December 1, Ghee Day 5

The battle between ghee and me is now finished, and ghee has won.  This morning the two Australians J and R told me that ghee always wins.  I suppose I should have been more humble about it going in and listened to my body more.  I was too weak and sick yesterday to even think about writing.  I have learned a lesson.  When I spoke to Dr. Suhas and discussed doing another day of ghee (Day 5 of ghee) two days ago I was confident that I could handle it.  Just a few hours after we talked I became extremely thirsty and tired to the point where I could barely walk over to the kitchen to ask for more ginger water.  It was an effort for me to go from my chair to the bed to lie down.  I had a stomach ache, a cold chill had spread through my body, and I had a fitful night of sleep that evening.

Yesterday I got up around 6AM feeling terrible; everything seemed to hurt.  My hands and feet were ice cold, a steady stream of icicles was running up and down my spine, I had a fever, a headache, lower back pains, my knees were achy, and I felt nauseated.  I got dressed but couldn’t seem to move about, so I sat in a chair by the window with my hands wrapped around my head, my eyes closed shut.

Now that my mind is clear and I’ve had a chance to think this through, let me interject here and say this is when I should have listened to my body and said NO to taking more ghee.  But I dragged myself over to the main building for what had become my daily routine.  Again, I had time then to reconsider what I was doing since there was a mix up and I had to wait for a while.  But I didn’t say anything when I saw Dr. Suhas walk by.  It never occurred to me that NOT taking the ghee was an available option for me at all.

I have been conditioned and taught from an early age to follow orders and see things through to the end.  One morning when I was 9 or 10 I woke up feeling sick and vomited.  Seemingly unconcerned, Mom told me I would feel better later and I should get to school.  I remember that clearly.  I went to school.  I learned not to make a fuss or complain.  I learned to endure and keep going.  Mind over matter, always.  Mind over matter.  Mind over matter.  Mind over matter.  Must do.  Must do.  Must do.  Suffering through a very difficult time in my life 8 years ago I thought I had learned not to do this anymore.  But I guess what had been ingrained into every fiber of my being wasn’t going to erase itself away so easily.  This time I was literally swallowing a cup full of misery every morning and toughing it out.

When I saw the cup of ghee (180ml of it) I knew I was in trouble.  For the first time since this process began 5 days ago I wasn’t so sure I could do this any longer.  I drank the ghee in about 10 gulps but the lingering taste at the end did not leave me, even with raisins and hot water I was offered.  I thought if I strolled a bit I would feel better so I bundled up and walk down the road, taking shallow breaths through my mouth.  I was convinced that if I breathed through my nose I would get a whiff of the ghee and get sick.  I didn’t get very far before I felt too winded to continue.  I returned to my room to lie down again.  If it weren’t for housekeeping coming by to check on my room I would have stayed in bed all day.  But once I got up and saw the sun I thought I felt a bit better.  Well enough to tell myself, foolishly, that I could go on a quick trip up to the mountain retreat.  I’d met Ajit, the owner of the property the day before who offered to show me the new facility he was building about 25km from here.  I could have easily told him that I wanted to go another day but ah, the foolishness I tell you.  I think I knew this was going to be a big mistake I’d regret later but against my better judgment, I got in the car.  Again, I didn’t listen to my inner voice and went ahead to honor the commitment I’d made.

The first 30 minutes on the road was fine but once we hit the hairpin turns on a rocky gravel road my body immediately felt tense.  My chest tightened and my mouth had that vaguely familiar sour taste that comes as a warning sign for the terrible things to come.  As luck would have it we stopped for Ajit to talk to some locals who were digging up the side of the road (I think to put in electrical power lines for the first time).  I got out of the car and within my taking two steps I was doubled over and vomiting into the bushes.  Out came the green ghee that I took such efforts to drink just a few hours earlier.  I felt terrible about it but it also felt good to be free from it.  It was all over in less than 10 seconds and I didn’t care that there were several Indian men standing inches away from me.  I never once looked up or over to meet their gaze.  Who knows what they were thinking.  I was wrapped up in a scarf and with my giant sunglasses firmly planted on my face I walked away as if this was just a normal everyday occurrence.  Nothing to see here sirs,  just going about my business…

Less than 5 minutes later we were in the mountain retreat.  It had a spectacular 180 degree view of the valley below and the mountains far faraway.  The yoga studio looked like it was floating in the branches as if it were a tree house.  What a fantastic place to be.  But I felt too weak to walk around or go up to the guest rooms.  I sat in the yoga studio facing east towards the sun, hoping to calm my nerves.

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Things got better once I returned and having expelled my morning ghee was turning into a blessing.  By the time I saw Dr. Suhas and told him what had happened I felt half way human again.  He agreed to take me off of ghee; hallelujah!  I should have just told him I felt terrible a few days earlier…  but I suppose I had to learn this lesson and have ghee take its victory.  Now I have to question myself.  Did I not listen to my body closely enough or ignore any earlier signs I had simply because I wanted to push through?  I thought I felt well enough but did I really?  Was I so determined to see the effects of this process take place that I convinced myself everything was going well?  This was a humbling experience to say the least, and a valuable lesson in being in tune with my own body and mind.

Today is a brand new day!  What I went through feels like a dream now that I look back on it.  What horror.  I know that my friends and family will read this and wonder why I chose to do this to myself…  but all I can say is that it had to be done.  Not to worry though, I woke up this morning feeling 1000% better.  I did my yoga practice in my room, very slowly (I’m actually not allowed to do anything physical for three more days), got to have a bowl of regular oat porridge made with milk, and an hour-long treatment of oil massage and steam.  I feel like my normal self and I have once again joined the world of the living.  What a difference a day makes…

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