Recently while in the throes of a brief I’m-gonna-eat-healthier hallucination I bought celery. Almost immediately I regretted it.
For one thing, it didn’t fit in my crisper, instead needing an entire shelf that rightfully belonged to leftover pizza boxes.
For another, I knew even as I placed it in my basket that I was never ever never gonna eat it. I knew it, the other items in my basket knew it, the check-out lady who gave me a look as she placed it in my bag with the Tim Tams and the Cheese Twisties knew it.
Sure enough, their sad sludgy little carcasses eventually had to be retrieved from the fridge, their celery destiny mournfully unfulfilled.
Another health resolution I periodically torture myself with is the idea that I’m going to develop greater mindfulness.
Mindfulness. The name itself is a turn-off for people like me, whose minds are already so full of crap as to be the cerebral version of a Hoarders episode: Serial Killer Edition.
Still I’ve tried, even downloading audio meditation exercises. They didn’t work for me though. The guy spoke so slowly that I had to play the thing at triple speed, and to be honest that made me feel even more keyed up.
Also chipmunk voices can be quite detrimental to achieving a higher state.
Then there’s yoga. Every couple of years I become convinced I’m going to take up this ancient practice. I study the timetable at my gym. I select classes that fit my schedule. I purchase yoga pants (this is apparently the correct term for those nifty 90%-chance-of-overeating leggings). Sometimes I make pious announcements on Facebook about my impending yoga-fication.
But I never ever never go.
When hot yoga became all the rage a while ago, I really believed this, finally, would be my way in to the elusive world of Downward Dogs and Half Lord of the Fishes.
But then I had a crisis of confidence – was it only the instructor who was hot, or did participants also have to exhibit a certain level of allure? Terrified at the prospect of a bouncer at the door, lifting the red rope only for those who met stringent hotness criteria, I decided it was better to stay home and google pictures of Christy Turlington wearing cute yoga outfits while posing in various asanas.
All my failed mind-body resolutions begin in the same way: There’s a frenetic phase of gathering accoutrements, scheduling classes, and downloading apps. There is stress, and expectation, and attachment to hoped-for results.
And then, very simply, I fail to turn up. I consume nil celery stalks and activate zero almonds. I quietly delete the class times from my calendar and relaxation apps from my phone. The yoga pants are wordlessly removed from my gymwear drawer and relocated to the lounging-around-watching-Netflix drawer. Yeah okay drawers. My body and I enter a tacit agreement to not speak the Y word or enter the fruit & veg aisle again for at least another year. A peaceful silence descends.
You may notice that the process of accepting my essential non-yoga/celery/mindful-ness has a certain Zen quality to it. It’s like an out-breath, a letting go.
This, dear friends, is the miracle I’ve discovered.
For it is in making peace with the essential truth of my tragicness, in accepting my inner hopelessness, that I have transcended life’s existential despair and entered a state of peace.
At least until the next resolution.