With the arrival of St. Patrick's Day comes the promise of many activities popular for yogis: the eating of corned beef, the consumption of copious amounts of Guinness and other alcohol, late night partying regardless of how early work starts the next day, and the artificial coloring of everything consumed -- even the beer.
Wait. Did I say that these were activities popular for yogis? Of course, I meant the opposite. Everyone else eats corned beef and drinks green beer on St. Patrick's Day. Yogis do other stuff, like breathe and eat kale. In fact, when considered in regard to the kale-eating, breath-controlling lifestyle of many who follow a path of spiritual growth, St. Patrick's Day can seem as opposite a way to spend a day as any day throughout the year.
The message I consistently promote is one of balance. I instruct my readers and viewers to maintain a simple diet of natural, whole foods eaten in small quantities. I encourage regulated sleep and an avoidance of any processed foods that don't support and nourish the body as an organic being. And I certainly discourage the consumption of beer and other intoxicating beverages, as the extra work the body must do to purge itself of such substances detracts from the resources it utilizes to support the immune system and maintain greater health as a whole.
But, while many of us may be seeking this healthier, more purposeful life, a lot of the people around us are not. While everyone else is off screaming their way through a New Year's countdown or wearing their weight in Mardi Gras beads, we're sitting at home contemplating a profound aphorism we saw on a tea bag. Some of us might have even received tentative invitations to gatherings: "I know you're not really into drinking and partying anymore, but if you're interested, we're doing a pub crawl for St. Patty's Day." And what do we often do in response to these invitations? We grapple with the dilemma of whether we should party or stay in. Do we drink beer, or do we drink the profound aphorism tea? Do we participate in the world of our friends, or do we remove ourselves and fret over whether or not we're ostracizing them?
This is why it can be very helpful to compromise. Yes, we can go out, but no, we won't be staying out as late as everyone else. Yes, we can go to a place that serves alcohol, but no, we won't be drinking it. Yes, we know that the color green is significant because it relates to the fourth chakra and symbolizes harmony and interconnectedness among all living things, but no, we don't have to share that information with our friend while he's on his third pint. And while this is unlikely to be revelatory advice for anyone, what may be of particular value is not just the idea of compromising but making fun of ourselves while doing so. Devoting ourselves to a higher path, eating foods without unnatural additives, and focusing on things like breathing can seem kind of foreign to others. We can therefore participate to a certain extent and then make a joke out of how we're just dipping our toe into the festive waters -- but not drowning in them.
Let's take St. Patrick's Day as an example. People love their holiday color theme, so perhaps when you show up somewhere in which they're downing one green beer after another, you can have a freshly-juiced green vegetable drink to sip from. Other people might sport a shirt with a leprechaun on it, but maybe you pin a green top hat onto an image of a Yogi in lotus. And while everyone eats their corned beef, you have a dish made up of that kale you love so much and call it the "scorned leaf."
Those of us on the path may be pursuing a state of peace, but we can often feel dour and uptight about the supposed differences between our party-loving friends and ourselves. This year, consider using the holidays as a way to not take such pursuits so seriously.
After all, there are many different shades of green to be enjoyed.
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