Dusk fought the horizon in darkening finery of oranges and gold. Twilight painted in fading light and brushed amber memories on quiet waters below. In the patina of eventide, weariness descended on a day past. Hushed anticipations grew with thoughts of warm fires, cozy beds and the excitement of new dawnings ahead. This long day and flight were nearly through.
This photo taken by our friend Dennis Goff shows the magnificent scenery we saw on that trip.
We approached Ganges Harbour, Salt Spring Island, British Columbia, Canada, just as the sun slipped beneath the sea. The Cessna 185 settled gently onto smooth water. From that time, here is a health tip to share with you that we learned on this trip.
The pilot had pushed the little plane high, despite its full load and awkward pontoons, so we could see the spectacular sunset panorama better. Golden lights muted the darkening Pacific islands below. Then we descended with the sun onto a sheltered bay having flown from Florida to Atlanta, Portland, Vancouver and then at last to Salt Spring Island by float plane. The trip had taken 16 hours and we were ready for its end.
Yet our bodies felt good. Our spirits were high! We have studied the physical and emotional aspects of long trips for years. Our travel plans are a science. We use a special routine so we are still bright, happy and full of stamina when we arrive. Besides this trip was an adventure of a lifetime. We felt the extra excitement.
Over the years I have written often about Merri’s and my semi-annual trips to Ayurvedic health spas. Merri and I travel too much and work too hard. We need this R & R to keep our energies high and minds clear. We learned years ago that we can’t keep drawing money out of our health bank without putting some back in. We have learned that a busy schedule and hectic pace, need a regular deep rest and some form of cleanse.
One Ayurvedic system of health-tune up is an ancient cleansing therapy from India called Panchakarma. This was a twice a year routine for us for seven years. Every spring and fall we took this break. This trip to Salt Spring Island, however, was different as we decided to take an even deeper healing technique called Kayakalpa, a once in a lifetime treatment of rejuvenation.
In the process of trying many different healing technologies, one puzzling point was that the healers often disagreed on how to maintain health, yet each looked and seemed to be in excellent health. In other words, each system seemed to work despite the fuss over which was better than the other.
Many years passed before I realized the problem. Most of the Master healers have learned their skills through generation after generation of oral tradition. Without a printed focus these healing systems have altered ever so slowly and slightly. Thus after dozens, even hundreds of generations of passing down the knowledge, each practice becomes part dogma and part truth.
So when we learn from a Master or take a treatment, we try to not only listen, but to spot what is being said and done that matches what others have said as well. What we hear that is the same from differing practices is more likely to be a truth. Then we put it to the final test and try it to see if it works for us in today’s world. Some stuff we have learned works well if a person lived in a cave or forest with loads of time. But our lives are enmeshed in the busy, Western world.
One practice that permeates every healing practice, we have heard or seen is one of cleansing. Andeans, Amazonians, Tibetans, Indians, etc. all have one form of cleansing or another.
So we frequently share cleansing tips that we have learned which can help us feel better, more energetic and that enhance healing. This message reminds of the least enjoyable (to me) yet powerful and ancient cleanser, castor oil. This is one of the most horrible tasting, but most powerful digestive tract cleansings we have experienced and regularly use.
In Ayurved, the taking of castor oil on an empty stomach is called a virechana.
Many whom I have shared this tip with have told me tales of how their mom or grandmother used to make them take this when they were ill. A virechana does not have to wait for a health imbalance to begin. This technique can correct imbalances. To take a virechana, eat a light lunch. Skip dinner or have a small snack and before going to bed take the caster oil. I take (at 150 pounds) six teaspoons. Merri at 113 pounds takes four, but you may wish to start first time with less (one or so).
I take mine mixed in a bit of orange, lemon or grapefruit juice and try to just slug it down. Ugh! It is also easy to take a lemon and sink your teeth into it and soon as it is down. This helps.
You may wish to begin on the lighter side rather than heavier and don’t start until you have a night when you do not have to sleep through. Chances are (though not always) you will be up at least once in the night.
We normally awake feeling much lighter and brighter, full of energy. Yet sometimes we awake after a virechana feeling very dull and loggy, We often try to take this on a night when the next day we can have an easy one. The day after the virechana we always eat very lightly, just juices or light easy to digest food. Always the next day we feel wonderfully great!
Another help I find in virechanas is they reduce my hunger. As a former fatty (I used to weigh 220 pounds), my weight seems to run away with me if I am not careful, so this has become a great weight control device for me.
Castor oil is a powerful cleanser and in another message we will look at its entirely different cleansing capacity when taken with meals.
You can learn more about virechnas from the book, Perfect Health by Deepak Chopra, M.D.
Every three weeks for years, we take this type of cleansing.
So there Merri and I were… Americans on a beautiful Canadian island gaining Tibetan healing from an Indian master… Kayakalpa (Sanskrit: Kaya-body, kalpa-transformation).
There is another simple but profound form of cleaning… of the mind and soul… which often becomes burdened by negativity in our surroundings.
This is an era of astounding wonders… abundance… peace and good health. yet when we are bombarded day by day with negative news… this is easy to forget. The window to our soul and the wonder of all we have and are becomes covered with the grime of the daily grind.
There is a way to wash away the negative grit from our consciousness and a reminder how to do it comes from the unlikely place of Swaziland.
This is unlikely an unlikely source of positive news because Swaziland is a really poor place.
Swaziland is a small, landlocked country. Subsistence agriculture occupies approximately 70% of the population. Customs revenues plummeted during the global economic crisis. There is an estimated 40% unemployment rate and more than a fourth of the population needed emergency food aid in 2006-07 because of drought. Nearly 40% of the adult population has been infected by HIV/AIDS.
The gross domestic product of the country is estimated at $4,400 and a lot of that is eaten by the privileged class in Swaziland.
69% of the population is below poverty line and inflation is running around 10%. Swaziland’s currency, the emalangeni. has been dropping badly versus the US dollar . It was 10.5 (2009), 7.75 (2008), 7.4 (2007), 6.85 (2006), 6.3593 (2005).
I know all this because our daughter Francesca works for the UN and has lived there for several years. She is leaving soon returning to England and recently as we were Skyping she shared two powerful worry cleansers… simple but powerful.
Here is Francesca, hiking in the Drakensberg Mountains of South Africa and Lesotho expanding her…
As we spoke Francesca told me about two simple consciousness cleansing phrases the Swazis use in their daily toil.
First when a job is done… the phrase “Minus one trouble.”
The next one is even better… when troubles arise… they say “Too blessed to stress”.
What a gift from people so seemingly poor… sharing with us who are so rich… “Minus one trouble” and “Too blessed to stress.”
Use these mental emotional cleansers and pretty soon troubles will have to be gone.
Since you’ll be too blessed to stress… no new troubles can come your way.
“Minus one trouble”… “Too Blessed to stress” are great window cleaners to our soul.
Shortly all troubles leave. Challenges yes. Things to do… of course. Changes to embrace… for sure. Adaptions to evolve… that’s life. Work to do… a blessing. Yet when our attitudes… our consciousness are correct, problems are opportunities not troubles or negatives that cause stress. So there you have it… some very small yet international ideas that expand horizons for the body, mind and soul.
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