Friday, August 19, 2011

Gluttony

This morning's meditation afforded me the opportunity to observe at first hand the effects of over-indulgence in food and wine. I can report that they include, but are not limited to a fuzzy head, a laboring heart and uneven breathing, an uncomfortable, distended belly, generally disordered thoughts and a lack of concentration. Not bad, for an evening's work.

The occasion was the visit of some very old friends whom we had not seen for quite some time. We greeted them at the cottage with a nice bottle of Sancerre, crisp and cool from the refrigerator, along with salty snacks that I managed, for the most part, to resist. Driving downtown, we stopped by the Laguna Art Museum to see the current exhibitions--one of Isamu Noguchi, which included a full documentation of the big, majestic "California Scenario" sculptural environment at South Coast Plaza about which I wrote many years ago, for Art in America, as I recall; and a lovely installation of the artist's Akari light sculptures...

(this image is not of the LAM installation, but pirated online) ... marvels of design constructed out of mulberry bark paper and bamboo. Upstairs, an exhibit of our friend Lita Albuquerque's lovely "Red Pigment Paintings", where she used wind or breath to disperse pure red pigment on black surfaces...


and her "Beekeeper" video.

So far, so good. For dinner we had made reservations at the Brussels Bistro, a usually not terribly crowded restaurant downtown. Now, since returning from our Midwest trip a few weeks back, in early July, to the shock of stepping onto the bathroom scale and realizing just how much weight I'd added to my already overweight frame, I have been working hard to do something about it. And indeed, I have succeeded in losing about thirteen pounds, achieving my first goal a couple of days ago when I registered a solid five pounds below my pre-trip norm. My next goal is to drop another five pounds, with the intention of maintaining at that level--a more acceptable one for my age and height.

It has not been easy. I have been eating with careful attention, avoiding those things I know to be the major culprits, especially three of my personal favorites: wine, bread and potatoes. And I have been enjoying the weight loss, feeling more sprightly, less weighed down, lighter in both body and spirits. Having paid more attention, then, to the consequences of my choices, I was especially attuned this morning to the results of last night's binge.

Dinner... We had already polished off a good deal of the bottle of Sancerre, remember. Now, at Brussels Bistro, we ordered a Syrah/Merlot blend from the Laguedoc, and set to work on that--along with, for me, roast breast of duck with a reduction sauce, a delicious small pot of dauphine potatoes and a bundle of green beans wrapped in a rasher of bacon. The waiter also brought us an extra side order of Belgian "frites" for the table and, having tried, tentatively, one, then a couple... I started to tuck into the delectable fries with unrestrained abandon. The wine helped, I'm sure. And then--for the table again--we ordered a warm, dark, juicy Belgian chocolate cake... a la mode.

I'm not about to castigate myself for the excess. I enjoyed myself, loved the food, the wine, the company--despite the noisy crowd we come to expect at the beach in the summer time. But it was sobering to watch the physical effects during meditation, highlighted as they were by the previous weeks of abstinence and a body adjusted to more sensible eating habits. My observations encourage me to return to the straight and narrow, and to value the more lasting feelings of good health over the ephemeral delights of gluttony .

2 comments:

mandt said...

"a fuzzy head, a laboring heart and uneven breathing, an uncomfortable, distended belly, generally disordered thoughts and a lack of concentration." Ironically, a perfect description of starvation.

PeterAtLarge said...

!!!! Ironic, yes. World turned on its head...