Day 8 (of Juice Fasting & Meditation)

Day 8

 

Day 8 finished as uneventfully as it began, though I have to give a great big “thank you” to Kelly Phillips of Kona for the incredible suggestion of watermelon juice with ginger.   That was my dessert, and it was easily the best taste sensation I’ve had on this fast.

The green concoction was back to some interesting dandelion greens and chard.   That’s a pretty bitter-tasting combination, so copious amounts of carrots and lemon helped to make it palatable.

My meditation got the short shrift today, for the first time.   There were just things to do around the house, commitments on the computer that needed my attention, and by the time I could fit it in, the distractions were prevalent.  It was the briefest, and most uncommitted, of the efforts so far.   I have to wonder if there wasn’t something in the back of my mind that thought, “well, I meditated TWICE yesterday.   Can’t I get a day off?”   It’s silly to think, but that may well have been in the back of my subconscious.

But as far as emotional lows, or upheavals, no, Day 8 has been normal and even-keeled.  Thankful for that.

I can’t believe I’ve made it this far.  Day 9 approaches, and a sense of something important has definitely been felt in my bones.

 

 

 

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 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.

 

Day 6 (of Juice Fasting & Meditation)

Day 6

 

This will be brief. A down day. Still resolved, but so paralyzed by some personal issues that it’s been difficult to get up and do, today. My meditation didn’t happen until later in the afternoon, but was so welcomed and warm. It is definitely my haven and sanctuary when I’m feeling helpless. I just really tried to open my heart and listen.

Spinach, apples, and ginger. A simpler meal than some of the recipes in the past few days, because, like I said, I just couldn’t get up and do.

There was a moment as evening approached when I seriously wanted to bail on this. But I didn’t. And I haven’t. It’s the genuine first of those in these six days, so I’m trying not to beat myself up. Hey, this is what goes with the territory, the open wounds and emotional ups and downs of any kind of prayer and fasting. I’ve isolated a bit today, as I’ve feared being short with anyone who might speak to me.

Except for a lovely phone call from my sister, who had just finished reading the first installment of this journey, and was calling to tell me how inspired she was by it. How it resonated close to home with her. And it had me thinking about how there seems to just be this environment all around us right now of people feeling discord with their lives, a general sense of disconnection, and the fierce, restless desire to call upon solutions. I’ve believed for some time that a paradigm shift globally, spiritually, has been in place, a crack in the door, where just the tiniest sliver of light comes through, to assure the planet that there is better possible, but in order for the light to be more than just a sliver, we have to open that door by awakening and expanding our consciousness. So, it really struck me in a profound way to have my sister confirm similar feelings.

Look, a fasting & meditation isn’t going to be everyone’s answer to addressing issues and seeking clarity; it’s just the one I’m trying right now. But to be able to create a dialogue with others about the need for…something, whatever that might be for each person, to up the ante on our lives, to opt for peace of spirit …. is kind of extraordinary.

 

 

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 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 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.