Last night while I was sitting on my patio enjoying the darkness falling silently around me I saw a figure lurch about in front of my cottage. Vicas had come to fetch me under the order of Dr. Anju, who wanted to explain what was going to happen at 5AM this morning during Vamana, my first step in Panchakarma. Vamana is induced vomiting that most of the people who have gone through the detox program rank as the most awful or as awful as the ghee drinking that came before.
Dr. Anju kindly walked me through exactly what I could expect and gave me a piece of paper with the following written on it:
: Come to treatment room at 5:00AM
: No yoga, no physical activities
: No consultation
: Total 8 liters of liquid -> milk 3 liters, medicated decoction 3 liters, salt water and medicated pastes 2 liters
: No day sleep
: Don’t expose much to sun light
She explained that there was a specialist who would conduct this procedure and that I was in good hands. She told me I should expect to feel physically exhausted afterwards, may experience shivers, but to stay awake. Worst case, nap for no more than 30 minutes in the morning. Eat very watery rice porridge for breakfast around 10AM only if I’m hungry, rice porridge again for lunch, and maybe a chapati with gravy at dinner time. One of the doctors and therapists will visit me in my cottage to check on how I am doing throughout the day. She said that all the ghee I drank last week should have moved the toxins in my body so by vomiting I am getting rid of those unwanted toxins, clearing the Kapha related region of my body (Kapha = Earth = above chest, Pitta = Fire = stomach, Vata = Wind/Air = below waist). She emphasized that this is a very important part of the Panchakarma process. She then smiled and sent me out of the room with a chirpy, “Happy Vamana!” I broke out in a hearty laughter.
Back in my cottage I thought back to what R said to me yesterday. Her Vamana session triggered a very emotional response where her past year’s difficulties came tumbling out. She found it very taxing and physically difficult. Rather than looking at this process just as a physical cleansing, I thought I’d take this opportunity to purge any emotional toxins I am holding on to.
I sat down and wrote.
To the best of my ability I am trying to live my life in the moment and appreciate the now. But it wasn’t surprising that I had my share of emotional obstacles weighing me down. A small revelation I had though, was to see that I have little or no fear, doubt, and worry about my future, but my past mistakes, regrets, resentment, and disappointments were all lingering in there.
I decided to throw away everything that doesn’t serve me and be present.
During my Vamana, I was busy with the physical task at hand (I was urged to drink fast and as soon as I finished one glass, another was handed to me) but I did my best to focus on getting rid of my emotional toxins in the process. I imagined that I was drinking a glass of resentment instead of milk, a glass of disappointment rather than bitter sweet decoction, and a glass of regret was there in place of salt water. I even threw in the long lingering shoulder pain from my years of nightmarish New York work life.
Drinking so much liquid in a short period of time was very difficult but the actual purging part was a lot easier than I thought. I might venture to say it was therapeutic or healing even. I drank every last drop of everything and then let it all leave me.
When it was all finished, I walked out into the predawn stillness and took a deep breath in. It felt amazing.
Out. Gone. And done.