The First Almond: The Beginning

The birth of an almond is a lot like the undertaking I am beginning on my journey to find my center. I should first begin this post by telling you a little bit about what I am aiming to do in creating this blog. I should tell you why I think it is important for me to chronicle my struggles and my motivations and my goals. I should tell you that I am at something of a crossroads in my life and that there is some great underlying message I am trying to get across to you, the reader, but I am not going to do that. My hope is that throughout the reading of this you begin to understand more about me than I can sum up in a few lines. I hope that you can get as much out of this as I do in writing this, and that we both come to understand a little more about ourselves throughout my journey. Ultimately, I hope that I inspire you to go on your own personal quest and that you find whatever it is you’re looking for in stumbling upon this page.

The almond is both simple and complex all at the same time. Picture the almond. Pick it up and feel it in your fingers. Understand it’s weight in your palm. Press it between your fingers and take your nail to it. Picture it’s journey from conception to your table. Do not take it for granted. I fear if you cannot dream the almond’s existence you are not ready to discover what it is I hope to impart in you.

I am reminded of an essay by Joan Didion entitled “Holy Water.” In it, she describes the life-cycle of water while sitting in a West Hollywood restaurant in the 1960’s. While she describes the journey of water from the ocean to the canals of Southern California, she takes a journey back in time and is reminded of her life from child to adult. She reminds us of of the infinity of water that has come before all that has yet to come. That essay has been stuck in my head for years and I believe it will stay with my throughout my life and will be a driving force in my journey now. I believe the almond is my “holy water.”

Before I get carried away, I want to remind you that this journey is not about almonds. My journey will be centered around a 12-week wellness program I am going on that will test me physically, mentally, emotionally. It is, in the most generic of descriptions, about learning to live a healthy life. Last week, I enrolled in a program at Transformation Wellness Center that analyzed my current diet and lifestyle to, ultimately, give me the tools to lead a healthy life. I encourage anyone with the desire and willpower to enroll in a program like this because I am already seeing the benefits in my life.

Before an almond ever takes form, it must lie dormant in an almond tree. That tree will go through a hibernation period where it gathers the strength to produce. Then, sometime at the beginning of the warmer months, the trees will bloom flowers and attract bees to pollinate the blossoms. From there, the flower will birth a soft shell and the nut will begin to take shape. A hull will surround the shell to protect it from predators, weather and wind. It is vulnerable. But then, in the swell of summer, the hull breaks and exposes the almond, and it will dry in the hot sun. Ultimately, the almond is harvested and stored, sometimes for years before it is packaged and shipped all around the world.

I believe that my life, up until now, has been in a dormant state. It is strange to think of a life in these terms. I must admit that I still struggle to wrap my head around the concept, but in my heart I honestly believe it to be true. I have lived an extraordinary life full of joy and pain and regret. I have seen things that have helped shape me, but I have always stood by passively and let the world mold me to what I am now. What I long for the most is the will to take the reigns and make the world what I want it to be. Therein lies my journey to find my center. The next 12 weeks will be full of misery and great triumph. There will be times I throw my hands up and curse the process. There will be times when I will want to give up, but I know I will use my support system to pick myself back up and soldier on. What I will not do is give in to the temptation to quit. I will be as honest to myself as I have ever been, and I will share my entire journey on these pages and I hope you will find strength in my struggles; that you will find hope in my words, and the overwhelming force to begin a journey of your own.

I know as well as the next person that there is considerable value in a river running wild and undammed, a river running free over granite, but I have also lived beneath a river when it was running in flood, and gone without showers when it was running dry. — Joan Didion, “Holy Water”

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