For me, health typically seems to revolve around four main topics: what I’m feeding my body in the form of movement and nourishment, and what I’m feeding my soul in the form of tribe and spirituality. These 4 pillars seem to be the well I return to for fulfillment, happiness, purpose, and longevity. They are pretty wide ranging subjects with millions of opinions surrounding each of them. But, when I think about our ancestral mama it makes a whole lot more sense:
Cavewoman would have eaten for nourishment. We often talk about our diet in terms of what we can and cannot eat, or use it to define whatever dietary movement we are identifying with at the moment. Talking about food as something that nourishes us is more productive, however. It’s something that is either making us healthier, or making us less healthy. You can’t nourish your body, with Cheeto’s. No matter how hard you try, they are empty. In addition to eating for nourishment, Cavewoman would have been fundamentally connected to her food and water sources. Due to food scarcity it would not have been taken for granted. She would have consumed the whole animal, not just its flesh, and what wasn’t consumable would have been used for tools, broths, clothing, warmth. There would have been honor in the way food was attained, and consumed, and the animal would have been honored in its death. Cavewoman would have also experienced long periods of fasting, and would have most definitely been in ketosis more often than not – ketosis is not a new idea or bodily function, it’s literally how we evolved.
Cavewoman didn’t “exercise.” She didn’t go “jogging” (I believe it’s a soft “J”). And yet she was likely fitter than you or I. She also would have completed most of the same activities as the men in her tribe. She would have hunted, played, wrestled, had sex, jumped, sprinted, had sex, squatted, climbed, pushed, pulled, did I mention she had sex? My point is, we put “exercise” in a box and complicate it to the point that most people are afraid to do it wrong or look stupid. You’re human, be human! Have sex, run, jump, push, pull, wrestle, have sex, run some more, lift something heavy, hunt, play, walk, balance, did I mention have sex?
Cavewoman would have belonged to a community of like minded individuals with a common goal of survival. It would have been a multi-generational community that respected the culture of childhood. Older children would have served as caretakers for the younger children. Elders would have been highly regarded and would have passed down skills relating to survival, hunting, safety, and rituals. Our need for belonging and socialization comes from all of this. Parenthood wouldn’t have been so hard, motherhood wouldn’t have felt so isolated. The responsibilities of a tribe would have been shared by the tribe and the saying “it takes a village to raise a child” would have actually meant something.
Nourishment, movement, tribe…they all have aspects that contribute to spirituality. When there is honor and thanks given for your nourishment, when you are connected with your body and it serves as your source of pleasure, food, life, exploration, and when you are part of community that is working towards the greater good, how can you not be aware that you are all part of something greater? Cavewoman would have respected the natural order of things. She would have listened to and respected her environment. She would have aspired to be better each day because if she wasn’t, she would likely die. And if she did die, her genes would not move on. We come from those genes! Every single person on this planet. We seem to have lost the connection to so many of these things. We tend to lack ritual and honor. We are disconnected from each other and the planet. But that can change.
What will you do this week to connect with the planet, the beings on it, or the life it has given you? What will you do to connect with your family and your genes? What will you do to connect with Cavewoman?
More next week, as I contemplate this idea too 🙂