Hint : It could change yours too.
Imagine if you will.
Kingston airport, Jamaica, 5 pm, a few days before my 28th birthday. I have never felt this good. I am by myself, looking at 17 hours of travel with 3 flights to reach my destination; my current home in Tortola, British Virgin Islands (every flight got delayed and my suitcase made it 2 days after me). Still, my mood is at its best (and it remains so despite the delays).
I haven't mentioned yet that I haven’t eaten any food nor drink any coffee, tea, alcohol or smoked a cigarette for the last 10 days. The only elements that went into my body have been water, lemon, cayenne pepper and maple syrup. This is miles away from how I would usually indulge myself.
I omitted to mention, I also had one glass of castor oil and orange juice. Anyone who already drinks castor oil knows this is not a treat. It was the final touch to my 10 days Master cleanse that I did in the most supportive and calming location: Go Natural in Jamaica, a sanctuary that welcomes guests with open arms that are willing to relax, eat well (or practice fasting), yoga practice, meditation and meet connected souls.
You've read the title. Embarking on this retreat is one of the best decisions I have ever made. For the context, what it motivated me to achieve, and the light it brought me.
It wasn’t a documented, well-thought decision. But now, I live on an idyllic island, that makes every day feel a bit like a holiday, but also going anywhere lengthy and expensive. After 6 months of busy office life and emotional up and downs I felt it was time to go for a vacation. I like my vacations to bring me more than a tan. I explored plans to go backpacking through Costa Rica or visit a friend in Buenos Aires, but my usual drive, energy, and curiosity for those landscapes and new people was missing.
I wanted to explore myself, not new continents.
While postponing any decision and going with the flow, I came across an article from a writer that I have been following for a long time on her 10 days silence retreat in India.
It sounded great and a couple of days later I was googling “Meditation Retreat in Caribbean”. After looking at different places I decided on Go Natural Jamaica. The place seemed cozy and had great reviews, and Jamaica has the reputation of a very beautiful and welcoming country (and it is).
Silence was not on the program. But a wealth of other activities : 2 daily sessions of yoga, meditation, ayurvedic rituals, workshops on nutrition and all natural cosmetics workshops...And this Mastercleanse thing, that I had never heard of, aiming to help you detoxify your body by fasting for 10 days. I googled it further to check the potential impact on my health.
And I booked. As much for the challenge to deprive myself from something, than for the health dimension. I thought “why not?”. It could maybe bring a lighter mindset to deepen my meditation practice (that so far resumed to sitting and thinking about everything possible).
So I flied there, with a lot of books (in case I would get bored). I hardly read a couple of pages of the first one during my stay. I didn’t get bored. I met very inspiring folks. We had beach and city excursions. Hammock sittings. And there is a library full of exciting books about yoga, meditation, change, nutrition, plants, and more (some of them explaining the benefits of fasting).
I still find my share of challenges with meditation, but I now accept it as part of the process.
Practicing daily for 10 days has instilled discipline and the taste to persevere.
The fact to not be eating was surprisingly easy to cope with. I felt good, not over energized as some people will tell you they were during their detox, not under energized either. Just feeling good and rested, sleeping between 7 and 9 hours per night, with an improved memory and faster responding brain function. I lost a couple of pounds and coupled with the daily yoga exercise I feel that my body actually gained strength. My skin went from “average/not great” to amazing!
I especially feel proud I did it. Because I love to eat so much. And I’m used to eating lots of crap. After this stay I see eating in a different way, and I love it even more. Just different things (edit : since coming back I did significantly change where I shop and what).
The environment was immensely helpful, I can not imagine fasting in my “usual” life. Too many temptations when seeing other eating and drinking, the shops, smelling odors, and so on.
It helped to have a partner in crime so to speak, and while most of the guests where enjoying their stay at the retreat while eating the – apparently – delicious vegan variations of Jamaican food prepared by the Go Natural chefs, we were two fasting during our stay.
No amount of words would be enough to describe the feelings I experienced and how I reflect on it. .
The time spent thinking about myself, the world and everything in between generated dozens of new points on my bucket list. (edit : I bought a ukulele on my day 2 of being back home, and started to learn with youtube. Planning to make my first home made bread this week-end).
I am not saying I gave up forever on coffee, alcool and cheese. I only appreciate them more, and more rarely, now.
I feel like a better version of myself. And it feels great.
I confidently label this the most life changing 10 days I ever had, and it is reasonable to say that I am used to change (this will be the topic of a dedicated story).
The reality of me writing this article, whether 1 person or 100 read it, is a victory on my fear of judgment. This article is not perfect, neither am I, and it’s just fine.
A big thank you to the Go Natural crew and beautiful people I met there.
You can visit Go Natural website, and they have an inspiring Facebook page.
Any question or thoughts to share ? I would love to discuss, reach out on my Twitter @anais_frin or Instagram where.is.ana_