A Fresh Start

I do eat a relatively clean diet on a regular basis -- fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, chicken or fish; and I stay away from sugar, white flour and processed foods. I sometimes have a tendency to be social and gregarious, however, and that often leads to indulgence in some of my favorite beverages - which usually involve wine or perhaps a martini or manhattan. Although I profess the value of abstaining from alcohol and caffeine, I am a real person, and I do not pretend to be immune to some of life’s temptations. There are plenty of times that I’ve had all good intentions of engaging in a cleanse on my home turf, only to be dissuaded while out socializing. If I really put my mind to it, I can do it -- but sometimes I simply choose not to. So for me, the best place to accomplish my goal is at the ashram. I am grateful for the opportunity to do that.

As for the benefits of abstaining, there are many. The brain functions at a more efficient level, the body is more balanced, and early mornings are a delight...not to mention that a few pounds are to be shed easily and effortlessly. This is a process of not only shedding weight from the body, but also of letting go of emotional, mental or spiritual burdens --letting go of heaviness that doesn’t serve you. It’s a process of bringing mind, body and spirit into balance, which is exactly where it needs to be in order to achieve the ultimate level of peace and contentment.

Every experience influences our life, both physically and emotionally. Negative experiences can bring our minds and bodies out of balance, just as much as poor dietary choices can -- like processed foods, sugar and alcohol. So, with the goal of rejuvenating, replenishing and bringing the mind and body back into balance, a good affirmation might be: “I am ridding my system of toxins, physically and emotionally”.

This past year for me has been particularly stressful as a result of some very serious personal life challenges - so my mind/body was yearning for this Spring detox, the effects of which were extremely beneficial. One of the body treatments that I had at the ashram was a therapeutic massage. I’ve always had massages on a regular basis, so was quite sure that I knew what to expect from this one. However, I was surprised to find that it was quite different than any that I had experienced in the past.

When I met the massage therapist I felt that she had an unexplained intuition. She was a small Chilean woman with beautiful brown eyes. She looked at me as if she could see right inside of me, as if she knew of the pain that I had been dealing with. She seemed to know all of this without my saying a word. My intuition told me that she was much more than a massage therapist -- perhaps she was a shaman or a healer on some other level. The way that she worked my whole body was amazing, like a sculptor working on a piece of art.

But more amazing to me were the after-effects of the massage. As I was leaving, she told me to go to my bed and stay there for at least one hour, and, of course, to drink a lot of water throughout the day. I did as as she said, and found myself physically and mentally exhausted, a little nauseous, and with a strange metallic taste in my mouth. These symptoms lasted throughout the afternoon, so I just allowed myself the time to simply rest. I rested on my bed and later in a hammock, skipped yoga class that afternoon, and just surrendered. I felt wonderful the next day. So, whatever she did was extremely healing; she was obviously able to extract from my mind/body/emotions whatever heaviness I was carrying that wasn’t serving me. It was pretty magical.

I mention all of this thinking that it might inspire you….perhaps you will consider a Spring mind/body/spirit detox. If you really focus on setting the intention, I’m quite sure that you can do it on your home turf. Set yourself up for it. Shop carefully for the food you’ll be eating, plan to engage in self-care, relax in a hot tub infused with epsom salt and your favorite essential oils. It doesn’t have to be long...a week, ten days, maybe a little longer, maybe a little less. Whatever works for you. I promise that you’ll feel great, and that it will be a wonderful prelude to the carefree days of summer that will soon be upon us.

Happy Spring!