How do you spend time alone?
Before Anett went away late May, I was in the fear of bathing in lonely air and tears in the cold winter nights by myself. So this time I learnt to live with myself peacefully, and by the time Anett got back I felt I had built a temple inside myself, which I could now retreat to whenever there are too many noises in my head.
In this letter I would like to share what I have discovered in building this temple.
1. We don’t have to travel afar to a spiritual retreat
A spiritual retreat should be within us. As soon as Anett left, I cleaned our place and added more greens – magnolia leaves, weeds, kale flowers, wooden sticks I picked on the street. I had meditation twice a day. It awoke many deeper thoughts and feelings, which helped me understand why I felt in a certain (mostly unproductive) way.
It proves that a spiritual retreat can be found at home. What you need to do is kicking your partner out. If you are single, that’s even better – meditate and have a deeper conversation with yourself.
2. Bush Tucker Man
In my study about Australian native ingredients, I watched the Bush Tucker Man documentary (1986) and Walking Softly with KOA. I find it very inspiring especially listening to KOA talk about living and healing in nature. It is also very calming so I watched it to fall asleep sometimes, except when they eat a witchetty grub.
3. A plant-based diet
One thing I agree with KOA: we don’t really need much food – it is the stress that consumes most what we eat. In my temple I was able to have a mostly organic plant-based diet without wine and snacks for weeks. I’ve never felt so light and refreshed. For once in my life, pimples all disappeared.
It was till when I had to work in the CBD again, I started to feel anxious and only can a bowl of slow-braised pork ramen from Ikkyu calm me down. If anything can mend a broken soul, it has to be Ikkyu. Best ramen in town.
4. Adzuki beans soup
5. I quit coffee
The secret? A clean diet and a stress-free mind. It came naturally as I built my temple. I no longer need to drink a lot of coffee to keep myself awake.
6. Real health food business
To make it all possible, I thank Health Nuts‘s newly-open plant-based cafe and grocery store, where I am able to refill my almond milk bottle and eat an organic, healthy dinner for $10 when I don’t have time to cook.
Health Nuts assembles different kinds of recycled and reused plates, containers and furniture, with a focus on real food rather than a trendy brand presence. The owners work there from morning till late everyday. I think this is how a health food business should be: more genuine care for people and the environment, no trendy bullshit.
7. Beans, farts, yoga.
It brought to my attention that a solution was needed if I wanted to keep beans in my diet, when I released some embarrassing gas at yoga which made half of the heated room smell like a creamy mushroom risotto on the way. Eating fruits 2-3 hours before meal helps. So as adding spices like ginger and turmeric to your cooking. More tips here.
8. Inspire positive behavioural changes
Building my temple made me realise how much more I can do to improve my health as well as our environment. I’ve also set some strict house rules on consumption and wastage. I’ve been talking about these changes on Mundane Matters, in the hopes that it could inspire others to do the same. Others seem to agree.
But on Anett’s return she thought I was going crazy. It made me realise probably many people out there think I am crazy too. Do you think so?
9. But I am positive!
In the past month, Mundane Matters was featured twice on Instagram, receiving a total of 1.4 million double taps (ie ‘likes’) on Instagram’s account (yuk I feel I am bragging!). It is also confirmed that Liane and I will extend our workshops at Sherman SCAF, Powerhouse Museum and possibly a few other major arts organisations.
Mundane Matters has also been selected for an exhibition, Science Inspires Art: Food at New York Hall of Science from this September to February 2017.
I am thankful for these recognition as it means the message I have been trying to deliver is reaching and connecting with more and more people. Hopefully one day, it can really make a difference in people’s life. I thank you for your love and support that helps the project travel this far.
Thank you again for reading as always. I’d love to know about how you build your temple. Email me at info[at]mundanematters.co and share with me.
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