Friday, December 31, 2010

Rescuing Failure

Haven't posted in over twenty days.  Been in the slumps, feeling a little defeated about my first attempt at a juice fasting.  I had so much anticipation and hope about a successful outcome but alas, twas not to be.  I did make it through the first two days great but by the end of the second day, my body could not handle the "shock" and purged. While overall it was a good thing as that meant toxins were leaving  rapidly, I guess I was hoping for a slow void without illness.  My mentor/coach had put together a "5-Day Sexy Vegan Juicy Fast" complete with inspiration, yoga postures, and best of all, daily recipes for scrumptious juices.  I was all gung-ho. After crashing and burning, I needed help - I needed a rescue.

The Rescuers

Day 120.  One hundred and twenty days.  A number I never imagined when I blindly set forth on this journey.  Along the way I have stumbled, slumped, bumbled, fallen, stood up, sown, flown, and soared.  Through it all I've remained steadfast in my dedication and commitment.  For some, the crash and burn leads to  the "F" word which is most associated with negativity or vulgarity.  In any instance, it is use as an expression or explicative to garner attention and it usually works.  During this experience, I have a discovered few "F" words of my own all attributed to the Rescuers.

Perhaps the most rewarding opportunity over these past three months has been the new relationships and support that have come by way of the vegan community.  Through these kind souls, each of whom I affectionately re-named the Rescuers, I have learned to appreciate my "F" words: first, friendship, fighters, frustration, fasting, failure, forging, forward, future. Each of these words have contributed to my growth, especially this last month.

F Words Group 1 - Fasting, Failure, Frustration:

Despite the fact that I did not possess a juice extractor, I was ready to participate in the juice fast. I happily shopped for the juice ingredients and was ecstatic as I chopped, diced and squeezes juices by hand.  I came up with creative ways to utilize the pulp without throwing it away and I logged on to update my progress as well as read the feedback of the other participants which were close to 30.

Juice 1: kale, celery, grapefruit, green granny smith apples
and the ingredients for Juice 2:
spinach, carrots, tomato, ginger, lemon, basil
How proud I was of my first juices. I followed all of  the instructions on the checklist:

 √   chew your juice
 √   drink slowly each glass should take 
      30 - 40 minutes to consume
  √  drink 9 glasses of water
  √  consume green tea w/ ginger & lemon
      in between drinks as needed
  √ start the day with yoga & meditation 

I was so tickled with my results! The deep rich colors and the taste of the raw juice was so intoxicating!  I actually did very well my first day and did not  experience any hunger pangs.  The cravings for food did hit about
The rich colors of hand-squeezed juice.
4am on the morning of day two.  It actually woke me up.  I could literally "feel" movement in my intestines. That was the warning sign I failed to recognize.

By the end of the second day I was feeling ill.  My body went into protection mode and it was all over! Alas, I had to depart from the fast and I sure wasn't feeling too sexy.

After informing my fellow juicers of my frustration, and failure, Yogini, Valerie Devi (see below), blogged about becoming ill during your first fast ( ) .  Wow, I was normal!!!

F Words Group 2 - First, Friendship, Fighters:

After failing and fighting, an amazing thing occurred.  I was introduced to many, new, wonderful vegans.  It was a first for me.  Prior to becoming vegan, there were only known two vegans in my small, intimate circle.  It is an awestruck realization to experience the expansion of this circle.  I have met some amazing people.  I've discovered that there are varying levels of veganism which overlap from raw foodists to educators, to activists.  The interaction with these warm souls have "expanded my horizons" and have opened my eyes to many new possibilities.  While I value our new budding friendships, I appreciate the lessons of first experiences with them, and I admire their fighting spirit to educate, teach, and reach as many as they possibly can with their messages.    Allow me to introduce a few of these wonderful folks, the Rescuers to you:

Yogini Valerie Devi,, master yoga instructor, natural health consultant, raw vegan, yoga massage therapist, author, "Wild Yogini", a blog full of helpful information and healthy eating tips, linking mind, body, and soul, expounding upon the relationship between yoga and veganism.

Ayinde Howell, , executive vegan chef , actor, musician, yoga instructor, food coach, author, "I Eat Grass",  a vegan lifestyle website and blog. Full of human interest stories, advice, helpful tips, vegan recipes, pop culture commentary.
Friendship Bracelets 

Oli Dillon Squire,, animal rights activist, blogger, and author, "Action for Our Planet", website dedicated to educating, informing, and documenting atrocities and activities against animal around the world.

Asante George, , raw vegan educator, chef, artist, poet, author,  "Living Our Bliss", a book, website, and blog about raw living food and organic lifestyle.

Drew McCall Burke,, raw vegan foodist, personal fitness trainer,  my unofficial vegan mentor, coach, cheerleader, and creator of the 5-Day Sexy Vegan Juicy Fast.  Full of energy, positive encouragement and healthy advice, her mantra is "The Power of ONE to change a few, the Power of a few to change many, and the Power of many to change Nations always begins with the Power of ONE - you."

I have had the pleasure of conversing with each of these first friends, some briefly, others at length.  The one common thread is their dedication to (what another first friend said to me), "vegan is a mindset, more than a lifestyle or diet". 

F Words Group 3  - Forward, Forging, Future

After re-enforcing and feeling rescued, I feel ready to forge forward.  I am re-energized with the prospect of my new future.  How apropos that this revelation is on the eve of the new year.  I look forward with eagerness of what is to come and excited about all that I have yet to learn. Remembering that I possess  the ability to fight and forge with  friends to move into new realms will empower me.  It will allow me the opportunity  to "pay it forward", to develop the strength to rescue someone, in my stead,  who is first faltering, frustrated and feeling failure.

If at first you don't succeed.....try again.   With memories of failure fading, I will once again,  join the next "5 Day Sexy Vegan Juicy Fast", confident of a different result.

Yoga:  Boat Pose (again) - re-enforces your core strength and is just the rescue you need when you are drowning in a sea of frustration and failure.

Monday, December 6, 2010


I had begun to write this post with about a quarter done when,  I accidentally deleted everything I had written. Of course, I was frustrated and exasperated.  Unfortunately, I could not retrieve it and there was nothing I could do.    The situation reminded me of one of my favorite quotes:

"Do what you can, with what you have, where you are" ~Theodore Roosevelt

Thinking about it caused me to alter my subject matter.  This statement is about acceptance.   It makes you realize that sometimes, you have to just accept yourself, your standing, and your current status.  A few synonyms for acceptance are: consent, assume, consume, bear, learn, admit, be.  Acceptance forces us to peer into the mirror and honestly look at what we see to discover our truths:

Can you accept what you see?
          Truth 1: I am weak
          Truth 2: I am strong.
          Truth 3: I am old.
          Truth 4: I am young.
          Truth 5: Sometimes, in one instance, I am all of the
                       above and sometimes none.

We all possess the strength needed to pull through weak points, and each of us are old pros at some things while young novices at others.   Too often, we tend to overlook and seek false acknowledgment.  The problem is that the image we project isn't always the one in the mirror.    In order to seek truthful acceptance from others, you must first accept as-is; complete with deletions, frustrations, exasperations and start overs.  The ability to identify, acknowledge and "see" each truth clearly for what it is and what it offers is the first step to self reception.

Through any journey, acceptance will help you decipher your vulnerabilities (weakness) and teach you how to make adjustment and/or improvement accordingly (strength).   It is the catalyst to break or change your paradigms (oldness) and to venture forth with new meaning (youth).

Paradigm Shift

I thought about my relationship with a words and how some definitions have changed for me since I began this transition so I decided to have a little fun with a few:
Mael (vampire) or Meal?
Meanings change when paradigms shift

Non-Vegan to Non-Vegan        Non-Vegan to Vegan            Vegan to Vegan
          fowl:foul                             piece:peace                slight(not much):sleight (skill)*  
         burgher:burger                     meat:meet                                   affect:effect
          whale:wail                          gored:gourd                                route:root   
          yoke:yolk                           beat:beet                                    serial:cereal
          yack:yak                            lessen:lesson                               whey:way (path)
          worst:wurst                        chews:choose                     cede(give up meat):seed*
          mussel:muscle                     preys:praise                                site:sight
          locks:lox                             roe:row                                       current:currant
          awful:offal (entrails)            charred:chard                               flour:flower
          stake:steak                         paws:pause                                  knead:need 
          vein:vain                             doe:dough                                    maze:maize
          bate:bait                             pistol:pistil (seed bearer)               recede:reseed
          flea:flee                               tongue:tung (tree)                         peal:peel
          lamb:lam                    quints(multiple births):quince(fruit)         use:yews(trees)
          hart:heart         leech (blood sucker) : leach (wash away)*      pare:pear                  
* =  my favorites

Breaking Through

Having fun and not taking things so seriously helps break the images we've engraved in our heads.  How many times have we heard the saying, "What's old is new again?"  or how about "Recycle, Renew, Re-use? ".  When you recycle, you generally use the old material in a new way.  It is amazing when you look at something you have always possessed and see something new just by changing how you view it.  When things that sounded the same now have a different meaning or perspective, congratulations!  You have experienced growth and understanding.  You have shifted your paradigm. It is called a "break-through". So, in retrospect, perhaps the subject I was to write about would be better suited for another place and time.  Perhaps, the lesson here was to teach "welcoming of self"  for I,  like many, tend to be my own worst enemy - punishing myself unrealistically for something  falsely judged as "not enough".  Let go of your stubbornness, learn that acceptance doesn't mean giving up or in.  It is reception with sagaciousness, of  what is, as is, where is. The next time you delete something you've working on...start again.  You may need to learn a lesson, move in another direction, or look at something differently.

Place a lien on negativity and failure; learn to lean on the positive success of redefining old meanings. Lighten up, have a little fun and be happy with the image in the mirror.

crow pose
Yoga:  Crow Pose 
The purpose of the crow pose is to develop mental tranquility; it teaches acceptance of self.  Everyone falls when learning this pose.  It enables you to lean, to depend upon your personal core strength and your ability to balance. You have to learn to lift up one foot at a time and slowly feel how far you can go at that particular moment.  While practicing the pose,  you must literally look forward - you quickly learn that if you let your head drop or lean to quickly, you will lose balance and will fall on your face.  When trying Crow Pose, change your definition of strength and weakness, accept what you can do, as you are, where you are, and gradually work towards your goal.