Thought-Provoking Fiction

self harmingI had an unexpected realisation today. A friend has been taken ill and it struck me that a pretty good detox would probably handle much of the issue. This person is a meat-and-potatoes kind of guy who has only lately begun to eat a few vegies. He’s dealing with a case of severe inflammation. 

A mutual friend asked me what I’d recommend for him, and while I’m no health practitioner, I know from experience the cleansing effects of a plant-based diet - and getting those old offenders out, at least for a period. (I.e. meat, dairy, sugar and soft drinks, alcohol, coffee, refined carbohydrates…)

My friend exclaimed that she couldn’t see said person on a diet like that - much too restrictive. And it struck me that the heavy, toxic diet many partake in - i.e. the offenders listed above - is a form of self-harming. The irony is that it’s unconscious.

Most people who cut or burn themselves seem to be quite aware that they are doing so to ease their pain. It’s a conscious choice, albeit a harmful one. But people who overeat and indulge in nutrient-poor, calorie-rich foods like the list above are eating that way because it’s the way they eat and so does everyone else and stop making such a big deal about it!

What they don’t consider is the damage they are doing to their bodies, and the years they are stripping from their lives. For some reason it’s okay for us to abuse ourselves when we can’t see the damage, but not okay to self-harm when the effects are visible. Okay, that’s not entirely true: we do see the effects of weight gain and various other ills but the body provides us with such a generous margin for error that we can abuse ourselves via a poor diet for years and years before the cracks begin to show.

overeatingLittle details like those few extra pounds and stiffness and pain are things we can turn a blind eye to because right now our soft drink and meat and ice cream tastes good. If each troublesome food caused a burn or cut on the back of our hand - like the ones Harry Potter experiences when his evil teacher Dolores Umbridge punishes him - we might pay more attention.

I get it. I’ve got my own weaknesses: a recurring rash on my shin, for instance, that often has me scratching reactively, which naturally makes it worse. It’s effectively the same dynamic. Seems easy to me for people to change their diets to more life-enhancing plant-based ones but I daresay it’s just as difficult as me resisting the itch. Which is a pity. Because that unconscious eating of ‘the offenders’ is a quite sinister habit, in a way.

One of the problems is that so many of those people are surrounded by enablers: parents and partners and friends who serve up the foods that cause us to gain weight or grow ill (albeit slowly, over time). Once again, the irony is that the intention is so innocent and loving (we socialise and celebrate over shared meals) and the body has such a generous margin of error (we can abuse ourselves for quire a long time before we experience the effects) that it’s easy to turn a blind eye to the dynamic. But those habits are simultaneously bringing us undone.

I’ve often had people comment to me that I look great and younger than my years, but no one asks me what I’m doing. I find that intriguing. Is it because they know they will have to change what they’re doing if they want to arrest the ageing process, and they would rather keep up the tasty old habits (and push out of consciousness their awareness of where this path is leading) than take responsibility for their health and deal with the discomfort of giving up certain foods and drinks?

I’ve experienced such physical freedom and pleasure the more plant-based my diet has become that I would love to be able to convince others that it’s worth the initial discomfort.

Perhaps, instead of listening to me, they’ll be inspired by The Boy Who Found His Pulse - my story about health revolutionary Don Tolman. You can now pick this book up (and The Boy Who Barked about Dr Demartini) from our store at almost half the price.

Photo credits: CC BY for self-harming pic and TojosanonVisual Hunt/ CC BY-NC-SA for overeating pic.

yin yang cricket ball 500pxI thought I’d weigh in with some thoughts about the cricket ball tampering issue. Given my value on 'The Whole News’, I’ve been pleased to see that the latest conversation about this issue has questioned the punishments awarded to the ‘guilty trio’.

festive mealOn Boxing Day we had lunch with friends and one woman, who had just read WANTED: GREENER GRASS, commented that my new novel would be a raging bestseller if it weren’t for the ‘personal growth bits' in the book.

‘People don’t want that sort of thing,’ she said.

Xmas gift

If you’ve ever received a Christmas or birthday gift that was wrapped so beautifully that you didn’t want to disturb the packaging you’ll know that, much as you admired the presentation, you wouldn’t dream of keeping the thing sealed and intact – you just naturally rip into the sticky tape and open it up. 

It struck me, as I was wandering around Woolworths this morning and listening to Christmas carols, that intuition is like a surprise gift.

Terror responseWe’ve been keeping an eye on terrorist activity in the northern hemisphere because our three children are travelling through Europe at the moment. It’s quite unsettling as news of these crises emerges, sometimes only a day after our kids have been in one of those locations; I have to remind myself to trust that they have much too much living to do for their numbers to be up yet… 

That might sound irrelevant considering that plenty of children die in these attacks, but I remember my editor Tim Marlowe saying that if you really looked into it, you’d find that those who passed had chosen that at some level.

If you read my blog of a few weeks ago (‘Watch a human being emerge from a cocoon’) you’ll know that I was in the process of rethinking my life! Well, I’ve scratched a hole in the chrysalis and I’m peering out. Here’s what I discovered in the process of being ‘liquified’…

I've emerged from my cocoon with the realisation that my core area of mastery is writing and teaching writing. Duh, right? 

The phenomenon of the caterpillar constructing a chrysalis and secretly transforming itself into a butterfly is a powerful and wonderful metaphor that inspires most of us. 

- What a beautiful illustration of the idea that nothing is destroyed or created but simply changes form! 

- What a beautiful symbol of transformation. 

- What a stunningly elegant demonstration of the fact that some degree of struggle (the squeezing out of the cocoon) is necessary to develop strength (without being squeezed, the butterfly would be too moist and heavy to fly).

But have you ever wondered about that process inside the cocoon? What is actually going on in there? And what parallels can we draw from that process to our own lives?

A friend of mine reckons that water is only good for washing dishes. His beverage of choice is champagne, and his life philosophy is that he’s 'here for a good time, not a long time'.

It sounds good and it’s very amusing but I suspect that when his body starts to fall apart he might have second thoughts. On the other hand, his great attitude to life is such that I’m sure it’s providing him with some pretty decent immunity. At sixty-odd, he’s fitter than many a younger man. I’m going to be interested to see which wins out, physical laws or the laws of the mind!

You’ve probably heard the proverb, ‘Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day; teach him how to fish and you feed him for a lifetime’.

It’s a good one. It makes sense at an everyday human level, but if we delve a little more deeply, it’s actually telling us how the universe works. You know that guidebook everyone says we didn’t come to earth with? Well, that proverb is your guidebook.