The Hardest Day

Today has been the hardest day by far. I can think of a number of reasons for that. First of all it was freezing and grey all day, my absolute least favorite kind of weather. Umm… so tell us Jennifer, why did you move to Portland, OR then? I moved here for many other reasons, all of which have proven beneficial to my life and wellbeing, but the weather continues to be very difficult for me to deal with. My body seizes in the cold dampness and I lose all fluidity and movement. I hunch over and shiver constantly wreaking havoc on my muscles.

Money issues are playing themselves out today. Inclement weather is very bad for the food cart culture as I’m sure you can imagine. I’m also tired from not sleeping enough this weekend. Twice so far on this cleanse I’ve had nights where I just lie in bed staring at the ceiling, my body buzzing and my eyes unable to close. I gather it’s a combination of the cleansing effects and the large quantity of maple syrup I consume each day. Gosh, ya think?

But the biggest reason today is so hard is that I’ve finally reached unchartered territory. In 2008 I completed a 10-day master cleanse and last year I did 12 full days of master cleanse with a day on each side of extremely limited food intake (so 14 days total). Today is Day 15. I’ve entered a new realm.

Completing 3 days of a cleanse is difficult, but once you pass that 3rd day it’s pretty much smooth sailing. You’ve effectively conquered your ego, proved to yourself you’re not going to die and officially begun your journey of releasing toxicity and negative emotion. It’s all a game of mind over matter. That is the single most important lesson of a first cleanse. If you think you’re going to fail, you fail. If you think you’re going to do 10 days, you do 10 days just like that. On the 10th day you come down, congratulate yourself and go back to eating, hopefully with a broadened knowledge of how your mind interacts with your stomach.

There’s a flip side. On that first cleanse I was hoping to cure myself of Lyme disease. It didn’t work. There is no documented proof anywhere that says fasting can cure Lyme disease, I was simply working off the theory that when digestion stops the body gets a shit ton of energy to spend elsewhere and enjoys healing itself. Part of the problem was I didn’t set out with the goal of curing myself, I just wanted it to be a side effect of a 10-day cleanse. What I really set out to do was complete 10 days. Once I did that I allowed my ego back in to its normal resting place and went back to life as usual (also known as camping and binging on potato chips all weekend).

Last year my goal was to go longer than 12 days but once I passed 10 (what I already knew I could handle) I started to cave and gave up, convincing myself I had done enough. Honestly in that setting I think I had done enough. I was healthy and at a good weight. I was cleansing out of unemployed boredom before a vacation more than anything. Poor me! I didn’t feel a need to build resolve. I wasn’t trying to conquer a physical disorder, nor did I have much interest in testing my own limits just then.

So here I am surpassing what I did last year and coming up on the same emotions.

My ego asks: Haven’t you already done enough?

And my leg answers: Umm… No.

But it’s not just the sciatica talking this time. My brain is craving this too. When I’m in a good place in my life, I enjoy pushing boundaries. I get off on testing my strength. It’s part of how I feel alive and vital. When I’m stuck and bored, I’m boring. When I’m moving and happy, I fuckin’ move!

My ego pushes its agenda: But you don’t know if you can survive any longer without food.

Enter my heart: You won’t be satisfied unless you give it your all. Go as far as you can go then stop.

Today was very hard but ultimately my heart won. Finally the sun is going down and I’m realizing I made it through another day of this journey unscathed. Sure I was a little cranky and defensive in some emails and I complained to my cart neighbor a tad too much. I suspect I’ll be forgiven for my sins.

Lao Tsu says: Retire when the work is done. I promise I will, but I know it’s not done yet.

Here’s to new horizons.

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