Hard day. But weirdly, not all of it. The emotions are bouncing around like tennis balls. Still.
There definitely is something about privation that really does bring every emotion to the surface, and opens every wound. So that whatever it is that’s surfacing can either be squashed and denied, tucked way, or welcomed to a conversation, a squaring off. Which is the whole reason for doing this.
My meditation (and my juicing, too, for that matter) didn’t happen first thing in the morning today, as it has for the past 3 days. I got up uncharacteristically early, and while the dawn hours would’ve made for the absolute loveliest meditation, instead I was antsy to get on the computer. Check email, check social media, work on a graphic design client’s project for a bit. And before I knew it, the day was going by, and I needed to get out of the house and do SOME kind of exercise, as I haven’t yet since the fast started.
I walked a new trail today in my neighborhood. O’Melveny Park. Gorgeous trail/park. Lots of families out with picnics. And just the nicest weather. My hike wasn’t long, because I wasn’t fueled. But I took it gently, and enjoyed myself, nonetheless. It was on the drive back from there, to the store to get my day’s veggies, that I had a kind of meltdown. Just everything that is stressful in my life right now bubbled right to the top, and behind the wheel of my car I went into full-on crying mode. And I talk a lot when I cry. Usually asking God, or the Universe, or whomever or whatever usually receives the rantings of crazy people, “What’s the freakin’ deal!” I suddenly felt overwhelmed by my life, under-motivated by my life, and stuck in the chasm. I even walked into the produce store crying.
(Tip: when buying massive amounts of vegetables and fruit for any length of time, definitely stay away from the standard fare Vons’ and Ralphs’, etc. Find your local Asian markets, Persian markets, and Israeli markets. Great produce, stuff you wouldn’t find at Vons or Ralphs, and FAR cheaper.)
Okay, back to my strange day. By the time I got home with my veggies, it was close to 5pm, and I needed badly to meditate before doing anything else. I still hadn’t put anything in my stomach except water and a morning mint tea while on the computer. And while the privation was definitely setting my system on edge and drudging up all that emotional stuff, I wasn’t actually experiencing hunger. That phenomenon fascinated me to no end, considering how austere my diet has been for the past 4 days. So, since my stomach wasn’t growling or making me picture dancing ice cream cones, juicing would have to wait until I could get in lotus position and battle out whatever was making me near-hysterical.
The meditation was wonderful. Well, when I say wonderful, it was actually one of those difficult, cathartic ones. But I consider that the testament of a wonderful meditation. I was ultimately soothed, but first I had to visit some uncomfortable realities in my life. Yesterday, Mindfulness is what surfaced during my sit. Today it was the Coward. Here’s what I know about me, the stuff I’m trying to fix, and it all came up with my eyes closed and my hands in gyan mudra. I am afraid of everything. Taking risks, being bold, speaking my mind. I’m afraid for fear of ridicule, loss of opportunity, loss of acceptance and validation. I often back down from challenges that appear to overwhelm me by their size and shape and scope. Rather than to assert that I can rise to the occasion with a little ingenuity and some hard work. To compensate, I often have the instinct to be impatient with those that I can smell are even more afraid than me. And the bossy comes out. It is my way of climbing on top, of finding my own security. I am bullied by my own inner fears, and fear that I might be a bully. There are David & Goliath parables that have been thematic in my life ever since childhood. I used to take on bullies for the sake of my little brother. And on rare occasions I would flip out and “turn” whenever I was the target of longtime bullying. But mostly I just cowered. As a result, even as an adult, I just don’t leap the way others leap, take crazy chances, go for broke. And that is a great pain body for me (to use an excellent coined phrase of Eckhart Tolle’s). Today that pain body came to the surface. But I battled it out and I “ohm”ed it out. And when I was done, I felt lifted and unburdened. Resolved to leap a bit more, take a few of those chances. Because here’s what I came away with. What could possibly be the consequence of going for broke that could ruin me? Nothing! It may seem like a big “duh” to you, but I’ve never asked that question of myself ever before. Never thought to frame the dilemma in that way. And the dawning of that ridiculously simple answer just unloosed something in me. Meditation is so freakin’ cool. Have I said that lately?
When I was done, I went to the kitchen to finally juice up my veggies and have a meal. I also finally bought stuff that gave me a whole other set of flavors today. I still used apple, lemon, and ginger to cut the bitterness of the leafy greens. But today, instead of spinach or kale, which have been my staples so far, I used dandelion, chard, and celery. I have never eaten dandelion or chard before, at least that I know of, so this was kind of exciting for me. I finally got a meal consumed. And honestly I doubt I’m interested in too much more tonight, which means I’ll actually have a batch already made up and ready for me tomorrow morning, for the first time on this fast.
Got a little cranky on Facebook today. I knew the crankies were coming. I posted the below paragraph, which I think has a tongue-in-cheek-ness to it when the post actually involves the fast.
“Doctor yesterday told me I have Cubital Tunnel Syndrome, which is similar to Carpel Tunnel, except it affects the pinkie and ring finger, instead of the thumb, forefinger, and middle finger. Two different nerves conduct each set of fingers. So, I’ve got the OTHER one, the one that’s not as common among musicians. It’s probably from sitting at a desk chair a LOT, and leaning my elbow on the seat arm. Anyway, the numbness and tingling in my left fingers got me all panicked that I was having a heart attack, and I was thinking ‘Damn you, juice fast!’ At this point, on Day 4, I’m pretty much blaming the fast for everything. LOL!”
I don’t know. Doesn’t the LOL kind of give it away that I’m not suffering?
I got a lot of folks actually responding to my news about the CTS, and some very helpful tips on what to do about it. Then I got a few responses addressing the fast. Maybe from folks who don’t know about this, and aren’t following my blog, or maybe they do. Comments that basically translated to “why are you doing this?” “Enjoy life, not suffer by it,” etc.
To which I responded:
“Hey everyone, thanks so much for the CTS info. Truly. Very helpful. On the other topic in this post, for any of you out there who don’t understand why I’m doing a juice fast, you don’t need to, unless you’re truly interested, and then I’m happy to have a conversation with you about it. Otherwise, please don’t speak out of turn. You’re also welcomed to read my blog about the experience and why I’m doing it. Your respect will be greatly appreciated.”
Was that cranky? I’m not sure. I tried to word my response as respectfully as possible, but maybe what would’ve been best was not to address it at all? Let people have their (usually unsolicited) opinions about YOUR life. Oops, I think I’m still cranky. It is, after all, Day 4, and I did have an emotional meltdown earlier.
Oh well. It could get better from here. Or it could get worse before it gets better. Stay tuned.
Angela Carole Brown is the author of three published books, The Assassination of Gabriel Champion, The Kidney Journals: Memoirs of a Desperate Lifesaver, and Trading Fours, and has produced several albums of music and a yoga/mindfulness CD. Bindi Girl Chronicles is her writing blog. Follow her on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram & YouTube.
Angela, stay strong and focused. I have always used fasting as a private time, but I am really impressed with the strength you’ve shown in sharing personal experiences with others. Your actions are probably helping others with spiritual and health challenges. Be blessed!!! I hope that your prayers are answered and you receive direction during this time of fasting.
Thank you so much, Nolen, that means the world to me.
The total paradox that is you, is that you are quite possibly the bravest woman I know. I am TOTALLY afraid of EVERYTHING. You CLEARLY are not. (Sorry to yell but damn!) The accomplishments you’ve had are massive and the courage it took to even attempt, much less follow through and succeed are a baffling contradiction to the way you see yourself moving through. I know you’re still human lol but your boldness belies your perspective and I find it fascinating. I also admire you in a mighty way. If I ever get the courage to let your acts inspire me you’ll be the first to know. Keep on keepin’ on, Cappy sis. I’m a believer.
Well, Day-um, I think I’m ready for my superhero cape now! Wow, what lovely things to say, Mel! I deeply appreciate the bravas and kudos my way, sis. I think we’re all paradoxes. Because it’s true, there are some areas of my life where bravery has been present, and thank you! for recognizing that in me. But I also know the MANY areas in my life where it hasn’t (she says with dark foreboding and gothic organ music underscoring). And it definitely shapes my life in ways I wish it didn’t. So, I’m workin’ on that. 🙂