Friday, December 3, 2010

Musings on the Journey Back

It's almost hard to believe that in a week, I start the journey back to Motherland for a holiday visit. I guess when every moment is very rich, time just really bullets by you. I have not been home in three years and those three years have been a time of monumental change for me. I keep saying that this trip will be a good gauge of whether or not I have really drank the Kool Aid. I would love to think that I have held on to a lot of the good Filipino values in me, but it will be interesting to watch how I have discarded those pieces that did not work and adopted those that challenge me to become a better human being.

Listening to NPR on the way home from work, they were reporting how FDA is so close to making lap band surgery widely available for people who struggle with obesity. I balked at this. Lap band surgery is a 20-minute surgical procedure that rearranges your intestines and ties a ring around the upper part of your stomach so you don't eat too much and you get full faster and longer. That's right, America. Let's not put in the work to making our lives better and healthier. Let's just go under the knife and spend $10,000 for the easy fix. And never mind that the American obesity problem goes deeper and could involve psychological, nutritional issues beneath the superficial layer. Let's not address those.

Sigh. Maybe I don't need to leave the country after all just to do a pulse check on where I am as a human being.

I have pretty much resolved all my quagmires concerning this trip (where to stay, where to go, what to do, etc.). Yet the single biggest conundrum that still looms over my head is whether I should give up my obstinate decision to stick to my vegetarian guns while on this trip. Vegetarian travel can be a challenge for me; but it's not always impossible. I have loosened up a little bit to accommodate fish and shellfish in my diet lately, especially if my body starts telling me that it needs protein. What with all the physical activities I get myself into, I have to also make sure that my moral and spiritual grounds are in balance with my health and energy levels. Hey, even the Dalai Lama is not 100% vegetarian due to doctor's orders! It has been a year since this lifestyle change and I am convinced that it is part of the reason why I am the healthiest I've ever been in my life (how you know is when your blood levels score perfect on everything, your dentist wants to trade teeth with you, and when it only takes three days to recover from a shoulder injury). I often get asked why I do it and without batting an eyelash, I reply, "Out of love." Take it however you want to take it - I don't really give a flying fudge.

It wasn't a difficult decision to make. The oneness of everything started to become very apparent to me that I could not stand the thought of a cow being shot in the head so I can have steak for dinner. That combined with how this planet is dying so quickly made me go for organic, earth-grown, yummy goodness instead.

I can say that abstractly now, but when I get to Manila I see sisig, chicken inasal, Purefoods corned beef (ultra processed, why not?) laid out in front of me - could I still say no?

I have a busy few days ahead. I have massive to-do and to-shop-for lists to power through. I have rehearsals a couple times before I leave. The shoulder injury really got me nervous, but the x-rays came out fine and I'm really not sore anymore. I stood on my head for half of "Yo No Se Manana" and I felt fine, so I guess that allows me the liberty to go full throttle on the dancing. And because of that single permission, I am finally signed up for rockclimbing on Wednesday night. I have not run in weeks and I promised myself that I will at least hit the treadmill a couple of times. Of course, there's work too and laundry and packing.... And the list goes on relentlessly....

La vita bella and Namaste!

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