To look at me I seem to be an average healthy person and in a lot of ways I am. I’m at an average height and weight for my age. I like to exercise, do a lot of yoga, often commute to work by bike. I eat a decent vegetarian diet, meaning I don’t regularly gorge on junk food and I rarely drink alcohol or caffeine. I also sleep really well and meditate.
And yet, in the past few years I have had a flu that sent me to the emergency room with my throat swelling shut, a DVT blood clot in my calf, occupational allergic asthma that forced me to leave my job and be transferred to a different building, Lyme disease, epidemic keratoconjunctivitis, plantar fasciitis, pneumonia, various other inexplicable allergy attacks and, most recently, over two months of intense sciatica from a bulging disc and pinched nerve.
So I started to wonder, what gives?
I have a million theories: family health history, stress, environmental toxins from six years in New York City, too much soy, general inability to deal with emotions and who knows, maybe I’m just unlucky. I’m working on them all. In the meantime it seemed like a good idea to do a 10-day cleanse. Having completed two true Master Cleanses in the past I knew it to be a good way to release toxins and sort of set the clock back to zero or wipe the slate clean.
Abstaining from eating solid food allows the digestive system to take a few days off. That in turn frees up boat loads of energy for the body to use in healing itself. I’m doing this to allow my body to clear itself out and begin to heal from the inside.
Days 1 and 2 were OK; three was tough. Three was Hump Day (more on that later) but my resolve was strong enough to get me through and by Day 4 I was starting to feel better. The tides turned on Day 5. I woke up feeling fantastic. The sciatic pain was still in full force but my energy and drive were really amped up. It was on that day that I decided to go for it with a full forty days.
I have forever been skeptical of doctors and conventional medicines so I’m excited to take this journey and see what I can accomplish on my own with just the natural, instinctual ability of my body.
This kind of process is all about mind over matter. Challenges remind me that I’m alive and capable. I’m the kind of person who thrives on responsibility and I look forward to checking this off as something I’ve accomplished.
This part is much harder for me to pin down. I’m a Pisces, my heart is constantly glowing on my sleeve no matter what emotion happens to be passing through. More often than not the emotions seem stuck and I resort to gloom and doom, always expecting the worst. Obviously it’s not just my astrological sign. It’s a combination of lessons I learned as a kid, mistakes I’ve made and the normal human tendency to be ruled by ego and guilt. It’s a real bummer of a way to live. At least it was for the first three decades.
At the dawn of my first Saturn Return at age 28 (yes, I’m totally into astrology) I started to actually pay attention to all the things that had been in my periphery for years, things I was drawn to but didn’t know why. I began voraciously reading the books on my shelf like The Tao Te Ching and Buddhism Without Beliefs. I joined a philosophy study group, tried to get serious about yoga, attended my first kirtan. I found Pronoia Is The Antidote For Paranoia, an entire book about how the universe is conspiring in our favor to shower us all with blessings, and I actually started to believe it.
Most importantly I confronted the negative roles alcohol and anger played in my life and began a long process of changing my relationship with them. It’s life-changing to wake up one day and realize you’ve spent your whole life being angry and you don’t want to do it anymore. I left a city I didn’t like, a relationship I wasn’t happy in, a job that made me crazy and moved my entire life to the opposite coast.
All of these things have led me to a pretty great time in my life. This present moment is a good one. While I’ve certainly made progress, it’s not enough. I still get really hung up on ideas and expectations of how I should be and everything that’s wrong with me and how I’m running out of time to accomplish the things I hold closest to my heart. What about marriage? What about motherhood? What about writing a novel and opening that bed & breakfast in the woods? These thoughts should be my hopes and dreams but instead they manifest as my worries and anxieties. I’m never going to be enough. I’m never going to wear all the hats I see at the store.
Peace and happiness can be elusive or tangible. We get to choose. This cleanse is the next step on my journey to tangibility.