Tuesday, June 26, 2018

All About the Detox

As I'm writing this morning, there's a jackhammer's urgent sounding on the sidewalk below my window.

I knew this week was going to be all about the detox. 

I'd like it to be a gentler breaking up and away of what is no longer needed or useful. But I also like the idea of getting the job done quickly once I identify what needs to go. Of course, the choice is mine. 

And perhaps the jackhammer is here to remind me of that.

Still, I love to write with the sound of birdsong and the sight of the wide-open sky out my window. Today, though, I have neither because the sun is blistering and the shades are down and because of, well, the jackhammer. 

So we work with what is. 

The first thing I notice is it is hard to think with the jackhammer banging away. The actual sound of the noise it makes feels like it fills all the spaces in the air, and in my brain space. How do I find room for anything else? 

It's also distracting, and that's not exactly the same thing as the sound of the noise filling every open space. The stops and starts make it hard to get used to the rhythm and to discern a pattern.

I'm wondering if there is some wisdom here for someone who is in the process of identifying what needs to go and then working to get rid of it. 

But what is most noticeable is that I cannot think with that racket going on. I'm actually noticing that I am starting to feel angry, and since I don't relish the idea of giving something or someone else the power to create that in me, I'm going to save this and set it aside, come back to it later when the jackhammer leaves for the day or for a break. I'll grab a shower and hopefully escape the sound there. 

It's good to know when you've reached your limit. And to move on to something more productive or life-giving. 

And...it's stopped. 

Almost the second I surrendered and gave up my resistance, the noise stopped. If it's like the pattern from the other day when they were here, they're taking a break and will start up again at some point. In the meantime, I can continue writing and noticing what's going on with me as I work with this interesting life teacher.

The first thing I notice after the noise stops is the rate of my heartbeat and pulse. Both are higher than normal, and I've got that strange buzzing inside that tells me adrenaline is flowing a bit. Quieting myself, I close my eyes and notice my breathing. I stop typing for a moment to tend to myself. 

I use a centering practice that involves breath, sound, and vibration. And when I'm done, I feel ready to return to my writing. But the jackhammer operator also returns, simultaneously with the first taps of my fingers on the keyboard.

Without a second thought, I am up and headed to the shower. A long, luxurious shower. 

I return late in the afternoon, just before evening. I've been out to meet a colleague for a long lunch and great conversation. I stopped at the store to buy some yummy food to support my focus on good nutrition. Things like baby kale and avocados, salmon, shrimp, and chicken. Some nice cheeses to punctuate what I'm eating. Normally I get rid of dairy too, but for the two weeks I'm cutting sugar and carb-heavy foods, I allow myself just a bit of cheese. It feels rich and salty and decadent. Ah, there are bell peppers, tomatoes, and asparagus also. A baby fennel bulb. Some Gerolsteiner mineral water to add to my La Croix collection. And my favorite shampoo has come in - I've been waiting for that to come in for two months. I feel so grateful for that timing. I'm going to make a sheet-pan shrimp fajita dish I found on the Internet the other day. It takes only 20 minutes and looks delicious. 

I wish I had thought to pick up some large lettuce leaves. 

I stopped at one of my favorite shops and bought some tops. I know. I know. I'm supposed to be decluttering my closet. Well, I want to have a few more nice items to wear. I figure I'll motivate myself with a carrot rather than a stick. And everything was on sale. I'm often lucky like that. Stopping in when the big sale is going on. 

The first thing I notice when I get back is the workmen have gone and the street is quiet. There are stakes and tape around the area that's been cleared out. They're not going to pour the replacement concrete today. I have no idea when they plan to do it, but I feel like there are some great teachings around letting something rest after a bit of clearing before filling up the empty space. 

And setting some boundaries around that cleared space so it can maintain its integrity.

I'm not sure where I was planning to go with this when I began this morning. Whatever that writing was, went the way of the peace of the day with jackhammers going on and on for a couple of hours. And I was not able to recapture it.

Perhaps the power of this writing today was having the opportunity to discover something about my own limits and my ability to respect my boundaries in the face of overwhelming outside circumstances, all of which offered me a mirror into my inner world. I needed to see both ends of the work. The disruption of the clearing, as well as setting a boundary around the cleared space and the eventual peace of the quiet street. All of it works together to bring a powerful teaching in a week where it's all about the detox.

The shades are up in my kitchen and the verdant green trees are framing a lovely blue sky with clouds. Birds are flying across the field of my vision. 

And there's not a power tool in earshot. 

The Summer of Self-Love is a daily writing practice birthed June 1, 2018 as a container for harnessing three months for thriving. The goal at the end is to host a dinner party. Sounds like an odd Hero's Journey, doesn't it? Most of them usually are.

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