Saturday, April 16, 2016

Camouflaging Pain With Productivity

This morning I awoke and remembered today is the day. Today I start a cleanse. 

Dread washed over me.

A number of years ago I attempted to do a cleanse. I lasted one full day and the next morning I awoke feeling like a truck had hit me. Oh God, this is going to suck!

Never-the-less, that was then this was now. I progressed through the morning routine. I swallowed my tablespoon of ghee, I had my lemon and water, I did my practice. I made my oatmeal, sitting and watching the fire on this chilly April morning and prepped the dal for kitchari. Checked that I had the necessary ingredients, making a list of what is missing. 

Yes, this cleanse involves food, however it involves a mono-diet. Meaning I will eat the same food for seven days. I will eat three times a day and I will not be overzealous in activity. Good thing I completed the painting and building last weekend. 

And this is why I am doing a cleanse. You may want explore whether you too have these tendencies.

1) I have a tendency to binge on productivity. Last weekend I binged on home projects. It started innocently enough with the idea of painting the green walls in my sons room and ended up with painting three of the walls in his room, building a loft that is 5 feet wide, by twelve feet long. Yes, by myself. And of course, the job isn't complete until the bed was moved up there along with the TV and game consoles. It did take four tries to get the mattress up there... but this fiery girl doesn't give up.... and that is why I need to cleanse. 

2) Fire is out of control, meaning, I easily move to road rage or anger towards my dogs for, well for being dogs and getting muddy or demanding about food. I feel the heat of anger when things are not going my way. In Ayurveda, this heat in the body is called Pitta. I naturally have more fire, or Pitta and now I have been adding heating foods to my diet and my lifestyle - like not stopping myself when I want to get a project finished.

3) I am always in a hurry. I race from one thing to the next with proud determination to do it all. And to do it perfectly, or at least better than others might.

4) I have been getting sores in my mouth for well over a year. They dissipate after a few days, but the sores or ulcers or hot flashes are actually a sign of too much heat in the body.

5) The big one for me was being told I have a hyperactive thyroid. Definitely a sign of too much heat in the body.

Two weeks ago I was chatting with a friend who knows a thing or two about eating disorders and she informed me that it is now believed this is linked to a gene. Predisposition to have an eating disorder and it never goes away. A light bulb moment. Now, in University, I was treated for having an eating disorder. I eventually saw the error of my ways and completed my therapy a healthy weight. I avoided diets and actually avoided thinking about food at all if I could help it. 

My lightbulb moment in our conversation was the realization that I just substituted food with other things. I thought of all my years of climbing full time and how the "food" at that time was my exercise, recording diligently all the attempts on all the routes, running on rest days. I scanned the pages of my old journals and there were recordings weekly of my skinfolds and percentage body fat.  

Eventually, running from the feelings and not choosing food, drugs, alcohol or climbing, I started training to be a Yoga teacher... yup, Yoga became my food. 

Yoga eventually led me to all those people who are vegan, vegetarian, gluten free, dairy free, must be organic and people who understood Ayurveda and how to eat properly. Oh, God how I hated these people and their perfect diets. You see, for me, not paying attention to food AT ALL became my mode of operating. Yes, I ate, but I did not put effort or love into it. I only did that when cooking for company and I did not often have company. I had a child who loves Greek salad and some meat with it. Perfect for me. 

Yesterday, after months of being too uncomfortable with having a hyperactive thyroid, I sat in a room chatting with a lovely Ayurvedic doctor who confirmed that yes, I am pretty much all fire, and yes, my fire is running too hot. As she delved into all the changes in my life over the past two years, she finally concluded with, "Your heart has been broken, you have to love yourself. You have to feed yourself. You have to see food as the nurturance and love you give yourself. " 

As a fiery person with a proclivity to productivity and avoiding difficult emotions, I answer this with being overly productive, successful. I have been trying for the past 2 years to get stuff done. Her words yesterday were, "just surrender." 

Not the mantra of any Pitta I know. This week of cleansing and surrendering is really going to suck. 

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