Day 252 to Day 258 – a week of gratitude

When my sister said a speech at her own wedding, she had read somewhere that if you make a list of at least six things that you are grateful for every day, then you will be happy. So she then went on to tell us all of the things she was grateful for. So for seven days, I made a point to say thank you at least seven times. By the end of each day, I mostly had way more than seven. Every moment was beautiful, for every single day, I could be grateful for every single minute… Thank you for…

 

Day 252 – the little things

A parking space close enough to the cafe that I can get my coffee as soon as I drive in to work.

The barista who knows exactly what I want and starts making it as soon as he sees me approach.

The hour and a half long lunchtime that allows me to lay in the sun for an hour in the middle of the day and do nothing.

The phone charger my boss keeps at work so that my phone never has to die, even though I am using it constantly.

The customers who actually answer their phones.

The customers who sound pleased, if not excited to hear that I want to bring wine to their house!

The warm night that I finally get to drive home in, after a long day, finally noticing that spring has completely negated the need for the heater in my car.

 

Day 253 – the sorrowful things

The doctor for putting up with my complaints and hypochondria, managing to calm me when I am clearly so stressed.

The nurse for being out to lunch, so unable to take my blood for an hour, giving me time to run around Malabar and then swim across the bay.

The ocean for healing me regardless of how stressed or sad I feel.

The best friend who comforts me through text messages all day, and even makes me laugh when I feel like I want to cry.

The person who manages to look me in the eye and smile regardless of how little I can smile back.

The dinner that tastes so awful that I can’t even finish it, meaning I don’t leave the restaurant so full that I feel sick.

The cup of tea and tim tam that offers a little hug from the inside when I feel so down.

 

Day 254 – the surprising things

The strength and speed I find doing sand sprints in boot camp after I was too exhausted to even make it out of bed.

When the day seems completely pointless until the last two customers surprise me with their kindness.

The way a friend looks when I walk into his work unexpectedly.

The fifty dollar note I find tucked inside your wallet when I thought I was broke.

The missed call from someone I didn’t expect to hear from.

The vegetarian burger in a pub that turns out to be amazingly delicious.

The graffiti written on the inside of the toilet door that says SHUT UP AND LOVE.

 

Day 255 – the delicious things

The customers who no-show or cancel, leaving me with free time to go home and get back into bed for an hour.

The rainbow lorikeets that screech so loud in the trees that I can’t even hear the other person through the phone.

A familiar face in an unexpected place, making a delicious coffee and serving me a glass of prosecco.

The customers who cancel at the door, leaving me with an early night to go out to dinner.

The tiger lilies and roses, bought simply because he knew I like them.

The dinner of kingfish ceviche, quinoa and chickpea chips stacked like a jenga tower and the stuffed zucchini flowers.

The rum blazer, complete with history lesson and the spectacular show of watching all the spices spark and fire into the glass.

The amazing person who I am lucky enough to share it all with.

 

Day 256 – the fun things

Krystle’s bouncing energy, dragging me out of the house when all I want to do is lie down.

The unplanned adventure into the city to go to a Creole Zouk night. (Side note, Creole Zouk is kind of like a slow, French Caribbean version of Salsa. Very sexy, seductive and beautiful.)

The pleasant surprise that my date can actually dance!

My cousin who meets us out and can make friends with any person that I introduce him to.

The bars that actually stock cucumber to go with a Hendricks gin and tonic.

The three individual friends I haven’t seen in years who give me massive hugs and a quick hello, knowing now that our entire friendship is conducted over Facebook.

The taxi driver that takes us home right at the changeover time when it is impossible to find a taxi.

 

Day 257 – the work things

It isn’t hard to be grateful for today, when I am being whisked away to the Hunter Valley with work colleagues.

The lift into the city that gets me there on time, despite being out until 3am.

The beautiful sunshine that graces the day out in the vineyards.

The delicious wine of Brokenwood.

The Hendricks Punch served hot in a teapot that helps me recover from the night before.

The credit card that allows me to purchase a $100 bottle of Quail shiraz, or the Magnum bottle of Semillon.

The laughter of the whole ride home and the new bond between people who were once just work colleagues, but can now be called friends.

 

Day 258 – the unfamiliar things

The way he holds my hand when he can see that I am nervous to be introduced to people unknown.

The wine that allows the nerves to fade and the conversation to flow.

My ability to use humour to hide from an awkward situation.

Francesca, my new American friend, who turns up in Bondi out of nowhere and has dinner with us.

The point of the night where my body refuses any more alcohol and I end up drinking water instead.

The exhaustion that forces me home and in bed by midnight.

The warm embrace at the end of a long weekend.

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Day 64- detoxing for the next 6 days and meditating on emptiness

As soon as I tell myself I am going to detox, I start with enthusiasm. I get really excited for the amazing food and smoothies I get to eat! By lunchtime I have gone through every craving from chocolate to pizza to chocolate ON a pizza. That is where I am at right now. Pizza. I think I can smell it but this is obviously just my imagination. It isn’t that I am hungry- no when I detox, I eat as much as I want. It is that as soon as you tell yourself that you can’t have something, you want it. The idea of a detox is not to just starve yourself for a few days and then go back to eating crap, it is so that you re-set your metabolism and stomach into craving healthier foods. After being healthy for a long period of time it is really hard to put junk back in your body. It feels like all the effort was for nothing. Right now, though, I wouldn’t be ruining anything since I just spent six weeks in LA and Mexico indulging in ALL sorts of deliciousness. (Allow me a moment to wipe up the drool as I remember the deep fried goats cheese in Kuala Lumpur.)

The detox rules I am following are from a book I downloaded from iBooks a year ago that I constantly refer back to, called 21 Day Detox. It is simple and easy to follow as it comes with recipes and shopping lists. I haven’t ever made a single one of those recipes or bought anything from the shopping list since I am in Padang and you simply couldn’t find most of the items on the list. Also, it divides the detox into levels of intensity over the three weeks, which I don’t do. I guess we could say this book inspires┬áme. What I will be describing over the next six days is my own modified detox program, which you are welcome to follow. I am not making any health claims about it- you may or may not lose weight, you may or may not enjoy it or even agree with it, but it works for me and I like it so here it is. If you are with me on this, leave a comment and let me know how it goes for you!

First up, there are rules. There are things to avoid during the detox and they are:

1- Animal products- dairy, eggs, fish, meat… I pretty much rule out anything but honey!

2- Processed foods- How much has it changed since it was picked off the farm? More than once and I don’t eat it.

3- Alcohol, caffeine and other stimulants- coffee, tea, soft drinks, sweets, cigarettes (for the smokers out there), drugs (prescription and non)

4- Wheat- the original book did not say anything about wheat, but I do find myself to be better of without it. Plus, anything I usually put on bread like butter, cheese or nutella is off the menu anyway so wheat becomes obsolete.

Now, you are probably wondering what I am left to eat? Surely I will starve without the food staples I so desperately need in order to survive! Well, the answer is probably obvious: FRUITS, VEGETABLES, LEGUMES, PULSES. If you are thinking ew, yuck. Well, it is only six days and if you are still turning your nose up at broccoli, then I can’t help you. So here is how it goes.

On waking: hot water and lemon OR hot water and apple cider vinegar (If you can’t handle the taste, then add a teaspoon of honey)

Breakfast: fruit smoothie made with natural fruit juice, plus a banana, papaya, mango, strawberries or anything else your little tummy desires. The banana is nice and filling so I always make it an essential. I also like to add Chia seeds, which are full of protein and Omegas to keep me full. I also sometimes use a little Ener-G-Food, which is a green drink supplement containing ALL things green.

Lunch: Salad! I would normally add beans or chickpeas but it seems these are no longer available in Padang. I do have some dry lentils to cook up though.

Dinner: Baked or stir-fried veggies with quinoa, which is my new favourite food. It can replace rice in any meal but is full of protein and has no starch so it doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pot! Tempeh is also great to add for some extra protein. I have to admit it is better in Indonesia- it also contains more vitamin B12, which is found in the bacteria that causes the tempeh to ferment. This does not occur as highly in the factory manufactured tempeh of the Western world. Also, lebanese food such as hummus, falafel and dolmade leaves are great. Soup is another delicious option.

Snacks: fruit, avocadoes, homemade popcorn with a SMALL amount of oil, sugar and salt (all organic, of course), or if you desperately need chocolate as much as I do, you can also indulge in organic dark chocolate. My favourite is Green & Black’s Organic dark chocolate 70%.

So that’s the basic idea. Here is how it goes…

I wake up and do some yoga and meditation. I think it is important to start the detoxing day with altruistic intentions. I usually roll out of bed already hungry, so I also need something to do to kick-start my metabolism before I put my sleepy digestive system to work. This morning I spend a little longer than usual in asana. I haven’t done it for a while and I just can’t stop myself. It feels really good, especially the twists which wring out the digestive organs and are so perfect for detoxing. Two hours later, I am finally in savasana and the bottom of the exhale, that moment right before I inhale again, is feeling really good. I start to take longer and slower breaths, but it is that moment of emptiness that is really holding me. I try to prolong it without straining. I have never felt this before. Usually, that bottom retention of the breath is the scariest. It is the point where we have nothing, we have not yet breathed in life and there is just… emptiness. Right now, though, it feels beautiful. It is, without any hint of morbidity, as peaceful as death. It reminds me of when I was little and playing in the pool, I would dive down and try to sit on the bottom and look up at the surface of the water. I once read a book called Awareness, by Osho, which said that when you live from your centre it is like being at the bottom of the ocean. The thoughts, emotions and distractions of the physical world are like waves on the surface. Your true self lies at the bottom, in the dark stillness where the waves are not felt. This is where I am in this emptiness.

Emptiness allows a fresh start. We must empty our cup before we can put more inside it. This is a detox- not weight loss, not starvation, not diet. It is emptying the cup.