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Taking This Paleo Life Seriously…

man alone in cave

Sooner or later, I think the quest for good health removes us from mainstream society. Not all at once, but slowly.

Each individual needs to decide how far he or she wants to take this, of course, but my path seems to be moving me more and more toward the “fringe.”

I’ve said in the past that my goal was to be a “Fringe Wacko.” Apparently, that’s becoming more and more of a reality.

“One can be instructed in society, one is inspired in solitude.”

-Goethe

In my Paleo Lifestyle column for this most recent issue of Paleo Magazine (Feb/March 2013), I said:

“It takes time to build a life that’s different from the one you used to live and different from most of the people around you. Living in a way that’s contrary to the culture at large – and counter to a lifetime of conditioning – isn’t always easy.”

This is even more true for me now than it was when I wrote it a few months ago. Virtually nothing in my life is following any kind of “normal” path. But, isn’t that a good thing?

I mean, if you live like everyone else, you’ll have a life like everyone else. Beyond that, every single human being here on Earth has a different experience of life. What works for one person – or even many – won’t necessarily work for others.

Even within the Paleo community, there’s a wide variety of personality types, diets, training habits, depth of implementation, etc.

Social Conditioning…

All of us are socially conditioned. It’s a fact of living in a modern marketing and media-dominated society. Some of us are more socially conditioned than others – and some of us in more negative ways – but there’s no denying that we’re all plugged into The Matrix to one degree or another.

I’ve struggled with this more than most I think – I was home schooled since second grade.

Because I missed out on a lot of social conditioning to begin with, I never really fit in. Difficult as a kid for sure, but now I see that I’m more comfortable than most living in my own reality and challenging social norms.

Where most people have a limit or a “set point” as far as how far outside of “normal” society they’ll go, I’m not really sure I do. If I do, I just haven’t found it yet.

Leaving the “Noise” Behind…

house in snow

Maybe it’s just because I’m snowed in here in my little beach cottage in Connecticut after a blizzard, but I’m finding myself more and more happy alone, in silence and working.

“In the end, it didn’t matter. That year made me a pro. It gave me, for the first time in my life, an uninterrupted stretch of month after month that was mine alone, that nobody knew about but me, when I was truly productive, truly facing my demons and truly working my shit.”

-Steven Pressfield

I promised myself this would be the year for big training and health progress, big writing progress and a quieter, more stress-free life overall. This past year – 2012 – I wasted a lot of time on things that were important to someone else and not important to me. I can’t ever have that time back. I can’t ever know what I might have created in that time or what positive impact a different use of that time might have had on my health.

I won’t make that mistake again. 2013 is my year to make the progress that matters to me.

The more focused on this I get, the more the noisy, useless, fake people fall away. As the clutter clears from my life, I’m finding that I have more and more time to invest in the positive relationships and projects of my life.

The Hermit…

the hermit tarot card

I’ve always been creative and introverted. It’s quite appropriate that my Tarot Soul Card is “The Hermit.” The card represents, among other things, the seeking of wisdom from within. It’s the archetype of the “Wise Old Man” and the lantern represents illumination, insight or discovery.

Blame it on being home schooled since second grade, but I need solitude to write and create and be who I truly am.

Lots of it.

This isn’t always easy for people who get close to me to understand.

When I’m running around “doing stuff” I stop being a writer. Writers write and they tend to do it alone in a quiet, comfortable space. I don’t know about you, but I’ve never bumped in to Stephen King at Starbucks. I recently read his autobiography and, lo and behold, he has a quiet space in his house in Maine where he writes.

Every. Day.

He didn’t say anything about Starbucks…

Solitude…

“Without great solitude no serious work is possible.”

-Picasso

“The mind is sharper and keener in seclusion and uninterrupted solitude. Originality thrives in seclusion free of outside influences beating upon us to cripple the creative mind. Be alone – that is the secret of invention: be alone, that is when ideas are born.”

-Tesla

I think I’m in pretty good company on the solitude thing…

I can’t have it any other way. I thrive in solitude. I thrive when I have plenty of uninterrupted alone time to think and build and create. I thrive in silence and I thrive alone. I thrive when I run on my own internal rhythm and I completely “loose it” when I’m being run by someone else’s needs and demands and schedule.

I guess what I’m saying – and how this applies to Paleo eating and living – is that it might be good for you to stop giving a shit what other people think about you and your choices and your lifestyle. Unless you want a life just like theirs, you shouldn’t be taking the advice of others or yielding to their peer pressure.

If deep and abiding physical solitude isn’t quite your thing, at least find yourself some mental solitude to make sure the agenda you’re following is your own and not someone else’s.

I guarantee there are places in your life – right now – where you can do more of something, less of something, start something or stop something that will improve your life. Make the decision on your own and do it. Never mind what everyone else is doing…

ttys

Adam

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About Adam

Adam Farrah has been studying and experimenting with Paleo approaches to health, eating, living and moving since 2005. Connect with Adam on Google+

Comments

  1. Great post mate :) I love solitude but with a busy business, wife, two young children and a couple of big dogs its tough! But when I do find it I love it!!! BTW even my dogs are now Paleo

    • Hey Spencer. Yeah, I do have an advantage in the solitude department. Sounds like you have it good over there though! More power to ya!

      Adam

  2. Hello from a fellow paleo/primal introvert. I enjoyed reading your article. So do you find it difficult to write, being an introvert. I do. Writing and speaking are both tough for me, compared to someone who is extroverted. Maybe its laziness on my part and not necessarily my introversion.

    • Hey Brian!

      Really interesting point you bring up. Maybe I’m not so introverted after all. I do THRIVE in solitude, but a lot of that time is spent preparing to put my voice out into the world. I love putting my voice out in the world when I feel like what I’m saying is worth people hearing. That only comes from lots of alone time on the computer… I was a near professional magician when I was in my early teens. I was introverted without my “props” and spent hundreds of hours practicing in front of the mirror. But, once I knew I had it going on I wanted to show everyone…

      Incidentally, I STILL struggle with the writing. I’m always afraid it’s not good enough. The more my stuff gets read the harder it gets and the more fear there is. Jeff Goins talks about this a lot (http://goinswriter.com) as does Steven Pressfield in “The War of Art.” It’s never easy to write or put your soul out there for others to accept or not.

      If you have something to say get it said, man! Life’s too short! I have to remind myself of that all the time…

      Adam

  3. Hi Adam…your writing really hits home for me. I also tend to be a “loner” and people around me don’t always get it. I crave it…I can’t get anything significant done in chaos.

    I love this part…….” it might be good for you to stop giving a shit what other people think about you and your choices and your lifestyle. Unless you want a life just like theirs, you shouldn’t be taking the advice of others or yielding to their peer pressure.”….

    thanks.
    Regina – who is also snowbound in CT!!

    • The chaos drives me CRAZY, Regina. So many people are attracted to constant motion. Personally, I think it’s just a way of distracting yourself and avoiding doing your work…

      Thanks for the kind words! Hopefully we’ll be dug out soon. Can’t wait for Spring!

      Adam

  4. Loved this – it really resonated with me. I’m a bit of a loner too and sometimes do have to pull myself out of my introversion otherwise it can become a little unhealthy…but there’s nothing like time and space to think and breathe, without the noise and incessant chatter around us.

  5. What a wonderful post, thank you. I wasn’t expecting such wisdom from a Paleo site (I’ve just begun looking into it), thank you for your honesty and inspiration. Happy writing :)

  6. Hi Adam, just wanted to let you know I’ve just found your site and am getting to know your information … this is an interesting post and I have to say I think most extroverts are as misunderstood by introverts as introverts are by extroverts!

    Most people understand intro- and extroversion as similar to being shy or outgoing, but there is a very interesting theory, and one I happen to personally buy into, that says that it’s all about how you draw your energy. Introverts need solitude to recharge. To build strength. While extroverts need people to accomplish the same thing. We draw energy from being around people. At the end of a busy day, after having accomplished much, going home to an empty house (ie if my kids are with their dad etc), is not a loney thought, but an exhausting one. When feeling recharged and good I actually quite enjoy my alone time, but if I’m low and need to energize and build strength to go out and be creative or accomplish something … that requires spending time with people. Ever notice how some people just seem to get more and more energy, second winds even? Probably extroverts lol.

    I even know very outgoing introverts, who enjoy people and socializing, but afterwards need their alone time to rebuild and recharge. And, I know a very shy extrovert … she routinely seeks out crowds where she can mingle among people and yet be anonomous.

    Just wanted to provide another perspective … we’re not all avoiding the work we have to do … we’re just doing it differently than you are.

    Love the blog, learning lots already … looking forward to an amazing and transformative 2013 as well!

    • Thanks a lot for adding this, Tanya.

      This is currently becoming a huge topic for me because I want to find a healthy balance for myself. I do find it impossible to get my work done without a lot of quiet alone time and that’s something I’m not sure I can change to a large extent. Beyond that, there are a million really, really smart people who thrive in silence and isolation work-wise. I do think I’m an “outgoing introvert” as you said above. I enjoy people and socializing but it’s an energy expenditure for me. I get initially “charged” but that’s always followed by a down period the next day. I’m also currently in a low energy period of my life and just don’t have the resources to go and do a ton of socializing because I know it’s going to require recovery.

      But, we are social creatures so something I’m working in this year is to find my “happy place” as far as socializing goes. The biggest challenge for me personally is that I’m working on really intense things in my business and virtually no one I know “gets” that. It’s tiring to grind out writing and computer work every day under deadlines. At least for me. Getting cleaned up and going out after working all day is just not something I’m going to look forward to. At least not in the place I am currently.

      Thanks again for adding to the discussion!

      BTW, I just got the book “Quiet – The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking” by Susan Cain. Haven’t really gotten into it yet, but I’m hoping it will shed some light on all this.

      Adam

  7. Michelle says:

    This is my year, too. The first half was spent having ankle surgery, recovering from ankle surgery, trying and failing miserably at Paleo, and learning a whole lot about myself. I started a 6 week Paleo challenge on May 26th and will definitely spend the second half of this year in beast mode. PS Stephen King is my imaginary mentor.

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