Fresh Mangoes

‘Grandma, you’re not as stylish as your friends. Don’t worry I’ll help you.’ – Abby, age 6

Not everyone is as fortunate as I am to have a personal stylist who tells them the truth. Lucky me I can actually hear what she’s saying because I adore her, she’s 6 and I can laugh. But if I really listen, take her shopping, and accept her suggestions, who knows? I may end up dressing like someone a lot younger than me… a whole lot younger, but that’s okay, it will be fun!

Sometimes the truth comes at us in ways we can’t hear or don’t want to hear. So we ignore the truth or make fun of it or do whatever comes naturally to us to avoid those moments of quiet discomfort when someone we love and trust is telling us something we’re not aware of or don’t want to hear. And then we stay stuck in whatever belief system or behavior we think is serving us well but to an outside observer appears odd.

A couple of years ago when I was at the Hippocrates Health Institute studying to become a Health Educator, I thought I was just learning how to eat better but it turned out to be much more than that. I was thrust into all sorts of situations confronting uncomfortable truths about my life, my emotions, my eating habits, and my environment. Most of the things I was hearing made me really uncomfortable but I stuck with it – I was committed – and even though it was painful at times, I managed to get past the pain and the experience turned out to be liberating because I was allowed to process my feelings in a safe way and then I was given some straightforward ideas on what to do about things.

Until about 5 years ago, I was eating meat without much thought. I successfully avoided thinking about it too much because it made me uncomfortable. Plus I grew up on fried chicken and barbecue and I certainly didn’t want to give that up. But when I really listened to my body and noticed how I was moving through the world, I knew I didn’t feel well and something wasn’t quite right. And I didn’t want to end up fat and sick.

So I listened….and I heard….cried a bit…

And then I did my best to change how I lived and ate with some help from a bunch of truth tellers.

And magically, it has all brought me here to a big bowl of fresh mangoes for breakfast at the beautiful home of a friend on Grand Cayman.