Post Back Surgery Musings

I love adventure…physical, mental, spiritual…bring it on. But with adventure always comes challenge. As I enter my second month post back surgery, I have some new perspective on life. Interesting to me is that I have now experienced my second back surgery, which pales in comparison to some folks who walk down this road, but seems foreign to those who have never experienced it. Luckily this one is ‘minor’ compared to the first and seemingly unrelated. But I don’t want to delve too much into the finer details of what all that means, but rather muse on other aspects of such adventures. My Dad said once to me, ‘ when times get tough, people become conservative’. I could understand this at the time as I went through the first back surgery. When your physical strength becomes compromised you tend to go inward into some level of survival mode. Though I don’t believe my politics have every really gone conservative, some aspects of my life have very much gone that way. As I grow older and more experienced, as Jimi Hendrix would say, I seek a simpler path. Also a strategy my Dad embraced and I believe rightly so. Create a simple life and things should in theory go smoother, easier, and lead you into a much freer existence. I continue to believe in this concept and strive to create a simpler way of life every day. It is a challenge to do so in such a consumer, instant gratification culture and society. I fall prey to it just like anyone else. But I made a conscious decision years ago to embrace this philosophy and what I am finding is that it is far from an overnight phenomenon but rather a long gradual process. Since this last surgery I have been blessed with the company of many friends who have taken me to lunch, brought me bananas, and taken me on some fabulous hiking adventures far afield. I am so grateful for all of this and it has allowed me to spend time in nature where I always find my healing source. The more I walked and took in the essence of the many forests I visited, the more my vision for this second half of my life took shape. Simplification was the constant theme. Simplify everything from how I build paddleboards to how I communicate with the world and ultimately to how I eat. Condense, streamline, and simplify to create an easier path to tread. Interestingly this crossed over into my eating habits as I listened to a friend’s book tape, Born to Run, on my many drives these last couple weeks to hike in some of the most beautiful landscapes one can imagine. Born to Run is a freaking awesome book, written by Christopher McDougall, that embraces the running culture of the Tarahumara of Mexico. As my mind was already focused on the simplification of all things, this book just fueled the fire. The Tarahumara are some of the best runners the world has known and they fuel themselves on a simple food called Pinole, basically ground cornmeal and chia seeds, and indulge in their sport wearing homemade sandals and white skirts to run treacherous mountain trails in. No fancy shoes, watches, or gels…undeniably SIMPLE. As I listened to the book tape during my wanderings around the state, I began to formulate a simplification of my own diet based on the Tarahumara’s practices. Basically, eat like a ‘poor’ person and live free. I extended this concept to ‘if it comes from an animal don’t eat it, if from a plant, go for it’, another idea I know of course as veganism but was reintroduced to in the book. I have totally embraced vegan dietary ways this week, making my own Pinole and super food bread and eating beans, greens, and fruit, and I have to say that I feel fantastic and I certainly don’t feel ‘poor’ eating this way. I was feeling so good, that I began cleaning my house out of many unnecessary items to take to Goodwill tomorrow in yet another impulse to simplify and in this case minimalize. I was feeling so proud of all that I was giving up and patting myself on the back, but as I kept walking out of the back door to load up my car, I smelled the neighbor’s grill in full force…steaks…cooking…hmmmm… I almost faltered and gave up my vegan experiment. Luckily, I found the willpower to overcome my desire to drive down to Beast and Barrel and feast away. Instead, I went inside, grabbed a bowl of the beans I made, topped with fresh mango, and I was happy once again. The next challenge…I leave for the gulf coast on Friday and all kinds of seafood will be taunting me. But I will have plenty of Pinole and super food bread in my pocket which will no doubt keep me satisfied. Right? Find out in the next post. Have a fantastic weekend!

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