Tuesday, April 30, 2013

The Day before the Juice Feast

Spring Water

My day before the Juice Feast has been busy. There was a lot I wanted to accomplish in preparation for this JF.  Unfortunately I was simply too tired to do much more than complete the bulk of my graduate work, sleep where and when I could while keeping up with the daily tasks that need to be done. So I spent much of today doing errands and further preparation work.

I did allow myself one "splurge:" a run out to the springs to gather spring water.  This took over an hour each way.  I do not regret this choice as it has been on my mind to make the bulk (if not all) the water I drink during the JF to be spring water.  Also a few miles before the spring was a farmer's market with lots of fresh greens, asparagus and local, raw, unfiltered honey.  I decided to include small amounts of honey, royal jelly along with the tablespoon of daily bee pollen.  The farmer lady had weathered skin but beautiful baby blue shiny eyes.  I'm delighted those un-sprayed greens will be part of my juices these next few days.  

I did not eat breakfast (lack of planning!), for lunch I had kale salad with natto beans and dinner is a broccoli avocado cashew soup.  I make the soup with 2 or 3 tops of broccoli (reserving a few of the flowers to stir in for crunch and to make sure I chew thoroughly) and any leaves on the stem, 1 avocado,  small helping of cashews, 1 clove garlic, pinch of Celtic sea salt, dash of apple cider vinegar, spices: turmeric and cayenne pepper and I blend with a cup or so of warm nettle tea (I make it hot and let it cool down).  I also had one final cup of jing city tea. 

Beltane begins at midnight and around that time I will purify my energy with a smudging of palo santo, leap over the purifying fire, light candles, complete a shamanic journey to ask the tiger to join me (if you want to learn more on this see the gorgeous Pixie Campbell's site), and take my JF vow of acceptance.  Then I am ready to begin.


Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Dealing with Cravings on the Juice Feast

During my first Juice Feast in the first few weeks I had intense mental cravings for junk food.  I thought it rather harmless, my nocturnal junk food cravings for McDonald's (where I worked as a teen) and other vile "food" I hadn't thought about or touched in years. It reminded me of Larry Groce's  old song Junk Food Junkie.

I often resolve tough situations with humor--or maybe humor is such a fundamental part of my life (I find it intellectually stimulating to make others laugh) that it arises without much needed thought or incentive.  Nevertheless I deal with these false psychological cravings for junk food by recognizing them as phantoms from my past. Some say it is a form of detox. The Juice Feast did funny things to me emotionally--at times my emotions were like a wild roller coaster ride.  This was foreign to me as I'm a pretty even kind of person. I often found myself talking myself down from the ledge of irrationality.  Don't get me wrong life is often irrational but I make sense of it (most of the time) through rational means.

In the first JF I'm fairly certain I didn't meditate once. I wasn't a regular back then. Now that I have meditation working with me I intend to use it to help me clear my mind of cravings during the second JF. I also keep a journal of the days. I find much of what I wrote to be repetitious nonsense and that's okay as it is really an outlet for my mind to stop thinking about things. I find that when I write things down my mind is triggered to let go--I won't forget the message because I've written it down.  Another tactic to deal with cravings is to accept them as they are.  When I quit smoking I did a lot of reading on addiction. The books I read all indicated a craving lasts no more than seconds. I knew I had the willpower to outlast cravings despite the mind doing funny tricks on me. I would usually notice the craving, count for the seconds it lasted and be amazed how it disappeared.  On occasion a craving would return three or four times in one hour and I would repeat the process--but this was rare for me.

I recognize cravings will come and go on the JF.  With any luck they will amuse me--and quickly go away.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Searching for My Life Purpose

As I round the corner to complete graduate school and find myself a completely changed person, I've spent a considerable amount of time on where to go next. In all honesty sleeping is the immediate choice but the other day a thought flashed in my mind of sitting around and drooling--and that sounded appealing too. In graduate school I started a reflective blog as part of a class requirement.  In the process this JF blog nearly created itself; an outpouring I simply went with. Ever since I have been plugging away weekly with challenges for growth to build myself up to this upcoming JF. Quite honestly I was worried I would over focus on school at the expense of my health.  This blog has been a tremendous helper in not gaining too much weight and staying motivated to make better health choices.

Birth Chart and Houses
Post graduation I intend to let myself catch up on my rest--but I highly doubt I'll sit around, motionless except for drool dribbling out the corner of my mouth (although my fried brain does find it slightly appealing).  I choose, in part, to JF again for the intellectual rewards it offers; it is so easy to study, learn and absorb. I also intend to continue meditation, deep readings, practices and self-education that will align me more deeply to my Life Purpose and Higher Self. In my current work I feel I have the right skills, education and ability but I am in the wrong place and around the wrong people. So I've thought a lot about what it is I need to be satisfied.  It's that whole getting-clear-with-the-Universe thing.  I've done this in the past and it works however sometimes I don't realize that it comes with a few things I don't particularly care for.  Each time I get closer and closer to what I want so I never consider what I reach to be failure, rather the situation awakens in me a stronger desire for what I actually need and a clearer desire to leave behind the things which do not serve me.

For explorations outside of myself, of course, I've done a birth chart. That seemed to me an obvious starting point. It was interesting yet contradictory. Personalized birth charts show where the planets and other astrological symbols were when you were born in certain houses. I found the entire thing interesting if complicated. I decided to send away for a reading from U.K.'s Judy Hall. I'm waiting for her reading. It should be here within the month.

A more recent tool I've used is the Peaceful Warrior, Dan Millman's Life Purpose Calculator  My purpose calculated by my birthdate?

2: Cooperation
6: Vision

8: Recognition
All digits have an influence — but the
bolded issue is key to your hidden calling.
"Those on the 26/8 life path are here to work through issues of perfectionism, money, power, and recognition, sharing their abundance in alignment with their highest vision and ideals, in the service of others. Since our life purpose poses specific challenges, the life of 26/8s reflects their conflicting drives and beliefs about money, power, and high profile, and their innate idealism can tend to inhibit the personal power they are here to make manifest. Eventually, 26/8s stand up, assert themselves, and gain recognition within their family, in their community, or in the world at large." [From the Life Purpose Calculator--this paragraph is the first one from his book The Life You Were Born to Live: A Guide to Finding Your Life Purpose]
Another clue to the mystery is Archetypes. You can test your own here. My types (in descending order of importance) are: Intellectual, Athlete, Advocate.  In her book Archetypes Caroline Myss identifies the archetypes Life Journey, Unique Challenge, Universal Lesson,  Defining Grace, Inner  Shadow, Myths, Behavior Patterns and Characteristics and Lifestyle Challenge as well as several pages on how to meet your archetype in life and succeed..

This is all very interesting but only part of the process. I find each of these help me see myself in new ways and sometimes provide information I need to further explore to learn certain lessons my Higher Self is presumably trying to communicate to me.  I am getting closer to the finer details of my life purpose and I will continue to follow clues. 

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Setting my Juice Feast Start Date (Beltane)

Siberian Tiger Running Through Snow (Tom Brakefield)

I have set my start date for May 1, 2013. I decided on this date for several reasons: it's close enough to my graduation date, it's in the spring but most importantly for the Celtic holiday of Beltane.  As I started this post the image of a tiger came to me so I have decided to invite the tiger to walk with me and guide me with its potent energy on this Juice Feasting journey.

I wasn't sure what the tiger message was, so I looked it up in Ted Andrews' Animal Speak and Steven Farmer's Pocket Guide to Spirit Animals.  Even though my Chinese astrology sign is a tiger (I resonate with this description) I know very little about the animal. Andrews reminds us it is a solitary animal (a JF can definitely be a solitary endeavor), they are excellent swimmers (incorporate the water element), they have immense territories and can cover huge distances in one day (immense territories: that would be my personality; cover huge distances: that would be a JF). Farmer's take on a tiger showing up in your life is:

"You'll soon find  a way of healing from a physical condition or emotional disturbance very quickly, followed by a noticeable increase in vitality."
"You'll be taking a long journey soon, one that will be refreshing and restorative."
"Get ready for a new adventure, one that may present some challenges, but will introduce dramatic changes in your life."
After opening myself to my intuition and messages I am no longer surprised how things line up in the Universe to support me--and show me I am on the right trail.  Every one of these things describes JFing. My tiger meter is up and running.

I have felt a strong connection to the ancient Celtic wisdom for sometime. One of it's major days of celebration for renewal is Beltane or May 1.  Beltane is a ritual ripe in fertility and renewal. It is also square in the middle between the Spring Solstice and Summer Equinox.

"This holiday signifies the beginning of summer in the old European growing season, the time for sowing seeds. Ritual's purpose was to ensure a healthy crop and a bountiful harvest in the late summer and fall." Sharon Hidalgo, The Healing Power of Trees.

Furthermore it is a period where dreams are planted and great attention is paid to listening and watching for messages and guidance. "During this time blessings are sought and gods and spirits invoked." And it is a time to light the sacred fire. John Matthews, The Summer Solstice.

The holiday is a metaphorical journey for me in celebrating the renewal of mother earth, abundance in planting seeds (i.e. my new life and dreams) and love for the rebirth of abundant new life that the sun brings. Fertility rites (copulating in the forest or on your garden) are something I'll leave for the rest of the Beltane celebrators.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Setting My Juice Feast Theme (Acceptance)


With a lifelong love of literature, managing complex projects and studying organizational leadership I've come to learn the value of setting a theme around multi-step projects.  When it comes to growing spiritually through fasting its imperative I choose something about myself which I would like to improve. Doing so I find I root myself into a growth strategy that, even if it doesn't stick the first time around (and I no longer have that "bad habit"), it's a bit like a piñata and I've given it a good whack. I know myself and I know that in time I will overcome it.

I've set my theme for the upcoming Juice Feast. It is acceptance. I seek to accept everything exactly as it is.  This is not blind acceptance or stoic stiff-upper-lip acceptance, but an acceptance born of exploration of my emotions, my ingrained habits and thought patterns.  As I mentioned above it may not stick but I will vow to be accepting during my entire Juice Feast in the best and most honest way I can. I am not one who commonly makes lifetime vows. However trying on a good practice almost always impacts my entire life in a positive way.

I've chosen acceptance in honor of my grandfathers--both have passed.  My grandfathers were my lifetime guides to do the right thing and aspire to be a better person. And when I wasn't following that path all too closely--they accepted me completely. They accepted everyone around them.

My maternal grandfather retired early and I followed him around from the time I was four years old until I sat holding his hand while he was dying--all the while trying to write his eulogy in my mind.  He spent a lifetime wanting to (and succeeding) at being the best at what he did. He endured hardships yet he was kind to those who wronged him. He was kind to everyone.

He was one of many sons on a farm but volunteered to go to WWII because he recognized he had the fortitude (unlike his brothers) to do it.  He was one of the many in that generation who were truly heroes--smart with homestead common sense, principled and willing to work himself to the bone.  While on the Asian front his ship's lights were out one night and another ship plowed right through it--and everything sunk to the bottom. He and his unit were shipwrecked on an island with cannibals. Besides his first sergeant duties, to keep his mind occupied he made two airplanes out of spent ammo and an artillery shell for the base--he gave one to me. It's brass so I find myself polishing it when I need courage.

My paternal grandfather dropped out of high school and enlisted in the Marine Corps (of course lying about his age). As a former Marine myself (who graduated high school early and enlisted in the Marine Corps) I can only imagine he got his butt handed to him on many occasion during that condensed boot camp. Grandpa always credited the Marine Corps and good parents for keeping him on the straight and narrow--so I suppose he held no ill will towards his drill instructors. Grandpa was also a farm boy and found himself on his way to Iwo Jima driving an amphibious vehicle. Luckily my grandpa survived one of the fiercest battles.

Grandpa was the type of person who emanated country kindness. In his adult life when he returned from the war and started a family he was a cop in a small town. I met a man who knew my grandpa when the man was a boy. This man was regularly beaten by his father and my grandpa would often find the little boy crying and hurt. Sure my grandpa did his job but all the man remembered was that my grandpa cared for him and showed him kindness.  He was always the type of person who would show up when things looked bleak and ask: How can I help? Unfortunately grandpa couldn't hear a word I said (the tone of my voice isn't too friendly to artillery wrecked eardrums) but we had a life long correspondence and a family translator when we were in person.

Both of my grandpa's died the day after their birthdays. Both in June, and one year apart.  I was devastated. In the space of 3 years I was divorced, moved across one state, endured the startling death of my cat-daughter, completed university, lost my first grandparent, moved across the United States, started an internship and lost another grandparent.  I say my grandpas were my guides but I came to realize they still are. I missed them terribly until one day I realized they were in my heart and always would be. A year after their deaths I started to bounce back into life.  I tried many things to overcome the grief yet little progress was holding. I was grossly overweight for the first time in my life (50 pounds!) and started working on slimming down and healing. I tried many flushes, fasts and detoxes but I wasn't making much progress. The reason I say my grandpas are still guiding me is that in overcoming the grief I found raw foods. Through raw foods and my healing journey I've had to determine my own future rather than following in the footsteps of the two greatest men I've ever known. And here I am...committing to a practice of acceptance.