It has been 3 weeks since I completed my integrity experiment and having found a quiet moment I thought I would take this opportunity to close the loop on my journey.
It has been a great ride, much was learned and even more was created.
Hmmm. Let’s see….
1) Happy animals:
One area of major triumph was my integrity around only eating animals that came from free roaming farms and to not contribute to the factory farming industry. I have been acting on this for some time now but rarely with such consistency and vigilance.
With free range eggs as a staple and the occasional serving of grass fed beef I have found my way to a much more vegetable centered existence and there is no experience of hardship. When I go to a restaurant I look for the black bean soup and applaud the restaurant if they have gone to the care of having free range chicken on the menu.
By taking this on in my integrity experiment it has truly helped me turn the corner to a primarily vegetarian diet as a joyful choice without the experience of hardship or sacrifice.
2) 97.5 Degrees:
raising my body temperature was another triumph. I had been taking my temperature in an attempt to track body temperature for fertility and all that good stuff. My temperature hanging out in the 96’s along with an unusually low metabolism drew me to conclude that thyroid may be an issue. I dug in, asked more questions, read more and explored and with the help of my faithful chiropractor and B12 supplements my body is living in the 97’s with regularity. YAY!
The intention and action it took to take charge of this issue and make this change came directly from my experiment and I am grateful to have this small piece of my physical puzzle in place.
3) Guess Who’s Allergic To Gluten and Casin?
Out of my increased attention to health and my quest for unanswered physical questions, my doctor encouraged me to get blood tests to determine a possible gluten or casein allergy (wheat or milk) and low and behold I am positive for both of them. I am so excited to learn this! While milk had been pretty much dropped because of the afore mentioned ethical issues, Wasa crackers and Ezekiel sprouted grain bread have been a staple for some time.
As I think back I can remember countless people asking if I have a cold to which I reply “no” and shrug it off as a bad phone connection. Could it be that my body has been fighting off the affects of my food all this time? Who knows, but as I turn in my whole wheat and oatmeal for Quinoa and buckwheat I am truly excited for this step towards greater health, one that I actually saw as an ultimate goal but had not yet had the motivation to act on. Funny how life works that way.
4) Pondering Wine and Other “Goodies”:
You may recall that part of this process was to experiment around the place of alcohol and sugar in my life and the findings are conclusive.
They don’t fit. Not forever, but certainly not for now.
Right after my crash and burn post I made a new arrangement with myself, no alcohol and no sweets until I hit 139 lbs. Why this number you ask? Well, it’s the number I have in my head and it’s not far away and historically I have demonstrated that when I play with sweets and wine it just gets in the way of this health goal so I just don’t want it in my life right now. Again, I’m not saying never, but none of it has a place as a daily installment for me.
The cool thing is that again, I feel no hardship. Instead of wine I drink 100% cranberry juice with a little stevia. It looks like the real thing and it has a depth that is actually quite satisfying. As for the sweets, I have found that 1 tbsp of coconut, 1 tsp of raw organic cocoa powder and 1 packet of stevia with a little cinnamon is totally satisfying and I rarely ever have the need to do more than one serving. It gives me the chocolaty goodness without any of the drama.
5) Happy news on the decaf front:
Ok, one more thing about health. Since I drew a line around decaf coffee (the decaffeination process can be toxic and I cannot do strong caffeine because it makes me freaky) I have revealed some helpful information in my quest for a happy cup of coffee.
First off, the good people at www.swisswater.com responded to one of my blog posts and shared that their process which uses water for the decaffeination process instead of solvents. After looking into it I realized that many of my favorite coffee providers were already ahead of the curve on this one, using swiss water processed coffee in their establishments allowing me to have my “coffee without compromise.”
Before I had discovered this decaf solution I had also made a trip to whole foods for coffee alternatives and I am quite happy to report that my new favorite drink is French roast Teeccino with unsweetened almond milk. No caffeine, alkalizing (instead of acidic – coffee is acidic) cozy comfort in cup.
6) Meditation Shmeditation:
Spiritually, a lot has happened due to my experiment. I set out to meditate daily which I did for the experiment but it has not stuck afterward which is interesting. I think I would be well served by a spiritual practice guided by someone else to get this to make this process more purposeful and meaningful.
7) One Inspired Community Coming up!:
In week 3 of my experiment I had a sudden burst of inspiration that has completely enriched my life and in a very real way created structure for me to continue to live very intentionally beyond the experiment.
Last year a coach friend of mine suggested I do Julia Cameron’s the Artist’s Way based on some of the things I shared with her about where my head was and what I was looking for. I wanted to explore this but when I was cast in Beachwood Community Theaters production of the princess Snow White earlier this year I realized that rehearsal would conflict with any regularly occurring evening commitment so I put off starting the group.
Well the idea came back to me during my experiment and it caused me to act rapidly. I sent out an email to 10 gentle souls who I thought would like share the 12 week journey with me. I had the email crafted and sent within the day. I had 8 yes’s and we began the following Wednesday.
Little did I know that with this email I had managed to pull together the soulful community I had been longing for since I moved to Cleveland. In this group I am “student” not “teacher” and it is an opportunity to create, to explore, to be messy and to share love.
Who knows where we will take it after the 12 weeks of the program are complete, it doesn’t matter, all I know is that a deep need has just been filled and it happened in an instant and I am overwhelmed with gratitude.
8) Gentle Hands:
Early on in my experiment I was called to get into action to find holistic/energetic nourishment, education and reprieve. I started on a quest to find a spiritual mentor or a home for the next phase of my development.
I explored energy practitioners, and naturopathic resources and while I am still looking for a guide to support the elevation of my understanding of the world, I find it intriguing that a major piece of my puzzle was here all along.
I am happy to announce that I have found a gentle place for the replenishment of my soul in the loving hands of Debbie Craven Massage Therapist, Reiki Master, Reflexologist and wise woman extraordinaire. The first time I met Debbie she gave Jeff and I reflexology treatments at a wellness fair. I loved her energy and have returned to her little peaceful studio for birthdays and special occasions.
The 30 minute drive to her studio through Ohio’s beautiful countryside was a true delight for my senses and the moment I was on her table every care in the world drifted out of my head, I found blissful Zenned-out happiness, she has a real talent.
While she did her work we discussed resources, methodology and connections for me to continue my quest for spiritual deepening and physical healing.
This wonderful experience lead me to the obvious question. “Why on earth would I save such a gift just for birthdays and special occasions?” Debbie and I now have a standing 90 minute monthly appointment. And I look forward to our insightful conversations, and her gentle care of my body and soul.
9) I could go on but….:
I am realizing I could write much more than I am sure anyone wants to read on all of this so I am going to wrap it up by saying that my life is rising. I can feel it. I feel light, creative, peaceful, healthy, excited, alert and alive.
I smile as I realize that my integrity experiment has really just been an exercise in Life-Making. Sometimes I do not put enough value on the work I do in the world – I don’t take myself seriously. The truth is that being a conscious creator in life is the key to a joyful today and a beautiful tomorrow and through my experiment I essentially put every lesson in the Make Your Life Program into high gear in my life with awesome results.
I think I will ride this wave for awhile. My head open to possibility, my heart open to god, dancing with the magic of life.
Thank you for sharing this journey with me.
If it is your time to reclaim the joy in your life and start taking yourself and your dreams seriously, join me for the Make Your Life Program October 13-December 8, 2010.