Friday, November 9, 2012

The Sweetness of Weakness

There's a natural flow to the way humans perceive the world and our general cosmic surroundings.  One might say our emotions mirror the tides - sometimes high, sometimes low...more or less intense given the state of our fleeting experiences.  This week, the tides were especially strong nationwide as an entire region fought to put the pieces back together after a major storm only to batten down the hatches for another one.  We re-elected a president and made some radical and progressive choices about policies within our varying states - all decisions that pleased some and offended others. 

Personally, the tide's pull became all the stronger as I was fortunate enough to launch a fashion line last Saturday with a dear friend - an experience that culminated in the glitter party to end all glitter parties in our beloved downtown St. Petersburg.  What was meant to be a fundraiser for a charity that is near and dear to our hearts (Feeding Children Everywhere) and a showcase of our hard work and intended efforts for the future of the fashion line became something so much larger and more beautiful.

Our Glitterama became a celebration of friendship and a testament to the fact that we are in no way complete without those that surround us and support us.

My parents instilled in me a few important lessons that I have carried with me since childhood - 1) Always under promise and over deliver  2) Try your best and don't worry about the outcome  3) Believe in yourself no matter what anyone else says... and... 4) Look out for yourself because it's possible that no one else will. 

While I still carry these lessons around in my proverbial basket of perspectives, I find that the older I get, and the more my friendships evolve, number four is quickly diminishing in weight.  Of course, I still guard myself fiercely against the potential sneaks and leeches of the world, but when I do encounter a spirit that I know I can benefit or that I know will benefit me and my journey, I am far more likely to reach out than to pull back.  Without the spirits I have collected to this juncture, the vision I had for what this past weekend would yield would never have even manifested let alone shattered my wildest dreams into pounds and pounds of fairydust.  

They say we are born into our families and we choose our friends, but I'm not sure that black and white description of life's parameters is accurate.  Maybe the way I have come to look at things is a little on the "woo-woo" side, but I genuinely believe that we are all here, stumbling around, bumping into one another, covered in cosmic Velcro, waiting to see who sticks.  The family we create is the collection we derive from all that stumbling and bumping, and while we may not always get along or understand one another, we are far more likely to become our best selves by knowing and experiencing each other than by wrapping ourselves in fear and paranoia so that our Velcro is rendered useless.

This morning, as the glitter is finally really settling, I am overwhelmed with gratitude for the sweet souls who make me better in some little way everyday and in very big ways when there is a sparkle party to be thrown.  From my parents who have supported me and my often insane ideas from birth and my husband who somehow doesn't think I am completely nuts to my cosmic sisters who I "collected" along the way and who make me a better me with every spray of glitter paint or swag bag stuffed, I am honored to be just a small portion on the universal buffet we have come together to create. 

Because of all of you, I can now celebrate my weaknesses because I know that where I leave off, there you are.  I may not be whole on my own, but I am whole, all the same.  You make me so.  And, if I can offer even a tablespoon of my own strengths to your spiritual recipe, then I am blessed. 

So, by proxy, like a little bit of sugar, it seems, our weaknesses actually make life a bit sweeter.

Friday, August 3, 2012

I am the warrior.

I am writing this blog because I believe that it is possible someone might be able to extract some kernel of help from it.  I have protected it for so many years because I could not see the good that could come from sharing it, but now I offer it up because my spirit realizes that keeping it tucked away is an act of self preservation.  I hope it yields a benefit somewhere out there in the universe.  It is certainly beneficial to me to release it.

Growing up, I was a dancer.  I took lessons from 4 years-old until I was out of high school.  (I even took a tap class just for fun in college!)  I was on the high school pom squad (we called it "drill team" in Texas) and I performed at a variety of high profile festivals and competitions.  I was an all-star, of sorts.  I participated in every genre available...tap, jazz, ballet, modern, that Olympic inspired style with the balls, hoops and name it, I did it.  Imagine my surprise when, at 16 years old, my dance teacher pulled me aside after a particularily difficult class and said, "Holley, you may want to think about giving up ballet.  I know you try, but you just don't have the body type for it." 

I responded the same way I always do when an authority figure is delivering bad news.  I nodded and agreed.  Of course, I was in no way equipped for a future in ballet.  She was most certainly right - yes ma'am.  Thank you, ma'am.

But, then I sat with it a while...again, like I always do...and the wound she had inflicted, that I had welcomed, began to fester.  I stood in front of my full length mirror that night and examined myself.  What was wrong with me that I wouldn't make a good ballet dancer?  I was strong.  I wasn't very flexible, but my dad was working with me on that - monitoring my nightly stretch routines.  I wasn't overly tall - I was only about 5'5 at the time.  (I have since grown a couple of inches)  I couldn't figure out what she meant unless she was saying that I was overweight.  Needless to say, I was crushed, but I tried to collect myself and move past it.

I never took another ballet class.

Shortly thereafter, my boyfriend of just over a year broke up with me.  I saw it coming.  Honestly, I was kind of relieved, but I quickly realized that the identity I had built in high school was lost when I lost him.  I wasn't "Holley" in my own right - I was his girlfriend.  That's how people knew me.  That's the monicker I had embraced.  And, suddenly, at 16 years old, I had no idea who I was. 

I dipped into depression and the loss of appetite that accompanied it bore substantial weight loss.  14 pounds in just over two weeks.  I had no energy.  I was irritable.  I hated myself and everyone around me.  One day at lunch, one of my high school's "mean girls" chose my lunch table for some unknown reason.  Upon placing her tray on the table, she covered her mouth with a shocked expression on her face and stared at me.

"Holley!  You've lost so much weight!  You look fantastic!" 

At first, I took her comment as a compliment.  I looked at the way the waistline of my jeans gaped and put my tupperware of carrots that I had been considering back in my lunchbox.  (Yes.  At 16, I still carried a lunch box.  My mom made me healthy lunches every day.  I had made a habit of returning them home, uneaten, and placing the contents back in their places in the refrigerator or pantry.  I thought she didn't notice.  She did.)

That unkind girl's comment took my loss of appetite and turned it into a weight loss obsession.  I was trying desperately not to eat, but my family meals caused a problem.  I was horrified at the thought of putting anything more substantial than jelly beans in my mouth, and I was being forced to consume pizza and stew. (two of my favorites)  But, I didn't want to upset my family, so I would eat. 

After about two weeks of grinning and bearing enchiladas, chili and my mom's famous "invention cookies", I came up with a solution.  The first time I made myself throw up was terrifying.  I sat on my knees in front of the toilet for an hour or so before I mustered the gumption to shove my finger down my throat.  It was terrible and exhilerating at the same time.  My eyes got all squinty, my nose ran profusely, and my skin turned all splotchy.  I looked a mess, but I was quite sure it would all be worth it.  No pain, no gain, right?  I threw up nearly everyday from then on out until I went to college. 

When I got to college, it was two or three times a day. 

My dad had caught me in the act once just before I left for college, and with tears in his eyes, begged me to stop and forbid me to leave for OU if I continued the behavior.  I promised him I would stop.  When my suite mate and now best friend caught me in the act our freshman year in our shared dorm bathroom, she drug my to counseling at our campus clinic.  I sat through one session because it was free and no charge would show up on the tuition bill that went to my parents, but I never went back. 

I had a longterm boyfriend in college who broke up with me once because he didn't know how to deal with my "problem".  My aunt recently revealed that she had become aware of my issue the summer I lived with her and my uncle during an internship.  She thought I was doing it to look good for the same boyfriend who couldn't deal with my post-meal trips to the bathroom.  It was impossible for me to explain to her the actual reason.  So, I just said, "well, everyone in my sorority house was doing it." 

The sorority, by the way, did not help matters one bit.  Eighty-six desperately body conscious women all living in one house was a nightmare scenario for a girl in my position.  Their insecurities became my insecurities, and all my neuroses escalated to dangerous heights.  In an effort to keep my habit a secret, I would throw up in the downstairs bathroom behind the snack bar that was supposed to be for male visitors.  When it was discovered that someone was throwing up in that bathroom, the door was locked during non-function hours, so I started throwing up in the shower.  When I became too scared that someone was going to notice, I started taking laxatives. 

The problem became slightly less pervasive when I moved into a three bedroom apartment with the aforementioned suitemate and one of her high school friends, but it didn't stop all together.  I also had my own bathroom, so I could do what I needed to do whenever I felt the urge without anyone finding out.  I found that when I was away from the constant influx of free food that seemed to make its way into the sorority house, a little of the pressure released, and I could go back to simply not eating.  It is worth mentioning that my habit had caused my hair to become brittle, my fingernails to peel and my hands to smell a little weird.  It is also worth mentioning that it was not acheiving the desired weight-loss I thought it would.  Bulemia doesn't do that in most cases.  Because lifestyle bulemics are at the mercy of their schedules as to when they can purge, most of the calories associated with food have time to make their way into the system.  Digestion is a process, but when one is very young and has a high metabolism, it doesn't really take all that long. 

After college, I continued to struggle.  I had my own apartment and a rigirous schedule at my first television station which yielded virtually no time for eating.  After moving to Florida, I began attempting to eat healthfully as often as possible, but I found that I was actually drinking most of my calories.  (Even good girls have to rebel at some point!)  I even mustered up the courage to tell my then boyfriend, now husband, about my habit because I had finally arrived at the realization that it wasn't a very healthy thing to be doing.  He wasn't happy with the information, but he didn't run away like the last boyfriend had, so I at least felt like I had an ally. 

After we got married, vomiting gave way to yo-yo dieting and frequent bouts of starvation.  My husband was diligent about making sure I wasn't throwing up after meals, but he was less inclined to pay attention when I declared myself "far too busy to eat!"  We moved from a small Florida town to a more metropolitan area, and I started a new job where people frequently took lunches together.  They called them "lunch buses", and I always participated, though lunch for me was usually two bites of whatever I ordered and a whole lot of coffee or diet coke.  I even got a gym membership despite the fact that we had one at our apartment complex, just so I could go there at lunch and avoid eating out where people might be watching. 

 It was a doctor's appointment for a sinus infection that set in motion the catharsis that would come some seven years later.  The doctor listened to my chest a few times before asking, "has anyone ever diagnosed you with a heart murmur?"  I responded that they hadn't, and she ordered a cardiac ultrasound.  The technician couldn't pinpoint any particular problems, so I believed the diagnosis to be a fluke.  However, when my OBGYN asked the same question during my annual visit, I became a little concerned.  I told her about the ultrasound and my family doctor's diagnosis, and she told me that heart damage can some times go totally undetected unless one were to be opened up for surgery of some kind.  She also mentioned that one of the primary causes of heart damage is malnutrition.  She also wrote me a prescription that day for my unusually intense acid reflux.

Fast forward seven years.  Seven years of some times eating, some times starving.  Seven years of working out obsessively.  Of training for long distance races on less than substantial nourishment.  Seven years of living off of caffeine, popping insane doses of fiber and occassionally revisiting my old enemy in the bathroom.  (I popped a blood vessel in my eye during one of my more recent visits.  I told everyone I had done so via a violent sneeze.)

If you have read my limited posts on this blog, then you know that I visited a psychic at the beginning of the year.  After spending only twenty minutes with her, I knew I had a resolution to make.  It was time to become my best self....but within the parameters that genetics and the universe had set out for me.  I wasn't totally sure what that meant at the time, but I was confident that a solution would reveal itself.  I had also just attempted to engage in a "cleanse" that was more about weight loss than it was about spiritual awakening, which is what I told my friends.  (In fact, I chronicled it in a blog here - if you read it, you'll see how very clearly I was still in the dark.) 

A couple of months ago, I enrolled in a "Boot Camp" for charity.  I began rising at 5 a.m. to engage in intense cardio and weight-lifting, once again, endeavoring to drop a few pounds and see myself looking tiny and svelt like my mind always believed I could.  About two weeks in, I had an appointment with my doctor which necessitated a visit with a scale - an unpleasant one.  I had gained weight.  Two or three pounds.  I was mortified.  I almost didn't get up to go to boot camp the next morning, but something told me I should do it anyway.  I was lifting weights.  I was bulking up.  I was becoming a hulk-woman.  I was sure people probably looked at me and saw Popeye.  But, I got up with my alarm anyway.

I told my trainer about my experience, and he told me not to lose heart - that women who don't lift weights often see a little bump in weight as their muscles are building.  After all, muscle weighs more than fat.  He took my body fat calculation, and it was actually pretty good.  However, we made a plan to lower it which included eating more protein and fewer carbs.  But, his main piece of advice was to make sure I was eating enough.  This was a foreign concept for me.  I even tracked my meals and snacks on a website, and we went over the results together.  I cut back in certain areas and amped up others.  I was diligent, and I ate.  I ate plenty. 

This morning, we took my weight and body fat percentage again.  I am down about four pounds and 1.5 body fat percentage points.  I had to take my shirt off and do the body fat test in my sports bra and work out shorts in order for my trainer to properly use the little measurement pinchers (there is a technical name for these...) and I got a look at my full physique in the giant mirrors that surround the gym where we work out.  The woman I saw was chiseled.  She wasn't overly bulky or hulky.  She had definition in places she didn't realize she could have it.  She was something of a specimen.

But, she wasn't a waif.   She was slim but not slight.  She had substantial triceps and the beginnings of a six pack.  Her quadriceps were full and cut inward vertically down her upper thigh, and her calves were large but smooth.  She did not look like a fashion model.  She did not look like a Hollywood actress. 

She did not look like a ballerina.

The woman standing in that gym looked like a warrior.  It was in that moment, with me staring at her and her staring at me, that I realized how backward my concept of beauty had always been.  For so many years, I had been trying to alter the woman on the outside to make the woman on the inside feel better about herself.  To yield something that fit into my vision of loveliness.  I was trying to bolster my insides with the help of my outer appearance.

But, in that gym, nearly naked, standing in front of those giant mirrors, it all clicked.  In my life pursuits, I have always been strong, aggressive and poised.  I fight the good fight.  I stand up for the underdog.  I am professional and proud.  I am disciplined.  When I offer a kindness, it is backed by everything I have.  I am extreme, some times stubborn and a good leader.

I was never meant to be slight.  My outside would not have been consistent with my inside.  That mirror revealed a woman who was more herself than she had ever been - an outward expression of an inner power.  I am becoming the best Me possible.  And, now I can't imagine why I ever tried to do any different.  My true self had to reveal itself to me before I could finally see that my body is its perfect counterpart. 

I don't just look like the warrior.  I am the warrior.

Monday, January 23, 2012

The Cleanse

It's been quite some time since I ventured into the Hollisphere.  I have asked myself on many occassions what is compelling me to keep my distance.  On the one hand, I think I often doubt the relevance of my offerings - whether purging them from my mind and releasing them into cyberspace is in any way impactful or even appreciated.  I've also considered whether laying bare my soul is actually worthwhile and/or beneficial in the grand scheme of things.  I often find myself making silent apologies in my head - wishing I had held more tightly to the thoughts that escaped onto the page when I was at my most introspective or reckless.

But...despite all that, I find myself here again.  And, from what I can deduce at the present moment, there is no more appropriate place for me to be.  Thus, I bring you my account of my January cleanse which I intended to use as a jumpstart to a year of healthy living - a revival of my dedication to mastering my personal ultimate lifestyle.  I welcome your judgments as to whether it was successful.

I considered inacting a cleanse for some time before actually diving in.  2011 was a difficult year for many reasons, and I thought that perhaps a cleanse would act as a fitting symbol for the sort of purge I was trying to accomplish - emotional...spiritual...physical.  And, as I so very often do, I turned to the easily accessible, often unproven resources of the internet for guidance.  As the great Billy Joel once crooned, "I don't know why I go to extremes"...but I do.  I almost always do, so for me there was absolutely no other option but "The Master Cleanse". 

Now, for those of you who are unfamiliar with "The Master" as we'll call it, this particular cleanse involves an intense saltwater flush combined with a regiment of ingesting only liquid calories by way of a "lemonade" concocted of fresh lemon juice, real maple syrup and cayenne pepper.  It sounds disgusting, but it is actually delicious albeit very high in sugar which I really didn't understand seeing as how I thought I was trying to avoid sugar.....  Anyway, adhering to "The Master" meant performing the saltwater flush and drinking nigh unto 6-8 cups of the lemonade daily.  There is also an "easing-in" period of consuming only living foods followed by only juices for about three days.  Because I tend to believe myself to be invincible, I skipped that.  The phrase "ease-in" does not exist in my vocabulary.  The Piano Man and I have more than a few things in common....

Frightened of the explosive nature of the saltwater flush and keenly aware of my public persona, I chose to exercise a less aggressive elimination stimulant.  They make a tea which can be used for this purpose which is actually quite pleasant.  You can find it at any drugstore.  The name makes my giggle, so I won't share it here, but you'll know it when you see it. (Not that I am recommending this cleanse....keep reading)  Day 1 passed without incident, and because I am sometimes overly self-motivated, I was actually excited about the fact that I was not eating.  Day 2 was pretty much the same.  And, because I am every bit as competitive as I am dedicated, I decided to decrease my daily servings of "lemonade" to roughly 3 or 4 - about half of the recommended "dose".  Every hunger pain or stomach growl issued a pat on the back from my conscious mind, but somewhere way back in the recesses of my being, there was a disturbance. 

By Day 3, I was starting to falter.  I went for a massage at my favorite spa, and upon revealing my intentions to my masseuse, found my massage being down-graded to a less toxin expelling version.  Basically, she was forced to simply pet me for an hour.  And, I was freezing!  I was cold all the time - not just during my massage.  I was having flu-like chills on the regular...I have never worn so many layers of clothing at one time in my life - not even on ski trips.  I was beginning to think perhaps my plan was not such a good one, so I decided that on Day 4, I would allow myself a fist-sized portion of vegetables to try and defend myself against the effects of my choice.

When I awoke on Day 4, I was still freezing and felt strangely agitated.  It was a Friday, so I was thankful that I would be able to spend a little time resting after the work day.  I also began to notice a strange smell emanating from my skin.  It was reminiscent of freshly cut grass mixed with some kind of citrus fruit, enhanced by a hint of copper.  It was unnerving.  Despite my extra long shower and brushing my teeth a record four times that day, I could not shake the smell.  It was the new smell of "me", and I was going to have to either live with it or call it quits on the cleanse.  I chose the former, but I did do a little research on the oh-so-reliable internet and found that my body had gone into ketosis, and while the smell was all-encompassing for me, other folks were probably not noticing it.  I decided to stick to my plan for minimal vegetable consumption hoping that perhaps that would help to eliminate if not at least minimalize the odor, as it was not particularily pleasant.

That Friday evening, I ventured out to one of my favorite dining establishments called "Taco Bus" where I knew I would be able to order a simple dish of roasted butternut squash with avocado on top.  I spent a good half hour savoring my tiny portion, conversing with friends and shivering.  About 45 minutes into our visit, one of my friends began talking about a stone she had purchased at a New Age store across the street.  She said that the shopkeeper had delivered a blessing onto the stone, and while we could all look at it, we were not allowed to touch it.  She spoke about asking the stone to deliver its powers into her life.  I found the idea intriguing.  Another of my friends glanced across at the little shop and noted that there were psychic readings offered inside.  She made mention of this fact, to which I responded that psychic readings were often rather expensive and typically vague.  (I would have no real knowledge of this considering that I had never had one, but I read it on the internet, so it must be true.)  There was a phone number on the window, so my friend pulled out her phone and called to see how much a reading would cost.  It was surprisingly inexpensive.  She made mention of this to the group, and everyone nodded.

Quite suddenly, I did something extremely out of character which surprised me AND my cohorts.  I stood up and walked across the street.  I'm not sure why I did it - I just did.  It seemed to be the right thing to do, and I had an immediate inclination that constantly second-guessing my intuition was one of the many characteristics I needed to release.  I carried myself across the street with gusto, then found myself entering the shop rather tentatively...suddenly afraid of the choice I had made. 

I was greeted cheerfully by a kind gentlmen only a few years my senior named Chris.  He asked if he could help me, and I told him that I wanted to inquire about a psychic reading. 

"Nita is incredible," he told me.  "She's with another guest just now, but she'll be done in just a few minutes if you'd like to wait." 

I decided to do so.  In an effort to make small talk, I asked Chris if he had been the one to bless my friend's stone.  He smiled warmly and chuckled.

"That was me.  There are good things coming your friend's way," he said.  And, quite unexpectedly, I unquestioningly believed him. 

Chris and I continued to chat, and he asked me what I do to help curb stress.  I told him that I do yoga, but that I somehow find myself in a much more meditative space when I am running.  He nodded, and asked me to look over my shoulder.

"Does the sculpture to your left resonate with you?" he asked.

I looked to my left, and there was an ornate statue of an indian chief with one arm extended up to the heavens and the other held down to his side - almost ironically positioned in a yogic "warrior" pose.  I was suddenly choked up.  My cultural heritage is heavily centered among the Cherokee, but by looking at me, you might not know it.  I have a year-round tan but no other real specific native American physical traits.  A million thoughts passed through my mind in response to Chris' inquiry, but my reply was simply, "yes". 

He nodded, knowingly, but not condescendingly. 

"I'd like to play something for you," he said, and bent over his computer.  He summoned a YouTube channel where a young man sat stocially pounding out a simple but powerful rhythm on a single drum.  I felt my breath catch in my chest as I listened.  Standing there in the middle of that shop, my mind began to narrow to a singular focus.  There was nothing but the sound of the drum.  The rest of the world was silent.  The other customer who was still behind me perusing a wall of books had ceased to exist.  In an effort not to sound too dramatic, the moment was somewhat existential.

Chris pushed pause on the computer, and I shook my head some to relocate my connection with my body.  I was standing in a New Age shop in downtown St. Pete waiting to receive a psychic reading.  Even my reality seemed too surreal, so I decided to give in to it.  Perhaps Chris sensed this.  Chris seemed to sense quite a lot.

He proceeded to tell me a story about an encounter he had had with a deeply spiritual woman a year or so earlier.  In an effort to convey a story to her on the sidewalk outside his shop, he recounted diminishing and even "dumbing down" his rhetoric to protect himself from judgement by the woman.  As he was speaking, the woman stopped him mid-sentence and said, "Chris.  Stopping taking the Eagle out of your words."  Trying to simplify the story for the woman had removed Chris' full honesty and passion for the words he was expressing, and the woman recognized it. 

"And, you don't have to be a spiritualist to notice that," he told me.  I nodded.  I knew exactly what he was saying.  If we all think back on conversations we've had with friends, colleagues, family members and even strangers...there is an innate human ability to know when the full spirit of a story or piece of dialogue is missing. 

Chris looked at me warmly but with genuine concern.

"You're a healer, Holley.  It's your gift.  But, you won't be able to do your job if you take away the Eagle."

I was speechless, but the moment allowed for my retreat into dumb silence because Nita walked out from her office with her previous client, and Chris' attention shifted.  I waited, still mute, while Nita grounded herself and purged her space of the last visitor's energy.  Even after my strange but enlightening encounter with Chris, I was still a little nervous about spending time with Nita.  She seemed normal enough - diminutive and brunette, she wasn't wearing a turban or carrying a crystal ball.  She wasn't draped in scarves or painted with henna.  She looked like any other St. Pete gal who might work at a coffee shop or as a graphic designer at an artsy ad agency.  She

I entered Nita's little office and sat opposite her in a wooden chair with a small table between us. The table was adorned with a series of decks of cards all stacked off to the side.  The middle of the table was empty and covered with a velvet cloth.  Nita instructed me to place my palms on hers, and she closed her eyes and breathed.  She told me that I was getting a new car with a circular emblem like a BMW, but not...she didn't reconize it because she was not familiar with the logo.  I received my long awaited Fiat that week.  There was no way she could have known that.  She proceeded to tell me other small details about my life...and then greater ones...all information I choose still to protect because it belongs to me and me only.  She never instructed - she only provided insight.  She new I had come to her in confusion with need of guidance, and in a weakened physical state, but she refused to offer counsel...only insight. 

About ten minutes into our encounter, she asked me, "Why am I being so drawn to the area of your stomach?  There is so much confusion there."

I told her I was in the midst of a cleanse.  She nodded.  Then...

"But, that's not the type of cleanse you need...."


"But, you already know that." 

My eyes misted over and I nodded.  She told me that I spend too much time churning over information, perceptions, ideas, experiences...creating a horrible blockage in my mind and spirit.  What I needed to purge was not in my digestive system.  It was in my heart. 

All I could do was nod. 

We chatted some after that about more specific areas where I had questions, and then our time was up.  I left the little office with Nita following behind me, and my friends told me I was as white as a sheet.  Before the reading, I had promised myself that I would not take it at face value - that I would mull it over some before I made any conclusions about what I had experienced.  But, then I realized that mulling things over was exactly what I had just been warned against.  And, so I let that inclination pass and thanked my angels for allowing me a moment of clarity with a kind woman who could have just as easily been a very perceptive barista.

The next day, I gave up "The Master" which I admitted to myself had basically been a fast.  I allowed myself to recognize my true motivations for the physical torture I had undertaken then promptly forgave myself and resolved to stop judging my actions and decisions at every turn.  Besides, while my destructive cleanse might have been just the end, it yielded a series of events and encounters that brought me to the true cleanse I needed...and still pursue.  Life is so often that way.  What looks like a mistake one day, often brings about transformation days or weeks or months later.  There is an ebb and flow to this existence, and we are very simple beings trying to navigate a very expansive experience. 

Such was my run-in with "The Master" - much different that Beyonce's was, I am quite sure.  Now that you've ingested my story, without the removal of the Eagle - I can assure you-...touch it...breathe with it....and let it pass along, as Nita would say.  I refuse to be a contributor to YOUR personal spiritual blockage.

And, because you may have been wondering....I no longer smell weird.  So, that's good.