On Thursday, at the Official Peloton Riders forum, I came under fire regarding bedroom commentary. A man literally commented on my yoga video, “The things she can do in the bedroom. 🙂 Of course I mean stretching in the bedroom. 🙂 ” OH BOY. How does one reply to that? I simply offered an LOL, replacing the O with a crying smiling emoji.
Mind you, that is the peaceful, existing in her vessel of happiness Nicole, in that reply. In the past, and we’re talking just two years ago, before I got my Peloton and achieved complete peace with my body, brain included, after living 17 years with an eating disorder? I might have opened debate. I might have said, “Sorry, Charlie, but yoga is not a sexy thing to me, and any man who suggests that I could be sexy in the bedroom ain’t getting shit, and also, for the record, your comment is not classy.” Yes, I can see myself as having typed something just like that.
But I don’t debate anymore. If I don’t like something, I don’t engage in it. But, this guy seemed pretty harmless and didn’t say anything smutty, so rather than ignoring it, I showed him my appreciation for his attention. Because I seek attention. I want all eyes on me so that I can help one, two, three, or maybe nine thousand people with crushing of their eating disorder or whatever else might be inflicting their lives and therefore keeping them from being totally freaking peaceful.
And maybe my solution worked.
Because a girl, now turned friend seriously overnight, replied that I should be offended at his comment. She also cited his comment as “disgusting.”
I sat, I thought, and here is what I offered in reply: “I cannot control the value systems of others thus I care not about them. Nothing offends me unless it is myself, acting improperly, and such is never the case.”
One thing led to another, and she accused me of attention-seeking (which I am), so I directed her to my blog; and guess what! Turns out that she’s a 17-year bulimic, trying to find her solution, trying to find peace with food. She literally asked me, “Please tell me how you stopped thinking food was the enemy!!!!”
As documented by this blog, it was not overnight oats. I shall hereby link you to some of my crazy, earlier posts: The Vegan Cheese Rampage, I Freaked Out On The Starbucks Girl, Bad Sex, amongst hundreds of other crazy posts. I was very unkind to others, to myself, and to the Earth. It took consistent writing at this blog (thanks, Gary Vayernuck for your inspiration with Crush It), it took finding of Ashtanga Yoga, it took joining of the Peloton community to end my eating disordered lifestyle entirely.
How did I make friends with food?
It just happened.
Making friends with food was never my goal. I simply thought that it would be “management of food” for the rest of my life. In fact, until this new Peloton friend questioned me on my friendship process, I did not consider food to be a friend. But yes, it is such. Food is my friend. All friendships are not equal in style. My relationships with my BFFs might be completely different from your relationships with your BFFs. In fact, I have many BFFs. My dog BFF Becky. My Pittsburgh BFF Kristin. My Pelo BFF Erica. And my Instagram Yoga BFFs. Just yesterday, I received a DM from a bestie Instagram friend in Germany who is pregnant. She wanted for me to know about her amazing reality and of her yoga ballerina baby. Her communication completely took away my breath. It made my heart pirouette. We have never met in the flesh. Yet I received a picture from her sonogram! Another example is my PeloBFF as previously mentioned. We text each other all damn day long, and I just agreed to doing #TheRideOfShame which I would otherwise have wimped away from, ha ha ha. And, I am riding 18,000 miles in 2018 with two instagram yoga besties, Cece and Hélène, both of whom I have never met in the flesh, but it seems like we’ve been friends since childhood. By the way, have you donated to my campaign yet? I’m sitting at 233.5 miles for the year thus far.
The concept of having a BFF that you’ve never met in the flesh? Might be weirdAF to some people. Might seem “cold.” Might seem “unhealthy.” As my way of eating might be totally weird to some people. Might seem “cold.” Might seem “unhealthy.” And I assure you, weird, cold, and unhealthy do not register whatsoever with regard to my human friends, with regard to my food friends. It is all love. I needed to mediate my head and hands with my heart, and that is what yielded this state of perfection. It took a long time, but I never gave up, as I never do.
Sri K. Pattabhi Jois writes in his divine book, “Yoga Mala” that if one practices the Asanas (postures) then one will begin to naturally practice the other seven limbs of Ashtanga yoga. Here I want to discuss one of the sub-limbs, known as Shaucha. Pattabhi Jois writes, “There are two types of saucha, or purification: bah shaucha (external purification) and antah shaucha (internal purification). Bahir saucha, the first, involves washing the outer part of the body with red clay and water. By rubbing the body with clay, sweat and dirt are removed, and the body becomes soft and shiny. The second, antah saucha, means viewing everything and every being as a friend, and treating all with affection (maitri). This means engaging the mind with the supreme feeling that all are our friends, and considering everything to be a reflection of God. Such focusing of our attention on the Supreme Being is antah shaucha.”
This is what Pattabhi Jois had to say on purification and it’s simply incredible because shortly after adopting the practice of Ashtanga, I had a thrilling desire to scrub my body to heavenly cleanliness whenever I could! I use a gorgeous soap and abrasive scrub brush to accomplish the rational version of the clay method that he describes. And, regarding engaging the mind with the feeling that all are our friends, I can cite one very specific example of my truth in this, as it happened just two weeks ago. I have not spoken to my sister Lisa in many years because we have a very bad history. And I simply had a feeling of hatred for her. She, too, had and continues to have a feeling of hatred for me because I said something terrible, which I did not intend to be terrible until after I said it, and then I retroactively applied the words which were basically like stabbing her heart with a knife. And then suddenly, on 30 December 2017, just a few hours before I was to see her at a wedding, I became overwhelmed with emotion that this human is my sister, and regardless if I’ll ever have the chance to be friends with her, I love her, and I want her to know how deeply sorry I am for what I did. I think it took the restoration of my seven-year blog documenting the hard work that I did to crush my eating disorder plus finding my perfect groove to achieve this ability to see with my heart. So I apologised to her, in a text message. There was no pause or hesitation. The desire to apologise hit me abruptly. I parked my car, and I dashed off the text. After doing so, I cried. So hard. It had been months since my last set of tears, and those happened when Gwendolyn became diagnosed with the potential of cancer (for which she proved positive – but it was eradicated from her body). I cried so hard after sending that message to Lisa because it seemed to me that I could now be completely at peace and at friends with everything on this Earth. That might sound selfish – a text message should absolve me from my sin – no, it should not. But it is what I needed to find my peace and purification. My antah shaucha.
And today it occurred to me that Food is now also in that purification category. Food is existing under the yogic sublimb of antah shaucha. It is a friend. It is peaceful. Because I practice yoga, because I ride my bike, and because I live purely. It took me 17 years of disordered eating to achieve this now two-year life of cleanliness. And it is marvelous.
This may or may not answer my friend’s question because it does sound quite over-the-top spiritual (and I assure you, I am NOT spiritual), but it is my truth, and I hope that it helps.
How did you make peace with your enemy?