My Donkey

“For most of us, and for most of modern culture, the body is principally seen as the object of our ego agendas, the donkey for the efforts of our ambitions. The donkey is going to be thin, the donkey is going to be strong, the donkey is going to be a great yoga practitioner, the donkey is going to look and feel young, the donkey is going to work eighteen hours a day, the donkey is going to help me fulfill my needs, and so on. All that is necessary is the right technique. There is no sense that the body might actually be more intelligent than “me,” my precious self, my conscious ego.”

Reginald Ray, Touching Enlightenment

Self Portrait taken while fooling around with my Ipad.

Found this the other morning in my mail box, one of the daily quotes I get from Daily Dharma, and wow, did it hit home.  My poor donkey is aging and tired a good part of the time and I realize I’ve been doing nothing but abusing her for years.

But what’s a donkey owner to do?

As I grow older, the days grow shorter and I need to get stuff done before I leave this planet.  I’ve beaten my donkey into pushing through the “To-D0” list, that seems to grow by leaps and bounds every day.  When she begs for a nap, eyes slowly closing, head nodding off then snapping upright again, I shake her, explaining that we must continue so that at least today’s to-dos are checked off.  If we don’t we might have start getting up at 5 AM.

In a new Yoga class just a few days ago, I felt embarrassed and ashamed in front of all of my friends, because my donkey couldn’t do what their donkeys were doing.  I wanted to be out front with the best.  Can an almost sixty-nine-year-old donkey be as good as a crowd of thirty-somethings?  Guess I need to go back to the Gentle Yoga class I was attending with girls my own age.

It’s not as if I don’t exercise on a daily basis.  I warm up each morning with a fifteen minute trot around the block with Molly and Sam.  Then if the creek hasn’t risen and the sun is shining, I take myself for a power walk, after which I do a thirty minute combo of stretching, body rolling, and Pilates.  If the weather is nasty, I’ll climb aboard the old cross-trainer in my studio.  Once a week I work out with my Pilates instructor.  She and my massage therapist tell me that my body is in a constant state of fight or flight.  So I added Gentle Yoga as an additional way of trying to get the kinks out,  stretching the tight tendons and learning further about relaxation.

What to feed my donkey?  Though I’m versed in healthy lifestyles, I can’t seem to get control when it comes to what is on her plate.  She’s always starving, loves fresh leafy greens, rice and fruit, but has been and could again become a raging sugar addict because of what I like to feed her.  Lot’s of sweet things like cupcakes.  Then there are salty things, like roasted cashews, and also cheese … a lovely sharp cheddar from Vermont.  Her digestive tract doesn’t feel too good when I make her eat lots of that stuff and she complains.  But it sure does taste good!

Bill and I recently attended a talk on SUGAR by Gary Taubes, whose books, Good Calories, Bad Calories and Why We Get Fat, gives us the low-down on what we’re doing to our donkeys as individuals and as a society.  By consuming the huge amount of sugar we do, we’re becoming a world of obese humans and susceptible to many more serious ailments like diabetes, cancer and Alzheimer’s disease.  Bill has decided to give sugar up.  In six days, he lost 6 pounds without making any other changes.

For the moment, I’m doing okay with food, getting close to being vegetarian, but not giving up chicken, dairy or fish.  Last time I tried it I got very sick.  This time I’m studying India’s Science of Life, Ayurveda, and finding out what foods are good for my unique combinations of Doshas.  But it’s hard to give up those things that I love like the cashews, cheese and crunchy granola loaded with honey, even though my donkey tells me she feels much better without them.

Maybe if I give in to feeding her the things she really wants and needs, I can get her to work harder so we can get through the to-do list in record time!

This entry was posted in Animals I Love, Healthy Living, Life, Wise Words. Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to My Donkey

  1. patti stark says:

    there you go, talking about your donkey again! LOVE the picture! One website I really enjoy, as I have for many years, is Dr. Mercola’s – right now he’s REALLY into trashing everything that has to do with GMO’s, and I’m so glad he’s doing it – someone has to! The Food Industry has infiltrated our bodies in addition to all the other dangerous BIG ONES, and we DO know who they are – just don’t get me started – your journey has always been wise and wonderful for as long as I have even known you – Love –

  2. jzrart says:

    Yes, the food industry is a toughie and I’m trying my best to keep it out of my kitchen. Thankfully I love to cook, but there isn’t always enough time to do it right. Thank you sweet friend, love you too!

  3. Brenda Neil says:

    Good luck with your donkey. It is an ongoing process that we must visit every day. I think it important to allow oneself to occasionally have one of those foods you really like but your donkey isn’t too happy about. Moderation. All we are given is today and I know that I want to die happily knowing I had that last piece of chocolate, so I am sure to have a small piece each day.
    Love you Joan!

  4. jzrart says:

    Right on, Brenda! Moderation is the key but sometimes it’s hard to do. Right now it’s working for me and I’m feeling really well. My biggest problems arise when I’m traveling. Airports for instance have notoriously yucky things to eat loaded with all sorts of things that my Donkey hates!
    Love you too!!

  5. Becca says:

    There are so many easy choices in food and lifestyle that are ultimately bad for us. It’s sad that the world we live it makes it easier to be unhealthy than to be healthy. I definitely have to work at it, and moderation and balance are my keywords.

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