Saturday, July 20, 2013

Final Post

Repose (John Singer Sargent)
Am I here already?

Ordinarily I would take this opportunity to analyze and reflect on this experience (I haven't re-read a thing; sorry for the typos--however it's an accurate reflection of this experience), but I've elected not to do that for this final post. I do not mean to imply the juicing itself is unworthy of reflection as it absolutely is and this has been an incredibly fulfilling experience--but I can use my energy in what I hope is a more effective direction. So it makes sense for me, at this moment, to let the old things go.

Learning to let go should be learned before learning to get. Life should be touched, not strangled. You've got to relax, let it happen at times, and at others move forward with it.
Ray Bradbury

As I've prepared for this JF I've learned the fasting itself isn't truly my focal point for development but the process of repatterning and rebuilding myself post fast is. Because this is the trickiest part for me--it is time for me to go off line.

Will I JF again? Most likely. There have been times I felt I had to leave the DC area because my approach to life can be too intense. In the last few days I've received hesitant but kindly-intended, unsolicited (and accepted) advice from several friends that can be translated into the notion that I still have some rough edges to me. In all honesty it seems I am only fit company for friends and family--and I am grateful these wonderful people are able to handle my rough edges without troubles. So, I still have some things to figure out here.

On a similar note my reading (which came a few days after I accepted my new job) predicted this job as where I have work to do--down to the unusual part of the title. I believe in being cautious in accepting guidance, however once my intuition became stronger I became better able to recognize the right guidance by a certain "click." This reading was very powerful and its guidance has been confirmed time and again. So I will explore that I still have some work to do right here. Depending on how much debris I accumulate in all of this will be a good indication of how soon I may JF again.

My vow of acceptance is something I'm almost unable to speak about--it's too encompassing yet it is now engraved in my being. It was challenging but overall a joyful experience. I can say that even though I now release that vow I intend to honor the spirit of it in those things which came to my attention under this JF and that I have not been able to process (aversion books included). A lot of what I seem to do lately is help people loosen or clear up stuck energy. I've noticed in life there are some things that simply resolve themselves and others that require effort to resolve. It's hard to tell the difference. All I know is right here, right now isn't the right space for me.

What's left to say? Probably the most important thing.

If I have caused any harm, please forgive me.

Be well.

Friday, July 19, 2013

Post Juice Feast Day 6

To my vast amusement when I picked my car up today the mechanics told me they sold my car.  Interestingly enough the cables on my stick shift broke. I literally had the one time left in the commuter parking lot to go in reverse then my car could no longer get in any gear. Metaphorically this was something of the purpose of this JF; to not go backwards anymore. Now I'm back being dependent on my car.

Food wise I have eaten the same foods but in different order. It wasn't a thought out decision but maybe I'm just tired of the schedule already. So it was cucumbers and seaweed for breakfast, salad for lunch and aloe vera for dinner.  It didn't seem to make much of a difference on my body--but the choice to vary the schedule was nice.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Post Juice Feast Day 5

Food today is still building on the previous days. Aloe vera for breakfast, cucumber with sea salt and seaweed for lunch and for dinner today a salad with young spring greens and herbs, with tomato, celery, cucumbers, black sesame seeds, a dash of apple cider vinegar, hemp oil and a squeeze of lime juice. Even though I'm out of lemons as a bonus in all this hot weather I've learned to enjoy lime water in addition to the juices.

When things slow down for me...well they really slow down. The auto shop didn't get my car repaired today. When they told me this morning they wouldn't even be able to look at it I thought about how having the last two days off to wrap up this JF is probably not coincidental. I even thought about how if I had planned this...well, I wouldn't have planned this even though the time off is a great idea and I am enjoying it immensely. In my day of wonderment I discovered everything looks so differently at this pace.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Post Juice Feast Day 4

Today was the same food wise; aloe vera for breakfast and cucumber for lunch. Only I almost forgot to eat my cucumber. I'm happy that eating isn't taking up a lot of my focus. Still, it feels weird to almost forget to eat like that.

Unfortunately my car had some issues tonight and it's currently sitting at the mechanic's. That is partially where my mind is at the moment but a quick internet scan showed the problem may be fairly simple. At least I now have the day off tomorrow. I can say I do not recommend driving 15 MPH in a 45--but I will say it felt so bizarre to be literally forced to move that slow in a fast paced world. It's funny how my lessons come full circle.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Post Juice Feast Day 3

Immediately when I walked in the office this morning my coworker (who I practice my limited German on) told me to get settled then come see him--he had something to show me. These guys have been trying to infuse some pop culture into me lately and this morning's treat was so outlandish I could hardly hold myself up from all the laughing. I'm not sure if, like many other things I do, I'm stretching this have more fun, work less advice into some new territory. Nevertheless I can't think of a better way to start the work day than with laughter.

Food wise I am still not feeling hunger but chose aloe vera for breakfast and a cucumber (with sea salt and dulse) for lunch, plus juices. The cucumber...was incredible.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Post Juice Feast Day 2

Today was similar to yesterday; some aloe vera and some juices. I am still not hungry but the aloe is fun to chew and the juices continue to keep my energy balanced. 

Tonight I am making sauerkraut and that is going to take some time...but worth it as it is quite possibly my favorite food.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Post Juice Feast Day 1

Earlier this week I decided I wanted to break this JF for one because it's starting to get uncomfortable to sit on my own backside (there's not much left back there) and because it has served its purpose. This was one of those things I had to do; luckily I wanted to. On the first JF I broke it with a green smoothie--which tasted awful to me. This time it seemed a good idea to break it by eating aloe vera--so today I did.

Of course I have to continue on with a few juices each day. I have noticed when I break a fast my body is so accustomed to liquids that it's a requirement for me to drink still more juices. My body doesn't like the shock of a lot of liquids to limited liquids so I imagine, like the last time, I will continue weaning myself off juices and replace them with other liquids in addition to the solids past the fast-breaking days.

As I became aware I was going to break this fast I allowed myself to become more open to sensations I had shut off.  Throughout the week I've enjoyed the scents of a bakery, the rich colors and textures of paintings and even the feel of a lumpy walking escalator under my feet. This alone was a fascinating exploration.

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Day 74 Juice Feast -- Death (not Quite) in Bloom

I find fads funny. I usually don't get caught up in them (but I once had big hair--one day I went a little too far and my grandpa saw my hair and merely said "windblown"). So this morning when I scanned some emails and saw one from a friend I was meeting in a couple of hours and he asked me if I wanted to go see the corpse flower at the U.S. Botanical Gardens--I wasn't too surprised. It's been on everyone's lips in the District lately.

And then I laughed because as it turns out he emailed me before he checked his messages--with one from me asking him the same thing. We went but it hasn't bloomed yet--that's probably a good thing. Afterwards we walked the gardens again then went to see a film. We made a pact that if I fell asleep he'd elbow me and if he was bored he'd tell me. As it turns out he didn't keep his end of the pact--and I still haven't made it completely through a movie for months.

All in all it was a really fun way to spend my last day on this JF.

Friday, July 12, 2013

Day 73 Juice Feast -- An Ordinary Day

Today can be described in terms no other than ordinary. Contrary to my usual ambitions--this ordinariness was a welcome presence.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Day 72 Juice Feast -- "Genuine Inquiry"

I am reading The Broken Rules of Ten which is much different from the first two in the series, but I found this gorgeous take on healing from a fictional Lama (but then what is real?):
Genuine inquiry seems to speed up the healing process. Sadly, many people avoid it at all costs, and so are rewarded, for lack of wonderment, with even greater pain.
I love this concept! I recently read a book chapter on how to process emotions and once I practiced the techniques (along the lines of genuine inquiry) I noticed how much quicker the emotions are processed. Really just facing the emotions helped process them quicker too.

On the same note of broken rules tonight in the grocery store some Australian guy came up to me and critiqued what was in my shopping cart. I started laughing and when I turned around he quickly realized he had mistaken me for someone else. Then I laughed some more.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Day 71 Juice Feast -- Strange Energy

This morning was so peculiar. I woke up feeling very tired. I thought about burying my head under the covers and calling in sick, but I didn't. I got up...and had a really great day.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Day 70 Juice Feast -- Advice from My Uncle

This weekend I had a nice chat with my uncle.  He asked me: What are you doing for fun? I was surprised by his question and gave a half response. I made an assumption that like many people in the DC area he was bringing up the topic because he wanted to tell me what he was doing--even though the question and his response were highly uncharacteristic of him. Plus he is nowhere near DC and insisted on knowing if I speak like "an Easterner." No, sir.

I think I've been in the DC area long enough to be affected in that I am consistently looking for motives--not in a paranoid manner but more of a bottom line fashion, mostly so I know how to address the question. Did I really question my uncle's motive? That was dumb.

Recently I felt maneuvered by someone who is smarter than me (I'm not sure which of these two things--at the time--ticked me off the most) when I took personal responsibility and realized I was bothered by these ridiculous and petty thoughts I started laughing at myself. So what if I don't understand a motive. I found something infinitely more wise in the advice from my uncle.

After my half response my uncle immediately disregarded my response and asked me again: What are you doing for fun? I answered him.

He told me if he could do it all over again he would work less and have more fun.

Work less and have more fun? Yes, sir.

Joie de Vivre (Eduard von Grützner's)

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Day 67 Juice Feast -- Empowerment (Caroline Myss)

I think I need to be more mindful of practicing silence--it was more difficult to come out of than I anticipated. All day I felt languid and wanted to do nothing, so I went with it. And then I had a bucket of ice water dumped on me.

Earlier this week I was listening to Caroline Myss' Finding Your Sacred Contract and for some reason I wanted to re-listen to what I thought was a single sentence with her definition of empowerment. Instead I hear information that is extremely challenging to assimilate let alone digest (and I literally have nothing in my stomach!). Essentially she talks about those who choose to pursue spiritual transformation amidst the distractions in mainstream living.

You've chosen to engage in the most intimate process of spiritual transformation which means you've engaged in the agreement to have all illusions yanked from your life. To live a life where your primary focus of your nonphysical world is to direct you into power struggles, not so you can struggle with power but so that you can retrieve your energy from places it should not be. Because that's the process of empowerment and the more you're empowered the more you can afford to listen to guidance because you don't make choices based on whether or not someone else approves of you.
I'm not sure how to process this information but I'm fairly certain I'm going to stay away from silence for a little while--and although I'm not having an asthma attack, I need to catch my breath.

Moonlight 2 (Maxfield Parrish)

Friday, July 5, 2013

Day 66 Juice Feast -- I'd Rather be Silent

Yesterday was a peaceful day. There is something about silence that is safe and cocoon-like. I did however break my silence again almost immediately after it started--for some reason, for the first time in her life, my cat decided to walk across my face and jolted me awake. I don't remember what I said but I was mindful I had spoken a few words before I stopped. Other than that it is getting much easier to embrace the wisdom of silence.

With intention, I have been slowly reading Radical Acceptance over the course of this JF but I finished it yesterday. Although I have finished the book and I am closer to applying acceptance in the moment--I still have a noticeable gap (I haven't touched the aversion books yet).  Brach emphasizes "Radical Acceptance is the art of engaging fully in this world--wholeheartedly caring about the preciousness of life--while also resting in the formless awareness that allows this life to arise and pass away." This is a bit easier for me to do in silence. But when I'm not silent she also provides a way to get reconnected: "When we get lost we need only pause, look at what is true, relax our heart and arrive again."  Sometimes this just cycles me back into silence. What I know for sure is that I had no idea what I was getting myself into when I decided this acceptance vow would be a worthwhile investment in my education.

But, as Andrew Holecek expertly advises in The Power and The Pain: Transforming Spiritual Hardship Into Joy, "Silence often gives birth to spiritual insight, and silence is the way to seal the energy of insight." These words served me well but perhaps the most I need to work on comes from Robert Sardello's Silence: The Mystery of Wholeness "...Silence is necessary in our time, for we not only have to discover lost realms, but also, at the same time, clear away our deeply ingrained desire to live by what others have said rather than discover inner truths for ourselves." Is this why some people know to refer you back to things you've already said? Do I already know these things but find them inaccessible outside of silence? Clearly silence is challenging--yet, at times, it can yield unexpected rewards.

The Shrine (Waterhouse)

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Day 64 Juice Feast -- Independence

Independence is very important to me. Oddly enough 6 years ago on Independence Day I began my explorations with raw food. Of course back then I gave myself a lot more either or's than I do now. I found myself reading a lot about it but I was indecisive about actually trying it. Eventually I got tired of my own indecisiveness and made myself commit to 100 days of it. I did it--and it was an interesting enough experience that the concepts have greatly influenced my life ever since.

From the big picture my raw food experiments have been helpful in that I discovered I was allergic to dairy.  It was amazing how much better I felt when I finally made myself stop eating cheese. I no longer miss it but it was challenging to give up. After that I found raw foods typically help me heal quicker and process the energy from all these scrapes I find myself in--and that I don't seem to have the luxury to avoid.

I don't have a post JF eating plan. There seems to be an unknown--something the Universe may be keeping  a little cloudy right now.  Maybe this is defective thinking or maybe it isn't.  I don't know. For the last few weeks I've been holding the intention to practice another day of silence--on a very important day to me. Silence is rapidly becoming a cleansing tool for me, especially while fasting. So, in reflection, tomorrow I intend to remain silent.



Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Day 63 Juice Feast -- An Aversion

Even though I still have bruises from the last time, on the way home tonight I stopped in for a massage. I felt great when I left.

When I came home I had a surprise package from a family member I love dearly. Someone I love so much I have very honest conversations with. When I saw "books" on the box I couldn't wait to open it.

And then I saw the first title and my stomach sank--it was a topic I hold an aversion to. Then another and my stomach sank even further. I lost interest in the other books.

After a moment, my acceptance vow creeped in.

Without question these books were given to me from a loving heart and somehow I must find a way to read them in that spirit.

I can't help but wonder if it will be like the massage and (by some miracle) I'll feel better when it's over.

Monday, July 1, 2013

Day 62 Juice Feast -- "Longevity Now"

I have to confess the information in this conference was a little overwhelming. Still, as models for what is possible this team embodies the principles I find so admirable in Tara Brach's Radical Acceptance. For instance:
Just as a bright sun causes ice cubes to melt, in the moments when we feel connected and kind, we create a warm environment that encourages others around us to relax and open up. Each time we widen the circle of caring--with a smile, a hug, a listening presence, a prayer--the ripples flow out endlessly. When we offer comfort to the person sitting by our side, our kindness spreads through the world
I am grateful to share this planet with such brilliant souls. 

Sunflowers (Vincent van Gogh)