Nutrition for Life

It occurs to me, at the end of a sleepy day spent translating Walter of Wimborne's Ave Virgo Mater Christi (watch this space) and marking final exercises in rhetoric, that...I'm very sleepy.  Okay, so the point of trying to write right now was to take advantage of the few minutes that I have before going to practice to get in a "brief, daily session" of writing as per Robert Boice's excellent advice, but this is what tends to happen when I write when I'm tired: gibberish.  Or maybe I am just wonderfully low on carbs at the moment so I am finding it hard to concentrate.  No, I'm tired, and need to take another piece of Prof. Boice's advice and stop now before I work myself into tizzy.  Because, see, I have done a fair amount of work today, not a lot, not loads, but some, just as much as I promised myself I should do.  And now I want to stop and eat carbs.  No, I didn't say that.  I don't really, but I recognize the symptoms.  I'm tired.  I need a break.  But the manic within in me is pounding on my will, enticing me with visions of "getting ahead," when all I want to do is take (another) nap. 

I'll start a new paragraph now and see if I can discover what it was that I wanted to say.  You know me (one of the things that Boice says helps writers is to understand themselves as part of a conversation), I love making analogies.  And you know I've been worrying about a variety of things over the past year or two: my weight, my work, the clutter in my home.  Well, it occurs to me, three weeks into my carb-fast for Lent (which, I will admit it now, I hope to carry on through the end of the next term so that I can fit into those skinny jeans by the summer--there, I've said it), that everything that I've been doing for the past couple of years, particularly this last year, has to do with cutting out carbs.  If, that is, we define "carbs" as the demons that overtake life in all their insidious ways.

For example, the carbs of clutter: all of the stuff that you hold onto "just in case," "because it might be worth something," "because it cost so much," "because so-and-so gave it to me."  Or the carbs of work: all of the things that you fill your day with because they are urgent but contribute nothing to your actual work.  Or the carbs of everyday life: checking Facebook every few minutes springs to mind, but I don't think that that is actually the worst offender.  All of these carbs are addictive, all promise us release from the stresses of the moment, all are bullies (in the metabolic sense) because they demand that we digest them first before we get onto the proteins and fats that will actually nourish us.  I've spent my time out in the park with the Dragon Baby today trying to identify what counts as "fat" and what "protein" in my home and work, but I'm not sure it matters that much.  The point is, fat is dense and nourishing, like writing or beautiful things in your home that you actually use.  Maybe protein is like practice?  Yes, that works: protein is the brief, daily sessions of practice that nourish habitus, making us stronger every time we exercise, even for just a few minutes a day.  And fat is what we should spend our practice on: things that are actually worthwhile, not just fillers.

But it's hard when your [oh, God, I just caught this! "you're"-sheesh!  See?] tired to eat protein and fat rather than carbs.  It's hard to sit here writing gibberish rather than noodling around with Facebook in the time I have left before I need to hit the road.  Was it worth it?  Was anything in this exercise worth saying, or is this just generating carbs for somebody else to read?  Or is even doubting that this is a protein-exercise a temptation of the Carb Demon, who would rather I not spend my time writing because that might mean that one day I will actually be thin?  Because, interestingly enough, I know that if I can just keep to the brief, daily practice of counting carbs, writing for an hour or so a day, keeping the clutter out of my home, I will be.  Thin, not only in body, but also in life and in mind.

How cool would that be?

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