Impure

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It has been a week since I completed an 8-day detox. This was not a stay-at-home and mix some lemon and apple cider vinegar cleanse type of thing, this was a go to a place get lulled into relaxation by the beautiful surroundings then get beaten up by treatments kinda deal.

I may be a tad bit dramatic here.

What I did is called panchakarma. It is an Ayurvedic detoxification process. Ayurveda is the sister science to yoga – they kind of grew up together – which focuses on food, the physical body and its relationship to nature. Yoga, is the spiritual practice that is its companion.

You may be confused by that last sentence as yoga certainly seems like a physical exercise and in part it is, but that is just one small aspect of the philosophy. But we’ll get into that at another time.

Panchakarma translates to: pancha = five, karma = actions. There are five actions taken to help the body detoxify, but the actual detoxification is three weeks long (or forever). Here are the cliff notes:

Week One: The week before attending panchakarma I met with the doctor. Based on his assessment of my overall health he prescribed medicated ghee (an organic clarified butter with helpful herbs for my constitution), a powder to mix into hot water and drink before meals, and castor oil to drink at night. For 7 days.

Week Two: Go to the location of the panchakarma and receive the five actions, as well as; participate in breath work, meditation and yoga each morning; eat healthy balancing food provided throughout the day; and attend a lecture each evening.

The five actions in brief:

Abhyanga – a two-person lymphatic massage using a gallon of oil. Two people work on opposite sides of the body, in tandem, to help the lymph move through to carry toxins out of the body. There are other add-ons to the body work that I will share as they happen.

Swedana – Steaming out the impurities either through a canvas steamed dome that is lowered over the massage table or a steam box in which one sits with the head out.

Shirodhara – a continuous warm oil drip onto the third eye. You might see god, it’s that divine.

Vamana or Vierechana – Controlled Elimination. Depending on the individual’s constitution and level of impurities, they are administered herbs to either “gently” vomit or have “controlled” diarrhea.

Basti – enema. Do you want the name and number of this magical retreat yet? There are two types: a 2 ounce oleating enema that mostly gets absorbed into the colon, and the 12-ounce bag (think IV size) that is filled with a personalized prescription of oils and herbs. The results of this one are markedly different from the 2-ounce as you’ve likely already surmised.

Rakta Mokshana – Blood letting. Like leeches. We did not do this one. Apparently the FDA has rules about the health of leeches so we missed out.

Ok, I know that’s six and there are also nasya – medicated oil up the nose, and netra tarpin – eye drops. Just know we got the full package, plus some extras, minus the leeches.

Week Three: During week two diet and lifestyle practices have been discussed and then prescribed for home. In addition, some herbs or supplements may be recommended. And in all honesty, this third week is really a suggested way to continue eating and living for the next three months. Or forever. I am doing the vegan thing until May. At least. To the best of my ability. [Please note: chocolate, wine and coffee are all vegan.]

By now you may be wondering, Why? Why would you do this and why are you sharing this masochistic torture with me?

Because the results are amazing.

It is a complete reset. When I showed up at the center’s front door, I was stressed beyond my capacity to deal with it in a healthy manner, instead I was on the fuck it diet – eating whatever I wanted – and drinking way too much wine. I let go of all my helpful practices and even gave up riding my beloved bike, Ruby Blue. I was just too busy being overwhelmed and important to take care of myself. I was on auto-destruct but powering through.

I had to disrupt all my habits.

I had committed to the panchakarma six months before going. A couple of friends from California were going to do it and invited me join, so I say yes. One of my best yesses, I’d say.

The first few days of panchakarma I was still stuck in my head, anxious without an impossible list of tasks to complete, but by mid-week I had relaxed into the rhythm and surrendered to the schedule. I could feel the stress turning to vapor and leaving my body (it left in other ways too, but I don’t want to spoil it), I could feel my mind beginning to clear and my muscles and righteousness beginning to relax.

By the time I left, I had a clarity and focus I have not had in years. My body felt lighter and more open. I could breathe fully and smile easily. My skin was glowing.

Why would I want to give that up? Why would I ever want to go back to the old uptight pressure cooker I was? I wouldn’t. I don’t. I am doing all I can to maintain my peace and continue to heal body and mind.

What will follow the next few days is my day-by-day account of what I went through. It’s written in real time, as I was experiencing it, so it has all the snark that comes along with a sarcastic, stressed, overweight, toxic, middle-aged woman being asked to get naked so her body can be sanded, slathered and sweated for her own good.

Regardless of what that crazy bitch has to say, this clearer, calmer version of her, highly recommends the process and the amazing therapists and doctor of the Mind Body Wellness Center in Flagler Beach, Florida.

 

Just Learn the Important Words

  
Rain has been my constant companion so far in the tiny powerhouse that is Switzerland. This morning I had planned to rise early, get myself together, stop for some coffee and get to the train station for my full day in Luzern or Lucerne, as it is translated. Why does it have to be translated? Anyway, I did all that, just much later.

Let me begin by saying I slept an unprecedented 10 hours – interrupted marginally, but miraculous nonetheless. My queen sized bed is just this side of sleeping on the floor and the pillows are foam, leaden with age. No problem. The secret cocktail? Exhaustion + dry red medicine + open window with rain pounding the ground and cool air caressing my forehead. Even after ten hours it was difficult to get going. But I did. It probably helped that there was no coffee here. Motivation. 

I began making friends at the train station. “Excuse me but how do I get a ticket to the flughafen?” It took a little finesse but the 30 something man with round glasses and a waxed bag holding a pastry just procured at the well-placed gluten kiosk behind me, got me straightened out just in time for his train. Confident that I knew where I was going I found the secret passageway to the other track, just to be informed by a nice Swiss lady who works for the transit system that I should indeed go back where I came from. Meaning the other track of course. 

Finally in my seat, I still had the airport train station to master. Here a billette operator escorted me to a kiosk where he encouraged me, like a young child learning times tables, through selecting and purchasing my own ticket to the beautiful little lake town of Luzern. 

 New friends are everywhere. 

On the train I chose to perch myself on the upper level for a better view. About the third of five stops in a woman in her sixties or older hawked up a few words of something that sounded German and ended with a question mark. I nodded and smiled politely not entirely certain what I was agreeing to but it seemed the seat across from me was her request. We stared out the window in polite silence until I asked her if she spoke English. We’re now best friends. Not really but we did have a lovely conversation. 

Her parents lived in Arizona for a while but she was born in Luzern and lives there now. It’s beautiful, she says, except now the Chinese are moving in and people from India. Wait, what? They come in big groups apparently and if they like it they let everyone they know, know. 

Redirect.

“I just love the water and all the photos I’ve seen are beautiful.” She took the cue and pointed out a small town just before Luzern that has a lovely long lake that people walk around, and in the summer there are ‘rowing races’. 

“Do you like your American president?” This is the starter gun shot to a little game I like to call “defending your passport” that I don’t much like playing. In all honesty I’d much rather hear her thoughts so I play it semi-safe by saying, “the US is pretty divided right now.” That’s enough of an opening for her to walk through with both barrels loaded. And it doesn’t stop with him, apparently the leader of Switzerland is no good either, and there are others. She mercifully wraps it up with, “the good people just don’t run for office.” A universal truth perhaps.

It’s our stop. She tells me she will show me where to start my self-guided walking tour. She takes me to the large arches that welcome travelers to both the train station and the city, and points diagonally left. Thank you, says I, have a nice time, says she and we part.

Once alone, I am pulled by architecture, water, green hills rising from the lake and disappearing into the clouds. Swans swim nearby and people are plentiful but it’s not yet crowded. Rain is helpful that way. I wander aimlessly. Truly. I pass stores and restaurants, somehow end up in a mostly modern office building hive. I meander past a huge church where I am stopped by a British Indian family seeking directions. My mutt ancestry allows me to take on the persona of any cold weather European. I am surprisingly able to help them find their way to the train station. Onward I go. I notice the other side of the river (that is actually the lake) has intriguing buildings high in the hills dotted with what appear chimneys but are really low hanging clouds, and I wonder how I might get there. Try as I might I can’t seem to crack the code. I walk up what feels like hundreds of time worn, uneven stone steps, follow narrow alleyways and well-trod paths only to end up walking down a hill back to the water. Whatever mysteries are hidden in the turreted buildings on the hill will have to remain that way for now. 

I’m hungry. I mean really hungry and I have to pee. Time to find some lunch. There are many restaurants along the banks of the lake and their prices reflect their location. And some of the offerings frighten me. I may be able to muster courage for many things, but foodie I am not. I find the perfect restaurant in a hotel but they are closed until six. It’s three. I will not succumb to American fast food. Instead I pay way too much to eat Italian food on the Swiss riviera. I did sample some dry red Swiss wine though, so I’m not a total food loser. 

I’m done. It’s time to meander back to Zurich. The rain has picked up and I’m wet. 

I find my train. This is getting easier. I don’t have to know all the words, just the important ones. This train does not go all the way back to the airport, it goes to Zurich’s version of grand central. That was a fun segue. Art, fancy shops, grocery stores, thousands of fresh off work for the weekend folks and lots of soldiers in fatigues. It took everything I could  NOT to ask them if they were carrying knives. Get it? Swiss. Army. Knives. 

Anyway.

The rest of the rail hopping is a confusing blur of misreads, double-checks and finally landing at the right station. Which, it turns out is a lot closer if I don’t swing by Starbucks first. 

Oh, did I mention self check-out at the grocery store? In the big scary train station? In Switzerland? For some reason I thought, well I didn’t think, I just operated on a time crunch and instinct. I mean a barcode is a barcode in any language right? You’d think. There was an English language option so I chose it to pay for my coconut water and chocolate (balance, don’t judge). Everything was going just fine until it got to the end. I inserted my credit card, agreed to the amount and the conversion and probably sneaky conversion fees. Then I was met with a split screen. On the left side of the screen some important question or action appeared in Swiss in red with another button resembling “no” in red beneath it. On the right, a giant green exclamation point with a button that I assumed said “yes” beneath it. No matter how many times I hammered the EN button, the Swiss or German refused to budge. I switched to French. I could decipher the word receipt on the left which gave me confidence to press oui on the right. A receipt was spat out and I was on my way.

Wonder where I will be led tomorrow? Feeling a boat trip and an embarrassing run through the Lindt chocolate factory outlet store maybe in order. 

I repeat: Lindt. Chocolate. Factory. Outlet.

Hey There, Cupcake

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Why is that every time I fall off the healthy food wagon it’s right in front of a bakery, or a cupcake shop? Why don’t I ever get dumped out at a Farmer’s Market?

I have thought about food my whole life, at least as far as I can remember, and not in that foodie kind of way. More in that food-is-the-enemy kind of way.

We start out less than, us girls, never quite measuring up. Fortunately there are ads for diet food and diet pills and Weight Watchers and Jenny Craig and Lean Cuisine right next to the heroin-chic super model. It’s criminal. But accepted.

Ten years ago I thought I got it. I stumbled onto this website for a nutrition school in New York City. There were signs that I was to go and so I went. And there, I figured it all out. I lost weight, I felt great, I had it licked.

And then… I don’t know. Snacking flirted with me. A warm melty brie made promises. Ice cream welcomed me back. And some other friends. It was so, so subtle.

What I do know is that I’m done trying to figure it out. I’m just going to eat tiny amounts of whatever I like.

I have most recently been gluten-free – that’s actually helped on many levels including some you’d probably rather not hear about. But at Christmas I ate apple pie. And nothing happened. No bloating, no stomach ache, nothing.

I have given up dairy more times than I care to count. Then I went to India where everything has a bit of paneer or milk in it. Their milk is blissfully different and better than ours, but still, no reaction. I felt amazing the whole time I was there. (I’m pretty positive I have been an Indian in a previous life.)

Legumes – my latest foe. None for me thanks. No lentils, no beans, no dal, just no. Had some hummus, all good here.

Meat was the issue, I was sure of it 20 + years ago, so I stopped eating it. I remember intentionally going to Wendy’s (don’t judge) for a single with everything and cheese, French fries and a coke. Last meal. No red meat after that for over 10 years. I added it back in had incredible energy and lost weight.

Wine gives me acid reflux issues. Ok, too much wine.

Now sugar. Sugar is a problem, of that I am convinced. I notice that I have incredibly low energy if I consume too much sugar, which is to say more than the teaspoon in my coffee. I get heart palpitations and bitchy. My face breaks out. I’ve isolated it. You know on those days when I eat nothing but bits of dark chocolate, sweet tea and anything else that has sucrose in it.

Whole fruit, it should be noted, does not have the same effect.

Through many years of experimentation I am armed with the information that I am probably not allergic to, or intolerant of, any whole group of food. I know if I eat too much gluten my joints ache – Italy: so worth it. If I have too much dairy I get congested and my hands get puffy. Salt sorta does the same sans the mucus. Too much meat is not good for anyone (especially the animal) and there is no one that can’t benefit from more vegetables and water.

Whole 30, Sugar Detox, More Fat, Less Sugar, Ayurveda, Blood Type Diet, Macrobiotics, Juice Cleanse, Green Drinks, sure, let’s try it all. But I already know what to do. Don’t we all? So why don’t we do the good things? Why are habits so hard to break?

Let’s see where this takes us. Conscious eating. Conscious living. That’s the focus this year. Right?

21 Day Challenge – Day 21 – To Begin Again

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After twenty-one days on this body odyssey I can honestly say I have learned a thing or two about me.  There have been some successes and a few unfulfilled promises to myself. But overall the information gathered has been well worth it. As usual.

While I wanted and expected these three weeks to be about better body practices, I was surprised that I didn’t take so quickly to changing my food. I did juice and blend. I did eat a ton of salads. But I also still had my coffee with its sugar and half and half. I cut back on wine, mostly because I wanted to and I went back to gluten-free. Cheese still lurks in the dark corners of my refrigerator.

I guess I was trying to make changes that I knew I could live with. I can certainly live without coffee, but I enjoy it. The ritual of it, the aroma, and of course the nice little lift. I make no apologies.

As I mentioned in a previous post from this challenge, if I were to do it all over, I might separate the working out/movement from the food. In fact, I may do another challenge shortly exclusively about food.

What I did accomplish this time that has me happily surprised is how much I have fallen in love with working out. I still drag myself to the gym, but once I’m there I get so into it. Expecially, as you know by now, Rowan, my beloved Concept 2 Rowing Machine. There are times when I have to make myself leave the gym. That’s just so odd to me.

Overall I believe I have accomplished what I set out to do and that is to make a stronger connection with my physical form. The combination of yoga and the gym is the perfect balance for me. Yoga keeps me curious about the nuances of my body while allowing my mind to completely let go. Working out helps me feel strong and completely energizes me. Yin and Yang. Equal parts of the whole.

I hope to continue both. I am off on a road trip for 7-ish days. My husband and I are meandering up to Pennsylvania and back. I know myself well enough not to plan on getting to the gym or even a yoga class, but we’re going through some mountains and hiking in cool weather sounds divine. I did pack our yoga mats and some work out clothes. Just. In. Case.

I will keep my body  moving and continue with the few practices I picked up where food is concerned. But mostly I will be present and that’s the very best medicine for health.

And the quickest route to enchantment.

21 Day Challenge – Day 18 – W(h)iney

Opening a wine bottle with a corkscrew in a restaurant

I like a glass of wine every now and then. Maybe two.

This is no crime.

Last night was such a night. Although I have to admit I didn’t really feel like having wine. My mind had to work really hard to convince my body to get up and open a bottle, which it did. Interesting. I had less than two full glasses, felt fine and was in bed asleep by 11 pm.

No harm.

I awoke around the usual time, somewhere between 6-7, got up, tripped over dogs on my way to the kitchen and commenced the usual routine. Made coffee, did some blog surfing, liked a few posts on Facebook, then though about breakfast before the gym.

I left around 9:30. Rowan was calling. It was raining pretty steadily but I wanted to row, so I left.

After a brief warm up I sauntered around the twisted steel and padded playground looking for the back and bicep machines my trainer had recommended. Each one was being used. I wasted a little time going to the bathroom, fixed my hair, straightened my shirt and checked out the weight machine situation once again. Still occupied.

I glanced over at Rowan. He was alone. I took it as a sign from the universe that I was to spend my time with Rowan today.

The first 500 meters were brutal. Not taxing as in sprinting a mile, but uncomfortable, achy. I was still somewhat sore from the preceding days but it wasn’t that, there was something else stuck.

Then it dawned on me. Could it be the wine? Just those two glasses? Probably. Any food or drink affects the functioning of the body. Good and bad.

I pushed harder, I wanted to rid my system of whatever was lingering.

I went on to row 5000 meters as repentance and also because I can’t seem to stop. A friend came and sat on the machine next to me to chat and still I didn’t stop. It might be a problem. But it feels like a really good problem to have.

The moral of the story? I have a choice now. I have always had a choice. I suppose what I mean to say is now I have a reason to consider my choices more thoughtfully. I have more fortification behind not having a glass of wine. But should I choose to imbibe, I know what to expect.

21 Day Challenge – Day 8 – Sweet Stuff

Pouring sugar over a strawberry on a spoon

Sugar and I are madly in love and can’t be apart for more than a few hours. He’s with me during my morning coffee. He’s there for me if I’m feeling a little low. When I reach for an iced tea he’s there. We love to spend long, lazy summer afternoons together with a bowl of fresh strawberries or peaches. And at night, oh night time is the sweetest. We’ll sit for hours snuggled on the sofa and watch a movie or read a good book.

Sometimes he likes to hide from me, but I can always tell he’s been there by the flutter in my chest followed by sleepy bliss.

I wouldn’t dream of breaking up with him. Not completely.  I’ve done it before, we’ve taken a break or cooled it a little but never have we parted for long. Life loses all flavor without my little cupcake.

I know it’s not right. It’s one of those toxic relationships people just don’t want to talk about. So I think it’s time to limit our interaction with each other. He doesn’t have to linger as long in the mornings or come by at all during the day. Maybe he can stop by for a little dessert in the evenings. Little. Once in a while.

Besides, spending time away from my honey will make what time we do spend together all the sweeter.

He’s okay with it too. I tend to deplete him.

I would let him go altogether, I would, but he just comes back. And he comes on strong, whispering sweet nothings in my ear, bringing me chocolate and wine.

No, this is best, albeit bittersweet. Limited visitation. We’ll see how it goes from there.

Ah, but parting is such sweet sorrow.

21 Day Challenge – Day 1 – Just Weight

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A little over 8 years ago I embarked on this holistic health odyssey. I wanted to make food my friend, understand it and use it properly. I became a Certified Holistic Health Coach. I gave advice to others as I continued to play with strategies for myself. Everything I did worked. My energy was high, my weight was low (enough) and I felt great!

Then somehow all those things I’d let go of crept back in; foods, habits, stop me if you’ve heard this one.

As I continued to see clients as a health coach and then as a yoga instructor I felt like a complete charlatan. I was a fraud. Am. Oh, I still give great advice. It’s intuitive, tailored to the person in front of me seeking my knowlege and always done with love. I can see exactly what they need to do or not do, add or subtract.

Why can’t I do that for myself? Why do I not take my own gilded advice? Why is it so easy to keep promises we don’t even want to make to other people, but even easier to break the promises we felt so strongly about when we made them, to ourselves?

This past week I attended a five-day yoga retreat. We ate vegetarian food, mostly organic, did yoga daily and yoga nidra twice a day. I was feeling lighter physically and energetically and then…

On the way home a friend and I stopped at Five Guys. I ingested a WHOLE double hamburger. With. The. Bun. A shared “little” fries and a healthy helping of sweetea. Then later I waddled across the street to a friend’s barbeque where I drank more than my share of wine, ate potato chips with dip, then a baked potato – you know with toppings, of course – and more wine.

Disclaimer: I am a full quarter Irish and that 25% would like potatoes 100% of the time please.

I have no such ancestry to explain the wine.

Anyway.

I had an appointment with a trainer today to get weighed and measured like a 4H heifer. But it was good – not the numbers, but the experience and now the knowledge.

I worked out. I tried to explain to the 20 something ex-Air Force soldier that I was not in a hurry. I want to be pushed, yes, but not immobilized. I want to have goals but none of them include a bikini. I also retained my right to say no and stop when I felt my body was physically defeated. But I only pulled that card once, I wanted to push a little. I need to push.

After the workout with weights I did 30 minutes on the treadmill.  And I felt great.

Tomorrow is yoga.

For me, it’s about closing the gap on that feeling of incongruence between the wise health coach and yoga teacher inside and the squishy, tired woman on the outside.

It’s time to walk the talk. One step at a time.

 

Witches Brew

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Daily Prompt: Captain Picard was into Earl Grey tea; mention the Dude and we think: White Russians. What’s your signature beverage – and how did it achieve that status?

I wish I could tell you I’m never seen without my trusty water bottle or a bucket of green juice, but I can’t in good conscience.

Instead I can be caught with any number of liquids.

In the morning, it’s my own personal brew. A blend of dark and  lighter roast coffees from exotic origins.  The hot magma sends tendrils of steam upward, tickling my olfactory senses  and I begin to swoon. A dash of cinnamon, a teaspoon “or so” of organic raw sugar and a plop of organic half and half complete the alchemy.

I breathe deeply once  with the cup cradled in both hands, its precious contents at the ready. On that first intake I can feel the blood in my veins beginning to warm, animating the cells in my body, sparking the flint in my brain, cranking the gears to life. It’s necessary, medicine really. And there might be more than one cup.

Around lunch time I usually reach for that quintessential southern delicacy known as ‘Sweetea.’ On occasion water. On rare occasions. Not really very often at all.

In the evening, f I am going to imbibe, and often I am, it’s going to be a Pinot Noir. Deciding to have a glass of wine sends a message to the brain creating an internal environment to relax. A Mona Lisa smile begins to tug at the corners of my mouth as I twist the cork out of the bottle. That ‘pop’ signals my salivary glands to prepare for that first hint of bitterness. Yet I wait, I give the bottle a few minutes to acclimate, then I pour. This too requires a few moments.

It’s foreplay.

At that first sip my taste buds spring to life. I can feel the dark liquid slide down my throat and spread like warm fingers throughout my torso, hugging me. I sigh, lean back, take another sip then set the glass down as the day’s edges begin to soften.

When I’m in India I can’t get enough Chai. Jamaica, Sorrell tea and ok, Red Stripe. Whole Foods, Green Dream. Hindu temple, mango lassi. I don’t drink soda or nearly enough water. I get far too many calories from my liquids and entirely too much pleasure.

If I had to let go of any of these, for just a little while I hope, I could. Everything but the coffee, just one cup. Like I said, it’s medicine.

Just Do You. That is the Work.

 

17 Camel IMG_4050Daily Prompt: If money were out of the equation, would you still work? If yes, why, and how much? If not, why would you do with your free time?

I was asked this question a million years ago. And I have since turned this question on others. It’s a good one.

About 8 years ago I decided to put it to the test. I quit my job – one in a succession of failed career starts – and decided to become a holistic health coach. That lasted just a few years. But what it did for me was show me that I could do what I wanted and the money would come in. Or as Joseph Campbell said, “Do what you love and the money will follow.” Sounds magical and all together impractical.

At the risk of sounding woo-woo, I now allow myself to be guided by – dare I say it? – the Universe. I have come to see all situations as teachable moments and guidance in one direction or another. I have never lacked food, housing, or transportation. In fact, I own my home, shop at Whole Foods (not every time, let’s be realistic) and drive a nice little Honda.

When I was younger I wanted certain things, specific markers of success: To live in New York City. Or maybe California. To travel the world, especially Paris. And have several homes. One definitely on the beach. All these things required a healthy salary, a particular status. I had to WORK for them, EARN them.

Then 8 years ago I decided to take my passion for natural health to the next level. I attended the Institute for Integrative Nutrition (IIN) in New York. I went just for me, but came away with an optional new career and possibly a whole new life.

I became a holistic health coach. As a health coach many of my clients inquired if I taught yoga when I suggested they try it. I did not. But that changed. I now saw the next step on my path.

When I began to study yoga, the philosophy in particular, I felt I had finally found the belief system that contained within it all that I had cobbled together for myself from various religions and philosophies. Now it had a name. And I was home.

In its teachings I learned to  lean back. I have learned to trust the process of life. I have cultivated compassion and I am free to look at the world through the lens of enchantment and wonder.

Now, when I reframe all those markers of success, I see that I have achieved them all.

– While attending IIN in New York City I had to be there 12 weekends over 16 months. I rented an apartment with a friend for just those weekends. We shopped for food, ate in the apartment, went out to dinner, wandered the streets. I lived in New York City.

– My brother has lived in southern California for over 10 years. I visit him a few times each year. I drive his car. I pick up groceries. I take my niece to the park. We go to the beach. I have made friends there. I have lived in California.

– During all this yoga stuff, the guru I was studying with (and still am) was taking a group of people to India. It was never on my list of places to go, but suddenly I had to go. He was 80 and I didn’t know if I’d have another chance. I went for 3 weeks. Then I went back the year after with a different swami, and on the way played in London for three days. Then this past July a friend flew me on a private jet to the Bahamas where we played on the beach. I have begun to travel the world.

– I have several friends with houses on the beach and I am free to stay in them whenever they’re not occupied. I have a friend with a cabin in the mountains, same thing. I have several homes.

When I let go of the need to work for these things and just leaned back, everything that was to be materialized. Everything I had asked for showed up. Just not as I expected it. I could have missed it completely.

Today I own a yoga studio – another gift – and I write and I take pictures and when I have free time, you know, between 3:15 – 4:45 AM, I make some jewelry. My life is truly enchanted.

I haven’t worked a day in the past 8 years. I do what I love – all of it – and I am taken care of.

 

21 Day Body Love Challenge

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I love my body. Everything about it. When was the last time you said, thought or heard another WOMAN say that about themselves? To be fair, self-loathing isn’t exclusively a female sport, but we certainly hold all the ribbons.

In recent months I have seen many responses to the model thin body. There are documentaries coming out and seeking funding that celebrate the female form, whatever shape that form has taken. There are rebuttals to perfection in blogs, rants on Twitter and even infomercials on the beauty of “regular” women.

The director/producer of the documentary on women’s bodies, seeking funding, went out on the streets and queried over 100 women in all shapes and sizes and when asked how they would describe their bodies the most common response was, “disgusting.”

This makes me very sad.

My body is flawed, much of it my own doing or not doing. I have scars, stretch marks, cellulite, wrinkles and sagging in new places every day. I have hated various parts of my body but that didn’t make things any easier. I have loved parts of my body to firmness and thinness, but that was fleeting when my love of Christmas cookies trumped my affection for thin thighs.

In part I think my argument with my body is not the shape so much as the knowledge that I am not doing all I could to improve my shape. I eat chocolate, drink wine and don’t move nearly as much as I plan. But still I have to reconcile myself with this physical form that houses the me that thinks, talks and sees things uniquely. So much emphasis is placed on being different, why has none of that been applied to the female form?

Now I find myself in a place of the compassionate observer, mostly.  There is still much I’d like to change about this meat suit gifted to me, but maybe I’m not supposed to. Perhaps this body, just like this, is here to teach me and others something. What if this body is the vehicle that will take me to the super-consciousness highway and where along the way I can pick up a few hitchhikers?

If I am truly God in disguise, then perhaps it is my mission to love the wrapping, love the cover of the book so that it can be opened and what’s inside can be read.

You are God in disguise or Divine consciousness in disguise or the Universe made manifest, or a dog in human clothing. I don’t care how you choose to look at it, what words you use, what belief system you have, you must just know that you are perfect and a reflection of divinity.

For the next 21 days I am going to explore this gift that has allowed me to travel, make a baby, snuggle my kitties and puppies, do yoga, dance my ass off, swim competitively and stumble and get back up. I am going to call out the Divine cells, one at a time until we are all on the same page. I will work with one piece of the puzzle at a time starting with my foundation – my feet, and ending with my salvation – my heart.

Care to join me?