Grassroots Healing, Musings, Reflections, Spirituality

Physician, heal thyself. Physician, know thyself.

Has it ever been said to you, “oh, you won’t know yourself!’?

Particularly in the context of finally accomplishing something that you’ve been anticipating for a very long time.

About 6 months ago, this was said to me, by multiple people. You see, after a long time gyspying about and toying with homelessness, my mob and I finally moved into our own home. I had been anticipating this momentous event for about 4.5 years. I had envisioned what it would be like. What stuff we had in storage that I had forgotten about. Oh and all my books, how I longed for my books. I’d laughed off this ‘not knowing myself’ like the throw away line that it was. Funnily enough, it is actually a truism.

I spent the first two weeks after we moved in in a state of shock. I felt numb. Empty. I quite literally didn’t know who I was or where I was. I was lost. At one point I stood in front of my new pantry and gave myself permission out loud to put my herbs and spices in the actual pantry instead of keeping them in the ‘kitchen stuff’ storage container that I had carted around forever. After awhile, and after processing with friends, I realised that this was something akin to Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. There had been a lot going on over last four years (well, 39 really). I needed to decompress. I no longer needed to be in survival mode. I was finally free. Free to be me. What did normal look like again? Had I ever actually done ‘normal’?

I took solace in the valley that runs behind our house. There’s a river running through it. Don’t get the wrong impression here, we’re in suburbia not a secluded woodland. Nevertheless my Abba is good to me, and He has filled it with familiar faces, and in turn I have filled my Instagram feed with pictures of them- shepherd’s purse, cleavers, dandelions, nettles, borage, periwinkles, speedwell, chickweed……I also took joy with the discovery that we have an almond, a pomegranate, a loquat, an apple, a persimmon, roses, lilies, plantain, dandelion, wild lettuce, and fumitory growing in our yard. These are the little things that give me comfort, that ground me and give me assurance. This is the wild medicine that soothes my soul.

I’ve managed to come back to Earth a bit now. We have a good rhythm going with the kid’s life-learning, and I’m settling into domestic queendom. Still, this idea of ‘knowing oneself’ has given me much to reflect on. We recently came back from observing the Feast of Tabernacles (aka the Festival of Booths, aka Sukkot). This 7 day Festival (and it’s concluding 8th day Festival) speaks of the significance of temporary dwellings, and looking toward the ultimate Homecoming. I came back from that with a very strong desire in my heart to fast. I needed to do some deep work. I needed to hang out with my Creator for a bit, and I needed to learn how to ‘know myself’. Perhaps this message to fast had been given to me long before, because I had unintentionally been preparing for it by intermittent fasting for several months beforehand.

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I’ve written a bit about fasting before, but probably more to do with juice feasting/fasting. This time I was doing a water fast, ie; water only. I did a short 4 days during this particular fast.

Fasting on water is a profound tool for healing on all levels of our being. Approached mindfully and with careful preparation it can allow the body the rest it needs to fully activate it’s innate self-healing intelligence and heal many conditions. I recommend coaching and/or supervision if you are new to fasting or if you intend to fast longer than 7 days. And I thoroughly recommend Stephen Harrod Buhner’s book, The Transformational Power of Fasting as a good primer on the why, how, when, and what to expect across the spiritual, emotional, and physical spheres. He has also written a great article summarising the benefits here.

The old authors say that the most important part of the fast comes afterward, in the re-feeding stage and beyond. This is when much of what our bodymind was sorting and processing during the fast comes to our conscious awareness for analysis and/or release. I found that even two weeks after my fast ended, it was still deeply impacting my consciousness. The following notes are those that I wrote at two weeks post-fast.

 

  • Deep fasting invites the participant to examine themselves on levels that they may not have had access to before. Without distraction, we are invited to observe our motivations, our agenda, to distinguish and clear the stories that were told to us about us, that we believed and allowed ourselves to be defined by.
  • Without distraction, it invites us to come into communion with our Creator (take note – what is the focus of our affliction on Atonement); to hear His wisdom and feed on His Word. To take comfort in His glory, His kindness.
  • It invites us to step outside of time, to slow down. To just be. Deep in the fasted state is where we find – where I have found – this place called ‘Home’.
  • Profound revelations happen in the fasted state. We raise our vibration, our body changes it’s fuel source – both physiologically and metaphorically. This is palpable, tangible; an incredible lightness of being.
  • When you leave the fast and the deep space of lived experience, you are not the same person you were when you went in. The most profound changes occur, is noticeable, in the days and weeks after the fast. You can’t expect to step back into the same lifestyle, the same habits, the same patterns of behaviour that you lived before the fast. The agenda, the story, the motivation behind that way of living was exposed during the fast, and left behind in the void. You are, essentially, a new being. You are someone who has just journeyed outside the Cosmos, beyond the event horizon. Beyond your fear.
  • You can try and return to your previous life, but your integrated body won’t allow it. It has experienced freedom, and it won’t allow you to come back to carry, what is essentially now, empty baggage. Your body holds you accountable. Your Creator holds you accountable. This may sometimes account for an ‘unfinished’ feeling.
  • Notice your dreams during the fast. Their meanings will become crystal clear.  As your integrated body processes the experience, and the stories that it let’s go, and reveals to you your true purpose.
  • Notice the clarity with which you see the Cosmos after your fast. You stepped out of the matrix (perhaps without realising you were even in it to begin with); and now you see it clearly for what it is. Notice how you no longer suffer, tolerate, distraction or attachment, in your physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual bodies. Notice how you long to be away from the man-made, and more in touch with the natural creation.
  • In the physical body, profound changes occur. You can breathe for the first time since that first breath you took when you were born. Perhaps it is the first time you have ever experienced true inspiration.
  • As much as there is a letting go of toxins, parasites, disease conditions, excess fat, trauma and so forth; there is an acceptance and a kindness that one feels toward oneself. You become to ‘know thyself’.

 

If you fast for physical reasons, be prepared to be challenged and changed in your mental, emotional, and spiritual outlook. We are integrated beings searching for our true home. Fasting will give you a glimpse of what that looks like.

 

Michelle x

 

 

 

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Grassroots Healing

Making a Feast of Fasting: The most effective medicine of all.

About a week ago I emerged bright-eyed and bushy-tailed from a 21-day Juice Feast. As I’m now navigating the sometimes treacherous and turbulent terrain of peri-menopause, I’ve learnt to pre-empt the familiar descent into nervous breakdown that percolates during times of pro-longed stress, and channel it’s energies into a period of juice feasting. This provides an effective detox and release valve. During the Winter of 2012, I completed a 28-day Master Cleanse fast. It was liberating and healing, both emotionally and physically, and as such I’ve undertaken many short-term (3-7 days) juice feasting since.

 

The difference between Juice feasting and juice fasting, and water or dry fasting is important to understand. Fasting (abstaining from food, and sometimes also excluding water – dry fasting) is not a new concept. It’s as ancient as the day life was born, and isn’t exclusive to humans. It’s an inherent voice that calls deep within, and when one is sick and the mind is quietened of the chatter of external influence, the voice can be heard. It’s the most ancient and the most effective form of healing that we have. Your appetite will leave you, and the desire for food will not appeal. You simply want to rest. And this is what fasting is essentially about. It’s about giving your body a break from the enormous energy expenditure required to fuel itself and to cope with everyday life, and simply rest, go inward, reconnect, and heal at a deeply profound level. A fast of this kind is effective both for acute and chronic illnesses, for short or long term. Although for long term fasts greater than 7 days, I would strongly suggest doing so under the guidance and supervision of a practitioner well qualified in the practice.

 

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Juice Feasting, as developed and refined by John Rose and David Rainoshek, has also been practiced since time immemorial, and differs from fasting in as much as it allows the feaster to continue on with their lives (particularly useful for people who can’t get time off work – like mothers), but still reap tremendous benefit and achieve deep healing. The protocol that Rose and Rainoshek have developed encourages long-term juice feasting – typically for up to 92 days. Although they acknowledge and encourage any length of time that one can feasibly achieve. For my most recent juice feast, I followed their protocol which included drinking between 3-5 Litres of predominantly green vegetable juice (fresh) per day, as well as complementary supplements such as omega-3 rich oils, bee pollen, enzymes, and a super greens formula, and any individualised herbal protocols, along with colon cleansing and general support of the detoxification pathways. Herbal teas, water, and other Liquids of Vitality (hydrating elixirs are also included if desired. I also continued with my usual daily lifestyle practices of prayer and thanksgiving, oil-pulling for oral health, dry skin brushing, sun bathing, exercise, and concentrating on achieving effective sleeping habits.

My day typically looked like this:

On waking: 600mls good water + 7 drops humic/fulvic acid.

oil-pull, dry skin brush, shower

1 Tbs hemp seed oil + 1.5ml algae oil

1 Tbs bee pollen

30 minute brisk walk

Breakfast: 1 litre green juice with lemon and ginger (eg: apple/lemon/ginger/kiwi/celery/cucumber/kale/spinach/parsley

floss, brush teeth, salt water rinse.

morning tea: 1 cup dandelion chai (no milk, no sweetener)

Elevenses: 1 litre juice (usually another green juice or apple/beet/lemon/ginger)

Lunch: 1 litre orange/lemon/pomegranate/blueberries/hibsicus + rosehip juice elixir

Afternoon tea: 500mls coconut water + 1 tbs my own blend Supergreens formula

Dinner: 1 litre green juice.

Supper: 1 cup Tulsi infusion.

floss, brush, salt water rinse

Bed.

 

 

I kept a journal over the 21 days as well as the week breaking the feast. It was interesting to note that as well as physically releasing 3.5kg of toxicity, this was very much a period of emotional and mental detoxing. I gained much more clarity in terms of the goals I want to achieve in my life, I was able to identify and clarify areas that I needed to work on, and my outlook on life in general began to stabilise. The emotional detox was difficult, but I needed to do it. Physically, I felt a constant flow of energy and was therefore able to continue my everyday life of mothering, and headmistressing at the Intergalactic Academy of Fantastically Wayward Children. My skin became clear, soft and supple, and my eyes clearer. I would have loved to have continued the full 92 days to really go deep into healing cellular memories, but the timing wasn’t right. I will do a complete 92 days at some point soon.

 

Fasting, and juice feasting, is transformational – physically, emotionally, mentally, spiritually. It invites you to step outside of the social norm, to step outside of time, to deepen your connection with your own body as well as your Creator, and your greater spiritual purpose. And let’s face it, ALL dis-ease stems from a disconnect in some way or another. Emperical (historical) as well as modern scientific evidence has proven it’s effectiveness in eliminating parasites (physically and spiritually), eliminating inflammation, eliminating tumours and growths, and healing damaged tissue, organs, and systems. It isn’t starvation, but when done properly and with understanding, an intelligent approach to working WITH the body’s inherent healing mechanism, rather than against it. In his excellent book, The Transformational Power of Fasting: The Way to Spiritual, Physical, and Emotional Rejuvenation, beautiful human, herbalist, poet, and Earth steward Stephen Harrod Buhner so eloquently explains this  physiological process of fasting, and it’s paramount importance to the art of long-lasting healing. He further outlines sixteen essential steps to approaching a fast (or indeed a juice feast).

These are:

  1. Determine if you are ready for a fast. (Most people who are desperate to heal will be)
  2. Decide what kind of fast is most supportive for you to do.
  3. Arrange or set aside a special time for your fast.
  4. Decide how long you are going to fast.
  5. Arrange a supportive environment for the fast. (This can also be in the form of an online forum)
  6. Begin eating a new diet to prepare your body for the fast for two to ten weeks prior to the fast.
  7. If you are conducting your own fast, obtain good clean water and/or good produce to juice and drink during your fast.
  8. Set your spiritual goals for the fast.
  9. Set your emotional goals for the fast.
  10. Set your physical goals for the fast.
  11. Arrange sufficient time after the fast for you and your body to reintegrate and be ready for resuming daily life.
  12. Keep a journal of your fast.
  13. Fast with conscious attention to the process.
  14. Break the fast with caring and awareness; especially make sure that you have the right kind of foods on hand for breaking the fast.
  15. After the fast, spend some time with someone who care about you and whom you care about and tell this person about your experiences.
  16. Incorporate the lessons of the fast into daily life.

 

My goal when I broke my juice feast has been to continue doing weekly intermittent fasts. For me this is having one day/week of just green juices, and then one day/week dry fasting (for spiritual purposes). For others, intermittent fasting may simply be eating only between the daylight hours (a practice I find highly beneficial!) and the fasting from sunset to sunrise each day, or sunset to noon the following day.

 

Much has been written in the ‘old school’ health literature about fasting, and now science is finally catching up. The following are resources that I have used in my studies on fasting over the years. I hope you find them interesting, and consider fasting (or juice feasting!) as a useful tool in your first aid kit.

 

Many Blessings,

Michelle

 

 

Resources

Literature

The Transformational Power of Fasting: The Way to Spiritual, Physical, and Emotional Rejuvenation by Stephen Harrod Buhner  Healing Arts Press. 2012. (Formerly published in 2003 under the title The Fasting Path)

Fasting and Eating for Health: A Medical Doctor’s Program for Conquering Disease by Joel Fuhrman

Fasting Can Save Your Life by Herbert M. Shelton

http://www.gaianstudies.org/articles4.htm The Health Benefits of Water Fasting by Stephen Harrod Buhner.

 

Psychiatry Res. 2013 Oct 30;209(3):253-8. doi: 10.1016/j.psychres.2012.12.018. Epub 2013 Jan 15.

Fasting in mood disorders: neurobiology and effectiveness. A review of the literature.

Fond G1, Macgregor A, Leboyer M, Michalsen A.

 

Forsch Komplementmed. 2013;20(6):444-53. doi: 10.1159/000357765. Epub 2013 Dec 16.

Fasting therapy for treating and preventing disease – current state of evidence.

Michalsen A1, Li C.

 

Websites

www.juicefeast.com  Most comprehensive on protocols, equipment, and the whole juice feasting process.

 

Videos

This is a playlist from Dr Robert Cassar on a series of videos on Fasting and Terrain modification. Many important principles discussed. I love this guy.

http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL2EBTATY1S18xNe2YJUpSy9m4FXAODnkg

 

Fasting programmes and retreat centres

Terrain Modification Academy www.hawaiimedicalfasting.com

True North Health Centre www.healthpromoting.com

http://www.arcadiahealthcentre.com.au (my old neighbours)

http://treeoflifecenterus.com/category/tr_programs/juice_detox/  Tree of Life.