IT’S ALL IN THE GUT
As the paramedics lifted the gurney into the back of the ambulance I stole a glance at the bright summer sky, thinking it might be the last time I saw it. Ever.
Happily, it wasn’t. And I’m sharing my story here not as an expert, but as a warning. Many fields of science have come a long way, even in my lifetime, but dietary science is really in its infancy. And we’re all guinea pigs.
So much of the information we consume about food health is anecdotal. Fads come and go: eat no meat, eat…
Our first pandemic lock-down came in March. We’d watched with growing alarm as it spread and spread, then suddenly it was upon us.
Shopping. School. Work. Meetings. Socialising. Everything changed.
In those first glum weeks I found solace in the #kindnesspandemic.
It was evidence that what I’d always believed was true: in a crisis, humans step up and take care of each other. In spite of the ineptitude of government action, on the ground people were being resourceful and generous. Keeping step with the pandemic, the random acts of kindness spread and spread.
Months later, I disconnected. The stream of…
Humans love labels. Slapper, punk, redneck, hippy, slut, yuppie, homo, ex-con, incel, red, boomer, retard…you get the idea. There are plenty — many of which I don’t feel comfortable using here.
Derogatory social labels have lives of their own. Initially used broadly, seemingly accepted in mainstream conversation, labels give us a short-hand, a way of summing up someone’s attitude, experience or social position. Or so we think.
Baby Boomers, Gen X, Y, Z, Millennials etc tell us when someone was born and the kind of social influences on them — but they fall short of telling us specifics about a…
Teachers are great. Especially when you find a good one.
Yoga teachers are extra special, though, because you get to hand over your brain for the duration of the class and let them make the decisions. Put your arm here. Breathe now. Stretch. Relax.
In the tradition of yoga, the relationship between the cheela (student) and their guru is a profound one. The etymology of the word ‘guru’ is, loosely, destroyer (ru) of darkness (gu). The teacher is supposed to ‘shine a light’ on the student’s path to health and wholeness.
As a student, I would stop going to classes…
When I was 11 years old I was the fastest sprinter in the school.
By the time I was thirteen, I was the fastest at getting out of sport. Any excuse would do: sore ankle, period, tetchy knee…anything but the truth.
And the truth was? My breasts hurt. And they were growing fast. Running was agony.
Boys found it difficult to look at my face. Girls looked at me with a peculiar mix of pity and envy. My small-breasted mother looked at me in amazement. And I could hardly look at myself.
Fast forward through the anorexic years (17 to…
A recent stint of surgery reminded me that pain has a very real purpose.
Having been cut open then stitched up in a three and a half hour operation I was pretty enthusiastic about the pain-relief on offer afterwards.
When I reacted badly to the first painkiller, they switched me to another one. It took a little while, but I realised it was causing insidious and unrelenting panic.
I lay in my hospital bed in the dead of night with a horrible feeling that the most important job interview of my life was imminent…and it wasn’t going to go well.
There’s a woman I know who’s immobilised by goo. First is was slushy mud around her ankles, but over the years it has spread relentlessly up her legs. No one knows how it started and no one can stop it.
The goo has been invisible to all but the most astute observers. For the most part this woman, let’s call her ‘Claudia’, (which if I remember my Latin correctly means ‘lame one’ ) has been virtually unaware of the insidious creep of the goo. Initially, she tripped and stumbled as the goo interfered with her tread. …
Some bright spark noticed the early arrival of my teen angst and gave me a diary with a tiny lock on it for my 11th birthday. So began my lifelong love of, and occasional dependency on, journal writing.
Unlike my work notebooks (spiral-bound, black covers, unlined pages), these journals have taken many shapes and sizes. They’re a disorderly mob, chosen on a New Years’ whim. New year, new journal.
I’ve poured vitriol, optimism, mundane details, bad drawings and worse poetry into them. Cathartic dialogues with live friends and dead relatives. Drafts of love letters. Copies of ‘Dear John’ letters. …
Moderation is not my go-to place. When I’m into something, I’m really into it. And so it was with yoga for more than fifteen years…until I finally put it in a healthy place.
What’s that? A yoga teacher is supposed to be passionate about it?
It’s true, there has to be a degree of passion about any subject for a teacher to be effective, but in my case it hid something deeper.
I loved yoga, and did many hours each week — my own practice and plenty of classes. For a large chunk of my teaching career my lifestyle was…
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