Posted by Lyn Girdler
Today is day 3 of a 5 day cleanse (It’s also day 14 of my return from 30 days away in my home country, Australia). Half-ways are always the hardest place to be I realize. Do you stay, do you go? Do you continue, do you stop now (while you’re ahead?!) All these questions come up at the half way point.
The truth of the matter is, I’m bored. I am really freaking bored of drinking on my own because, let’s face it, no one wants to eat with me. They’ll be bored too; “wow, was that a piece of spinach that didn’t make it through the juicer? How is that?”
I decided to do a cleanse because I just spent a month in a country where the people shake your hand and put a drink in it simultaneously, in the most seamless way. In some cultures licking your fingers after a meal is an offense to the cook. In Australia, not drinking what’s in front of you is not just considered a little offensive it’s just considered stupid! So, one drinks (and eats) a lot. You get the drift.
I needed a reset button and I thought a nice, easy 5 day cleanse would be it (I am also eating raw vegetables, not just drinking juice – doesn’t make it any sexier). It might be it, but the fact remains I am still bored. I realize that, while I don’t binge, or have excessive, long –term, habits when it comes to food, I really enjoy it. It’s more than just substance for the body; it is food for my soul. I love the preparation (the creativity), the cooking, the eating and talking (even to myself) over a meal. I sing while I cook, I chop and dice and dance and peel and sauté! Who wants to give that up? And, if that’s not yoga, then I’m going over to Zumba!
I am a ritualistic person by nature. I am also a contradiction because I am, at once, both spontaneous and also very rooted in certain routines. My morning breakfast ritual is one of those routines (I organize my entire day around it!). It’s pretty important for my day and as long as I have that for myself, I’m usually ok about unexpected things showing up for the rest of the day. Coffee is an integral part of this ritual. I like coffee. A LOT. It’s not the ‘caffeine kick’ or the shot to wake me up. It’s sitting over a steaming cup of something that’s been brewed and steeped and is dark and thick and married with rich and creamy and frothy. It’s sensorial for me, in every way (clearly!). I have one a day, I have it sitting and I appreciate it every single time. I love my morning ritual and coffee so much, I take pictures of it. See below.
I know I know it’s not very ‘yogic’ of me. Or is it? I am fully present during all of this.
The thing about not having to sit and eat and, or, enjoy a hot beverage that might kick the asana right out of you, is the time you have. I, like most eaters, spend a lot of time thinking about food which leaves a lot less time to think about my higher self and the ascension through my Chakras. But, I’m single with no kids; you have no idea how much time I have to think about my higher self. I honestly don’t know why I am not levitating at this stage!
Fasting and cleansing (or abstaining) has long been seen as a yogic tradition. In fact, it’s also seen as a common religious practice; think lent, Ramadan and Yom Kippur, as a path to spiritual ascension (it gets you through the velvet rope)
“Fasting controls passion. It checks the emotions. It controls the senses also. It is a great penance. It purifies the mind and the heart. It destroys a multitude of sins. Fasting controls the tongue in particular which is the deadliest enemy of man.” Swami Sivananda, medical doctor and yoga guru
Precisely the reason I decided to take a sabbatical from my regular eating life…alright alright it was really to lose 5lbs (give me a break. I do live in Fairfield County!). But religious and spiritual and egotistical reasons aside, I am feeling pretty irritable about now and with all this time to think, I’m remembering things that happened 10 years ago and I kind of passionately want to kick a few heads in (Wait! Did I just say that out loud?) and my tongue, since it can’t help chew, seems to be doing a lot of ‘deadly’ talking. Although, I am definitely feeling my sins being destroyed however (love that about religion)…phew! That’s a relief. Just watched that bit of guilt drop off like a flaky bit of dandruff, it was ugly but it’s gone now.
That said, I’ve never been a proponent of a full retreat from the world that we have created but I am a big advocate of awareness and moderation, and kindness. Perhaps we should spend more time learning kindness than pulling away from other people. So, half-way is a good place to stop actually. We talk a lot about returning at SYJ – returning to the things, people, places and reasons to love. The half-way mark is the perfect point to stop and re-assess and return to what it is you really want to do and whether you really want to continue on or not.
Half-way through writing this I had a piece of gluten free toast with Almond Butter. Amazing but, I’ve forgiven those people from 10 years ago and while I’ll go the distance to the 5 days and this might be the only time I ‘cheat’ ( and I say that tongue in cheek, munching on my tongue, because who is actually testing me?) I’m happy to say that I probably won’t be engaging in this kind of activity on a regular basis.
Perhaps my soul is only half-way on its journey!
**From the time of writing to the time of publishing this (today will be Lyn’s last day on her juice journey), she informed us that she did, indeed, succumb to a ‘weak’ (her words, not ours) coffee (black, with no milk she liked to add) and she doesn’t feel at all guilty about it (she liked to stress that bit quite a bit hmmmm!)