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.


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