3.8.11 Melting Down
It's day 7 of my juice fast. The simple act of taking food out of the equation can be hugely transformative. Our relationship to eating tends to be very complex, because it provides not only nourishment but comfort, sensual pleasure and perhaps a buffer to shield us from some of our deepest feelings. One thing I grapple with is the herpes virus that I have carried in my body since 1985. During that time it has been more and less active, but seems to have migrated now to reside in my sacrum, a very vulnerable spot indeed. Os sacrum is Latin for "the seat of the soul." This area seems to have become very congested for me, and I sense that lower back pain, writing blocks and deep fears are all lodged here. On day 3 of my fast, after a couple of dull headaches, including one that woke me in the night, and a surge of the virus in my system, I began to feel like all my defenses and resources were falling away. I slipped back into a pattern of self-doubt and recrimination, where I relive the life-long pain of feeling like a disappointment to my parents. I also felt very isolated and out of my element. This was probably exacerbated by the fact that our week-long bathroom renovation is now in its frustrating and enraging fourth week, and we are still availing ourselves of the incredible hospitality of our dear friend who has lent us his house at Beaver Dam.
The house is beautiful, as are the surroundings, but between finishing pages that were due to my writing group and the incessant rain for two days, I had not been outside since Thursday. But somewhere between a wonderful talk I had with my extraordinarily wise and loving husband, and a long snowshoe I took yesterday through the wet woods, along a roaring brook recently sprung to life, a shimmering clarity came over me. I saw that in frequently being too hard on myself (something everyone always tells me I am and which never fails to bewilder me), I am keeping alive the voice of my parents—but the wrong voice. I expect a lot from myself, too much perhaps, but I am going to try now to be more gentle and to strive to do more often what truly makes me happy. All this from juice? you ask.
I can't really underestimate the effect of a fast. The body is purging itself of toxins, and perhaps negative emotions are attached to some of these. Even if fasting does not always bring about heightened awareness, it is surely cleansing. My skin is clearer, my eyes brighter, my joints less achy, my vital energy enhanced. I think the effects of water fasting would be much more profound, and I would like to graduate to that at some point. For those of you who are horrified at the idea of going without food for even a day, perhaps you need to learn a little bit more about what it can do for you. After all, fasting has been considered therapeutic for thousands of years. Here are a few good resources to check out, even if you just read about them online:Fasting Can Save Your Life by Herbert Shelton, an early proponent of fastingThe Miracle of Fasting by Patricia and Paul Bragg, creators of Bragg's Enzymes etcPrescription for Nutritional Healing by Phyllis A. Balch - I love this book