There is no “one-size fits all” of life.
Welcome to Day 28 of “30 Days of Jung,” my series, wherein (soon, I will start repeating myself, like now) I take a famous quote of Carl G. Jung‘s and try to make sense or refute or invert or disembowel it or where I turn into a heaping pile of mush because of it in 1,000 words or less.
If you don’t know who Jung is, he formulated the theories of introverted and extroverted personalities, the stages of individuation, the basis of the “Meyers-Briggs” personality (INFJ / ESFJ, etc.) tests. He’s a “father” of modern-day psychoanalysis. In short, he’s a badass. But he’s dead, so he can’t be with us today.
Here is today’s:
“The shoe that fits one person pinches another; there is no recipe for living that suits all cases.”
― C.G. Jung
I tried to find a word for the tagging in this post’s headline that was one word for “open minded” and so I plugged in its opposite, “bias” and then I found its antonym, “impartial” which was fine, but the problem with using that word for me is that it’s already a negative; it’s canceling out its initial meaning, so I won’t use it.
My husband came up with “free” but I can’t use that in a headline; it’s too out of context. Too… free.
I’m sitting here on my deck in the wake of last night’s ruling in the Trayvon Martin case in Florida. I’m not a current-events writer; I don’t see the need to get my undies in a bunch that way, there are always apolitical reasons to get my undies in a bunch… so today’s post will maintain that neutrality.
What I will briefly mention though is something completely banal and unexciting: gun laws.
I do not begrudge anyone for owning a gun, so long as it is legally carried, permitted and all that. I have issues regarding the type of guns that are somehow necessary when we’ve already established our freedom from England, but I don’t bother going into that.
I have friends who hunt. I was listening to a book on CD on our way home, Here If You Need Me by Kate Braestrup. It’s the personal memoir of a Maine widow whose husband, a Maine State Trooper, was killed while on his way to a call and her fulfillment of his retirement plans to become a minister. She became an ordained minister and chaplain for the Maine Parks and Forest agency. In her book, she talks about the men and women she works with and how they are mostly hunters and how she honors their lifestyle with new eyes because the way they eat, the way they kill deer is humane and cruelty-free in that the deer are free-range, organic, they are not born and raised for slaughter and for processing and pumped full of hormones and medicine; they eat what we provide, leave for them; they run and leap and mate and sleep in nature. When a deer hunter kills, s/he makes use of all of the animal, nothing (or not much) goes to waste and that the natural environmental fauna partakes in the ecological remnants and their circle of life continues with the intervention of man’s skill and weaponry. I emphasized the men and women she works with because I am fully aware that there are people who waste the animals, who kill not with reverence and restraint but with avarice and gluttony. Those are people I am not denying exist, but they are not people I’m going to talk about.
It put everything I’d thought about hunting on its head.
I ate some venison this week. My cousin is a hunter and he gave to us some of his venison as a gesture of gratitude for our hospitality earlier this summer while he was traveling. He killed the deer with a bow and arrow.
My kids were reluctant, “BAMBI?!” they grimaced and groaned.
“Yes, Bambi. Or his dad. Or his mother, cousin, distant relative from New York because I don’t know where Bambi was born, but I think it was California near the Disney studios… but yes, and it’s called ‘venison.’ You will try it because this is one animal that wasn’t raised for slaughter and we will honor it…” I said, smiling wildly and hoping they heard me.
They looked at me like I had three heads.
My cousin gave us the best part, the tenderloin, and on the way home from that trip when he presented it to us with a warm and sincere smile, we all listened to the Kate Braestrup story in the car.
Two days later, I prepared it in a way that I’d never prepared a meat before: with a quiet intention, gratitude for the deer. My knife slices were deliberate and kind. I felt an unusual sensation: a connection, if you will, to the animal. My husband partially softened strip bacon and I wrapped it around each tenderloin medallion, used a toothpick to hold it all together and they were grilled on our Weber out back. I served a salad I make frequently of spinach, red onion, tomatoes, avocado, strawberries, bleu cheese and balsamic vinaigrette.
The food was presented to the children. I have to say that they seemed to eat it differently, with an awareness, a softness I’d not expected.
My eldest had heard about this very recipe that my cousin had prepared for us all a few summers ago and didn’t tell us it was venison until after we’d taken our bites. I didn’t feel betrayed then, because I endeavor to be open-minded and I was his guest and I’d never refuse something that someone so clearly worked hard to prepare and share with us.
We can all go to a butcher, select some NY Strips, put them in some marinade and grill ’em, but what a hunter does, what my cousin did is so different: they set up for a couple hours ahead of the trip, they wait, they take their shot and sometimes they fail, sometimes they don’t on their first shot. Then they have to prepare their kill for transport. It’s hard work; it’s not for the meek and fancy. I honor my cousin and anyone who does this for hobby or sport with the honorable intention of expressing their gratitude and appreciation for the animal they kill.
This is the kind of gun control I can get behind. This lifestyle, of the hunter, is likely not for me. I prefer several degrees of separation between myself and my food, but maybe I
should could revisit that mentality; that if I choose to eat an animal, that I should could will consider and express my sincere gratitude for the life it gave for me to live mine.
This isn’t about activism to me; this won’t make me watch “Food Inc” or “Forks Over Knives” any more readily than I would watch “Bowling for Columbine” or “An Inconvenient Truth.” I can’t easily tolerate such parity, but I allow it in others; I would never deign to tell someone else how to live.
I have a strong interest in physical health and mindful eating and exercise. I just do. I have seen what its opposite, mindlessness, does: blown-out tendons, my own calves when I ran too far in new shoes, aching muscles when I lift too much, vitamin deficiency, narrow-mindedness and judgement; then there’s another side of that coin: obesity, health risks, depression, structural breakdown and arthritis pain due to inactivity. There is no RIGHT WAY for anyone, but there has to be SOME WAY for all of us.
Expecting tomorrow to take care of itself and hoping that tomorrow will allow us that 45-minute slice of time to change clothes, lace up, get the water bottle, get the iPod (or whatever it takes, I have lots of gear like that, I love gear), turn on the treadmill or make sure the kids know where I will be and what route I’m taking … all that, takes preparation, but not a lifetime.
All I know is that health is paramount. I see what neglecting health does to all of us. If you’re on the fence about whether or not to go for a walk today or a run or a skate or a stretch: don’t be. Start today.
So yeah, there is no one-size fits all. I don’t tell anyone how to live their lives; I just hope that by doing my best to live mine in a way that works for me that I’ll maybe be inspiring to someone else; and I am always looking out for inspiration from someone else. This yoga retreat coming up is going to rock my world… in so many ways… I know it. I’m a little afraid too. But I do know this: I have my intuition to help me.
Right now, a gentle breeze is passing over my face and I’m listening to Patty Griffin singing “Burgundy Shoes” and she’s at the part (2:00) where she’s echoing herself, “sun … sun … sun … sun …” I can’t help but be inspired by the fact that every moment is a moment to recognize and celebrate our individuality and our commonality.