One day I walked into class and noticed that since I had seen my teacher last, like two days ago, he’d changed. Good-bye robust athletic yogi, hello rock star. Not the junkie kind either. The thin, trim, spry, stage-roaming, glowing kind.
After class, when I asked him what his secret was, he revealed he was on day four of the Master Cleanse. To open his hips. Really? Yes, supposedly the strict regimen of lemon, cayenne and water is, along with its other healing properties, supposed to help open up stubborn hips.
I’m going to do it too, I said. I wasn’t thinking of the hip opening, my hips were already more open than even my big mouth. They were so open that colds, flus and hormones settled eagerly into them, like fans before a show. I definitely didn’t need to open my hips. But I did need to look like a rock star!
I’d always been put off by the Master Cleanse. Just the name is so mastery. I’m very anti-authoritarian – unless I’m the authority. But ever since a William Morris agent had told me I had a nice body…for a person, I’d been trying to take off five pounds here and another five there.
I planned to get through the weekend’s gigs and start on Monday. No point trying to do a cleanse when you are entertaining in a filthy nightclub. I kept imagining I’d be one of those yogis, sipping from their Master Cleanse concoction-filled water bottles, humbly saying: The first few days were hard but now I have soooo much energy!
Day one: Weak, woozy, light-headed. Day two: weaker, woozier, light-headeder. Day three: too weak to speak, too woozy for schmoozy, and now also snoozy. Lightheaded to the point of being almost thoughtfree. And not soooo much energy. In fact noooo much energy.
But who cared? I looked so hot in my pleather rock star pants I didn’t want to peel them off. I did though. And I even gathered enough strength to pull on my Hard Tails. Then I collapsed onto the bed from where it became clear, that the vast expanse of physical reality that lay between me and Yoga class was un-navigatable.
I knew I did need to move my body though, so I geared up for a little walk. I tucked a pen and scrap of paper into my pocket, just in case the one thought I had been waiting to hear finally arrived. The fact that I knew I was listening for this thought was a kind of miraculous revelation. Apparently, I’d pulled a bait and switch on myself with the Master Cleanse, tempting my ego with weight loss because my higher self was desperate to gain clarity.
For me, something clicked when I learned that biophotons, little bundles of light energy, actually leap from one to another of us. Like fleas, but brighter, lighter and more magical.
After shuffling halfway around my block I wrote: must get a house. Two weeks later we were evicted. Ha ha, good one universe. I’d only lasted five days on the Master Cleanse, but it was enough to change my life.
I always feel compelled to explain that we weren’t evicted through any fault of our own. And it’s true that we weren’t running a meth lab, a brothel or anything else as illegal or as lucrative. There wasn’t even any unpaid rent. But maybe, without it being our fault, we did cause it. A new landlord was relocating his extended family into our fourplex but he’d assured us we weren’t going to be evicted. Then the Master Cleanse, and my note to self, and voila! So maybe he’d been lying. Or maybe he’d changed his mind. But maybe the Master Cleanse had caused the shift or maybe I’d done the Master Cleanse because I’d sensed the shift. One thing I knew for sure, the Master Cleanse and the eviction were connected.
Of course everything is connected. That singular truth has been being beaten into our thick skulls for years: STDs, The Inconvenient Truth, this economic debacle. And lately we’ve been seduced into understanding everything is connected with more enticing examples: Dr. Emoto’s water crystals, Lynne McTaggart’s Intention Experiment, scientists proving that happiness, and fat, are both contagious. For me something clicked when I learned that bio-photons, little bundles of light energy, actually leap from one to another of us. Like fleas, but brighter, lighter and more magical. So, in a sense, when you’re standing in line at the supermarket, you’re standing behind everyone the person in front of you has ever stood behind. Now we find out that the residue of our prescription drugs fill our water supply, which means that your Prozac is my Prozac; your CoQ10 is my CoQ10, and also that your Master Cleanse is my Master Cleanse.
Which is why when I overheard one lithe yogi saying to another that she was on day three and she was soooo woozy! I couldn’t keep my big mouth shut. You can go off it, you know. The Master Cleanse is not the boss of you!
I hope I said it nicely. Because I’ve started to understand, on a visceral level how connected we are and that it’s just as bad to feed negativity to The Field as it is to feed white flour to your digestive tract.
So I’ve gotten slightly obsessive about what I’m putting out. And taking in. Yes, you are what you eat, but you are also what you read and watch and listen to. And the universe is what it eats too. Which is me, you, us. So I eat more greens; I disconnected my TV; I play my tuning forks. And I’ve started to think of this way of living as a complimentary system to the Master Cleanse: The Mistress Cleanse. Not a cleanse to do now and then for a few life-changing days, but one to do every day, in every way.
Yes, you are what you eat, but you are also what you read and watch and listen to. And the universe is what it eats too.
As it turns out, the word cleanse comes from a Proto Indo European (PIE) base gel – meaning to gleam. It’s related to a Greek word glene, meaning eyeball. And an Old Irish word gel meaning bright. And it’s true that when things are dirty or dull, they are harder to see.
A cleanse can bring us closer to seeing the gleaming truth, to help us see, have the moment of clarity, which comes in a flash, in the light bulb moment. We call the visionaries among us bright, not because they can be seen but because they see. I read once that we’re attracted to gleaming, shiny baubles because when we were foraging for food in the wild, berries were shiny, and easy to see. Of course berries have more antioxidants than almost any other food, making it a bright idea to eat lots of them.
But sometimes berries aren’t gleaming enough to brighten me up during this doozy of a woozy world. In these days of accelerating change, rapid connecting and massive transformation, sometimes I need more gleam, even a little glam. And then I get shining, eye lining with glitter, sparkle that helps me flitter and roam the Earth, the third rock from the sun. A star rock. And I’ve let go of the rock star pants, and wrapped myself up in dresses instead, as befits a devoted Lady of The Mistress Cleanse.
By Beth Lapides
Beth Lapides is the creatrix and host of UnCabaret. You may know her from her LA Yoga My Other Car is A Yoga Mat column, as the author of “Did I Wake You, Haiku For Modern Living”, from her appearances on Sex & The City, NPR and Comedy Central or from her writing in O Magazine, Elle Decor and Los Angeles Magazine. She teaches her workshop The Comedian’s Way privately in LA and annually at Kripalu Center for Yoga and Health. UnCabaret is her long running comedy show in which she asks the very best comedians working what is going on with you now. The show is known for being uniquely about the present and every Sunday a completely unique experience unfolds. In the past two years Beth has collaborated with Mitch Kaplan, both on the music for her New Agey comedy show “100% Happy 88% of the Time” and at UnCabaret where Mitch is Musical Director. Adding music to the comedy is like adding an out breath to the in, a vowel to the consonant. UnCabaret is intimate, conversation, idiosyncratic and fun intentional.