A while back, I listened to Michael Neill explaining “our personal guidance system” on his HayHouseRadio.com program, Supercoach: It’s the guidance system that tells us we want pizza for lunch today and we’ll want salad for lunch tomorrow.
Michael Neill often uses wonderful, improbable metaphors that completely nail the concept he’s illustrating. On another Supercoach radio program he addressed a caller’s fears about a career change. He asked us—the audience and the caller—to imagine a child drawing a fox and then starting to cry because the fox is hungry.
One way to calm the child, Michael pointed out, would be to suggest that she draw a couple of hens for the fox to eat. I actually prefer this solution to the alternative: Helping the child understand that the fox isn’t real… nor, by implication, did the caller’s job-related fears represent a genuine threat. The caller had essentially, Michael is saying, made up a story about the dangers of changing careers—dangers existing only in her thoughts—and had reacted with heart-stopping fear to the phalanx of imagined catastrophic outcomes.
This metaphor I understand, even though I favor the hens-as-supper scenario. But I could not possibly trust a personal guidance system that would lead me to pizza one day and salad the next. This PGS is supposed to be intuitive rather than logical. Michael Neill often reminds us that our inner wisdom is more reliable than our thinking. But no actual person in the actual world who intuitively selects pizza on Monday is going to intuitively opt for salad on Tuesday unless pizza has suddenly become unavailable in the western hemisphere.
If a woman—I’ll call her Maxine—who owns a scuba-diving shop goes out to lunch regularly, and equidistant from her shop are a pizza place and a salad bar, and she likes pizza, she’s never going to “prefer” salad. Maxine never says to herself, “Yeah, that pepperoni with its seductive sheen of animal fat on top of cheese bubbling in its own oils, throat-paralysis-inducing jalapeños, and the greasy onions that cause water buffalo to flee from my approach—that was magnificent; but today I’m in the mood for watercress.” Maxine chooses salad on Tuesday only because of guilt or logic, not intuition. Guilt says, “You pigged out on pepperoni yesterday, darling. You can redeem yourself only by choking down some locally grown dark-green leafy vegetables today, with a smattering of almonds and a soupcon of lemon juice.” Logic says much the same thing but without the snark.
What can we infer from this about our PGS? Does it operate on intuition or by logic? If we tune in to it, will it lead us to our bliss except for now and then to the obligatory kale and hummus?
My PGS leads me unfailingly to yogurt and granola; guilt garnishes it with a few fresh strawberries. I even make the yogurt and granola myself, but by the time I’m finished with them they contain roughly the same nutritional value as rocket fuel.
When I remove my batch of yogurt from the yogurt-maker, it’s pure as the driven snow and tastes terrible, like skim milk laced with vinegar. I empty the jars of pure yogurt into a mixing bowl and add a quarter of a cup of stevia; the yogurt is marginally tastier and still virtuous. Then the fun begins. One package of instant vanilla pudding mix plus a half-cup of Cool Whip later, most of the nutrients have been canceled out by sugar, dextrose (sugar), high-fructose corn syrup (really bad-for-you sugar), disodium phosphate (Na₂HPO₄), tetrasodium pyrophosphate (Na₄P₂O₇), mono– and diglycerides (E471), polysorbate 60 (polyoxyethylene  sorbitan monostearate), and titanium dioxide (CI 77891).
I don’t mind saying, the resultant “yogurt” product tastes great, but if you don’t like it, you can probably use it to unclog your drains or clean your oven.
About high-fructose corn syrup
In a Huffington Post article titled “Why You Should Never Eat High Fructose Corn Syrup,” author Mark Hyman claims that “purging it from your diet is the single best thing you can do for your health!” Because the way HFCS is made “allows the fructose to mainline directly into your liver,” it turns out that “high fructose corn syrup is the real driver of the current epidemic of heart attacks, strokes, cancer, dementia, and of course, Type 2 diabetes.” Add in the “dangerous chemicals and contaminants” used in making HFCS, and you’ve got a real toxic stew in your system. Mark Hyman doesn’t come right out and say that ingesting high-fructose corn syrup is worse than smoking cigarettes, but I have a feeling that if you lit a cigarette right after a hearty meal of HFCS with a side dish of tetrasodium pyrophosphate, you’d burst into flames or simply melt in place, like the Wicked Witch of the West after Dorothy doused her with water.
With my having this knowledge, you’d think my personal guidance system would steer me far, far away from the lethal “yogurt” concoction I cheerfully produce on a regular basis. Logically, if there’s “yogurt” in my refrigerator, my body should be in Zanzibar. Michael Neill underestimates the mind’s capacity for self-deception. After a week of such meals, if I’m troubled by guilt buildup, it doesn’t propel me to the salad bar. A sprig of parsley is usually enough to quell any regrets.
Either my PGS is on the fritz or Michael Neill—like the Wicked Witch of the West—is all wet.