I will attempt to summarize the last 4 days of fasting…the one word that sums it up is…INTENSE. Let me clarify that this was a water fast.  No juice.  No food of any kind.  I took 2 capsules of ginger mix with 2 capsules of turmeric mix along with a tsp of microorganisms added to my drinking water and a cup of warm “Balsamo” every morning, all of which tasted the way a baby diaper smells.  I hadn’t had anything else since Thursday at 1430.  Despite all that I never felt hungry.  My energy was good and my mind was clear. 

  What I experienced over the last several days was interesting. My teeth and gums felt numb.  Some aching in my hips and sacrum.  Quivering calves. Mild headache on day 3…treated at the village with a topical paste of fresh aloe and crushed up “malmadre” plant.  Myself and the 2 other women who were participating this weekend, (they have been fasting for 10 days already, doing a full 2 weeks), had the opportunity to listen to several lectures from Dr. Bernardo del Monte, village founder; on Transformation, Mayan Culture and Nutrition.  

  We had the Temezcal Ceremony at 8 pm on Saturday the 29th, (the Leap Year day), under the crescent moon.  We all helped to clean and prepare the site.  The Fire Ceremony was followed by the bringing of intentions into the Temezcal.  7 of us entered.  For a longtime sauna-er and Finlander the heat was not too hard to take, though the noise of 7 people creating sound was intense.  It made me realize that I still have some residual trauma response from a couple decades in Corrections.  Cool down in one of the village’s aqueduct fed pools and into the underground water chamber to decompress to the sounds of Beethoven’s 6th Symphony.  I was ready for bed by 2200 when I crawled in to my hut’s hammock.  

  Sunday was filled exploring some of the areas ancient Mayan ruins, those marked as well as those that weren’t.  (We were taken off the beaten path by Bernd who knows the area very well).  Before leaving for the day each of us received an hour and a half DEEP & INTENSE abdominal massage by an 80 year old Mayan woman from the village, the last of the line practicing this technique.  It was painful.  

  I tried to come into this experience without expectations.  I was curious what would come up for me.  After the last 5 years of digging into shadow work through yoga therapy school, I went in feeling 100%; strong and nourished.  I had nothing specific that I was bringing to work on…

  And what came out surprised me.  Around 8pm last night after returning to my AirBnB, I was hit with extreme, sharp pain in the area of my left kidney.  8/10 kinda pain.  Sleeping was difficult.  I trusted that this was part of the process and that it would pass.  Sometime in the next few hours I fell asleep.  I was awoken with a second round of less intense pain around 7am.  All I could do was lay there.  I haven’t experienced pain like that since I was living in Asia 22 years ago when I had an attack of appendicitis.  

  I reached out to Bernd to inquire what he thought this could be and if there was something I should do about it.  He told me that I was passing kidney stones.  And low and behold, I started passing what looked like the tiniest grains of sand!  The deep abdominal massage must have broken loose whatever was being held in my left kidney. 

  Now to confess…I have decided not to go further in the fasting.  I broke fast this morning with some very soupy, bland boiled oats and chia seeds with a little ghee.  The last 5 days were enough of an experiment for me.  I had lunch with my dear friend Robin this morning over a thoroughly enjoyed mushroom and kale omelette, while I processed the experience out loud.  As the 3rd wave of pain subsided, I was washed with a waved of bliss and realized I got exactly what I was seeking…an experience.  Not a pleasant one.  Not one that I will repeat or would choose to do again…but the chance to consciously watch myself in challenge.  In pain.  Was it worth it?  Here, now, on the other side of it…

  Yes.  Yes, it was all worth it.  The intention I brought into the Temezcal was an acknowledgement that for me, Freedom is staying in constant connection to presence, bliss and others.  I am here to create connection.  Staying connected to myself, to the present moment, constant surrender to what is, and to create space for others to do the same is what feels like my purpose.  What feels easy.  What makes me happy.  Also FOOD.  And pleasure.  And WINE…(which will be enjoyed in another 3 or 4 days as I give my body some time to reacclimate to food).  The 3 of us actually spent the entire hour and a half drive to Chan Ka sharing and making a list of all our favourite places to eat in Merida.  So for the last month of my stay I plan on connecting to as many of my beautiful new friends in as many delicious new restaurants as possible!  

I am completely in love with this life.  In pleasure and in pain.

Happiness is the ability to be content and present in the fullness of both.

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