Rainy Days are here again Days 11-16

Well, I am glad I gave myself some flexibility in this fasting process, because unexpected circumstances tend to arise when you live in the back road forests of Costa Rica.  The village where I live was short on the produce order last week, like really short.  I had barely enough veggies and fruit to juice for one day, let alone the 4 days it would be before the next shipment of fresh foods was schedules to arrive.  And that shipment would only come if the rivers that are so high they run across the road from the farm to our community were low enough for the truck to cross.

So I did what any rational person fasting would do, I stuck to my liquid diet and drank only water and teas.  Wait a minute, I didn’t do that at all.  I ate.  I ate roasted potatoes with salt.  I ate jasmine rice with salt.  I was really missing some salt.  I found myself over the weekend in full on survival mode, eating.  It may have only happened twice, but that was enough for me to spend the next few days reaffirming my fasting protocol, redressing my lack of willpower to stay the course, and recommitting to one of the main ingredients I promised myself to have as often as necessary.  Self- compassion.

dsc08024-3621.jpg

Monday came along and I started the day with a huge glass of water.  A HIIT workout was followed by a shower and then onto the computer to do some work.  After that a cup of tea and some green juice with two heaping spoonfuls of spirulina.  Then I found myself at the end of the day, watching an inspiring movie based on true events called Tracks and going pee for the hundredth time that day.  Tuesday came a fresh order of fruits and vegetables to the local shop and I stocked up on all things juicy.  I also got all the yummy ingredients to make my famous (at least among my circle of friends) root soup.  All in all, I am on day 16 of the fasting and focusing on the many, many successes, not the few shortfalls.

And I realized that with so many goals we have the reward is in the end of the process required to get there.  We are destination focused.  And if not, we often are focused on the relaxation that happens when our process to achieve our goals has reached its end.  This mentality is a hindrance to our ability to create new habits.

Healthy living can be a task we set out to do over a period of allotted time or it can be the building of a new habit.  The turning of a new page, into a new chapter where you become the person that does health promoting activities, enjoys a weekly fasting day, or craves holistic and vibrant meals.  It is not a goal, it is a paradigm shift.  And that is what I have set out to do here with this process.  Of course it has a time frame and I don’t intend to fast for the rest of my life.  But, each drink, each bite, I am cultivating the habits of tuning in to what my body wants and creating the habit of being present to the activity of consumption.  It requires ample amounts of patience with myself as my whole life I have been rushing to eat, emotional eating, or eating in a state of distraction.

At this point, I welcome this process of being present with the action of consumption.  I welcome the compassion I feel towards myself during the moments I fall back into old ways of being.  I trust that this new approach will anchor into my consciousness and then become the default operating protocol for my subconscious mind.  And that is where effort and persistence fall away and the automatic habits and patterns are established as the new norm.

Cheers to creating habits of presence and well being.

Much Love,

Suyana

 

 

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Life as a Jungle Mama

Imagine putting your child to sleep, after a gratifying day of playing cards and chatting with him while the power is off.  This, apparently, because of an automobile accident involving a truck and a bus and not because of the standard reason of powerful storms sweeping through the region.

Picture walking into the living room, sitting on the couch and relaxing after a long day with a Netflix show and some herbal refreshments.  Then choose to get up from the couch, shut off the lights, walk down the hallway with your computer open for some light and to watch the last few moments of your show.  

Now visualize a long dark cylinder object laid out before you on the side of the floor.  Experience the recognition of that shape and the surge of stress responses that immediately overtake your system as your brain reaches the conclusion that you are looking at a snake.  At that split second of understanding witness that snake recoiling swiftly from your oncoming advance as the head of the snake passes barely inches from your foot as you come to a dead stop while simultaneously retraces the last five foot step you took in one long lunge backwards while gasping.

Now, realize that you are in an open house, with no closed walls standing in the hall area right behind the bed, right behind the sleeping child you were hanging out with early today, resting and dreaming with ease.  Know that you don’t want to take your eyes off of it, in case it moves somewhere else in your absence.  But understand that you must arm yourself with the jungle weapon of choice, a broom.  And cross around the bed to the side of the snake to retrieve your phone charging on the floor less than a foot away from the snake to contact someone for guidance in this matter.

It is dark, of course, so you can’t quiet make out what kind of snake it is and in this area, you find yourself, strangely enough, hoping it is a venom-less boa constrictor.  Just picture it…

This is my life as a Jungle Mom. I retrieved my phone and inquired with my fellow community members how best to evict my visitor, all the while knowing there is some symbolism, some message for me to receive from this beautiful creature.  Within minutes individuals were reaching out to assist me.  In the end, my 30 minute experience brought me plenty of material to reflect on in my moments of silence and stillness.  I am living the life of a jungle mom spreading my wings and stepping into experiences such as this with an open heart and mind, and the support of this community. Thank you for all of it.
Much Love,

Suyana

Still going strong Days 6-10

being present embrace it all

I am a fourth of the way through my cleanse and I am still rocking it out.  The only water fasting day was challenging.  If you don’t believe me, just ask my son.  He just so happened to be hungry…all day long.  And on more than one occasion I had to apologize for losing my temper with him after the fourth, fifth, sixth, and twenty-seventh request for food, which sounded a lot like this, “I’m hungry,” from across the living room as I was trying to meditate my way into a peaceful state of non-resistance.  I may not have screamed back, “You don’t know what hungry is, boy.”  But I thought it.  And other more rated R thoughts came flooding into my mind in response to his whining pleas for more food.  “I want a snack.”  “What is there to eat?”

Of course, he didn’t choose to do a 40-day fast, I told myself.  But after most of the day with just water and an ache in my belly, I couldn’t find the patient, caring momma bear inside.  I was only left with the irritated youth that thought life isn’t fair and get your own damn snack, kid.  But he was super understanding and always accepted my apologies with a shrug and nod of understanding.

After the water day was watermelon day.  What a sweet treat.  I don’t even think I need to elaborate on this one.  I eat a watermelon that day and slept like a baby.

The next day was supposed to be a dry fasting day, in which I don’t eat or drink anything, but I was super busy at work and knew that I would be unable to take care of all my necessary tasks without at least a green juice.   So that is what I did, I drank a green juice with a tablespoon of spirulina in it and got a boat load of stuff done.  Then it was back into the juicing, root soup, and tea fasting days.

I am full of energy and good spirits.  Have been having powerful and informative dreams that I remember in the morning.  I continue to spend time with great people I enjoy being around who will all soon be leaving the community we co-exist in to embark on new adventures while it is the rainy months here.

And the lessons I am learning about my relationship with food have been eye opening to say the least.

I can confidently say that I use food for the following reasons:

  • To relief boredom
  • To calm my mind in times of important decision making
  • To avoid activities that I know are important, but don’t want to do for whatever reason
  • To alleviate the feelings of fear, worry, or concern
  • To distract myself from self-judgement
  • If I figure out more, believe me, I will let you know.

Until then, I am excited about all this clarity and am starting to ask the next question in this process.  What productive activities can I engage in instead of emotional eating to shift energy or self sooth during times of stress?

I have already found a few things:

  • Spend time with friends, not centered around eating together
  • Meditate, my saving grace
  • Dancing to awesome music, here is one I have been listening to lately

Much Love to you all,

Suyana

Celebrations are still possibly Day 5

Fireworks Grand Finale

A group of friends just left my house after an evening of visiting, laughing, listening to music, and connecting around the candlelight after the power went out in beautiful Costa Rica.  I usually make snacks, treats, and yummy food for people to eat when they come for a visit.  But I am fasting at this time and I made a juice and some teas to share with the companions that joined me tonight.  One of my co-hostess made chocolate at some point in the evening, which everyone seemed to enjoy.  It was a happy surprise for me that everyone seemed to have just as much fun without all the good eats as they usually do with them.  And I was happy to remember that even when I am fasting, I can still spend time with friends and loved ones.

For so many of us, celebration is centered around or involves food to some degree.  I know for me, in my family and in the US custom, food is the central theme of most holidays and the tradition with that food is to eat a lot of it.  Because, hey, we are  celebrating here.  I know for many of the clients I worked with back home, one of their main concerns about doing a cleanse or fast is what they would do on this or that holiday or festive occasion.  And since within a month’s time you are most likely to have at least one celebration to join whether it is a birthday party, holiday, girl’s night out, or sporting event; there is always something going on that can be an excuse not to start the process at that moment.

Today I was meant to be on my water fasting day.  But I decided I would take that day as a juicing and tea fasting day so I could enjoy a drink with my friends.  Tomorrow I will do my water fasting day and then WATERMELON FASTING DAY!!!!  Yippee!!!  I used to tell people who would resist doing a fast because of these lifestyle norms that we become accustom to like eating all the yummy food at a picnic or having a piece of cake at a birthday celebration, that it is never a ‘great’ time to start a fast or cleanse.  Just like it is never a great time to get sick.  You just do it.  And committing to a cleanse once a year for 3 or 4 weeks can definitely make you less like to get sick, perhaps really sick.  So why not plan for a cleanse now as opposed to getting surprised by an illness another day.  Just saying.

I’m so grateful for all the tools and knowledge I have that supports me in staying committed to this process.  I know the water fasting days and the dry fasting days will be particularly important for me to tap into my ways of redirecting my attention and focus on the long term goal as opposed to the short term sacrifice.  But I am only 5 days in at this point and I feel great.  Motivated.  Centered.  Connected.  Energized.  And grateful.

Much Love,

Suyana

What is Your Invitation Day 3 & 4

Enchanted forest.

What is your entry point?  What offers you an invitation to go within and find yourself again?  Is it meditation, singing, dancing, being with loved ones, working with your hands, creating an art piece, playing music, some or all of the above?  For me, one of the ways that I get invited to go without and tap into the infinite depth that exists there is to create a practice and follow it.  And when I don’t follow it, inquire with compassion, what information I am receiving in those moments.  All of it becomes an exploration of self, my resilience, my vulnerability, my state of presence.

You may have read already that on day two I licked the chocolate frosting from a knife while serving my son a piece of dessert.  I called it ‘cheating’, as it was not following the protocol I had developed to embark on this 40-day fasting program.  But, in the end, I didn’t do it absent-mindedly.  I was totally present as I brought the knife to my mouth and tasted the sweet confection.  Just as I was present to the thoughts that opened the door to this behavior in the first place.  The rebellious nature that spurs me on to bucking even my own authority.  And, thankfully, at this point in my life, I am not making any of these parts wrong or inappropriate.  There is space for all of me to exist.

I may wish for certain characteristics to be more dominant at times than others.  The rebel in me can put her attention on Big Pharma and leave the rebelling to a 40-day fast on the back burner.  The compassionate space inside me is stepping up full time these days to make sure I am not getting lost in the protocol and forgetting why I started this fasting in the first place.  And the light-hearted playful side always seems to be wanting to tickle my son.  So be it.  Be welcome here.

Mind you, these aspects are all one.  Each are pieces of a puzzle that is a human being. The dynamic way in which the combination creates the whole beautiful expression of a person is miraculous.  And although, they are all welcome, some are more supportive of my goals than others.  Luckily I, like all the rest of us, have the power of focus and intention.  And, even better, I am aware of  the power I have in my attention, intention, and focus.  And even better than that, is I am disciplined already in the art of applying intentional focus and attention in my daily life.  Yippy!

This invitation to deepen my understanding of self and express this authentically in the world continues through my door of discipline.  I will joyously share my journey with you and receive any thoughts, comments, and sharing from you, dear reader, with an open heart.  Thank you again for being a companion with me on the trip.  And remember to always keep an eye out for your invitations, your open doors.

 

Much Love,

Suyana

Here is a close up shot of my eyes on Day 4 of the fasting process, taken outside on the patio steps by my son.  Let’s see if anything changes in a few weeks.

Eyes day 4

Here is a close of the right eye, on Day 4, taken inside with artificial lighting at my kitchen island looking out the glass sliding doors.

Eye day 4

P.S. Here is a drink recipe I have to share with you. My son loves it.

  • 1 cup pineapple
  • 2 frozen bananas
  • 1 passionfruit, the sour ones
  • 1 teaspoon of honey
  • 1-1 1/2 cups of water (depending on how thick or thin you like it)
  • ice (optional)
  • protein powder or super food powders (optional)

Blend together and enjoy!

 

Day 2

delicious chocolate

Let’s just start with a confession.  I licked the knife, not once but twice, after giving my son a piece of chocolate brownie with chocolate frosting on two separate occasions today.  Oh, I tried to convince myself that it was a lot like my liquid diet I am committing to for the next 5 and a half weeks, but I knew better.  And even though the recipe consisted of avocados, maple syrup, cacao powder, and vanilla extract; nothing too controversial, I knew that it was cheating.  And I did it anyway.  Because no matter how much I know in my strong, centered moments this is a gift and an invitation to deepen my relationship with life itself, in those other moments it is sacrifice, hardship, and deprivation.  And that weak moment in my conviction and dedication just so happened to coincide with feeding my son a delicious, moist, chocolatey dessert, twice.

So, Day 2, and I am already in the process of showering myself with loving compassion and understanding.  I am reminding myself that it is more important to me at this point to be authentic, even transparent in this sharing and in my life so that I can be free of the masks and conditioning that have accumulated over my truest self for the majority of my life, than to be perfect.   Thank God!

So I slipped up a tad twice today.  So be it.  I also rocked day 2 99% of the time.  I had a green juice that included cucumber, celery, spinach, and spirulina.  I enjoyed another juice with grapefruit, carrots, lemon, cucumber, and ginger.  I had soup today and instantly missed a companion who recently left this area of the world to head out on another adventure.  I ate this bowl of pureed vegetables thinking how enjoyable it is to spend time with people that fill your heart with joy and uplift your spirits beyond, beyond, beyond.  So, in this moment of longing, I took a big spoonful of soup and poured all that love and gratitude I felt into my meal, my moment, my present.  It started out as a coping mechanism to distract me from the feeling of missing someone special.  Soon it transformed into another practice of presence, of actually eating each bite, not mindless shoving the food into my mouth to distract from an unwanted emotion.  And the gratitude I felt for this individual began to expand into a gratitude for everything I had around me at the moment.  The moment I was actually and currently in.

Eating and preparing to eat can take up a considerable amount of time in my day.  And it hasn’t changed since I started this fast, believe me.  I am now making two meals, three times a day.  Three drinks for me and three meals for my son.  But I am present with them though.  And that presence has created an opening for new experiences and a renewed since of calm.  Tonight my son hung out in the kitchen while I made my soup and his vegetables with rice.  We laughed and he asked me 8 year questions:

“Why does everyone hug and sit on sick people’s beds in hospitals in the movies.  Do they know that hurts the person?”

“Well, that is an excellent question, honey.  What do you think?”

“Because they are selfish and aren’t thinking about how much pain it will cause the other person.”

“Maybe,  because its a movie, they just want to make sure you can see them in the frame.”

“What’s a frame?”

“Let’s eat.”

 

Much Love,

Suyana

Day 1

Day 1

Woman with closed eyes enjoying a cup of tea

Day 1 of my 40 day fast is nearly over and it mainly consisted of working on the computer and saying goodbye. Helping dear friends prepare for their travels as the community I live in closes for the next 6 weeks. Settling into my new duties at work. Caring for my son fully as the school closes now and we are left to our own devices.

Being of service has always seemed to come naturally to me. At least, as far as I can remember.

At moments throughout the day, I would stop what I was doing and ask myself, ‘Am I being present?’ ‘Am I being of service to my highest and best?’ “Am I letting this tendency to be available to others impede my self care process?’ All good questions for a recovering people pleaser.

 

These moments of inquiry seemed to stop time, halt the momentum of the action I was in, and a deep sense of gratitude would penetrate my experience. This practice would pierce my distracted mind so that everything became extremely focused on what was happening around me not on the mental tasks I was so dedicated to executing.

I would hear my son playing in the background and look up from the computer to watch his imagination come to life. I would move my fingers around the glass of water in front of me feeling every movement that brought it from the counter to my lips. Appreciating the sensations as the water fell passed my tongue and slid down my throat. And I would feel energized again and again to work a bit more, help another person, prepare another snack for my child, or answer another question from a visitor.

Even foggy headed during the transition from solid food to only juices, teas, and water hasn’t stifled my ability to see the beauty in balancing service to self and other.

I am preparing for a restful night and an energized morning. Have a blessed now, dear ones, and I will write again tomorrow.

Much Love,
Suyana

Tomorrow it starts

Midnight came swiftly as I put the final touches on a friend’s chocolate brownies w/ chocolate avocado frosting.  I just finished making it for her birthday tomorrow.  As I lick the chocolate frosting off the spatula, one final taste test to confirm it is sufficiently yummy, I am struck by the power of commitment.  I barely get everything put away in the kitchen when this bursting of thoughts starts to pour out of me through the pen into my notebook.

The power of my commitment to keep my promises, follow my inner most promptings, explore and seek opportunities to be vulnerable, open, and trusting that I am in the flow of my life’s highest expression.

Tomorrow I begin the 1st day of my 40-day fasting program.  A complex commitment that I made to cleanse and purify myself at all levels.  The symbolism of the pure fresh pressed juices, nutrient rich tea, grounding root soup, and refresh sweet watermelon are all representing the energy I wish to feed my mind, my emotions, my energy, my body.

This process may be centered around the activity of fasting, but the supporting components in this attempt to evolve my conscious life into an ever more vitalized, harmonious, joyful, and fulfilling expression are meditation, creative expression, enjoyable physical activity, and deepening of core relationships.

Although I will drink tea tomorrow while I serve to my friend and son a gooey piece (or two) of chocolate brownie, I will do so with joy in my heart.  This will not be a time of deprivation or suffering.  I may encounter the feelings from time to time, of course, throughout this process.  But the power of this intention and commitment will strengthen my spirit and calm my mind.  This is a gift I am offering myself.

You may wonder why a blog site that is centered around the concepts of conscious community would dedicate so much content space to this fasting project, but it is in resonance with a core theory that I believe cultivates a sustainable, thriving society.  This is the value and potential I see in cultivating a practice and making a conscious commitment to your highest, most fulfilling and health-promoting expression.  This way of being can create a constant cycle of personal well being feeding and nurturing collective health and well being which, in turn, strengths and grows the individual well being and so on.  As one grows holistically, so we all benefit from his or her’s expansion.

I wish for you all true health and happiness.  I hope each of you finds another way to care for and nourish yourself more completely.

Thank you for joining my journey.  If you are inspired by these ideas, please share your comments in the area below.

Much Love,

Suyana

 

A New Name

I recently completed my first 7-day silent retreat in Costa Rica. I chose to accept a new name during the retreat and wanted to share this experience with all of you as I begin to integrate it into my daily life and change it on things like my email and Facebook.

I made the request for a new name by the retreat facilitator, Tyohar,  in response to a powerful vision I had some weeks earlier.  During this meditation  I understood that I would soon be called by a new name.  In all honesty, I would say I was called to take a new name by higher consciousness, more than I made a decision to change my name.

In many parts of the world it is common to take on a new name in adulthood, especially as you deepen your commitment to a spiritual life. In our Western society, although, choosing to have a new name often times indicates a rejection of your given name, sometimes it presents a rejection of even the family and life you had before you claimed a new name and, by extension, new identity.

My choice to receive a new name did not have any of these undertones or motivates. I loved my given name. I enjoyed being Jennifer in my earliest years of life, Jenny during adolescence developed into Jen (after Forrest Gump destroyed hearing Jenny called out to get my attention). And I have been lovingly answering to that condensed version of my name along with my full given name by a few precious people in my life for 37 years.

When I was in high school, I had to do a speech about what my name meant. I stood in front of the class and shared that it meant pale, fair, white, blessed, holy, white wave, and pale ghost. I got a huge laugh during the speech as I gestured dramatically to my face and skin to indicate how fitting the name was for my pale complexion. Not that I decided to get a new name because in Costa Rica I have a tan year round. Trust me I am still pretty pale.

I chose to honor the place I have arrived in my life. A turning point in which I am no longer the child being called by her parents to do this or that. Nor am I the young adult who is skillfully maneuvering through life lessons learning the art of self reliance and answering to a nickname that has been with me for years.  One which I feel I have outgrown after years of deepening my relationship with Source.  I am the woman who has experienced a rebirth.  A shift in reality that deserved to be marked by a symbol of this monumental occasion.

I emerged from this 7-days silent retreat saturated in this new energy that is me.  I had this precious time of reflection and insight to be with myself and bring my full awareness to the present for one whole week without any external obligations, commitments, or tasks.  And, as many traditions do in other areas and cultures in the world, I chose to mark this moment in my life with a new name.

So, hello dearest friends and family, my new name is Mayu Suyana, which means river of hope in Quechua. I will now be called Suyana (which sounds like Deanna, but with a Sue at the beginning), which means hope.  And such a fitting name for the woman know in her circle of friends and family as the consistently optimistic, light-bringing, positive-minded companion in a world of uncertainty.  I am so glad I can share this information with you and look forward to answering any sincere and thoughtful questions you may have about this tradition and shift.  Be well and trust the now.

Much Love,
Suyana

River in the forest

Moving…

 

Moving again

Moving on up

Moving on

Moving in

There are so many phrases we associate with moving, but for me the one that resonates the most is moving in.  After nearly eleven months in an eco-village in Costa Rica, four homes with varying amenities, including accommodations with or without walls, I find myself preparing to move again.  Moving in has been a theme for most of my life.  Having lived in over 30 different homes, I have become quiet accustomed to moving in and out of places time and time again.

But moving in stands out more to me.  It seems to have more relevance as I come to value this inner world of mine more each day.  Where once I thought I needed to find the perfect house, in the ideal location, with the most harmonious community to live among, now I am delving in, moving in to this place inside that is not restless or dissatisfied with the current surrounding and yet it know more is to come, expansion is its natural state and nothing stays the same forever.  Moving out and in so much in my life has gifted me the skill of adaptability and the talent of packing, downsizing, and assessing the value of the physical items in my life.  It doesn’t take a genius to understand that if you have to pack up and move everything you own every 6 to 8 weeks, you get pretty discerning about what you want to keep and carry from here to there.  Living in the humid, hot forests of Costa Rica has enhanced my skills of discernment even more.  I can break a sweat just walking from my bed to the bathroom, so you can imagine the hot mess I am after lugging all my belongs from point A to point B.

Speaking of belongs, this is something else that has been moving in with me.  Redefining what I am willing to call my belongings.  If it belongs to me I want to love it and enjoy it and value it and use it on a pretty regular basis.  If I don’t feel this way about an item, I want it to belong to somebody else.  If moving has taught me anything, it has been the valuable of living a simple, yet fulfilling and rich life.  Sure, my crystals may be heavy and great care must be taken in packing them up to shift locations, but I love them and it is worth it.

So, this is the space I am in at the moment.  Moving in.  Moving into a new home, a nice home with walls and an oven, luxuries my current house is without.  Moving my attention within to witness this burning desire ignited once again for a home of my own, a place to put down roots, a sanctuary for me to thrive with my family and friends.  Moving in to trust that each step I take does, in fact, bringing me closer and closer to the truest and most uplifting expression of life for me.  Moving into a new environment in a familiar community, with a new season on the brink ready to remind me any way it can, that life is change.  Change is life.  And home is where my heart is, within me pulsing each moment with the infinite potential and opportunities available to me to grow and expand and remain centered within myself regardless of where I lay my head at night.

Much Love,

Suyana