vegan, I was open to that change, & BAM! I am vegan. It was easy and effortless because the change happened all the way down to my cells.

So there it is...Many thanks to Deepak Chopra for explaining what I have been feeling and unable to put into words. I would also like to renew my commitment to this blog, beginning at a once a month entry. It's at least a start, BFF. And just one more time, I'd like to say 'hypothalamus'. That was fun!

Peace, Love, and Kale,
Your Vegan BFF

PS. The second most common question I get after "Where do you get your protein?" is "Is there any food that you miss?". My answer is that I have been craving a really really good and sweet DOUGHNUT for almost 2 years now! Somebody hook me up!
These are real vegan doughnuts from Mighty-O Donuts in Seattle!!