Fall is in full-swing and it feels like winter is just around the corner! Every year I get excited for this slow-down period. As the natural environment edges toward a scene of sparseness and simplicity, so does the calendar of events. However, I cannot say the same for what may be stirring within our household.
This autumn, my husband and I took on a 25 day whole foods detox led by a fellow holistic health studies classmate of mine, Katie Jasper. More on that to come. We are only 7 days in, but so far, the results have been wonderful. As we are home cooking and eating in community, we both feel more energized, clear-headed, and grounded. With this new excitement and clarity, we feel like we started trekking down a path together that is so important and truly rejuvenating. What really is happening is we are simply making the commitment to live a healthier, holistic life. While I can go on and on making it sound all flowery and unicorn-like, I would rather point out that plenty of the purgative experience is dealing with the “mess in the basement” that is not related to the foods we are eating.
The “mess in the basement” is the not-so-pleasant or hip or happy parts of what makes me…me. It’s the parts of myself that I know can be destructive if not handled appropriately or acknowledged. From a big picture standpoint, it’s the greater reason why people get sidetracked on the road coming home to themselves.
The detox has acted as a catalyst and plunged me right into a ritual that happens every year at this time – the practice of going inward, self-reflecting, accepting, and letting go. It is different and yet it is the same – and as the days shorten and the darkness surrounds me all over again, I continue to look forward to what I will encounter this year.
Below is an excerpt from a wonderful book, written by Marion Woodman that pairs well with this time of year and with this post. Her work is appropriately named, Coming Home to Myself: Reflections for Nurturing a Woman’s Body and Soul. I think all people can relate to it, so I hope that this snippet inspires you to take some time to experience what it means to come home to yourself and to explore the “mess in your basement.”
In my dream,
I was a priestess
and had prepared
the altar for great celebration.
The flowers were almost in place,
the roses almost in the center
of the sunlit altar.
(I could not make the roses fit
within the light.)
A shadow the shape of a cross came through a window.
An old man came to me and said,
Your hymns will never rise to heaven
until you clean up your mess in the basement.
But there’s no basement in this temple, I said.
That’s the problem: there is, he replied.
Down the rotting old steps we went
and found a slimy lagoon.
A water wheel,
joining basement to temple, lay still.
A huge serpent writhed,
trying and failing and trying again
to center its head on the wheel.
It knew its task was to turn the wheel–
quiet, rhythmic–with its head.
I tried to move the wheel towards the serpent
and it struck.
The old man pulled me out of danger,
You can’t move so fast
She doesn’t trust you.
you will make her your friend.
For twenty years,
the wheel has creaked but turned;
The lagoon, fresh;
the serpent, Sophia;
the roses, not yet in place.