We’re finally here, at our last instalment (or at least last instalment for now) of the Little Words series. These little one word episodes have taken us through so much of our inner world as it relates to food. We’ve talked about our feelings towards change and the patience required when making any shifts that have to do with food or anything else that might be going on in our lives. We’ve talked about our relationship with excess, labels and our way of eating, we’ve discussed fear, and one of my favorites so far, ease, and how two little mantra questions can help us so much when we’re on this journey to improving our relationship with food. I told you we were leaving one of my favorite words for last and that is of course, food.
I must say upfront that we won’t be talking about delicious ingredients or comfort food in this episode, we’re instead going to talk about the things that have been taken out of the equation and which have been substituted by rules, rigidity, worry, fear of foods, stress, guilt and punishment when not behaving as we think we need to with food. Instead of these now very common spotlights we shine on our food, we’ll be looking into some of the things we’ve taken for granted, especially in recent years.
Every time I sit down to write one of our posts and episodes for what we’ve informally called the little word series, I think of 2 or 3 more I’d love to talk about. I can now confidently say that this series of posts and episodes will definitely be back after we’re done with the last two I had in mind for this time around. We’ve already talked about patience, excess, change, fear, and one of my favorites, labels, and we’ve got just two more to go. Today, we’ll be talking about what has possibly been denied, repressed and pushed back in modern society and in our lives and formative years in the biggest way, and that is the pursuit of ease. Ease will be our little word for today as we discuss eating, our stress levels, time, mindfulness and the emotional aspects of ourselves that have an impact on the way we eat, the choices we make and our general well-being.
Is it just me or is anyone else noticing a serious busyness epidemic in our world today? “Busy” has become the new “fine” when we ask people how they are, not as a complaint, but more often than not as a little badge of honor. Everywhere we turn, and especially in social media, it’s all about the hustle, the getting things done, the systems and ways in which we can do more, using time to an inch of its life. In last week’s podcast episode I answered a listener question from one of our Sams (our gender-neutral pseudonym for all our listeners and readers who send us questions). Sam had asked how Carlos and I manage to have Brownble up and running with its constant flow of content that is released weekly AND also have our day jobs. You can listen back to last week’s episode to hear my full answer, which had mostly to do with getting organized and sticking to the plan so it becomes a habit (especially in terms of the content we create).
Today in our little words series we’re tackling the topic of labels. If you’ve been a reader or a listener of our podcast before, you know we’ve discussed labels (especially as it pertains to veganism and perfectionism) many times. Today though, we’re looking at labels from a wider lens as we’ve just done with patience, excess, change and fear. The idea behind this series is that we use these little words as motivation or mantras to help us on our journey to improving our relationship with food, on our vegan journey, our body image journey, and our general sense of wellness, so things go back to being simple and we are a bit more self aware.
Whether we’re conscious of it or not, we use labels on ourselves and place them on others on a regular basis. This can go from the very simple act of referring to ourselves or others as athletic or lazy, as introverts or extroverts, as annoying, smart, nerdy or busybodies, when we say we’re vegan, vegetarian, omnivores or pescatarians, and all the way up to labels that are deeply rooted in society and intertwined with identity, such as being a Christian, Jew, Muslim, or a part of other belief systems or religions. We have labels for sexual orientations, labels for personality traits, labels for our political views, and of course, labels for the way we eat.
We’re back with our little word series this week to talk about fear. So far in the series we’ve talked about the important role patience plays when it comes to everything we talk about here at Brownble. Whether it’s the patience needed when changing the way you eat, or patience with family members around you when you’re going on your vegan journey, whether it’s an important part of being more appreciative of the body you have, going on this quest to improve your relationship with food, or to improve your own body image. It even applies to all the posts and episodes we’ve had on cooking and honing your skills in the kitchen. It’s what I’ve loved about this series so far, one little word can have so much to do with many different aspects of our lives, and each and every one of you are going to get something different out of them. After patience came the word that inspired it all and we dove into our relationship to excess and how a little mantra has helped me tremendously this year. Then came the topic of change and how we experience and deal with the many changes we might be going through when we’re on this path to feeling better right where we are, and when creating an impact in the world around us. All of this got me thinking, what is that one emotion that seems to always be present whenever we discuss any of these little words in the series? The answer?
Fear is such a powerful part of each and every one of our lives. It’s one of those basic human emotions, and for many of us, especially my fellow anxious chronic worriers, fear runs the show more often than we’d care to admit. Fear is related to all of our favourite topics here in the blog and in our podcast, so I thought it was only fair we let it have the spotlight it often craves, in our little word series.
I can’t tell you how much I’m enjoying writing these episodes in which we’re using little one word mantras to discuss a topic that will inspire and motivate us. Every time I sit down to write a post and episode I get pulled in a million directions, noticing how a simple word can have such a powerful and strong meaning depending on what angle the spotlight hits it. One of these little words that has a powerful meaning for me is “change”. Change can be seen from so many perspectives. From the desire and strength we have when creating changes in our lives (whether that’s quitting smoking, quitting a toxic relationship, changing the way we eat, incorporating more movement throughout the day, etc.), to looking back with insightful eyes at the things we’ve changed and the people we’ve become.
We can look at change from the perspective of what it will take to create it in the world we live in. We can see it happening in children with growth spurts in just weeks. We can see it through the eyes of that “always 20 year old on the inside” staring into the mirror through wrinkled eyes that mark the passing of time. We can see it by looking at the wonderful advances in technology, in societal points of view on social justice issues, and also the long journey ahead to change things even more, for the better.
Last week we talked about patience in this new series of episodes and posts in which we’re using little one-word mantras to help us on our journey. Today it’s finally time to talk about the little word that inspired the series: excess. I told you a couple of weeks ago how when a little Japanese woman on Netflix helped us declutter our home, I had some pretty massive realizations about my relationship to excess.
In case you don’t know who I’m talking about, I’m referring to the wonderful Marie Kondo and her Netflix show Tidying Up. A wonderful woman who turned our January into the ultimate “spring-clean-in-winter” fest. As you heard me talk about here, this process of donating bags and bags of those belongings that didn’t spark joy, was very meaningful. Not because we had the relief of having the tidiest closet we’d ever had (although that was part of it too), or because we could feel the breath of fresh air that naturally comes when you put away the last stack of unopened mail (even though this certainly happened), it was mainly because I had some pretty big realizations about my relationship to excess that had less to do with external things, and more to do with that internal world we love to talk so much about here at Brownble.
If you listened to our last episode you probably heard all about the new series we’ll be doing in the blog and podcast. I’ve informally called it the “word” series, from a total lack of imagination on my part, but it’s because I think so much can come with the words that will serve as inspiration for this series of posts and episodes. Just in case you don’t have the slightest idea of what I’m talking about, during our little winter break, which thanks to my vocal cords and never ending cold became a very long winter break, I had a lot of realizations you can hear all about here. It started with some eye opening insights about excess, which will be one of our upcoming episodes, but from there came an avalanche of other creative spurts, all stemming from little words. These powerful little words we use so often without a second thought. Some that define certain aspects of our lives which we might be trying to change, some that can inspire and create great spaces within ourselves, some that can serve as little mantras or guiding lights.
Today’s word as the title suggests is patience. This little one has accompanied me since the start of the year. I told you last week all about the big changes that took place in my life at the beginning of this year, and with it the string of colds, the cough that would never end, the voice that refused to come out when I wanted it to.