Like a rude awakening, my illusions crumbled down around
me-exposing me. In all my nakedness, I clambered for something to hide
behind; but the old masks, costumes and distractions no longer worked.
Realizations can be shocking, ultimately freeing; yet, this time it
Isn't it funny how we create little
realities? They are tidy and most of the time comfortable-too
comfortable. I buy into my realities so well that often I cannot
understand how others do not. Why can't they see things my way? After
all, I am a compassionate, level-headed, easy-going sort of person.
This January, I finally gave into a long
nagging to discover my "Truths" through diet. The great thinkers and
religious hallmarks throughout history had interesting approaches to
spiritual pursuits. Fasting or limiting food intake has been and still
is a common practice in spiritual or religious endeavors. The journey
has been calling me for some time, but my fears and apprehension were
great. After all, I never had the desire to become a "hallmark" or
religious leader of any kind. What would my friends and family say? How
would I feel if I did not do this?
Gandhi's autobiography highlighting his experiments with Truth pushed
me over the edge. I read his tales of fasting for spiritual and
political reasons with great interest. Fasting was not his only tool.
Dietary self-restraint seemed to fuel his spirituality. How this led
him on his quest for Truth; I was not fully understanding though I
could grasp the discipline such a practice would require. As each read
page turned, so built my motivation.
in a tapestry being pushed into place revealing the artistry, my fears
were replaced with clarity. It was time. My body was coming back into
its own after two and a half years of breast feeding my daughter.
Spring would be arriving soon; time to prepare my body for a liver
cleanse. Spiritually, I was ready.
set the date for My Great Experiment in Truth to begin after vacation.
The restrictions were decidedly challenging without disregarding
health. And I did not want to loose too much weight. I have been a
Vegetarian for a few months short of half my life and have been
hyper-conscious of nearly every morsel of food which has passed my
lips. Being a Lacto-Vegetarian gave me a good place to start-no more
yogurt, cheese or ghee (clarified butter). I also decided to forego
sugar and food after 7:00pm. Since my goal was to fuel my body with
that closest to life and nature, wholegrains would replace all refined
or processed grains. The only exception I would make would be to allow
myself a bowl of hot oat bran or rolled oats in the morning.
Don't get me wrong. Some changes have not been for the better, in my
humble opinion. Often, though, I feel those changes were forced by us
and our desire to rule or overpower.
evolution, and metamorphosis are necessary and healthy, should they not
be embraced? Think of all the cultures that suffer from unchanging
turbulence like standing water growing turbid and fowl. Even changes
that we perceive as losses are truly lessons and benefit humanity in
the long run.
In my life change has caused me to
rely on my faith; in my friends and family, in God and my faith in my
self, like tossing a jigsaw puzzle, forcing me to evaluate my beliefs.
I have resisted change with limitless zeal, clenching my fists so
tightly that what I held onto as unchangeable turned to dust-a lesson
The best changes seem to come hard.
We have all experienced the ones which stung at first. After our fists
relax and the dust settles we realize it was the best thing to ever
happen. Even Mohandas Gandhi (the great believer in change), the source
of Satyagraha or passive resistance, said,
"But it was not meant to be. I have found by experience that man makes
his plans to be often upset by God, but, at the same time where the
ultimate goal is the search for truth, no matter how a man's plans are
frustrated, the issue is never injurious and often better than
I have grown to realize
that New Year's Resolutions just are not for me. I do much better
making life altering changes slowly over time. The switch flicking is
not my forte. Time is a great guide allowing me to make educated
decisions along the way. The funny thing is that even these changes
don't always go as I plan. Wasn't it John Lennon who said, "Life is
what happens when we are busy making other plans"?
Since pure body, mind and spirit go hand in hand; I would have to find
as many organic ingredients as possible. If at the end of this I did
not find Truth, I would at the very least have developed a little more
self-discipline and a really clean body.
not take long for me to realize where this was leading me. Where my
usual justifications could not longer excuse, and "emotional stuffing"
was unacceptable; I found a place of self-deception. The illusions I
created for myself shattered like so many glass houses.
A poignant moment came early in the experiment. It was a stressful
morning and I thought that a cup of tea with honey was in order-a sweet
elixir for strained emotions. My hot cup in hand my heart was
anticipating the sweet R & R. I was on automatic pilot.
Grabbing the honey my heart sank. Sweetener! When I began the
experiment I said sugar; but honestly, I meant any sweetener except
fruit. The essence of the experiment would be betrayed if I drank the
honey. Truth would not allow it; and if I had honey that day, would
that say I apply my Truth only where it is most convenient? Honeyless,
I was forced to deal with my stress head on.
journey has taught me a great deal about myself and those around me.
Forcing myself to look at my food issues, my insecurities, my lies, my
emotions-practicing honesty with myself while holding myself
accountable has led me to see clearly these aspects of illusions in
other areas of my life. Saying or doing anything slightly dishonest or
leaning toward justification sends off fireworks in my head. Truth like
water in the fountain in my office flows into every crevice of my
being. I have grown keenly aware of how I speak, and how I react to
people and situations. Weaknesses have been found in relationships that
I thought were solid. Where I thought I was being compassionate and
patient, I have found self-destructive behaviors, in others
co-dependence and obligation.
My relationship with
myself has also changed. Once the veils are parted some of what I am
seeing is ugly. Over the years I have drifted far from myself. I grieve
for her. All the years spent building illusions in the name of virtue,
drowning in untruth and abandoning my self for what I perceived to be
love. I grieve for those who will not accept the changes in our
relationship and for those who see my experiment as a deficit. As if
divorcing myself, some relationships that were close will fall by the
At this point, I do not know when the
experiment will come to a close. I revel in the energy I once used to
maintain my illusions. What a great feeling. M. K. Gandhi was correct
in using food as a starting point in practicing Truth. Now, I
understand. While grieving, the healing has already begun.