So just this past weekend my family and I went to go see Marvel's new movie Dr. Strange. It was actually really good, I was wary of how it was going to be, but they pulled it off as usually and it was a really fun movie. The movie itself deals a lot with Buddhist and Hindu traditions and their mystic influences on our lives. Since I do love all of those practices and traditions anyways it was interesting to see a big budget, triple A movie tackle those traditions in a modern consumer space. Many people probably believe that the ideas discussed in the movie are "weird" or "Eastern" and don't have any hold on them. But, those ideas really are important and do hold a lot of power within our modern lives.
Before we went to the movie, on Saturday, I had to do some Marine Science service hours for school. I go to a Marine Science Magnet high school and so every year we must complete a certain amount of Marine Science related service hours. Most people, and me too, just do the monthly beach clean ups at the local aquarium. I always feel extremely privileged to live right on the ocean and in such a beautiful and unknown place as where I am on the coast of Southern California. Close enough to downtown LA and Hollywood to enjoy the day in the city, but far enough to have that small town vibe. The ocean is always visible on any run I do and it is a great recovery tool when the legs aren't feeling up to it.
Anyways the beach cleanup was a lesson in mindfulness most definitely. The guys that I used to hang out with were there and it was very difficult to be around them again. We have literally nothing in common anymore, a big reason I went my own way, and every conversation between us while walking along the beach was not fun. I am perfectly okay being silent and so that is what I did. Not only do we have nothing in common, they are also classic teens. The bucket we were supposed to be using to put trash in ended up being destroyed by the end of the clean up because instead of picking up trash they used it as a goal to throw rocks into. The rocks slowly got bigger and bigger and the bucket got more and more destroyed. I simply escaped into my own head which I am so accustomed to and breathed quietly while I picked up trash and did my good turn for the day.
They were however impressed that I had already gone on my run for the day. The beach clean up started at 8 and when one of the guys I know got there he said he was dead tired. I asked him what time he went to bed and he answered midnight. No wonder he's tired! I went to bed that night at 8:30 and woke up at 4:45 to get my run in. Exercise, well running, to me is not a chore or a torture. Instead it is my free time, my escape, my time to love and suffer all wrapped in a nice package of beauty. I saw the sunrise and suffered a bit, while they slept. So see how different we are? While they focus and obsess over girls, beer, weed, and video games, I am writing a blog, doing a podcast, eating plants only, and running hard.
But, that was my rant for today. Today I want to talk about malaise. We all feel it now and then, it can be a curse sometimes. One of the worst things about malaise is that it distracts us from what we are doing and takes us down a vortex of not doing anything meaningful. Now there is a difference between rest and malaise. Rest is when you have a planned and special time to recover and relax. Malaise is when you feel unmotivated, lazy, and simply want to sit where you are and browse Instagram. You know exactly what I'm talking about and it sucks!
Malaise hits me at the most random times too. I could be feeling energized and excited and while doing my homework take one look at Instagram and then be distracted for 20 minutes. It's not like you see it coming usually and when it hits it is hard to get out of that rut. You hear about it all the time in others too. In ultrarunning you hear about athletes who didn't get out to train, because they "weren't feeling it." In life you hear about people who'd rather stay at home than do this or that. I see memes and pics of those ideas all over social media. But, it really does all root back to the fact that this malaise is caused by us and no one else. When it comes to malaise at work we must remove distractions. Malaise in sport we must fuel right. Malaise in life we must treat our body right. With proper rest and proper care that is not just lazily sitting around.
Keeping energy levels up throughout the day starts first with a proper eating style. A vegan lifestyle is the most effective and invigorating, but only if you do it right. You cannot be an unhealthy vegan. Because while Oreos and potato chips are "vegan" they are not healthy. I have written a lot about this and you can check out these posts I wrote a few weeks back on your meals through out the day: Breakfast, Lunch, Snacks, Dinner. So I recommend you read those and the other blog posts on health I have written. In terms of the podcast, my episode with Rip Esselstyn is a great resource for the importance of a vegan lifestyle and how you can jump into one.
Fat, sugar, oils, bread, they all weigh you down and drain your energy. Especially when it comes to meat your body takes much more energy to process that, too. The food you eat is the basis for your energy level. You are fueling your body so you must do it right.
The next step in ridding yourself of malaise throughout the day is to remove distractions. Because they only grab you and take you into a hole of laziness. So when you are working or doing homework set a timer for 15-25 minutes where you remove your phone and such from your immediate vicinity and only work. Then after the time passes rest for 5-10 minutes, this is where you can enjoy your phone and social media. But, stick to this cycle and enjoy the work and the rest simultaneously. Because just like we learn in meditation, you must be everything and nothing at all times and enjoy every moment.
As the Tao Te Ching says:
"Giving birth and nourishing, / having without possessing, / acting with no expectations, / leading and not trying to control: / this is the supreme virtue. (Tao Te Ching, translated by Stephen Mitchell, Verse 10)"
Above all when assuaging malaise you must breathe. You must trust in the fact that moment is the most important. Not the newest post on Instagram, the latest craze, the fatigue in your head, or the pain in your legs. You must get to know yourself and know when real rest and recovery is necessary and when you must push hard. But, don't add malaise or laziness into the mix, that will only make you less motivated and less active in whatever you are doing. Be alert and aware of yourself always.
Thank you as always and now get out there with energy!