>My mother twirled (she is 62, had two breast cancer surgeries this past year, I couldn’t remember the last time I saw her twirl… wait, have I ever seen her twirl?) round in a super cute, black, wooly Paddington bear-style duffle coat that looked new to me. It was six degrees outside, she was damn well gonna need it.
“Where’d you get that mom? It’s super cute!”
Still: twirling, in our marble foyer, which has floor-to-ceiling mirrors in its entrance and an angular modern chandelier. (My parents bought that house in the 80’s—I’m not sure that “subtle” existed as an interior design choice at the time.)
“Do you know, Margaret, I haven’t worn this coat for years?? I used to wear it just open—I can’t remember the last time I was able to button it up!” Her eyes were delightedly fixed on herself and her twirl.
We were the first day out of what was supposed to be a three-day cleanse that stretched itself to ten. My mother was admiringly reaping the benefits of her own dedication, and I could not be more proud of her.
The plan was to lead them through, mom and sis. I arrived in Chicago in early December and straight to Bed, Bath and Beyond to buy a juicer and two grocery carts full of organic greens, maca, spirulina, cacao, coconut oil, etc. that were diligently replenished via Whole Foods to our fridge.
Mom went in full force, but sis showed up the night we were supposed to start, stoned, and made plans to be out with her man the following evening. She was welcome to join us, but it’d be sort of like showing up to church drunk, or to Six Flags with the flu—you could get through it, but kinda beside the point…
So when mom was feeling (totally surprisingly, totally amazingly) awesome after three days, and I was not quite back to my pre-birthday (two coasts, two weeks, three cities, copious amounts of celebrating) svelte self, we decided to juice onwards and let sis catch up.
I mentioned my mother had cancer, she also recently left behind anti-depressants and we spoke of how they “dulled” everything in her life. She didn’t feel sad, but she didn’t feel joy either. There was a level, consistent “kinda okay” feeling. Mom said all she wanted to do was to be able to cry, and six months ago, finding out about the cancer, having to undergo multiple surgeries, not a tear was shed.
I gave them a thorough warning: it’s all going to come up. Cleanses will bring to the surface buried emotions so that we can experience them. They’re perfect to do in a transition period, or when we need to get back to ourselves. These days when something throws me for a loop, I cleanse, so I know I can remain grounded, stay true to the moment and veer away from self-pity and martinis.
I knew that my mom processing her emotions was an important part of her healing, and the moment that I was able to watch her stand, in her pajamas, mid-cleanse in our living room, with tears streaming down her face, blissfully crying out, “Margaret what are you doing to me?” was magic. Just magic.
My sister, a gorgeous young thing that is (damnit) taller than me, with a long torso I’ve always coveted, and a Mira Sorvino meets Brooke Shields vibe happening, has had her toughest year to date. Turning 30 brought a sh** storm with it. The first weekend I was in Chicago, she was also in tears, thankful that I was there—I provided some kind of safety for her, some version of love that has been missing. It was so the kale.
Of course I was the bossy boots in the midst of it all, lecturing them, telling them what to do, what to drink, why to drink it, why they shouldn’t complain about it, but at the same time, I was strangely distanced. I wasn’t doing it. There was some other force moving me and I was along for the ride. Even the compliments, their tears of gratitude, were pleasant to see, but they were just that: pleasant. They did not fill me with any kind of pride; it was just loveliness and I was there witnessing it. Like a documentary. Over 10 days I made hundreds of juices; for the month, I cooked each and every meal. Move over cancer. We’ll take it from here.
But I was also cleansing—and we were extending. The sh** was going to hit the fan… it always does.
The blow up between my mother and I, sure ‘nuff, came.
There were other times that she was irritable and I was such a good little Buddha… waves of nonsense and insults flowing by me, I, so unperturbed. So zen. So much so that I arrogantly texted my best friend, comedically, yet seriously: “I think I might have Jesus Christ consciousness right now. Later I’m going to try to turn tap water into Chateau Lafite.”
This time? It was so my fault. I felt it coming. Like a tidal wave you see approaching and have no control of stopping.
It involved the shoe section of Neiman Marcus, after a 3-hour shopping trek that began at Nordstrom Rack.
We had not eaten solid food in a week. We had already been to FIVE different shoe stores.
I feel I gave her ample warning. “Ok mom, let’s go, I’m starting to lose steam here.”
“I can feel the irritability setting in.”
In ended up being too late. The irritation swept over me like a inconsolable tide of bitchdom. An older version of me showed up, that I thought I had upgraded past. Nope—she was still there. That sure was a fun, melodramatic explosion to surf. Yelling, apologies, tip-toeing back to even keel: all part of the detox.
Anyone who is used to cleansing might say that I was beyond sado-masochistic to choose to cleanse with my mother, no matter how much love I hold for her in my heart. My daily fare these days would be a cleanse for most people in America, but for someone a touch less experienced with green juices and superfoods, it’s just like any other consciousness raising endeavor: yoga, meditation. You gotta see the ugly, embrace the pain. If you’re Polish and have been eating primarily ham and vodka for 50 years, plus you have six weeks worth of radiation sitting in your body that’s just desperate to get out, well, you can do the math… getting out the gook is not going to always be an attractive picture.
Kris Carr’s instant bestseller “Crazy Sexy Diet” shot to #6 on the New York Times list in its first week last week. I’d been waiting for this book to come out for months; Kris’ documentary was on the itinerary as the ‘entertainment” portion of our cleanse in Chicago. Although I have yet to own it because Amazon sold out in the first day and I am in full-on hibernation mode, a breeze through the table of contents reads like the lecturing I gave my mom and sis. Green juice, probiotics, dry-brushing, veganism (don’t get all up in arms, it’s just a conversation), even trampolines. Every entrepreneurial, sexy and spiritual woman I admire on the web is friends with, and has interviewed Kris. Just sayin’. She’s everything I look for in a spectacular woman: smart, sassy, sexy. I sent my mom a copy and mine is enroute.
There’s a prana, a life force, coursing through our bodies at all times. Yogis are intimately attuned to moving this business about but most can’t feel it every day. There are times when I’ll have a touch too much New York City, and a day of green juice taps me back into the force. Once you get involved in subtler energetic realms, you can feel different foods affecting and raising or lowering your vibration. Pretty trippy stuff.
And I’ll be dead honest—before all those delish energetically discerned side effects started happening, my motivation was absolute vanity. I looked around, saw who looked amazing at 40, 50, 60, 80 years old, and who was doing it naturally, and then said: I am going to do that. I want to look hot and feel amazing 30 years from now. Fork over the green juice.
Synchronistically, my mother had doctor’s appointments bookend our cleanse. Her glucose level dropped from dangerously borderline diabetic to a normal range in ten days. Her doctor was shocked. “What did you do?” He asked.
My sister did end up cleansing with us for the 2nd weekend. She looked brighter, she dropped a couple of pounds and I noticed her singing around the house again. I asked her for a blurb to describe what she was feeling:
“It really helps you focus with everything… I don’t know, it gives you a clearer sense of direction, you know?”
I’m paraphrasing a fortune cookie I have framed in my New York apartment: “When the mind is clear, there is no fear.” (Wow, that was a bad paraphrase; its much more zen and elegant, ironically enough, on the fortune cookie paper.) When we clear away the gunk, positive thought and action arise naturally. Just another tool for getting out of our own way. And the side effect of the marvelous ass that I will still have at 40, 50, beyond? Yeah, well let’s just say, green juice, my future husband thanks you.