By Judith Michales Safford
Ayurvedic living came into my life through a so-called “coincidence.” Talking to the owner of an organic garden in Maui, my husband and I discovered that the owner's deceased sister had been a friend of ours. She lived a block away from us in the small town of Glenwood, NM. On our second visit to the garden, he shared his Ayurvedic way of eating and gave us the Hale Pule website. Having experienced digestive problems and constipation since I was a child, I tucked the information in my pocket.
Throughout my adult life, compulsive eating and dieting became a hideous, painful cycle. In 2012, I suffered nine months of coughing, hives and a violent allergic reaction to many foods, which drove me to specialists, medications and hopelessness. Driven by fear, I succumbed to cortisone shots and nasal surgery. The shots and surgery calmed everything down, but I knew it really wasn't a cure.
Being a member of a 12 Step program for compulsive eating for the last seven years solved my yo-yo body weight, but not the digestion issues. Weighing, measuring and committing my food is an important, supportive structure that I cherish. Being sugar, flour, caffeine, artificial sweetener and volume free made life manageable. Yet the indigestion continued.
After a consultation with Myra Lewin and more than a year of practicing Ayurveda, I chose Hale Pule’s Panchakarma Home Therapy in spring 2015. A bit frightened of the unknown, I dialed into the first conference call. Reassuring explanations and the opportunity to ask questions eased the discomfort.
Because I want to get the most out of any growth experience, I added the element of silence to the 10 days and found that an equal portion of the panchakarma gifts were emotional. The first gift came as I monitored my silent thoughts. I realized that many of the mental comments were criticism of what my husband was doing or not doing. As I followed the directions to rest, my husband thought it was a great opportunity to ask me for some computer help. I began helping him and it multiplied into a major task. I ended up having an emotional outburst. This gift became obvious. He is not the enemy for asking. Boundaries are mine to know, state and be responsible for carrying out. Saying yes and then having resentment is damaging to our relationship.
Day six, the castor oil day*, I was amazed. The greatest surprise was that my knee, which had been bothering me for months, suddenly had no more pain. My intestines felt calm.
Body, mind and spirit were nurtured and enlightened through the panchakarma process. Gratitude for pushing past the fear and allowing myself 10 days of self-healing continues to make my heart smile.
*Virechana, purgation, to reduce pitta dosha