Do you ever feel that your heart beats to a different rhythm than the rest of the world? That most people seem to live in the steady thump thump of everyday living, but that some of us have explosive arrhythmic beats driving us to something other than the ease of a regular life?
I tried hard over many years to live in a more consistent rhythm, I spent my whole life trying to ignore and evade the part of me that nature gifted. I went into a career I felt was suitably serious and appropriate for a wannabe grown up, instead of the silly hobbies that filled me with joy, like writing. It’s no wonder that the loneliness of trying to be someone else, instead of revelling in finding out who I really am, left me so bereft and confused.
I’m obviously feeling extra-cheery today… It’s definitely toddler-led sleep deprivation. Again. But I feel that it could be something else as well.
One of the interesting side effects for me about living a deliberately mindful life for a number of years is that, like the arthritic knee sensing when a storm is on the way, I’ve developed an instinct for when a layer of emotional skin is preparing to shed.
I’m told by those wiser and further along on this self-forgetting journey that a perfect storm happens about every five years. I can attest that the year-long emotional deluge at the five year mark, that rearranged large portions of my life, was a doozy. I must confess to not being comfortable enough about this journey yet to look forward to my ten-year iteration, which so far seems to have something to do with the consequences of letting my fear of being different dominate my life choices for so long, but it’s coming whether I like it or not.
Luckily the changes I made to my life five years ago, although almost crippling in their intensity at the time, led me to an internal life that’s been so content and peaceful I’d walk through it all over again just to get this result. But my old foe, unreasonable fear, means that I’m deeply cynical about a whole new kind of pain.
Each time the universe nudges me to trust a little more, I fear that I’m finally going to have free will ripped away and will end up as a dribbling, furrowed-brow numpty. That may be all these seemingly lovely and wise people have been lying to me, and seeking a relationship with any form of higher power will definitely make me a moron this time.
The cynic in me promptly harks up and firmly orders me to sprint in the opposite direction, pausing only to gather up my sanity as I skip out the door into intellectual freedom.
But the quiet, gentle voice that I’ve come to associate with the kindest, most peaceful part of me, whispers that the gift of increased freedom and ease in the world is just a series of blind courage-laden steps away. And that I have particular people, wiser than me in most every way, who can make sure I have guidance, laughter and company along the way.
To those who see this internal path as madness, it probably won’t make much sense, but the most courageous thing I believe I do is not find any way to numb myself or deliberately distance myself when I think I see pain ahead.
Admittedly, I’ve never been to war – never even been in a fight, preferring the cowards way of cracking as many jokes as possible to defuse any potentially awkward situation, and if that fails I am a loud, proud member of the ‘run away’ brigade. I’ve never experienced true poverty (most in the West haven’t). I’ve also never known genuine, torture filled physical pain. I’m not even that good with a paper cut…
So I’m sure there are those who’ll scoff at my assertion that this is the bravest thing I can do. But hell, this is my arrhythmic heartbeat – and my story to tell, in all its imperfection.
And this is my bircher muesli. Made in the traditional way and then nudged over time into something I find utterly delectable, and my family absolutely adore. It’s healthy, it’s super easy, it keeps for several days covered in the fridge, and I can pull it out when friends drop round for unexpected morning chats (the best kind!) so I seem highly domesticated, when really all I can think about at the moment is writing and sleeping. Also, with no processed sugars or saturated fats, it’s not a food that numbs my feelings, essential for my continued trudge to healthier living.
I’d also like to thank the super talented team over at My Little Tribe photography for this gorgeous photograph of my bircher recipe. Aren’t they great?!
- 4 cups rolled oats (use a mix of rolled rice flakes and buckwheat for a gluten-free version)
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- ½ cup dried cranberries (or dried fruit of your choice)
- ½ cup chia seeds
- 1 cup pumpkin seeds
- ½ cup macadamia nuts, chopped in half (or nuts of your choice)
- 4 red apples, roughly grated
- 2 cups greek yoghurt (use coconut yoghurt for a vegan version)
- 2 cups apple juice
- 2 tbl sp pure maple syrup
Mix all the dry ingredients in a large bowl
Add all the wet ingredients and stir well. It might look a bit wet – don’t worry, the oats and dried fruit will soak up all the juices overnight
Cover with cling wrap and leave in the fridge overnight