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Day 5 of my cleanse.

I woke early and with a busy mind.  Clear headed, my thoughts sharp in a way I cannot describe.

TRANSFORM is the word I chose from the bowl this morning.

I write.  I spend the day holding that word in my mind as I move from this task to that…seeing what I see…the moment between the task, how I move, the movement between the tasks.  The stillness between the postures…the essence of the time of transformation.  THAT essence is what is perfectly clear in my mind.  I feel an energy pulsing through my body…an excitement that brings tears to my eyes as I look at the leaves, bright red and orange and yellow.  Standing in the field, a standing ovation of sorts for this spectacular show.

If nothing else…isn’t life and nature transformative?  We can be sure of change.  Period.

Transform, to me, is bigger than change.

Vast.  Surrender.  Become.  Open.  Nurture.  Expand.

Spring and fall, the obvious seasons of transformation in the big ways we see and feel.  Now, at the peak of fall, the landscape explodes in color, exuberant in its expression…natures’ grand finale as it takes us from the outward expressions of life to ones that are closer and quieter.  Change happens to us…in spite of us.  Transformation is what happens when we surrender and allow our best selves to come into being.  Transform is what happens in the in-between moments with careful attention and intention.  When we slow and expand the stillness between the posture or the words, the moments we pay careful attention to are the moments that transform us.  Like watching a leaf turn from green, to bright red and then whirling its way to the ground.

I’ve struggled these past months.  Too much news and social media, headlines…as I hope to see some good news.  Information that sums up the world in a sound bite is obviously ignoring the moment and almost every single other thing in the world.  Emotionally depressed, angry, sad, hopeless and then… achy joints, heavy and pain in my body and in my feet.

This is what I began to notice.  I had also been ignoring the moments in-between. I don’t know about you but the last year of waiting for good news from headlines…waiting for a news organization or a health organization to say it’s all okay has taken a toll in hidden ways.  A seeming lack of control, maybe…but deeper even than the fear of all of it, is the feeling of hopelessness and that was reflected in my body.  I moved through the “old” practices on autopilot in order to cope because I was numbing out everything else I was hearing.  Numbing comes in all kinds of forms and opportunities but it isn’t a selective process.  If I numb one thing, I numb it all.  Fear of being still or quiet or even alone for too long because it might tell the world I am not ok.  Look!  I’m perfectly okay even though the world seems to be really fucked up!

About the first of September after a conversation with my sister, I realized, I was not ok.  I said the words for the first time with tears running down my face, I am not okay.  I was depressed and angry at the world and the people in it…physically suffering and in pain.  This is not how I want to live.  I missed my best self.  Not my younger self, or place, or old friends…but ME.  The center of Teri.

Begin again.

That’s what came to me one morning.  So.  I pulled out my old, well used and loved meditation book and read the very first page.  I started there.  I wrote random words every day that came in my mind and tried not to make sense of any of it.  The next day I read the 2nd page.  In the dark, I lit a candle.  Then, the most basic cue in a yoga class…pull your belly in, came to mind.  I’ve heard it thousands of times…but it became clear, really clear for the first time in 25 years of hearing it.  I began focusing on that all day long and especially throughout a yoga practice.  I focused on it when I walked and went up and down the steps. I found my core.  That focus brings me into the moment and causes me to pay careful attention to how I am moving through the world.  I started doing core exercises (which I’ve always HATED) and suddenly I walked lighter.  I started taking a slow walk through the woods to the pond and sitting there quietly just gazing at the trees as they turned colors and the reflection in the water.  I pulled my belly in and walked home.

This morning, on day 5 of my cleanse, my mind clear in a way it hasn’t been in a year, I think.  I want a transformation and it must begin with myself.  I had to let go of the worries for the world and begin again…

With the most basic skills and tools I know, in order to bring myself back to me.

This clarity…these ideas didn’t just come to me.  I’ve been preparing for weeks…hoping that if I just started at the beginning and began to prep, transformation would find me in the midst of change.  Like the calm in a storm.  I started with the basic practices in anticipation of what I know is my best self.

A cleanse is not actually about food.  It is about carefully and consciously nurturing and caring for yourself, making the time for this while putting your best intentions into practice and making that commitment for a week.  It’s never about food.  Transformation requires more of us…more than just knowing what practices and self-care are…it actually demands that we make a commitment and honor it.  The first step on the road to confidence; honoring the commitment we make to ourselves about ourselves.

I let social plans and the desire to connect go…so that this week I could just be with myself and my self-care.  Oil pulling, dry brushing…I got a massage.  I sat and read a book.  I went to bed early when I was tired.  I wrote.  Since we married and moved here, I had not allowed this time and space for myself and it has acted out in the way I was showing up in my marriage.  I lost myself in the pandemic.

Surrender and going back to the beginning and doing it without any plans other than a willingness to have a different experience.  Begin again.  Life is beginning again over and over and over.  The smallest step, the simplest practice.  Open.  Make space for transformation.  Change happens, transformation is both subtle and like exploding out of a canon.

As I cut all the flowers I can from the cutting garden today, I do it with reverence.  Gratitude spilling from my lips over and over.  Change is happening and with intention, I pay close attention to this moment and then the moment in-between.  Its what I believe lays the groundwork for true transformation.


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