Keep on Keepin’ On


What IS macrobiotics? That was your question when you first started working in the kitchen here. Macrobiotics, literally, means “great/big life.” It is a philosophy of eating in accordance/harmony with the natural order of the universe. Whoa, that’s a hell of a task. What IS, after all, the natural order of the universe? To explain as simply as possible, the universe can be described in terms of infinite spirillic centrifugal and centripedal forces. Come again? The East describes it as Yin and Yang.

The Yin-Yang? Seriously? That kitschy little symbol that gets thrown into the touchy-feely pile along with hearts and peace signs? Yup. Along with crucifixes and the star of David. They’re all mass-produced, but that should not affect their symbolic impact.

Yin and Yang–taught to Americans as a dichotomy: black-white, feminine-masculine, cold-hot, negative-positive… Really, it was taught poorly to you. Rather than focusing on the EITHER-OR aspect of conflict, the Yin-Yang should really be interpreted as a spectrum. Everything falls somewhere on the spectrum of change–and the END POINTS of this spectrum are not end points at all (for excessive Yang can/will ultimately result in Yin). There is no beginning and no end. The universe is ever-changing–even the state of balance. All one can do is hope to harmonize with the spirillic flux–take a look at your fingerprints, your DNA, seashells, waves, galaxies, atomic structures, ocean currents, flowers, patterns of hair growth… everything spirals/undulates.

There is much more to it; perhaps you will devote more detail to macobiotics at a later date. You reccommend any interested readers to google the subject. There are many books written on macrobiotics–but one should first seek those authored by Kushi or Oshawa. Some books are dated (1970s), but considering this manner of eating has been successfully implemented for over 4000 years, you are not too worried about the dates.

You should take a moment to highlight why your oppotunity at this farm is so special: it combines your two favorite things–food and philosophy. If there were only a gym on the premesis, you would be all set–organic vegan fare, exercise, yoga… unfortunately, things have gotten slightly dull here since your companions left.

On your first weekend off, you caught a ride with Tino to Brussels; where you and Kelsey saw the giant molecule, the Grand Place, the little peeing statue, and then got rather drunk with another volunteer, Jan, on good Trappist beer. You found yourself with a splitting hangover the next morning (first time you have beeb drunk/fucked up since the weekend before you met Kady in Dublin), on a leather couch in an apartment belonging to Jan’s buddy. There, you recuperated in front of Run Lola Run (in German) on a large projector. It turned out that the Bodies exhibit was in Brussels, so you dropped a chunk of cash on that exhibit, which was most excellent–particularly because you are a personal trainer and were already fascinated by physiology.

Jan picked you up from the exhibit, took you to his friend’s parent’s house and cooked dinner while you laughed your ass off to a re-run of That 70’s Show–ok, you miss America a little bit. Later, you watched the 700-billion dollar bailout bill flop, and laughed about the condition of the economy which resulted from capitalist greed (take that, Lex!). But no system is perfect, to be fair.

On your last day in Brussels, you felt tired. It was raining hard, so you treated yourself to a train ticket home; realizing it was within your budget. You are not sure WHY your budget is 40 dollars a week, which is unreasonably low… call it a test of endurance. Since the beginning of September, your expenses have been approximatly 155 dollars (food, eyeliner, Bodies exhibit, train ticket from Brussels, a round of beers, airline ticket). Divide that by four weeks and you have spent just over 36 dollars a week–if you throw in the DVD you bought for Ed, then make it 40.

Amazing how cheap you are. Really. REALLY CHEAP. But patience pays. Free rides, rain coat, boots, scarf, etc. from the lost and found. Tino GAVE you his zip drive (thanks buddy! You will be sure to pay it forward!). You found shampoo, body wash, a travel alarm clock, and more socks in the lost and found as well. But, by god, here is how cheap you really are: you actually procured a new toothbrush from the lost and found as well! You would rather boil it than spend 3.50 euro on a new one. Shit, you are just days away from recycling your own dental floss!

With all this cheapness, you realize that most things are not neccessary. Your digital watch broke back in south France. Your nice Kenneth Cole band just broke, so you really want a new watch, but simply settle with keeping the face in your pocket. There are, or course, things you miss: Starbucks coffee, Pantene Pro-V conditioner, professional Brazilians, and hair salons.

Oh, another thing you would like to address. In your previous entry, you said the food here was giving you energy. This is a generally true statement. HOWEVER, on the whole, you are TIRED.

You are really tired. Your face, your body (your back has been quite bitchy this week), your brain. You thought maybe it was due to something external–anemia? Lyme’s disease? Too much/little sleep? Auto-immune disorder? No? Just life. Just running. Just thinking. A lot. Since there are no groups for which to prepare food these days, you have been working alone in the greenhouse, peeling onions. You wrote a little piece to yourself entitled: Zen And The Art Of Onion Peeling. When you are alone for so many hours, working without music at such a mundane task, you really must find a way to either meditate (that is, CALM your mind and peel onions for the work’s OWN SAKE), or you must distract yourself with thoughts. In your case, since your brain is on 24/7, loud, sometimes staticy–you have NO IDEA how to turn off your thoughts. So your mind went reeling. You thought of everyone and everything. Too much to describe here and now, but you will say that you have been struggling to make sense of your purpose in Europe, your purpose for yourself. Sometimes you felt inspired, other times sad and withdrawn. In the end, it was the same as it ever was. You’re gonna “keep on keepin’ on.”

Keep on until you either run out of money, or run out of energy. You are sure the latter is more likely to occcur. You have considered the following purchases in order to promote the former: new wrist watch (preferrably metallic and shiny), a harmonica (with all this time, you ought to learn to play an instrument), beggining Italien or Spanish books (heavy to carry), a haircut (nahhh), running shoes (would probably help your back pain), a teeny-weeny laptop (VERY enticing, for then you could write all the time), Starbucks coffee. You’ll see.

Really, just wait until things pick up around here. Until then, exercise your isolation and mental energy in constructive ways. You did, for example, figure out a way to get an interesting and comprehensive workout using only the space a yoga mat requires… so now, every time you are rained in (which is every day), there will be no excuses for being lazy. You also had a moment with Buddha. Very odd. You are certainly changing spiritually on this trip. Oh yeah, and you have been talking to yourself–not merely writing to yourself in the second person. Actually talking to yourself–though its only on par with singing in the shower, it is a change, nonetheless. You are beginning to wonder whether you are a hermit at heart (that is, the anti-social extrovert you claim to be), or always in need of social interaction. You waver between the two–spirillically.

Judging by the rambling nature of this entry… it is high time you find a change. TURN YOUR BRAIN OFF!

(Oh yeah, keeping clicking the you-know-whats!)

Categories: Belgium, Workaway/Wwoof | 1 Comment

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One thought on “Keep on Keepin’ On

  1. Pingback: Macrobiotics: the Spectrum and the Spiral flux | Katie Seibert

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