Monday, July 7, 2008
Embracing your sweat
I never thought I'd say this, but I enjoy a good sweat.
After spending the weekend in Virginia, I arrived last night to my sweltering Brooklyn apartment. I realized that I spent most of the weekend in denial of the actual weather. Homes, shops, restaurants, cars - I was in an alternate air conditioned universe.
For much of my life, I preferred it this way. And when outdoors, I did everything possible to avoid the heat. I avoided active sports. Chose the shade over the sun. Even moved to San Francisco for its mild climate!
Only upon arriving in New York two years ago was I forced to confront my relationship with the summer. Central air conditioning was just one of the many comforts I've had to sacrifice as a result of moving here.
New York forced me to embrace the requisite sweat that comes with this time of year. From a holistic perspective, there is nothing 'bad' about sweat. While it may be socially unpleasant, sweating is in fact it is a great natural way to release the toxins that build up in our body over the year.
Turning off the A/C, also makes me feel more connected to the natural world. I crave foods that are in season this time of year. Cherries, strawberries, cucumbers, tomatoes, all have a high degree of water, which help extinguish the summer heat. These foods provide me with a great degree of energy, and my body is also more in sync with the flow of life - rising when it is light, and sleeping when it is dark.
Our attempts to control our environment or our bodies attempt to sweat are just worse in the long run. Antiperspirants contain aluminum compounds that actually plug up our sweat ducts, and are toxic to our bodies. Running our air conditioners deplete more of our energy resources, raising prices, and exacerbate global warming. We literally pay now, and pay later.
For all those A/C hogs out there, I dare you to live a couple days outside the box. You'll be surprised what a couple of cooling foods, a nice fan, and some clothes made from natural fibers will do for you. When it comes to those triple digit scorchers, however, I'll be the first person you'll find curling up to the box.