I've become little obsessed with spring cleaning. Like many people all over the world, I've been taken with Marie Kondo’s The Life Change Magic of Tidying Up and everything from the utility drawer in the kitchen to the toiletries in the bathroom cabinet is gradually being given the ‘konmari’ treatment. If you haven't read it yet, the book is based on the anthropomorphism of household objects and giving them a home or moving them on. If they don't spark joy, then you let them go.
I must admit that some of those paring down decisions were made for me when my home flooded a couple of years ago and many dear possessions found their way into the skip. However, I have been living in disorder for way too long now - and I still have a long way to go. I have never really got straight since I saw Matthew Kenney’s Raw Food Real World eddying on a current in the sitting room in 2013. Maybe it was before that. I used to live in Cornwall, overlooking St Michaels Mount (above) and I think somewhere in the process of moving from Cornwall to London and onto the forest, I picked up too much moss. This is a discussion for another time.
I am ashamed to say that I Iost my first copy of The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up, and it actually turned up in the boot of my car when we were changing a flat tyre at the weekend. I emptied the entire contents of the boot to retrieve the tyre in the darkness of the forest, only to see the bright white cover of the book glinting in the moonlight like a beacon of faith.
I’ve been reflecting on why I have this urge to strip everything back recently. Not just physically but also in terms of my diet; drinking more green juice and significantly raising the amount of raw plant-based food that I eat. I haven’t eaten 100% raw all the time but I have the urge to do so now.
Now and again in your life, you hear something that really resonates and it sticks with you like a pebble in your shoe until you give it your full attention. For me it was on Thought for the Day back in early 2012, I was listening to BBC Radio 4 early in the morning. This was just before I had started Deliciously Raw and my thoughts of starting a raw food culinary school were not even a half-baked idea.
On Thought for the Day, Brian Draper was talking about how ‘scientists’ had recently discovered that we enter into the decline of our mental powers in our mid-forties rather than in our 60s, so we start the process of cognitive aging much earlier than anyone previously thought. He mentioned the second half of life as of what the priest, Richard Rohr, referred to as a period of ‘falling upwards’ – a kind of spiritual ascent when we become more focussed on our spiritual growth when our physical bodies are in gradual managed decline. In short, where we spend the first half of our life building and acquiring, we spend the second half letting go, becoming more focussed on what is contained rather than the container.
Being in my mid-forties at the time, I remember thinking that ‘I’m not ready for a gradual managed decline’. I know with the right diet, green juice and exercise there is no reason why we shouldn’t live a vibrant physical life well into old age and eating a high anti-inflammatory raw plant based diet can help with that.
However, I can’t deny that words are getting harder to retrieve, the osteoarthritis is so painful some days yet I am happier now than I have ever been following a path that I love.
Despite my best endeavours maybe I am falling upwards and maybe this is no bad thing. I like to think of it more as defying gravity. Not just in terms of physics but also in terms of consequence in that I can finally hold myself lightly as I travel. I am hoping for a very gradual ascent.