'Staybattical.' She Is Alive!
I am back online, in communication and ready to share what I have learned from my ten days in isolation without either technological or familiar human contact — I did see neighbors, strangers in stores, hiking, etc. You can scroll to the bottom for recipes that will add luxury to weekly busyness and help de-stress, or you can read the entire thing to glean a little of what it might be like for you to disconnect from the outside world to connect to the inside one, which is so desperately needing attention. I recommend three days unless you have tremendous discipline and/or are introverted already.
Monday, March 28 Day 1
I am writing by hand and noticing I have much worse penmanship, no practice for years, yet something feels right about it, a break in all previous patterns, including writing on a technological device.
I will edit the manuscript which is already written on the computer, but only after three days, device-free. I am calling this a ‘staybattical,’ which is my one term for both changing my life, remaining at home as opposed to vacationing, and re-patterning the way I spend my time, (in my case from teaching and managing Vital) to writing and getting my books published.
Here’s a few funny sensations that arose the first few hours: Forgot what sort of a ‘fast’ I was actually doing. Am I still eating? Yes. Am I having caffeine? Yes, a little. Can I go out to see a movie? Yes. Can I call my friend to chat? No. Can I check email? No. Can I google? No. Okay, I am clear. Time to set up the daily schedule so I can reference something. I draw a calendar by hand so I don’t lose track of days, which happens even when I am plugged in, and make a list about all I wish to accomplish over these ten days. I feel suddenly so productive!
The first thing I wish to address are the loud, consistent voices that I share my brain with, both voices of praise and criticism and one goal is to give them less space. I envision wide open, desolate vistas without interruptions like, “Micah, someone left class early, didn’t feel well. You need to call them,” or “What a great class. I really enjoyed the dharma,” or my own voice saying, “this would be a great topic for a dharma,” realizing there doesn’t have to be a dharma for a while. Freedom!
So here are a few realizations from Day 1:
-Oil pulled while straightening the house and noticed I need to put all devices in a drawer so I don’t allow myself to check the time, even look for them, inadvertently.
-Realized, for me, writing is also a form of distraction and I’ll keep this brief and instead spend time designing, buying ingredients for, and scheduling my healing practices/remedies. It feels so indulgent and yet necessary.
-Realized I may not even have enough ink in the pens for blogging by hand. Darn, add pen to the grocery list.
-Realized how frequently I want to ‘look something up,’ google being more addictive than Facebook.
-Realized how long I have waited for this anticipated sensation…not in communication with anyone, anything, just myself and my cats.
-Realized my cats are loving this, and so contented by our uninterrupted time together. Sweet.
-Realized I have already had more creative thoughts, full of possibility and limitless sensation. This is good!
-Realized I did a good job preparing in that I made sure all bills were paid, people called and now aware of my intention, and I will write a grocery list BY HAND!
-Realized if I do go to a movie, I have to just show up, can’t check the times by internet app. Fun! Roll the dice! And I won’t go until maybe day 4 or Day 5. Everyone knows movies can be distracting.
-Five hours in and have had my first thought that I would like to take thirty minutes, light a candle, and pray for all the people in my life, for the gratitude I feel for their grand or limited engagement in this with me. It is a powerful sensation. Beauty.
An unexpected result of me not being in contact with my friends/family is that I find I am taking more interest in neighbors, like oh, he leaves at 7am everyday, wonder what he does for work, does he like it, etc. Thank goodness for neighbors, I guess. Maybe I’ll find more time for them now that my social quota won’t be met by the studio as often. And I changed the location in my house where I have usually read and wrote, mainly that the room is further from the kitchen so I am not eternally distracted by snacking and cups of tea.
I made a large pot of mung beans so that I can have them for both cold and warm days. Example: mung beans with sautéed greens and sweet potatoes for colder days, and mung beans with tomatoes, feta, and fresh greens for warm days. They work well for those of us whose main creativity is not found in the kitchen. I also made a 4 hour mineral broth so I could drink that and teas through the day. I add coconut oil or ghee to a large mug of it and feel deeply satisfied.
End of the day, 9:30pm and I am ready for bed. These are the practices I did today:
Bowspring (45 min)
Meditation (60 min)
No devices…not even a peek
Haha! I ran into an old student of mine at the store though I drove across town to avoid runninginto anyone and wore my sunglasses while shopping. Let’s go Hollywood! Humorous universe.
Got a massage to kick the whole thing off…delightful. Oh, seven hours in I began missing my boyfriend and started to question why I needed ten days? Why not three or five? Because I have always loved intensive immersion…into anything. Four planets in Scorpio, Pluto in the 8th ought to tell you something.
Tuesday, March 29 Day 2
I woke at 5:15, eyes wide, deep sleep and vivid dreams. Oil pulled while I tidied the kitchen and fed my kitties, then did another cayenne eye rinse while I meditated. Those two work well together. Wrote longhand on paper for two hours before going for a neighborhood walk. Writers walk and writers also have a favorite sweater they wear. I know this because I have seen many eccentric and talented writers speak and they sometimes forget to leave the writing sweater at home, evidenced by the various lunch and tea stains still discoloring the fabric. Sometimes the elbows are worn through, or patched, and they are often earth tones, grey and brown. I’ll have to get an official writing sweater, something warm but not too bulky, cashmere, I think. And I will walk daily, as often as I feel I need to pull my brain out of the topic at hand. Today in addition to writing I did oil pulling, abhyanga, meditation, cayenne rinse, bowspring practice, walked, ate lentils with salad, avocado, dash of turmeric warmed in coconut oil and sea salt. Simple but delicious and doesn’t take all day in the kitchen. Tomorrow I will crack open my computer to begin editing. Now, it’s 7pm and I am off to read for a couple hours, then sleep.
Wednesday, March 30 Day 3
I am still not lonely, but have a better sense of my neighbors and their cars, friends, etc. I’ve lived here for five years, and have rarely noticed. I am sure they think I am a snob by now, and I will rectify that shortly.
I will add to the daily routine a turmeric face mask today. Fun! And I have been thinking I will still dress in yoga clothing, otherwise I have a dresser full that will go to waste not being worn as frequently…just put my writing sweater over the top.
Today, I am extremely aware that I have chosen to indulge in self-care for ten whole days, without interruption! Who does this? Is it really okay? I am watching my neighbors through the window, going to work, looking tired perpetually, or coming home while I am already in bed, reading. On my mind is my family in Kenya, suffering from lack of basic resources and wanting to make sure they feel valued, loved, but they are the masters of true self-care…they must be or their environment will finish them. I am reducing my footprint, and it will never be as small as theirs. However, though my activities are indulgent, they are not decadent, quite the contrary. I am using the simplest, earth-friendly ingredients, available to most of us…the one most valuable is time.
I feel I have gone so out of balance I need the ten days, but three would be a suitable and highly effective reboot, especially done every six months or so—time enough to invest in self, divest in work or activities that have become patterns that are no longer serving us. I know parents are reading this and eye-rolling. Get a hotel…trade with your mate for time, send the kids to grandma’s house for three days, but don’t let them be an excuse. In fact, teach them how to value self enough to disengage in order to heal and reintegrate.
I edited 250 pages of my manuscript today…for the 400th time, but the good news is that I am at a place where I play a game called ‘pick a scene’…this involves scrolling randomly through and deciding whether the scene is necessary, well-placed and well-written or not. I am happy to report I like them all. I get really excited at the prospect of sharing this story with anyone interested.
Time for a walk…I’ve already done all my practices and the turmeric facemark was delightful. Recipes below, btw.
Thursday, March 31 Day 4
I have written and read all day today. Made a fire for the kitties and the general ambiance, and other than that nothing new to report. This is heaven! I am really liking my new ‘job.’
Friday, April 1, No Joking Day 5
This is one of my favorite holidays to find pleasure at the expense of other’s discomfort and I can’t even get up to any mischief, sequestered in my solitude as I am! Agh!
I have only cried once, which is unlike me…usually I cry daily with gratitude for something, but I think I am overwhelmed at all times with this sensation so it isn’t as striking. I feel very, very grateful and happy.
Today I will do a Neti with one drop of peppermint oil, two rose, one lavender. Divine. Bless our flowers!
Saturday, April 2 Day 6
Six days in…and I am up early. 4am. Usually I would be preparing a dharma, reading poetry, meditating and walking to teach, but instead I will honor my students at Vital by doing a liver flush. Blah! It has to be done — I think liver flushing is my least enjoyable cleanse…who ever thought Epsom Salts could taste so horribly? I follow Hulda Clark’s deal, twice a year, though she says it is possible to do it every two weeks for optimal results, but I might only consider that if I had a terminal disease. Here’s the link if you wish to add liver cleansing to your ‘staybattical.’ http://www.curezone.org/cleanse/liver/huldas_recipe.asp
The liver in esoteric teaching is akin to our creativity and the effective channeling of the divine energy, so a pretty important organ to keep balanced.
I promised Dan Visser that I would think of him and all the others just thirty minutes down the hill taking lovely Alison Moore’s class at 8. In fact I’ll meditate and go for a walk and remember how sweet our Saturdays have been together, but I am surprised at how little mourning I have done. I truly believed I may not know what to do with myself. I have been filling my days with writing/editing and secretly hoping someone will hijack the manuscript and I will no longer be able to edit. I have decided to self-publish and am really excited about this. After shopping it out to roughly thirty agents, I had four full requests, and two who would like to represent the work, but one, after a title change which I won’t do, not because I am super stubborn, but because it is the perfect title…if you actually read the manuscript. Plus, I get to design the cover, print on recycled paper, learn about distribution…who knows, maybe we will create a tiny publishing house? Vital Plume?
I wonder if anyone misses me?
Today’s agenda: Sipping ginger/lemon tea early, plus the usual apple cider vinegar, Meditate/Walk at 8, make sure I have enough Epsom salts for the torturous drink, if not, shop, abhyanga, buy rosemary oil for hair, do a turmeric face mask, garden, choose a book to help keep me awake for tonight’s delicious olive oil/grapefruit supper.
Sunday, April 3 Day 7
Liver Flush quite the success! I didn’t feel at all nauseous which is a first for me, usually disliking the Epsom salt drink immensely. I put five-seven drops of freshly squeezed grapefruit juice in with it and it made a huge difference in taste.
Monday, April 4 Day 8 (Didn’t blog today…you’re welcome)
Tuesday, April 5 Day 9
I am going hiking. It’s still early spring so I’ll stay at lower elevations and avoid having to snowshoe. I’ve been on long walks daily, which seems appropriate to the writing life. I find myself humorous — thinking about being a writer—even told my neighbor and a door to door salesman that I am one. It is good practice saying the words to assist the creation for anything we desire.
One of my many goals for my ‘staybabbtical’ was to immerse myself in healing practices to then choose which are most important to my particular constitution and potential imbalances. This time will serve me for the rest of my life. I have succeeded in isolating about ten to twelve practices—some you would not necessarily call a practice, like walking. I differentiate walking from exercise, (which I also think is important at least four days a week, depending again on constitution) as it is more contemplative, the pace slower and the rhythm is good for clearing my brain, whereas a more intense type of exercise often stimulates me, making sitting directly afterwards difficult.
Here are my most essential practices and ideal frequency per week:
Oil pull (3x)
Meditate (7x and sometimes twice daily)
Cayenne Eye Rinse (4x as I’m looking at a monitor more frequently)
Bowspring Practice (6x…see vitalbowspring.com)
Reading and Writing (7x)
Earthing (7x as weather permits) This is where we actually touch the earth, not through our rubber soles, but with our naked souls via direct contact with skin also known as grounding. When you think of it it’s ridiculous to have a name for it, but alas…21st century disconnect.
Being in the wilderness as opposed to the urban wild. (2x)
The monthly practices are massage, running (I like to test my Bowspring sprint at least once a month) hair mask, and face mask.
Every six months I cleanse my body with an Ayurvedic diet and liver flush.
Singing and dancing, which I don’t consider practices even though they certainly have benefits, I do daily and mainly with my cats. They love it. They are possibly the most spoiled cat-children on the planet. They have daily practices which involve me, too. I brush them, sing them good morning, meditate together at sunset, and find different doors to hide behind throughout the house to elicit chase.
Yesterday I was lonely for the first time, which I expected to happen a lot sooner. I know I enjoy my own company and have grown accustomed to long periods of silence, but I truly thought I would feel lonely throughout, not being at all connected to the internet or phone or my community. I can now definitely say that I am a better introvert than extrovert. I found comfort in being in public places where I did not have to interact but could enjoy watching, being around people. Off to the mountains…
Wednesday, April 6 Day 10!
I cannot wait to contact my boyfriend, family! I had such a magical time doing this…and will definitely add it to a yearly necessity, though three days may be sufficient. Yesterday a hawk literally hovered over me, dove toward me while I was running and then made those eerie and beautiful shrill hawk cries. It was perfect as I had asked for a sign and then re-read the hawk medicine card— Messenger of the Gods, no kidding. Yesterday I wore myself out hiking St Mary’s Glacier which I have always thought of as too close to I-70, but it was spectacular and empty. I tried to edit these posts as I transposed them onto the computer. The recipes are below for anything I mention and a few I neglected to tell you I tried. I recommend them all. Btw, Just bought the domain name VitalPlume. I like it.
It is critical for us to learn self-care, time alone, time without distraction to reveal who we really are, without bouncing ourselves off of everyone and everything. This will become a sacred memory to me, a gift I felt worthy of both giving and receiving. Invaluable when you consider it against the imbalances and wounds we currently contend with in the world.
Hope you try it…if so, post something so I know you did.
Recipes for practices:
Turmeric Face Mask: 1/4 tsp turmeric, 1/2 avocado, 2Tbsp olive oil, squeeze 1/2 lemon, mix together and with the turmeric apply to your face, without, use it as a nourishing Avocado Hair Mask. Leave on for twenty minutes and rinse/wash.
Blackstrap Molasses Shampoo Rinse: 2Tbsp BSM in 1/2 cup filtered water. While in the bath or shower, wet your hair and then apply this concoction. Leave on twenty minutes…so bath is best with a book. Your hair will soak up the mineral rich elixir and feel silky. Use only once a week at most. Rinse and condition as necessary.
Cayenne Eyewash: 1/4 cup filtered water, 2 dashes of cayenne, eye cup, silk or fine strainer to sift out the cayenne particles…Important! Boil the cayenne in the water for one minute, let cool, strain the small particles out and pour into your eye cup. I place the cup on one eye and swirl my eyeball around…it stings, but don’t worry. Keep that eye closed and move the eye cup to the other with the remaining cayenne solution and swirl. Keep both eyes closed, choose a place to sit and meditate or relax and wait until it stops stinging each time you open your eyes. (about 7-10 minutes) Enjoy clearer vision and healthy circulation.I have staved off the need for glasses.
If you are unwell often, suspect you have parasites, please follow her guidelines for a parasite cleanse or other such detox before attempting this, otherwise you can do this at any time. Follow the schedule stringently.
Daily rinse 1/4 tsp sea salt, filtered water
Extravagant Opening Neti: One drop peppermint essential oil, one drop Lavender, two drops Rose, 1/4 tsp sea salt.
Weekly Probiotic Neti: Empty 1 probiotic capsule, 1/4 tsp sea salt into your Neti for maintenance of healthy bacteria in sinuses.
Third Eye Extreme: (I only use this if I feel I am getting a cold, sore throat, sinus infection)1/4 tsp Apple cider vinegar with 1/4 tsp sea salt and warm filtered water. Do not use more. It is a bacteria burner and could be considered a form of torture!
It will be so nice to see you all!