Juice Feast Week One

By: Loolwa Khazzoom, Founder, Dancing with Pain

August 7th, 2012 • Cancer Can Suck ItPrint Print

I was very resistant to calling this a juice feast. I was like, fuck you, it’s not a feast, it’s a FAST. I’m gonna be deprived of food for a whole fucking three months, that’s a FAST, and I’m not mincing words or covering it up or making it pretty.

But now, on Day 6, I don’t think it’s just a coverup. I think it’s really the case: It’s a juice FEAST. I am feeling JUICED! Literally. Sometimes it’s really tough, I am not going to lie. I’ve had rough patches of headaches and dizziness; there’s a lot of action going on in the bathroom; and, well, I’ve really, really craved food.

But what I’m finding is that when I ride that wave through, instead of jumping to satiate my desire, it becomes really interesting. There’s a lot of stuff to look at, feel, ponder. Like my relationship to food. Now that I’m not eating, I see all the attachments to food playing out, without indulging them. I’m becoming aware of where my desire for food is related to hunger, where it’s related to comfort, where it’s related to taste, texture, or temperature. This stuff is COOL!

Plus I’m waking up feeling absolutely RADIANT. Like, phenomenally extraordinary. I have not felt this amazing since my 20s, before the car crash, before the onset of pain, when I was a fucking HORSE who could bike 60 miles and jog 12 miles and swim 6 miles (on different days) and lift furniture and press 300 pound weights with my legs and all kinds of other shit.

It’s trendy to say that people end up in pain or with cancer or fill-in-the-blank because they were sleepwalking through life or going too fast in life or, again, fill-in-the-blank. Fuck dat. I was a VIBRANTLY awake young woman, living from my heart and soul, singing and dancing and yelling and being 100% radiantly ALIVE. And when I ended up crumpled in pain, all that glory was taken from me. I was a shadow of myself.

The pain was not some grand spiritual lesson with some higher divine purpose. It was the by-product of a fucked up health care system in a world where women’s bodies and experiences are dismissed, ridiculed, and otherwise pitifully responded to. Ending up in pain did not wake me up. To the contrary, it’s because I was already awake – fiery, defiant, creative, determined – that I ploughed through the pain and lived a meaningful and dynamic life, DESPITE the pain. As my mom said to me during the dark period, “You’re still a warrior woman. You’re just fighting a different battle now.”

My mom and I were driving around on my Hebrew birthday, and I said to her, “I’m going to feel like a real idiot if I fasted for 90 days and the nodule is still there at the end.” I’ve admittedly been feeling frustrated and somewhat defeated that, despite all my radical natural measures to date, the damn nodule is still there. My mom replied, “What else could happen in 90 days?” And I said, “The nodule could be gone.” “That’s right,” she said. Then she said something else smart, but I can’t remember what it was, because I’m over 40 now. (Can juicing bring my memory back?)

Then I was talking with a friend last night, and I said to her something along the lines of (again, can’t remember the details – over 40 here, people) how I was going into the unknown, and I was pissed and wanted some guarantee, like, “If you take this pill, your temperature will go down.” And then it all came back to me, and I remembered that was a huge frustration for me while I was navigating through the churning ocean of chronic pain: I was at the helm of my own damn healthcare ship, and back then, there was no manual guiding me through it – or at least, not one that I knew of. I had to figure out the whole damn thing myself, and I had to take risks and make guesses and leap into the unknown.

And then I realized that’s what my whole damn life is like! As a freelance journalist, as an independent publicist, in all the work I’ve done over the years, I’ve invented my life. I’ve thrown seeds up into the air, not knowing if they would come back down, or if they did, whether they would root, or if they did, whether they would grow into trees.

That feeling was especially poignant as a freelance journalist. I never, ever, knew who would say yes. It could seem definite that a particular magazine would love a particular article, but that article would not get picked up there; and to the contrary, something that seemed impossible would in fact work out. So I just threw the damn seeds up in the air and danced around as they fell, and moved full speed ahead to plough those fields.

And then I remembered something that I came to understand back in my 20s:

I came from a fucked up family, and I was radically committed to liberating my spirit and actively celebrating and manifesting my authentic self on this planet. There were some VERY dark tunnels I had to go through, to get from where I was to where I ended up. There was a very distinct moment in time, when I was lying sprawled on the couch in my family’s apartment in Ramat Gan, Israel, that I understood very very clearly that there was “no reconciliation” between where I had come from, ie, my family, and the life I wanted to live. I did not know what that life looked like. I just new it wasn’t THAT.

I knew I wanted something radically different, though I did not know what it was. I just felt it. You could say my instinct was calling me. And at that moment, I lucidly dove into a black abyss. I remember the moment very poignantly, because it was a turning point in my life – the deciding moment when, to quote a statement I heard years later, I grabbed Life by the lapel and said, “I am with you kid. Let’s go!”

And so I leapt into that black abyss, that not-knowingness, and I entered dark and trying years. I lost (which often meant “shed”) family and friends. I followed my soul to the extent that I risked my life. I dwelled in the state of discomfort – stretching, exploring, discovering, inventing, trying out things and just DOING IT. You could say I was a poster child for Nike, but I can’t remember if the swoosh had come out yet back then.

And I came to understand, through this journey, that paradoxically, or ironically – whichever is more grammatically accurate – that one does not achieve happiness by doing something radical in order to achieve happiness. One achieves happiness by radically following one’s heart and soul, full stop, 100%, brazen hussy style, no holds barred, consequences be damned, risking it all, JUST BECAUSE it is the truthful, authentic, sacred, righteous, etc thing to do. Just because one’s Spirit is calling.

And by being WILLING to jump into that black abyss and go all the way, “there is no limit” style, as I used to say as my mantra (not knowing what a mantra was), by TAKING IT TO ITS LOGICAL CONCLUSION, following through All. The damn. Way., THAT is where finally, one achieves nirvana.

It’s when I risked being ridiculed, arrested, yelled at, and so forth, to smash bottles in my backyard while yelling at the top of my lungs — whatever needed to come out, what-the-neighbors-will-think be damned — it is by taking that risk and embracing my belief that we all have emotions and that it is healthy to let them out, rather than hide them or shut them up; it is by being committed to my LIFE 100% and being willing to go the distance and then DOING IT…It is through that action that I then, inevitably, reached the state of utter BLISS. The post-bottle-smashing nirvana where I chortled like a baby, giggles of delight and celebration. And THEN I went all the way again, allowing myself the freedom to ululate and whoop and laugh out loud with joy.

Again, the lesson from my 20s journey: You cannot do stuff with the end game of being happy. You have to do stuff RAW, NAKED, in the moment, vibrantly alive, VULNERABLE, not-knowing. It has to come from the deepest core of your essential being, and you have to go ALL. THE. WAY.

And that is what I lost with chronic pain. And that is what society as a whole did not give a shit about my losing. Because I was a young woman, and all that young women are supposed to be or do is pretty little fucking Barbie dolls in search of some Prince Charming bullshit so-called love.

I was a powerful force to be reckoned with, but society did not have a name for me or an understanding of who I was or what I was about or what the fuck I was doing. And so all of that power and passion was dismissed and devalued. And as my body deteriorated from doctor to doctor to doctor, the medical system was perfectly happy to sign me off and cast me away, through the cracks, carried to nothingness on the breath of their apathy.

But I am back. And I am vibrantly alive. And while I felt that vibrancy diminished in some ways over the years – because I could not manifest it in the powerfully PHYSICAL ways I used to – I was still vibrant through that whole period, as evidenced by the fact that I TRUDGED ON.

And this is not in any way to say that people who do not trudge on are weak or lazy or any of this bullshit that the Law of Attraction camp would have one believe. No, there are a plethora of variables involved  in whether or how one makes it. Yes, spirit, yes personality, yes attitude, but also social standing, opportunity, education, experience, and so on. It is never, never, NEVER ok to blame someone for not making it through. Because even if someone is a pathetic wuss-ass, that is a condition of their life from which they are suffering, and there needs to be the infrastructure in society to take care of people’s mental illness as well as physical ailments. You know, instead of building MORE BOMBS and shit.

But I digress.

The point I’m making here is, last night when I was talking to my friend, I realized, OH MY GAWD!!!! This is totally it! This is the same thing! I have to take a leap of faith and follow my heart and my instinct and GO GO GO in the direction I am being called.

When I was in Spain, I got the results from my last ultrasound: The nodule had grown, for the first time in two years. For two years, I kept the nodule the same damn size. Why did it grow after I switched to a 90% raw foods diet (the rest all-organic, gluten-free, soy-free)? I felt defeated. I freaked out. I was like, I DO NOT WANT SURGERY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! And then I thought, maybe I am crazy. Maybe I am nuts to get back this information that the nodule has grown, and I’m like, ok I’ll go on a juice fast, instead of RUNNING to the doctors, do not pass go, do not collect $200 style, screaming, “Get this fucking glob OUT of my throat!”

Well but here’s the thing: I have to follow my calling. And I’m being called to juice. Which is why I am now on DAY SIX, thank you very much, yes I am an ass-kicking warrior, and why I will continue on this fast, excuse me, FEAST. And I have made peace with not knowing the outcome. THAT, dear friends, is part of the excitement of the journey: We have no idea what happens next. Which makes us active, vibrantly alive, engaged people in our own extraordinary lives.

Oh yeah, and I almost forgot to say: The PHYSICAL spirit of me is coming back, vibrantly alive. Waking up. I am feeling more and more and more of my authentic body every day. And while I have no guarantees of where this is heading, I feel like this whole chronic pain saga is OVER in a new way. LIke the leftover 45 extra pounds I gained and never could quite get rid of, is melting away in this fast. And all the emotional and spiritual and physical toxins that accumulated through the chronic pain Odyssey are being cast out my body — poop poop poop, take that! It’s not mine. All the shit that is not mine is coming out. Literally!

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