DIY Detox: Day of Balance in the Days of Awe

It is the first day of Autumn. Equinox, the Day of Balance. In the midst of one of my favorite yearly recognitions, the Days of Awe, between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur. I am not Jewish. But there is so something powerfully evocative about the time between the end of the year and the beginning of the year, a time when there is an accounting of a life lived. Repentance, atonement, reflection, remembrance, forgiveness, introspection. What a collection of words and delicate human conditions. The modern world would never make a place for us to hold these words and give them meaning in our lives. The Days of Awe does.

Today is the Autumn Equinox. The Day of Balance is perfectly divided between daylight and the shades of dark, dusk to dawn.  It is called Mabon, the middle of harvest here in the part of the New World that most perfectly matches the Celtic seasonal round as preserved by the Irish, Scots, Welsh and English.  A time to celebrate the garden’s harvest, as well as grain, apples and wine. I found a lovely website ( that said it well: “It is a time to reap what you have sown, of giving thanks for the harvest and the bounty the Earth provides. For finishing up old projects and plans and planting the seeds for new enterprises or a change in lifestyle. Mabon is a time of celebration and balance. This is the time to look back not just on the past year, but also your life, and to plan for the future. In the rhythm of the year, Mabon is a time of rest and celebration, after the hard work of gathering the crops.”

So it is the Day of Balance in the Days of Awe, from two different traditions.  Reaping what we have sown and setting to right. Mabon and the sacred time of Equinox ask us for gratitude and reflection, rest and celebration.

So, here is what I have found in my days of De-Tox. This modern term is a symptom of our recognition of toxins in our lives.  We have gone on auto-pilot and consumed mindlessly, eating and drinking things that aren’t good for us in quantities that are definitely not needed or wanted by our body. As I have proceeded with my supplements, fiber and diet, I have hit roadblocks—some social, most of them my own. The fact is—it is hard for an omnivore to limit food.

But here is the gold: becoming mindful of my consumptions, even when I am being unmindful.  I have watched myself be “good” when I stick to it and “bad” when I don’t. I have listened to my body and learned to trust it better, and I have appreciated food. The colors, especially, of fresh veggies and fruits have enlivened my days.

Unexpectedly, I wandered far away from just me, in my kitchen, worrying about my personal de-tox. As I held the foods—all of them—the good, the bad and the ugly, I found myself thinking about how they came to make their way into my hands—all the other hands, the soil, the labor, the animals, the transportation. . .  I found myself thinking about the health of the planet and the de-tox it needs.

My de-tox diet turned into a mindfulness diet because I welcomed these reflections.  Ultimately, this time has been about de-toxing the soul. During this month, at a time when the turn of the season has been long been recognized as special, I have been able to slow down enough “catch” the sacred unfolding and receive it into the marrow of my being.  I have de-toxed my time and brain, along with my body with the help of the Writing Diet by Julia Cameron. My chopped up days had stolen a sense of spaciousness and my to-do list had made off with spontaneity. The result: my anguished soul ate to assuage its misery. Perhaps strong words for the modern day, but I think it fitting and accurate.

 The fact is, I have become more interested in de-toxing my life of the poisonous lack of consciousness that pervades our human existence. I want to wake up. Choosing the right foods most of the time, celebrating occasionally when the time is right, and being in dialogue with what I put in my mouth, my home and my time.

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