The self-care I participated most often in was tongue scraping and oil swishing. It took about a week of sesame swishing before I decided to give almond oil a try. I discovered I not only enjoyed the latter oil more, but also it called my attention to a perhaps not-so-hidden little character trait known as ‘ambivalence’, but that’s a whole other experiment. My mental state as of late has included a heightened reactionary response to any and all bodily sensations or changes, and so I discovered a daily tongue analysis might not be the best thing for me. I did however begin seeing an acupuncturist regularly during these past three weeks and am working towards letting some of the fear of the unknown go. If ama is sticky and yellowish-white, I’m happy to report I haven’t pulled much of anything of note from my tongue since that first morning. Day one was the first time I’d ever scraped my tongue, and although I didn’t collect much, I’ve had less than that first scraping every day since. About 5 days into the oil swishing and for the first time in what felt like forever, I didn’t lose a single drop of blood while flossing. That surprised me because I didn’t expect such tangible results so quickly or perhaps at all I came to realize. Now nearing the end of week three, my mouth feels more sensitive than usual, and I wonder if it isn’t the new rituals combined with bringing some actual awareness to this part of my body.
Another interesting experience I’ve had since starting this experiment is observing some of my long-standing habits, primarily of the mouth, beginning to change. I have a proficient background in wine and wine drinking with what I thought was an innate and unwavering love for red wine, but wouldn’t you know it, I haven’t touched the stuff in over a month. The current Colorado climate makes it less appealing to me, or perhaps it’s my pitta keeping me in check? Alcohol in general doesn’t seem to be holding the same space in my life it did just weeks ago, also coffee has been another no-show in my diet as of late. I’ve never been a multiple cups a day kind of gal, but it can be hard to come between my morning café au lait and me. It seems my caffeine habit has gone AWOL, replaced with a steamy blend of hibiscus + green teas, and a generous teaspoon of honey I can’t seem to give up. Meat is another food group that looks unintentionally different these days, simply said it doesn’t appeal to me in the same ways it did a month or so ago. While talking with some classmates about this recent change, I realize I’ve never really eaten a lot of meat, only recently after having my son and a change in our family schedule did meat show up in the nightly dinner rotation.
In an effort to calm my imbalanced vata dosha and having finally found a home to call our own, I also tried (in vain) to get a dinacharya going these last couple of weeks. Although I’ve been unsuccessful in making too much stick, I have begun to include myself in my son’s routine, which I think is a step in the right direction. Instead of feeding him and either disregarding my own hunger or waiting until a less convenient time, we are now eating breakfast and lunch together. Also, some afternoons while he naps I take the time to give myself a coconut oil massage before a quick, non-skin searing shower. Or I’ll burn a jasmine scented candle while reading a book or writing. One might think that these little bits and pieces of self-care wouldn’t really add up too much, but for me it has. The practiced bits of self-care in the morning have begun to spill over into other parts of my day and life. I’m finding I now rarely seek to distract myself at meal times and not with regularity but more often then ever before I now make efforts to wind down appropriately at bedtime. Which for me means less time ‘getting lost in the feed’ or watching stimulating television. And legs up the wall or a warm bath and taking the time to oil my feet and scalp have absolutely helped my quality of sleep. I’ve even begun to add a few lighter colors, blues and whites mostly, to my usual black clothing rotation, and I’m finding it helps me to feel more physically comfortable.