Well, hello August. I must admit, Saucha, or purity, has not been on the forefront of my mind over the last 31 days (evident by my mid-month initial posting). I’ve been engulfed in graduate school with dance & movement classes, academic work, performances, heated discussions, personal and artistic revolutions, yada yada, yet somehow managed to enjoy and soak up the awesomeness of Frankfurt, Germany and the wonderful people around me. While I cannot exactly describe my dietary habits over the past three weeks as “pure” (a soft pretzel and Hefeweisen made up many a lunch), I have stayed mostly true to my intention of steering clear of processed food. Although, that’s not hard to do here, as Europeans tend to actually eat and celebrate “real food” (even if that is bratwurst, pomme frites, and Apfelwein) as opposed to artificial food-like substances from a box or bag. So while I feel a little off-the-hook from this month’s focus, I think a deeper and more important lesson has been revealed.
During my time in Frankfurt, I’ve embraced the European lifestyle – relaxing, enjoying, and indulging a little more… in everything. My newfound care-free attitude has been tons of fun, and after nearly a month I am starting to feel a ton heavier. A little more daily bread and beer goes a long way, and overall I feel a somewhat “softer” and less like my usual, shall we say, well-running machine. I know these changes are imperceivable by outside eyes, but through my Ayurvedic and yogic studies, I have become super sensitive to shifts in my physicality and can identify causes and effects of these changes pretty quickly. Also, as a dancer with a history of (flirting with) eating disorders and that omnipresent high-school-girl’s voice in my head, I tend to be hypercritical when it comes to my body, constantly analyzing how it feels/looks compared to how I think it should feel/look… or at least I used to be.
As I approach my mid-thirties I am learning to accept my own physical evolution, the ups and downs, and the daily struggles of living as an American woman working in a field where my body IS my office, laboratory, and tool. A few years ago, I would have beat myself up and strategized ways to get back on track ASAP upon return to my normal life and daily routine (which I can’t lie, I am already doing at some level). But the difference is how I approach it – I am taking the European laid-back attitude home with me and embracing the fact that life happens, and thank god! Life is beautiful and too short to worry about every morsel and sip; it will pass you by in a flash if you are busy feeling guilty or obsessing over the terrain of your stomach muscles. I’m also learning that my body is plastic and permeable, and the choices I make effecting it, and the consequences or rewards that follow, are unavoidable. I know I’ll “get back on track” soon enough after my return to Charlotte early tomorrow morning, but I just don’t care as much. Perhaps Saucha can also mean being as pure to the moment and in one’s surroundings as one can. To “do as in Rome” (or Frankfurt, or Tokyo, or Alabama) could be more valuable than sticking to the plan. It may be a stretch, but I feel that my practice of “purity” has evolved to mean being true to myself, taking ownership of my decisions and body, and celebrating new experiences. As I prepare to fly home and move into a new month & intention, I plan on practicing Saucha (and all the yamas and niyamas) in this multi-layered fashion. I am not perfect, but I hope to live in a way that moves towards perfection in each moment, at home and abroad.