Saturday, April 6, 2013

A Monumental March

March 2013 was a monumental month for me.  Pivotal.  Epic.  Seeds that had been planted in the first two months of the year quite suddenly burst up through the soil, so to speak.  Just to give you some context, between the beginning of the year and March, I:
  1. got ordained through Universal Life Church so that I can perform weddings (and then I performed my first one on March 5th)
  2. found out I was going to become a grandmother this fall
  3. realized that my long-term relationship, after years of wimpily limping along without really being anything, was FINALLY.  REALLY.  OVER.
  4. turned 45 and, largely because of items 2 and 3, was faced squarely with the fact that I am entering "middle age," and will never have more babies; thus, my long-held dream of a specific domestic bliss in which I raise a child in a loving marriage to the child's father is gone forever.  Forever. 
So....in short, big changes were afoot, and I decided that I wanted to meet them with grace.  Some of you might know that I'm fond of giving things up for Lent (even though church itself was one of the things I gave up in Lent of 2010 and never really went back to).  I no longer consider myself a member of an organized religion, but I do still see meaning and value in adhering to some of its practices, and in immersing myself in some of its stories.  Lent, for me, is a good opportunity to focus on what I can shed in the interest of becoming freer from attachments, to explore the alchemy of death and resurrection.  (Which is especially meaningful to me right now as I'm finishing up my funeral celebrancy class.) 

This year, rather than give one thing up for the entire period of Lent, I did a three-week cleanse in its second half.  A cleanse is something I had considered doing for years, but never could find the resolve.  Most of the ones I had looked at were juice fasts, and seemed too extreme.  But this one is different.  The first week is mostly vegetables with some fruit and nuts/seeds; some of it is juices, but it also has soups, salads, and some cooked dishes.  The second week, you add back fish and legumes, and the third week you add back gluten-free grains and eggs.  It's available on the Whole Living website, and all the recipes are provided, which makes it very user-friendly.  A friend of mine does it about twice a year, and seeing how well it affects her was a big selling point for me. 

Amazingly enough, I made it through the entire three weeks without cheating (and I was surprised to find that my biggest temptation was not coffee but macaroni and cheese).  The first week was hell, especially with the caffeine withdrawal, and I briefly considered switching to a juice fast just to get it over with sooner, but I'm very glad I didn't, because it opened me up to a whole new way of eating and has had a permanent effect on how I shop, cook, and eat.  Some of the recipes were actually gourmet-level delectable, and I will continue to cook them on a regular basis.  I tried foods I thought I didn't like, and learned that I actually do.  I lost weight, which was an unanticipated but welcome side effect, especially losing that nasty belly bloat.  I firmed my lagging resolve to consistently avoid wheat and dairy; in fact, I haven't even much wanted those things since finishing the cleanse.

Grilled Salmon and Bok Choy with Orange-Avocado Salsa.  My absolute favorite recipe from the cleanse.  Get it here

And the effects were not just on the physical level; the ultimate value of doing the cleanse was in the very deliberate act and enduring commitment to care for myself.  It was a demonstration of self-love that has moved me into a new way of being.  This change actually began a year ago when I started doing weekly yoga and meditating on a daily basis, but the cleanse was a quantum leap in this direction.  I feel a greater acceptance, appreciation and gentleness toward myself now.  And then there's that wonderful feeling of accomplishment that I did it!, and the sense of strength and confidence that comes with that.

I planned the last day of the cleanse to coincide with my son's birthday on the 26th, and with a truly monumental event that was planned for the 27th, on the full moon:  a ceremonial photo shoot that I did with three amazing women in the wee hours of the morning.  It involved a labyrinth, an ordination ceremony, and lots and lots and lots of gold.

But I'll tell (and show) you all about that next time.  

2 comments:

  1. You've definitely had a big year (and it's only April!). You've inspired me to do the cleanse after I get back from New Orleans, and I've been more conscious about what I eat and how it makes me feel. (And I'm inching back toward vegetarianism, which feels good.) So - thank you! Can't wait to see how your year continues to unfold. I have a good feeling about it, for both of us.

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    1. Yay, for doing the cleanse! I'll be here for support :)

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