Cleansing Chronicles, Day 2 Part 2 by vanessa

So there's another Vanessa here. From LA. You don't understand -- this spa holds like maybe 20 people. It's not right. We've mixed up our mugs and pills. She got called for a spa appointment and I stood up. I might just leave tomorrow since this place ain't big enough for the two of us. I think she was on General Hospital a long time ago?? She looks kinda familiar. (Note: I just imdb'd her -- apparently she's on a show now called Las Vegas.)

Speaking of familiar, the Robin lady from Howard Stern is here too. Francis, the matriarch, was trying to guess her (Robin's) profession b/c apparently Francis is psychic. But then she was all, "You're a lawyer." No. "I've got it -- I'm seeing numbers -- you're an account manager. You're a manager!" No. "You're a teacher." No, not yet. "You're a singer." Geez lady, how many more guesses do you get? Robin was nicer than I am. Finally she told her. And then Francis got all giddy. I'm telling you, I'm kinda obsessed w/ Francis's accent, and just her whole being=ness. You should see her: she's probably like 60-something? Kinda tall, w/ long blonde hair, high cheekbones, and came out to the commons this morning w/ her hair all in rollers. Then, when she dressed, she marched into yoga 60 minutes into class carrying her gigantic LV bag and announced she was there to watch. The instructor didn't know what to do w/ her. Tonight her and her husband rolled in, and Francis had on the sickest fox vest. Who wears fox for chrissakes? She totally rocked it.

Among other characters I've met:

  • A mother and daughter team, the 16-ish daughter being a singer/songwriter. They are from Connecticut but moved to LA four years ago so the daughter could make it in Hollywood.
  • A dude who's a self-proclaimed "computer wizard, movie director, and is now dabbling in acting.
  • The two Scrabble girls from last night. They're from the OC and today I helped them burn their intentions. See what a good sport I am?

The mother / daughter team inspired me. They get no less than TEN hours of sleep on a normal night. Maybe that's why the mom's skin looks so good. Okay I'm going to bed. When I wake up I have meditation, then yoga, then I head home ... ready for the Desiree / Sienna workshop and solid food.

Cleansing Chronicles, Day 2 by vanessa

This morning started off w/ a yoga class and then a meditation class. I feel better today -- the headache is gone -- but I am totally craving steamed vegetables and/or my favorite salad at M Chaya. Also thank god they had tongue scrapers here b/c part of the detoxing thing is that you get this nasty film on your tongue and the only way (I know of) to get it off is to scrape. ("They" say that if you brush your tongue you just move bacteria around, which is just gross.)

I'm definitely not making friends. But why? I'm so friendly! And likable! Here's probably why: In meditation class, afterward the instructor goes around the room and has each person share their experience. When my turn came I said that I got agitated when someone walked in late and then w/ the ensuing noises but that I saw that as an opportunity for myself to go deeper. I know that SOUNDS passive-aggressive, and I considered not saying it, but it's a) true, and b) it says more about me than the woman who walked in late. The reality is, things will ALWAYS come up in meditation -- there will always be distractions -- while sitting, in life, whatever... and if I can't have even a little bit of introspection to examine what's really going on, then I'm pretty much at the mercy of my environment. (Which I may be anyway, but that's a topic for another blog.) Anyway, the woman came up to me after class and apologized. I told her - because I meant it - that it wasn't about her. And then we talked about how she loves not eating.

Which brings me to something that I've been struggling with here. There's a delicate line between cleansing for cleansing's sake, and developing an eating disorder. I'm not sure I've negotiated the difference in myself, but I know it when I see it. The problem is, it's true -- when you lay off solid foods for even a day you feel really good. (On a cleanse you also put back in minerals and vitamins and stuff through supplements.) However, since you also lose weight, that feeling can be addictive, which is bad since it's not sustainable to fast your way through life. At some point, you NEED food. Also, eating is fun.

Okay, I'm off to walk the labyrinth. (A word, btw, which kinda grosses me out since it reminds me of female genitalia. (Sorry.))

Cleansing Chronicals, Day 1, Part 2 by vanessa

When you are cleansing, at least at first, most things bother you. For example, the 30-ish girl who's learning to play Scrabble for the first time, sitting in the common area with her friend, insisting that "yule" is spelled Y-O-U-L-E. (This is after she tried unsuccessfully to spell "bonnet" as B-O-N-E-T. Then, when her friend corrected her, tried to pass it off as, "Well, then bo-nay -- as in Eric Bonet." Her friend reminded her that personal names are prohibited. I wanted to club her.) You see, under normal conditions, I'd probably smirk, maybe think it's kinda sweet. But now, when the effects of a nearly daily habit of wine and coffee and cheese are painfully prying themselves from my cells, all I can think about are things I would LIKE to say to this poor girl:

First, I'd ask her if she could even use "yule" in a sentence. Then, I'd ask her who the f**k cares that they have "many places like this" in the Bay Area. Maybe you should have stayed there. Then I'd ask her how the HELL you get to be her age and have never played Scrabble. Where were you raised? Norman, Oklahoma? And lastly I'd ask if I could play.

In meditation class I became so distracted by the instructor's moustache, I began to wonder if it was intentional. I once read this article about this guy at a Vipassana retreat who spoke about there always being a "plant" in the room -- someone with a quirk placed amongst the sitters whose function it was to annoy everyone else. The CW being that if you could overcome a plant you could reach enlightenment or something. In this guy's case, the plantee had a nasal grunting thing going on. I can't remember the outcome. Anyway, the instructor is nice enough, I like her, but that's just it -- she's a her, and how am I supposed to listen when I'm staring at a lip that shouldn't have hair on it? I am thankful when we have to close our eyes. Which is when I start thinking about what a horrible person I am. (Not really though.) On the bright side, the 30-minute meditation went quickly, and I a) love meditation and b) am 30-minutes closer to bedtime.

It's freezing in my room, btw. I'm convinced they keep the common areas heated up to encourage camaraderie. There is a matriarch here, Francis, who comes to this spa with her husband for TWO WEEKS every year from Columbus, OH. Do you know the price of this place? Judging by the rings on her fingers, she doesn't care. Anyway, Francis has a faint accent that I can't place but am enthralled by nonetheless. She greets everyone who walks into the sitting area and asks them where they're from. She assumes I'm from NY, maybe because I'm wearing all black with my hat pulled low and am reading The New Yorker. I'm not sure why I'm pleased by the mistake. Anyway, Francis swears she's seen me before -- were you here last year? -- and I tell her that it's been three years for me. There is a pride in being an alum. Newbies look at you with an awe that suggests you'll be able to ease their suffering by sharing what's to come. Even if you know what's coming it doesn't make the present any easier. I assure you. I take that back - it does. I know that when I leave on Sunday I'm going to feel way better than I did when I got here, and I'll have long forgot about the cookies for breakfast and the many, unopened bottles of wine at home. I'll go from here to a yoga workshop I've been anticipating for months and feel like I'm starting the new year off right.

Okay I might go rejoin civilization. I need something to scowl at.

Cleansing Chronicles, Day 1 by vanessa

Good morning. Or, noon as it were. I've voluntarily checked myself into a "spa" for the weekend where you take a bunch of pills and drink green stuff. I've been here before a few years ago, but back then I was just into starvation so now it feels like I'm here for the first time.

The thing about fasting is that it makes you crazy. You crave food before you even start. Last night Harmony came over and we drank a bottle of wine, ate chips and salsa, a salad and chocolate. I wasn't even hungry but I was all, "It's Christmas, I won't be eating for the next three days, yada, yada, yada..."

Then, this morning when I was dropping my car off at the dealership for service (a $2300 service, which blows, btw), they always have fresh baked cookies and coffee in the waiting room. I partook. Hungry? Not at all, but I knew what was coming.

And now, I've finally arrived after the two hour drive from LA. This place feels like rehab. It's out in the middle of the desert, on a private road and still it has a gate that you have to get buzzed in for. Trust me when I say no one would willfully break into this place.

I walked in to register. The woman at the desk asked to me sign in. By "signing in" apparently she meant bare your soul.

1. Did you follow the pre-fasting dietary guidelines? In between the chips and salsa, eggnog lattes, chocolate, and cereal? Absolutely.
2. How often to you do drink the following on a daily basis? Coffee? Does decaf count? Alcohol? Do you mean recently, or over the span of say the last ten years?
3. How often do you exercise? Shouldn't you be asking this question *after* January 1st when everyone is back at the gym?
4. What do you hope to achieve from this program? I'm at a cleansing farm. Is that a trick question?
5. What are your fears about this program? Please don't analyze me.

After signing in, you're given a dizzying array of pills (see below) and shown to your room (again, below). Getting into my room is no less harrowing than breaking into Ft. Knox, which means busting out will be equally as challenging.

This place is like rehab, plain and simple. I found myself in the lobby looking at the other patients suckers guests and thinking, they are SO unhealthy. What am *I* doing here?

Okay - off to meditation class.



Some might call it a talent. by vanessa

Because I'm feeling all Christmas-y, I decided to bless you with TWO posts tonight. You should think about playing the Lotto.

I'm not sure if I've ever told you (whoever "you" are) before, but my friend Paige played this game with me once on the way to New York from Boston. (She was high.) It goes like this:
She asks the question, WHAT'S YOUR SUPERPOWER? She explained that your superpower is the human trait thing that you're especially good at. Paige originally answered that she's a connector of sorts -- she has a talent for joining people with similar interests together. There were two other girls in the car but frankly I wasn't listening. Mine at the time was that I'm kinda psychic. It's true. I have a pretty crazy sense of intuition. (This has no bearing on whether or not I listen to it, but it's there nonetheless.)

Anyway, since then I've reconsidered. Not because my psychic-ness has diminished but because it's been overshadowed by a more prevalent superpower: I can kill ANY conversation in about two seconds flat. Remember THIS? Well, what I left out of that post is that I made that turkey / baby comparison to a woman who's been trying to get pregnant. For years. She, umm, didn't see the likeness, nor the humor. Unfortunately, I have many more examples. Case in point:

I was at lunch today with my boss, who happens to have two lovely children and is happily married. We were having an otherwise nice conversation about Christmas plans.

Him: So, are you going anywhere for Christmas break?
Me: Yes! I'm going to Palm Springs.
Him: Palm Springs? That's good. What's in Palm Springs?
Me: A cleansing farm! (Don't judge.) It's kinda cool. You get this clarity of thought that is unlikely, at least for me, when you're like, eating and stuff. Plus you get to get massages and do yoga and read and go running and hang out in the hot springs.
Him: Yeah, uhh, sounds great.
Me: What are you doing?
Him: I'm going to Park City.
Me: Oh cool. For skiing?
Him: Yeah, it's five adults and five kids.
Me: FIVE kids? Oh god, how horrible. Why?
Me: I mean, unless you like that sorta thing.
Me: *Trying to pull foot from my mouth.*
Me: I mean, that's cool but don't they like, get up early and stuff?
Him: *Gracious* Yeah but I get up early anyway.

I like kids. I really do. Just not five of them at once. Unless, of course, they're doubling as indentured servants. Then they're definitely cool.

So, anyway, what's YOUR superpower?