02 Jul The Second Half
I’m not even sure what to say, so let me just start writing and see what comes out.
I woke up this morning into day 11 of Whole30. This is my eleventh day of eliminating alcohol, dairy, bread, rice, all other grains, processed food, and *most* sugar. I say *most* because 1) I am allowed to have natural sugars such as fruit, and 2) I admit to having a bit of dark chocolate on day nine, because holy wow, the sugar cravings and withdrawal were a real thing! I definitely felt my mini chocolate binge the next day in the form of lethargy and sluggishness. I even took a nap that day. Our bodies are truly amazing. I found it so cool to have the awareness that sugar is what caused that feeling of tiredness the following day. It’s empowering to be so tuned into my body that I can sense the effects of every single thing I put in it. What a beautiful reminder that I am in control of my own experience. I hold the power over my own health, wellbeing, and happiness in this life. Sometimes this requires a little self-control, which is not always easy, but definitely worth it. In yoga, we call this Tapas, or self-discipline.
What is Tapas?
In India, some spiritual renunciates partake in practices such as sitting outside in the dead of winter wearing only a loincloth for three hours, for forty-five days in a row, or in the heat of summer, building small fires and sitting around them in the blazing heat, again for three hours per day, forty-five days straight. They do this to establish themselves in a firm center that is not disturbed by any extremes from the outside world. They practice staying still no matter what fears or thoughts are running through their own minds.
Obviously our own practice does not need to be this extreme, but the point is that these examples may inspire a little more depth in our own discipline.
“Tapas literally means ‘heat,’ and can be translated as catharsis, austerities, self-discipline, spiritual effort, change, tolerance or transformation. Tapas has the sense of ‘cooking’ ourselves in the fire of discipline to transform ourselves into something else. It is our determined effort to become someone of strength and character.”
-Deborah Adele, from her book The Yamas & Niyamas
My initial intention with doing Whole30 and what inspired me most about it was the clarity that my dear friend was experiencing on it when she was about halfway through. I could see it in her eyes. She felt clear, aware, and strong. It was beautiful. It was an easy decision after that, honestly, especially considering everything we are facing right now in the world. This cleanse is my way of taking my power back, of returning to love for my body, listening to it more intently, increasing my connection with the universe, with the nature and people around me. As I clear my own vessel and raise my vibration, the universe responds. She supports me. She wants to support us all, we just have to wake up to our relationship with Her. We do that by simply waking up to our relationship with ourselves.
We are all on a path. Our natural tendency is to evolve, most obviously in our bodies, but just as importantly, in our consciousness.
As always, thank you for being on this journey with me. I’d love to hear ways in which you are raising your own vibration during these times. If you feel inspired to cleanse, there are so many ways to do it. If it’s new to you, try just one week, or choose an amount of time that works for you. Maybe even just choose one thing you do not eat or consume for a while, and use it as a tool to become more self-aware. Aware of how foods make you feel, aware of how an addition (or absence) of certain activities (or people) make you feel. Continually exploring Tapas in your own life will help you continue evolving your consciousness and expanding your experience in this life to encompass more joy, presence, and forward motion. It will help you cultivate the strength you need to release behavioral patterns that aren’t serving you, free yourself from the conditioning you learned as a child, break away from toxic relationships, and love yourself more deeply than you could ever imagine. Tapas helps us become conscious creators of our own lives.
Since many of us are living in fight-or-flight right now with heightened stress levels, I’d like to leave you today with this awesome article I found from Harvard Health about the stress response, how it works in our bodies, and techniques to counter chronic stress (of course, yoga is on there). Even if you have already learned this information, it is wonderful to brush up on, and to share with your family and friends. This is the information that will empower us all to get and stay healthy. This is the information our government does not share with us that will help us take our power back and stop living in fear. Do not forget, you are the one in control, of your body and your life.
Happy July. Let’s enjoy as best we can this second half of 2020. Because, why not?