Creating and hosting the 40 day challenge has been a very rewarding process for me. I love doing the research, creating the manuals, learning and constantly bringing improvements to the program. This year, brilliantly (and why didn’t I think of this before?) we brought on Sattvist Cristina Gildee, a teacher at the studio where the event is hosted, who is also a Cordon Bleu chef. Her weekly recipes and knowledge on food combining, etc. has been a phenomenal enhancement.
Often times, I am so busy tending to the flock, I forget to really put my feet to the fire for the challenge. Yes, I’ve done the hard work. This year I am 100 percent focused and present in my own experience as well as their’s. This month has felt different. My forty day challenge is not just diet and yoga (yoga being the easy part!). We work through the mayakoshas, Ayurvedic principles, food eliminations, some fasting of sorts, archetypes and the subconscious.
I find each person is looking for their own insights, wanting to get their own experience from the challenge, so I try to create an environment from which to choose. This allows the participant a chance to really set meaningful goals that hopefully become attainable as lifestyle changes.
Some things that seemed like ‘good’ ideas, turned out not to be so much, like consuming soy and tofu upon forfeiting meat and dairy. My body has an aversion to soy. Now in my mid forties, and who knew?! In giving up meat, and most seafood, I was consuming big bountiful bowls of hot pho noodles with extra veggies and tofu. By day 20 I was wondering why the challenge seemed to be having the opposite effect: bloating. I felt like I was starting to put on weight, and didn’t feel very strong. Tofu, as a processed food, and how soy works with its level of estrogen in the bloodstream isn’t making for a happy body.Good to know. More almonds now.
Most of the tasks proved to be solid winners for rewiring my inner workings, like taking downtime during the day in small and subtle ways for this maniacally driven workaholic, come to find out, are rather pleasurable staples of my daily life.
Imagine this for a former Microsoft and tech exec: two hours of turning off the phone and laptop. Before the forty days, and immediately following the halcyon era of the eight track, PacMan, and Orville Redenbacher’s microwaveable popcorn,I did not believe this could ever be possible.
Some things I am really liking are stopping all food and drink consumption by 7pm because I am sleeping better than ever before, and committing to a nice warm bath by candlelight every evening for twenty minutes of silent reflective downtime: a gesture of departure from the day and readiness going into the night. Look at me getting all self maintaining!
I have been reflecting on my drawn archetypes, the monk/nun (please see cover photo from my yoga retreat in Italy. How incredibly symbolic is that mural!), the poet, but mainly the mountaineer. The mountaineer for me is most acute in my mind. As part of the program, we are looking at the light attributes of the archetype and the shadow. We all have shadow aspects, but for the mountaineer, I envisioned a card with a large mountain capped in snow and an Alpine gent (bottom right) complete with funny hat and lederhosen carrying a huge pack gazing upward as if intent on conquering the summit.
Here is where this post could go in a myriad of directions with its significance, irony and resonance.
The light attribute means I can climb any mountain, possess the courage to tackle every obstacle; like an obstinate pack mule. My Taurean nature can slog up the mountain determined and headstrong.
Yes, I can carry the heavy load, but my shadow side is also in play: I will always go it alone and I will NEVER ask for help.The task of scaling the mountain becomes daunting because there is no one by my side shouldering any of life’s burdens.
I am in the process of releasing the shadow side and I find myself being powerfully connected with others whose first words spoken are, “I am happy to help” and “let’s just get this done together.” The level of comaraderie and teamwork working with others is greatly aiding the realization of my goals, wishes and dream.
I am starting off my year bombarded with manifestation!
People want to be a part of this thing I am building, and I’ve finally been able to see that putting down the pack and collectively ascending the mountain is the better journey travelled.
Wow, now I really feely like I am in touch with what everyone is going through on this journey together. Thank you to each of the Forty Day challengers shedding their shadows along with me. I have loved and am grateful for our time together. And I just couldn’t resist these adorable little Hummels; they represent as a scribe to my past a fond memory. They make me smile!