Saturday, January 11, 2020

Freedom, Food, Loss and Life

[Nov 26, 2019]

Food freedom, freedom from fear. This has been the gift of the recent year or so for me, with movement and with attention to health, what my body feels good eating and being, doing. I have learned what my body feels good eating—wholesome meats, greens, fats, no sugar, less and less processed anything. I have learned how my body cherishes movement in community—workouts several times a week and holding ‘just get better’ in my bodysoul as I/we move. The numbers really don’t matter, though it is part of the practice to offer them up anyway. Now I have landed in Paris with my dear Brian, and I’m all verklempt, feeling the fear and uncertainty of choices available to me for what I know my body feels good eating and doing.

I did well for our travel, which I celebrate for myself. I packed my ‘bread,’ squeeze packets of nut butters, 1-oz baggies of nuts for the duration. I made myself hard-boiled eggs for the start of the journey together, when lunch at the airport was going to be the option available to me. Brian enjoyed his bagel sandwich and I munched my hard-boiled eggs. I chose the flight-meal option that had the protein I could eat, and I left the stuff that didn’t appeal to me—the rice, bread, corn-salad. I awoke hungry about 2 hours outside of Paris, so I munched the nuts I had brought with me. I awoke 2 hours later to the Air France ‘Bon Appetit’ bag on my tray-table—a warmed cheese brioche-roll-sandwich, a plain roll and a small bottle of kefir, 6 g sugar. I felt so out of it and hungry, I decided to just eat the warm option of what I’d been given. When we got here to Paris, Brian and I went to the grocery store and got me two avocados, for the next couple of days. We’re not sure our mini-bar fridge is actually working, so I hesitated to get the lunchmeat from the supermarket. It was probably processed anyway, so not worth bothering about. All this to say, I am already making choices for me, for the things that will be familiar and nourishing, freeing.

We had our first rather predictable ‘flare,’ of course, just moving into finding a place we could enjoy a meal together. We ultimately landed at the mussels joint we’ve been to before—a bit more protein focused meal for me, though still familiar and ‘on his list’ for us for this week. Good to get one of those list-items for him ‘checked off’, I figure. And the mussels were tasty enough. They came with mixed salad with dressing (sugar added), a cup of French-fries and a basket of baguette slices. The luncheon special meant a three-course meal, cheapest and easiest: a salad, an entrée-dish, and a dessert option. We both chose the coffee and two mini-desserts to accompany it—a chocolate cake and a mini-crème-brulee. I tasted everything, to enjoy and smile into it all, and left what I did not want to finish. Our opening meal, it felt important to just go with what came. My intestines are already feeling the tight/loose of the occasional cramp. Hmmm….

And now, nearly a day later, I’m smiling into a bit more ease with what we get to enjoy here together. Amazing what a good night’s sleep, a hot shower, and hours of walking can do for you/us! My aim to stay conscious may simply mean tending to myself in the morning—my familiar ‘bread’ and nut-butter squeeze-pack, which sustains me well through midday. I could feel my new-familiar ease in being present with him, having tended to what I needed first. Then aiming for ‘plan-reminiscent’ choices at the restaurants/cafes we meander into during the day, without too much worry up front. Today allowed an omelette, for instance, with mixed greens. Close enough for government work. :) Brian loves the dessert and coffee thing late afternoon, but coffee (a café – espresso shot) suffices for me. Perrier here has finer-bubbles, which is fun. Evening meals, I’m simply enjoying whatever comes, methinks. Last night gave opportunity for a Breton-creperie kind of place we had been before, called the Cormorant. It was a sweet place, small, close tables, pizza-like ‘crepes’ with dry cidre. Staying conscious then: foods I cannot find at home will be the tourism of the evenings.

It was helpful to be reminded that I would not lose my ‘new learnings/self’ simply from a week in Paris. It seems an obvious statement when said aloud or written on the page. Duh. But at some level, I think I did come in with a fear of losing myself, what I’ve learned now, at least a little bit. It often happens when Brian and I have extended, uninterrupted time together. His inner world is simply overwhelming for me to navigate easily for long—intense waves of information, lots of internal-referents shared with me to connect but which can actually disconnect me from a sense of myself, the relationships and ways of connecting I value. Firming up my food boundaries these months has actually firmed up my energetic boundaries, allowing me to be present with him in a new peaceful way. Choosing my food boundaries here is helping some of that, but I am also easing into the unfamiliar and ‘the moment’…which makes me wonder if I will stay present with him, emotionally, for long…? 

One thing that’s an easy ‘diary’ and observation choice is simply taking pictures of each café meal together. It tracks our food-tourism, which delights him, and it allows me to be more conscious with what I’m choosing. I also picked up a couple small pocket journals, with my desire to see Paris with the eyes of a poet. That kind of writing keeps me present with all that I’m sensing amidst so many people and new places. 

Like the wizened older woman with square-blue-rimmed spectacles on the subway car today… Her eyes gently closed, her body rocking with the rhythm of the movement. Made me wonder what stories rested behind those closed eyelids…

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