Yesterday, when Adam were on our way home from grocery shopping together (and yes, I do consider grocery shopping together to be a new-couple activity, I would have never guessed that after four years, this guy would still be happy to follow me around a grocery store), he mentioned that heís coming up on his ten year vegiverssary (ten years since he went vegetarian).

So strange how he recalls these milestones, but has no clue what he did yesterday, but Iím the other way around. I can recite entire conversations from the day before, but god help me if I ever have to remember a milestone without the aid of FB or a calendar.

Thatís when I recalled that itís been sixteen years since I became a vegetarian, and Iíve never celebrated a single vegiverssary (I didnít even know that was a thing people celebrated). I started telling him how after the first five years or so, I was proud to tell people how long Iíd been a vegetarian because it seemed like it commanded more respect to say, ďfive years,Ē rather than, ďtwo months.Ē

Later in life, when it got to be around 11 or 12 years, I started feeling more embarrassed about it because I felt like it dated me.

This is how I imagine it:

ďIíve been a vegetarian for 16 years.Ē

External response, ďGood for you!Ē

Internal response, ďWow, she must be old

Anyway, Iím still eating mostly vegan, but not being super strict, especially when we order food at work. Being a vegan is shockingly easy, as long as one never tries to order food from others, then suddenly, itís an extreme challenge.

I can see why the common perception is that being vegan is difficult, if all your exposure is limited to watching a vegan trying to order at a restaurant, then of course, it looks really, really hard.

Iím pleasantly surprised that my health has improved. I havenít gone to get it assessed, and that wouldnít make any difference. My blood pressure, cholesterol, blood sugar numbers have always been within the ideal range, anyway. I feel better. Specifically, I have more energy, and I donít get nearly as cranky and frazzled when Iím hungry, anymore. Itís weird, I feel hungry, but it doesnít bother me as much.

The other thing? Even though my exercise and workout routine has taken a nose-dive because work has been consuming my every waking moment, I havenít gained any weight. As a matter of fact, I may have even lost a pound or two.

The few times that Iíve managed to get away and take a zumba class, even after weeks away, I donít feel like Iím about to collapse like a chain smoker doing a marathon. High-intensity cardio has always been something I've had to train for. My cardio health has generally been pretty good throughout my life, but the hell I had to go through to maintain that? Who knew I could just be a vegan?

Maybe Iím stating the obvious here, but I didnít change my diet by just cutting eggs and cheese out of it. Iíve increased the amount of whole grains, beans, legumes and nuts in my diet, too. Iíve always been a big fan of fruits and vegetables, so I think thatís stayed about the same. The only saturated fat Iíve been getting has been the rare times that Iíve eaten cheese and occasionally from avocados.

Iím trying to avoid refined grains, but thatís not the easiest task in the world, either.

Honestly, I really would have not mentioned food or my eating again, if I didnít feel so much better, physically. I think itís notable. I had the same experience when I became a vegetarian, and that was my main motivation for maintaining it (no offense to cute, fuzzy animals or the ugly ones, either).

On A completely unrelated note, yesterday, I had an intensive meditative experience. We went to a meditation/energy retreat. We did a pranayama exercise that totally pulled me through the wormhole.

The exercise went for about 45 minutes. I am not going to do a play-by-play account, but there are a couple of things that Iíll mention.

My entire body felt like it was vibrating so fast that I was sure it was dissolving into the energy around me. It was especially strong in my hands and finger tips, but it was quite intense from my elbows down.

Towards the end, I had the realization that everything we experience is delusion (a commonly held Buddhist belief). This caused me to have a flood of emotion because I couldnít believe all the time Iíve wasted supporting the delusion and often torturing myself because of it.

Iíve had small glimpses of this realization before, but itís never lasted so long and Iíve never felt it so intensely. I am one who is prone to having intense meditative experiences, and Iíve had a shamanic experience or two, as well.

Some peopleís brains are just wired that way. I have no doubt that, had I been Christian, or some religion that believes in a deity, that Iíd have felt like I was melding with God or whatever it is they believe.

Not that Iím trying to diminish the experience. I think that intense spiritual experiences are an important part of life. Sometimes that's all there is to keep a person going, when she starts hitting the, "What's the point of all of this?" wall.

I just donít really know what to make of it, right now. Will I ever?

Regardless, it has helped me. Today, I feel a little more cleaned out, like a sponge that was wrung out hard, re-soaked and wrung our hard, again.

The guy leading the retreat is a Zen monk, in my lineage. I think we may even be dharma siblings, Iím not sure. He also does a lot of energy work and healing, so Iím quite interested in his work and his teachings. Iím planning to skulk around his website and maybe read his book, to see what comes up.

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Sunday, Nov. 06, 2011 at 8:30 PM