Hint : it could change yours too.
Kingston airport, Jamaica, 5 pm, a couples of days ahead of my 28th birthday. I have never felt this good.
I am by myself, looking at a 17 hours travel with 3 flights to reach my current home in Tortola, British Virgin Islands (edit: every flight got delayed and my suitcase only made it 2 days after me). Still, my mood is at its best (and it remained so despite the delays).
And I didn’t mention yet that I haven’t eaten any food nor drink any coffee, tee, alcohol or smoke a cigarette, since 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 the glass of castor oil and orange juice I had yesterday. Anyone who already drunk castor oil knows this is not a treat. It was the final touch to my 10 days mastercleanse that I did in the calmest place : Go Natural in Jamaica, a sanctuary that welcomes up to a dozen of hosts willing to relax, eat well (or practice fasting), practice yoga, meditate and meet connected souls.
You read the title. Doing this retreat is one of the best decision I ever made. For the context, what it motivated me to achieve, and the light it brought me (edit: first implications are concrete one week later already).
It wasn’t a documented, well-thought decision really. I live on an idyllic island, that makes every day feel a bit like 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 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, 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 since a long time on her 10 days silence retreat in India (the article here).
It sounded great and a couple of days later I was googling “meditation retreat in Caribbean”. After looking at different places I settled for Go Natural Jamaica. The place seemed cosy 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 on natural cosmetics. 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 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.
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 well the benefits of fasting).
I am still challenged 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 energised as some people will tell you they were during their detox, not under energised neither. Just feeling good and rested, sleeping between 7 and 9 hours per night, with an improved memory and faster brain. 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 eat 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 context has been 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 too to have a partner in crime, 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 cookers, 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 actual fact of me publishing this article, whether 1 person or 100 read it, is a victory on my fear of judgment. This article is not perfect, neither I am, and it’s just fine.
Any question or thoughts to share ? I would love to discuss. Leave a comment below or reach out on Twitter.