Day 7 (of Juice Fasting & Meditation)

Day 7

 

And . . . follow the bouncing ball!      Yes, folks, she’s up, she’s down, she’s up again, she’s . . .

feeling MUCH better today than yesterday.   Day 7.   Three more days to go.  And though I’m not sure at this point whether I’ll continue longer after Day 10, I do know for certain that I’ll never give up the practice of regular juicing.   It will remain an integral part of my eating routine.   There’s been some weight loss, a clearing of brain fog, and I swear my eyesight is just a little bit better.  Zero joint pain, which has tended to be an issue for me.  Which means that the physiological experience of change and betterment is definitely measurable.  The psychological, emotional, and spiritual wing of this old body….that’s a little harder to quantify.   I think if shifts are happening, they’ll become more apparent with time.

My meditation was very early this morning, as I needed to go to my office job, and it was so centering and soothing that I think it set the tone for my groundedness today.   I took my sippy cup filled with my green concoction to work, but neglected to take the 2-liter jug with the rest of today’s meals.   So I was pretty starving by the time I got home at 5:45.     But before going home, I needed to do my shopping for tomorrow, and this time carrots were in the mix.    I was feeling one of those hankerings again, so I got home and quickly juiced up the carrots, and added a little nutmeg in the glass.   Yummy!

Though my own sense of center seemed firmly in place today, after yesterday’s dumps, there was some sad news received.   A singer I distantly knew, and had sung some gigs with, passed away today, and though I didn’t know her well, people who are dear to my heart DID know her well, and I got to experience the heartbreak of people I love.    So, though I’d already meditated this morning, I did another sit this evening, in memory of the lovely Chrissy, and all those who loved her.

For that matter, it seems I have been losing people all around me lately (this wasn’t even the first death this week of someone I’d known.)  These passings have sobered and humbled me, made me thankful for the life I live, and the people who love me, and the dawning that opting for solutions to struggles, which is what I’m trying to do with this Lenten observance, has even more of my respect and my cherishing.   This is sacred space.

Interesting how it sometimes takes death to remind us to live.

 

 

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.

 

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Day 5 (of Juice Fasting & Meditation)

day 5

Well, folks, apparently Day 5 was so ordinary and uneventful that I forgot to blog at the end of it.  So here it is at dawn on Day 6 and I’m doing a little catch up.   That’s the good news!   A day so uneventful that…  No emotional mood swings.  No hunger pangs.   Energy!

I did have my first moment of hankering for a taste sensation.   So far it’s been nothing but green juice in one form or another.   So on my walk (yes, exercising for the second day in a row), as I was heading back home, I stopped in a market to buy 2 apples and 2 peaches.   I took them home and juiced up just those items, and rendered the loveliest, almost creamsicle tasting concoction.   It was dessert!

Day 5 was a crucial day because I was scheduled to be interviewed on the radio show American Vernacular to discuss my new novel and other fun topics, and all I could think after shutting my eyes on the emotional roller-coaster that had been Day 4 was, “I can NOT be in this head space tomorrow for this interview, or it’ll be a disaster.”   Well, like I said, I woke up with energy, and stayed that way, and the interview turned out to be incredibly fun and rewarding.

My morning’s meditation was lovely.   If the last two days’ “themes” were Mindfulness and The Coward, then Day 5’s Lenten theme was Prana (breath).  In fact, I believe prana directly translates from Sanskrit as “lifeforce.”    There’s definitely something about waking up on your fifth day of pretty austere eating (drinking) rituals, yet feeling more energetic than you have in some long while.  It doesn’t make logical sense, and yet here I am.  So my focus in the sit, with my eyes closed and my hands in gyan mudra, was pranayama, or the practice of mindful breathing, which is always essential in oxygenating the chakra centers and the body’s systems, and quieting the mind.

My day’s batch had already been juiced from having made an over-abundance the day before (the dandelion greens, chard, celery, apples, lemon, and ginger).  So there was very little in the way of labors to get me through this day.   Like I said, uneventful.  Even peaceful.   Which makes this blog entry a shorter one than the others before it.

I think a certain zone or flow has hit, friends, a full immersion into an energized focus and complete absorption of purpose.  And I am in deep gratitude for getting this far, for realizing just how little my body actually requires to attain health and wellness, and that we’re so accustomed to over-indulgence that we equate it with need (and then the next thing we know we find ourselves regularly sick and rundown, and that’s considered the norm), and lastly, I am in gratitude for entering this new space where mindfulness, centering, and connectedness seem to be in abundance.

Now that I think about it, maybe Day 5’s theme is actually Gratitude.

Have a blessed day.

 

 

 

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.

Day 4 (of Juice Fasting & Meditation)

Fasting and Prayer

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.

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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.

Day 3 (of Juice Fasting & Meditation)

Day 3

So Day 3.

There was a moment that made me absolutely crack up.    I was thinking “Wow, Day 3, and I still feel resolved and strong.  This is great.”  And then in the very next second, “Oh my God, I have Seven. More. Days. To. Go.  THIS WILL NEVER END.”   I went from bright to bleak in the blink of an eye.

The cool part was going for a doctor’s visit this morning, and while I had made my day’s batch before leaving the house, I didn’t take any with me to sip on while I drove.  I figured I’d just drink my first meal when I got back somewhere around noon.   My doctor has a new location, so when I walked up to it I saw that her space connected to a juice bar.   I was so excited to “go commercial” with my juice fast for the first time.   I love these juice bars that are starting to sprout up all over the place (wish one would open in Granada Hills).  Everything on the menu tells you what part of the body’s system it’s good for.   They’re called things like “The Liver Detoxifier” and “The Kidney Kraze.”   I ordered a “Dark & Stormy,” which consisted of beets, with the beet leaves, kale leaves, parsley, celery, and lemon.   Yummy!

Later in the day was my first serious challenge.   A friend called and asked if I wanted to meet for lunch at our favorite restaurant (Joe’s Café in Granada Hills, to be exact…who just won as top chef on the TV show Chopped, by the way….way to go Joe!).   And at first I said, “maybe next week.  I’m doing a juice fast right now.”   Yet, truly I was in the mood to hang with a friend.   So I said “Nix that.   Let’s do it.” And I promptly filled up my sippy cup, and met him there.   He ordered a luscious-looking pulled pork sandwich, and I had my green juice.   His food smelled so good (even though I’m not even a pork eater) that I did have a moment of “this sucks.”  But ultimately I was happy to be giving myself this challenge.   I figured if I could get through lunch and not be ready to hold up the nearest KFC with a rifle, then I knew I could get through the next seven days (even if it’s now beginning to feel like I’ve already been at it seven weeks).   I loved victoring over that.  I even had to finally stop my friend, who kept apologizing for ordering such a decadent lunch in front of me.  I was feeling triumphant, even if I was picturing him as a pint of Ben & Jerry’s.  I loved that I walked away at the end of lunch, not having caved or broken down and ordering the amazing mac & bleu cheese that Joe’s offers.  I was proud of myself as I said goodbye to my friend.  I’d remained steadfast in the idea that I was on my way to something great.  Doing something that would shift the paradigms in my consciousness just a bit.  Clear the cobwebs.

This may be projecting, but I would swear that my eyesight even seems a bit better.  I actually read a magazine article today without my 99-cent store reading glasses.   And that’s usually a near-impossibility for me.  Am I conjuring these things, these testaments for doing this crazy thing?   Or are things actually beginning to shift, my body detoxing itself, my organs strengthening, and my brain un-fogging?

The meditation this morning was quite the blood-letting.  Mindfulness seemed to be the theme that surfaced and stayed.  Situations flooded through my head, and I found myself revisiting how I had handled them.   Mindfully?   Or combatively?   Defensively?   The question that kept arising was, “How do I want to show up in the world?” And am I presently doing that?

The real beauty of meditation is that you don’t need to micro-manage it.  You don’t need to force your brain to quiet down.   Trying to force it won’t work anyway.   The key is just to let whatever wants to flood through do so.   What begins to happen in time, with practice, is that the unimportant stuff that floods in, the grocery lists, the phone calls that need to be made, the cramp in the leg, etc, will shear away, and what will be left is the stuff that actually needs attention.  The deeper life stuff.   And as that gets all the attention and examination, in the environment of the subconscious, eventually there is a quieting of the stuff.  Of all the stuff.  But first you have to let it all just flood in there.  Flooding was a whole lot of today’s sit.

One thing that has been somewhat niggling.   It’s Day 3, and I haven’t varied my juice concoction by much yet.  I don’t want to get bored, but it’s just so easy to settle into a routine, grab the exact same stuff from the market, not have to think.  I collected a wonderful assortment of amazing recipes when I was preparing for this.   So, tonight I finally made myself look through them, pick something, and go buy those items for tomorrow’s juicing.  I’m going savory tomorrow.   And then it might be another 3 days before I change up again.   I’d like to think I have it in me to experiment every single day, but I know me.   I am a creature of habit.

In general I’m finding that the days where I’m busy, being at my day job, doing a gig, working on a graphic design project, meeting with a friend, running errands, will be the easiest.   I can take my jug of juice and my sippy cup with me in the car, and I’ll be good to go wherever I need to be, and not thinking about food.

It’s the days that I have to myself, as today largely was, when I get a bit antsy, when I want to eat something, graze on something crunchy (always more from boredom and restlessness than actual hunger), where it feels as though I’ve taken on something too monumental.

So, I think the key will be to keep myself with tasks.   Or go the exact other way and just meditate more.  Let myself decompress.  But in a mindful and deliberate way, as opposed to a couch-potato-popcorn-bowl-on-the-belly kind of way.   Again that theme of mindfulness, of acute awareness and appreciation and experience of everything in my midst.

I confess I’m still waiting for the hyper to get sheared away just a bit.    Or is that asking too much?   After all, my somewhat tongue-in-cheek description of myself has always been: “I’m a laid back soul trapped in the body of a high-strung chick.”   Maybe that’s just who I’m meant to be.    I guess we’ll see.

 

 

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.

Day 2 (of Juice Fasting & Meditation)

Fasting and Prayer copy

Well, walking past my neighbor’s apartment and smelling the fried chicken she’s cooking up has certainly been helpful.

Actually Day 2 hasn’t been bad.  It’s the first day of Spring, and I feel a kind of alignment there.  My meditation this morning was slightly more antsy than yesterday’s, but still a good one.   Some serious powering down actually did happen, once I could get my legs in a comfortable position.

It’s the end of the night now, when my habitual hunger (not biological) kicks in, and I don’t know what to do with my hands if I’m not using them to stuff something into my mouth.   In actuality, my body isn’t signaling hunger.  Because even though my basic day only consists of three 8-ounce glasses of whatever juice I’ve concocted –  breakfast, lunch, and dinner  –  I do get full.  The reason is because though there isn’t any solid food happening, there’s actually quite a lot of food involved, when you consider the large mound of vegetables that translate into a very small amount of juice.  So, all the micro-nutrients are intact.  In fact, far more than I could accomplish by eating a normal diet.  Hence, my hunger is actually fulfilled.  It’s just the habitual stuff I’ll be battling for a bit. The emotional eating.  The filling-the-void crap.  Now that the void isn’t getting filled with snacks and desserts and other late-night grazing rituals, I actually have to face.   It’s all a part of it.   Of what I’m trying to do.  How I’m trying to transform. The work isn’t easy.  It isn’t meant to be.   But it sure is interesting.

To be honest, I’m just thankful I haven’t started seriously climbing the walls yet.  I fear it’s coming.

Today’s recipe was similar to yesterday’s, since I had a lot of vegetables left over for juicing.   The only difference today was the addition of cucumbers.   I’m finding that the ritual needs to be this:  Shop in the evening for the next morning’s juicing.   Juice for the whole day on the next morning.  That evening, back to the stores for the next day’s batch.  So, with the recipes I’ve collected, I’m going to try and change up the cocktail at least every other day, if not every day.

I’m actually looking forward to some of the savory recipes (as opposed to the ones sweetened with an apple or a carrot, etc.)   Ones that employ tomatoes, garlic, onions, bell peppers, etc, all juiced of course.  I look forward to it with a curiosity more than anything, as savory is my favorite way to go, taste-buds-wise, yet I’m also a big fan of salt.   Tasting such a concoction without may be my first real challenge on this thing.   Perhaps that’ll be tomorrow’s excursion.

 

 

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.

Why Lent Came Calling (Day 1)

Fasting and Prayer

I recently watched a documentary called Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead, about a man who documented his 60-day juice fast.  He’d felt at the end of his rope health-wise, and was subsisting, at the age of 42, on an artillery of pills for a myriad of ailments.  On his journey, where he traveled across the United States telling his story while drinking his green juice, he came across a few most unlikely candidates, who latched onto his journey and made it their own.   These were people who, like him, simply felt as though they’d somehow, somewhere along the line, lost self, lost purpose, and rather than living were merely surviving.   I remember as I began watching it, thinking, “well, this isn’t new information for me, but it’s always good to get a reminder.”   But then there came a moment that truly got my attention, and made me obsessed enough to watch this movie two more times before sticking it back in the mailbox.  Not only did these participants’ health turn around (how could it not, when you’re talking about concentrated, mega doses of micro-nutrients a day?), but something in their entire psychological and spiritual paradigm shifted.   A serious reboot of mind, body, and spirit seemed to have occurred.  And lately that is something I’ve been feeling an almost desperate need for in my own life.

Something’s been wrong.  I’ve felt overwhelmed by finances and survival, and though I am an artist to my bones, I’ve been creating very little.  The novel that released almost a year ago now has barely received  much marketing nurturing from me.   I would tell myself that I believed in a universe that would take my deserving labors into it, and would not let those labors just flounder in the sea, no matter how unmotivated I may have been.  I was clearly ignoring whatever the universe might’ve had to say about effort.  Even this blog hadn’t been given any love since my last post three months ago.  My own health, fitness, and wellness is okay, but I want more than okay.   And I’ve begun to isolate socially and emotionally from those I love, or even just like.  And I realized as I watched this movie that I, too, felt I was merely surviving, and no longer living.

I’m a big believer in synchronicity.   I encounter it constantly, and always experience moments of absolute bliss when it occurs.   So, right as I was obsessing over this movie, I also happened to read a quote on Facebook, credited to Homeboy Industries, an interpretation of Lent that spoke directly to my own practices of meditation and turning inward.

“The giving up of something you enjoy is to quiet the mind and recognize how caught up we are in what we think we need.  Lent is a time of reflection and centering and to remind ourselves that what we need is inside of us.”

Amen.

I’m not Catholic, and have never observed Lent before (born and raised Baptist, now living largely with the tenets of the Buddha Dharma).  But my own spiritual approach has always been completely inclusive of any rituals that resonate with my heart and soul from all the traditions.   So, what the hell, let’s participate in Lent this year.  Of course, I came to this resolution ten days into Lent, but I also realized that for me it wasn’t about the number of days, but simply about participating in something for however long I could, somewhere during this stretch of time called Lent.  It was a symbol.

From the moment I decided to participate, I knew that a juice fast was going to be the chosen sacrifice.  Lent and this documentary couldn’t’ve both been roiling in my head at the same time for any other reason.  And for me, it seemed too easy just to give up wine, or coffee, or chocolate, or whatever (the typical choices I always hear about).   I wanted it to be something truly challenging, because if the ante wasn’t high enough then I just didn’t see any kind of genuine transformation being a part of the deal.  So, I decided to do 10 days of a juice fast, inspired by Joe Cross’ adventure, coupled with an intensive meditation.   To quiet my mind, and invite the truth to show itself to me.  To actively seek to forgive myself whatever realities I’ve clearly felt needed punishing.   To feed my body with only what it needs, and not what I think it needs (in this environment that I’ve created of learning to self-medicate and to numb).   To get really, seriously, ridiculously focused, which the ritual of juicing pounds of vegetables every day, and cleaning the multi-parts juicer everyday, and getting in lotus position everyday, and saying “no” to every waft of food that comes your way everyday, will give you.  There’s no meditating in the movie, but I decided to include meditation because suddenly the age-old tradition of “prayer and fasting” was very attractive to me.

I am open to the possibility that if I’m feeling the need for further, come Day 10, I’ll extend the fast beyond that (I can tell you now, it won’t be the 60 days that Joe Cross accomplished).   And am resolved that if I do make it to Day 10, and don’t crumble at Day 5, it will be a triumph beyond words.  No other options exist.

I chose a day to start, and even got a friend on board to do it with me, so that a sense of community, of a support system, of checking in every day and keeping each other honest, would be set firmly in place.   And today is that day.   Leading up to today, I experienced the weirdest and widest berth of emotions about it.   Dread – that I would not succeed, that I would bail after Day 2 because my caffeine and sugar addiction would get the better of me and have me climbing the walls.   Hope – that I might actually come out of this 10 days changed, transformed, bettered.   Anxiety – that a social commitment would challenge my ability to stick with this; because, what are we if not social animals who congregate over food and libations?  And honor – to be entering into this ritual that I see as sacred space.

My first instinct was to share this journey publicly.   Facebook here I come!    Then I thought, no, not this one.   This one requires quiet.   Then a third thought came to me.  That if I blogged about the journey (no, it’s not a travelogue to the Himalayas, or across an ocean, merely an internal one), then I would be made to stay honest, to commit, to see this all the way through.   Otherwise there’s just public humiliation, and we all know how fun that can be.   But there was something deeper to the thought, as well.   A connection.  Sharing my journey means opening my heart.  Maybe even inspiring someone else who may be feeling lost.   Just as a Netflix DVD changed my world one night.

So, here I am.   Day 1.

I awoke with excitement, and immediately went from my bed to my meditation altar, lit my candles, drew my mantra for the day, and then closed my eyes and did what I do.  Sometimes meditation can completely cocoon me in the comfort and warmth of meaning.  Other times I can be quite antsy and distracted.  It happens.  Every day is different.  Today I was cocooned.  When I was done, I walked right over to my kitchen and juiced up the pile of vegetables and fruit I’d bought the night before.   I was stunned at how little juice that huge pile of veggies actually made, and instantly realized I’d need a lot more vegetables every day to make this work, and to keep me from feeling starved.   But the juice was tasty (I made enough for all of my meals today), so the first effort has been a triumph.   Today’s combination is spinach, kale, celery, apples, a whole lemon, and copious amounts of ginger.   I made sure, as I prepared for this day, to collect as many juicing recipes as I could find, so that the creature of habit in me wouldn’t end up making the same thing every day, and growing bored, and quitting.

So far, so good.   No panic seems to have hit.   I’ll call my friend who’s doing this with me a little later on to see how he’s doing.   But I’ll check in at the end of every one of these ten days, document where I am, and promise to be honest about how I’m feeling.   There are sure to be some cranky moments, but if I keep clear and present about what I’m trying to accomplish, I think the crankiness will be kept to a minimum.   Or it’ll be the steepest mountain I’ve ever had to climb.  Either one works for me, because I’m ready to take this on.

Elizabeth Gilbert, author of Eat Pray Love, offers a thought that does my heart good as I go forth into Prayer-&-Fasting Land.

“If you’re brave enough to leave behind everything familiar and comforting, anything from your house to bitter old resentments, and set out on a truth-seeking journey, either externally or internally, and if you are truly willing to regard everything that happens to you on that journey as a clue, and if you accept everyone you meet along the way as a teacher, and if you are prepared, most of all, to face and forgive some very difficult realities about yourself, then the truth will not be withheld from you.”

That’s good enough for me.   See you all tomorrow.

 

 

P.S.  Speaking of synchronicity, the very next day after reading the Homeboy Industries quote on Lent, I was driving to Union Station in Downtown LA, and drove right by a large building with “Homeboy Industries” in big, bold letters on top of it.   I just had to stop in to find out about them.   Wow!  Check them out, if you’re so inclined.  Homeboy Industries

And while we’re at it, check out:
Reboot With Joe

 

 

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.