Crystals, Carbs and Cardio: An Approach to Balance and Awareness
By: Ben Mervis
There’s a heated debate over the phrase “everything in moderation” - but I remember my Bubbe saying it, so I hold in high regard. A quick Google search shows that the phrase triggers the haters because some things really are not good, even in moderation: self-harm, cancer-causing chemicals... murder (?).
And so while I’m certain that whoever first-coined the phrase never expected to need this disclaimer, I’ll just start this blog by establishing that as a community standard: “all things” in this case are things that do not inherently cause harm.
Another way to look at “everything in moderation” is to think about balance, right? In a growth-oriented world, balance allows us to build a strong foundation, to identify areas that are growing at different rates, and gaps where we may not be growing at all.
When seeking sustainable abundance we need self-awareness: what have I done that has led to this success, and what can I do to keep it going? Few people find abundance by luck, and even fewer sustain it.
When practicing self-awareness, we need patience for understanding and experience for appreciation. Self-care, humility, generosity, boundaries - what good is an abundant life if these other pieces are missing.
Fun fact: Jennifer Lopez was 33 when “Jenny from the block” came out - 3 years after her debut studio album “On the 6” was released. Sure she was in the game much earlier, but rather than become a full-blown diva at a young age, she waited, and she’s outlasted so many others.
TO BRING THIS BACK TO EARTH and talk about this in tangible terms, I’ve chosen to focus on three important areas where I’m trying to achieve balance in my life. They are really figureheads for greater self-awareness, and for some reason, I’ve always had an affinity for alliteration, so here it goes: crystals, carbs, and cardio.
CRYSTALS - the energy I give and receive
The need for moderation: I inherited a giant crystal collection about a year ago; 1-2 pieces of every mineral from A-to-Z, which in many of my circles, is a wet dream. But I actually found it pretty overwhelming. The need to understand them, the desire to create altars, and set intentions, the guilt of doing so, while still forgetting gem’s names, and the chakras they ground.
The awareness I’m practicing: Setting and sticking to intentions. I acknowledged said-guilt and released myself of it. My altars are smaller, so I stand a better chance of remembering everyone’s names - and now I focus more on the intentions that I’ve set, I make a practice of breathing good energy into them. I also tell people about my intentions, particularly when they visit my home. I cherish the opportunity to share them, to give them a voice and a real place in my life outside of my head.
The long-term goal: Keep the energy exchange positive and beneficial. Reflect often and in-aggregate, express gratitude.
CARBS - the way I fuel myself, and loving the body I’m in
The need for moderation: I’ve never met a carb I didn’t like, and have always claimed pasta as my favorite meal, but about 6-months ago I started calling myself a #carbinfluencer on Instagram. I just wanted to give people the carby content that they wanted… but a few short months later (and a couple of months ago), I also found myself at the highest body fat percentage I’d ever hit. I’m actually still there, although (twist) I’m also at my most-muscular.
The awareness I’m practicing: I know better, so I can do better. Not all carbs are created equal (here’s looking at you chocolate croissants and super-processed mini-muffins). Carbs also cannot replace major food groups like vegetables; pesto pasta was not what the doctor meant about ‘eating my greens.’
The long-term goal: Truly hold in-balance my carb consumption with my nutrition and energy exertion (read as: exercise). Continue to allow myself to enjoy the carbs I REALLY love, and make *cheats* less often so I can appreciate them more. (Here’s looking at you bread pudding).
CARDIO - movement, breath, and forgiveness
The need for moderation: Work out too much, work out too little - kept in context of the carb influencing - it makes a difference in how I look, but more importantly in how I feel.
The awareness I’m practicing: Understand that no Instagram bodybuilder, no doctor, no personal trainer, certainly no supplement salesman knows my body better than I do. I know the level of fuel (aka carbs) I’ve consumed, and I know how my muscles are feeling - so I have to be the one to decide how much energy I can burn, and it’s my responsibility to monitor that. Stretching has become a non-negotiable and feels almost meditative at this point - turning something rhythmic all the way up on my headphones - and connecting with my body bone by bone.
The long-term goal: Stay in balance - grow, feel strong, be flexible - and understand that we only get one body, so I’d better take good care of it.
I’m giddy at the thought of keeping these three areas in balance; partially because they feel like choices - my choices. They feel like part of the intentional living I admire in others - they feel like steps of growth, and I feel prepared to take them on. And for me, blogging about crystals, carbs, and cardio might be one of my steps in sealing my intentions. For you, it might be journaling your intentions, writing them on some of that wish paper and lighting it on fire, or just sharing them with a best friend. Just know that however we do it, the only person who should hold you accountable is, well, you. But feel free to ask me how things are going, I love sharing updates on my public Instagram account @ben.mervis, and have learned so much from other people’s experiences on similar paths.
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