Detox is a Privilege

Namaste Sweet Spirits,

I'm on hour 28 of a 30 hour journey home from India. I simultaneously want to touch down to my familiar world and yet stay in the world I was just introduced to.


India it is said has to be experienced, you cannot explain it. This is so true. What is also true is that one either loves or hates India and now I get it. You either can tolerate the chaos or you can't. You either love the bustle and lack of hygiene or you don't. You either see the beauty beyond all of the filth or you don't. My expectations of what I would experience are so different than what I have come away with.


Yes, India is filthy, dirty, smelly, loud, dusty, crowded and a total assault on your senses. It can really get to you at times and you find yourself fleeing back to your hotel room, slam the door and collapse on your bed trying to breathe clean air and dumb your senses down for just a bit. I had to tie a scarf around my mouth as a pollution solution and have wound up with a bronchitis like cough anyway. The air quality is something we all take for granted….. just for starters.


When I got off the plane in New Delhi I wondered how the pilot could land in such lack of visibility, I said to my driver "where is the fire? It must be huge"…. he paused and said "No, Ma'am this is Delhi, there is no fire." I tried not to worry about my own lungs but to think about being unable to escape this air for life.


But what I am taking away is far greater than just having cow shit on the bottom of my shoes.
I watched the poorest people bathe in the Ganges, retaining their dignity and privacy by wrapping themselves in colorful saris. They bathe as part of their purification ritual -- the smells of India are not coming from the people, but from the cities themselves. I witnessed the 'homeless' in total prayer all day long, every time I passed them on the street they were elsewhere deep in meditation-- not praying for a Big Mac but likely giving thanks for all that they had. I hugged strangers after a 2 minute conversation where they gave me their heart and said they were grateful to count me among their friends. I offered one such new friend some money and he said "now I am angry at you, I do not need your money; I just need your heart". 
I walked through the market every day dodging mopeds, motorcycles, cows, dogs and frequent piles of poop on the ground. My new friends would yell across the market when they saw me coming, "Mary!!! Will you marry me?" then fall over laughing... every single day. They never want to say "no" to you, but instead "yes, of course" at any request, even if they could not accomplish it. Each time passing an employee in our hotel, they would put their hand to their heart, nod their head and say "namaste" with a tear jerking smile, even if you passed them 23 times per day.


There are fresh veggies for sale everywhere, forget the millions of flies on them, they are there. Eggplant, cauliflower, cucumber, apples, tomatoes, apples and more…. in addition to some I never could describe or explain.


School kids come out of school holding hands smiling the biggest smiles yelling "Hi" proudly displaying the one English word they may know. Men holding hands strolling and 4 people to a mo-ped. Everyone is smiling and singing…. no one is yelling and no babies are crying. There is music everywhere, either played in the market or on the dirt path, live music provided by a single musician with a flute or some other indescribable instrument. Beautiful. I felt at times like I was floating, literally. I know there are parts of India that would not be described this way, there is a big dark underbelly there too, I was fortunate to see this beautiful town in the foothills of the Himalayas, Rishikesh.


I am struck by how much of a privilege it is to even discuss detoxification. We are fortunate westerners to have air quality monitoring programs, to not don't burn our trash, that industry is regulated (mostly) for its disposal of its waste, that public health measures keep animal poop off of our streets, that our water is clean and that animals are mostly kept separate from people. No monkey is going to grab your backpack or you don't have to worry about hitting a cow on the road.


I occasionally felt some pangs of guilt as I thought about my mission to teach people how to detoxify safely and on a day-to-day basis. I wondered if I would feel my mission was pointless if I lived there or if I would instead try to make some major inroads to making a difference, Erin Brockovich-style. Where would one start? Ultimately, I kept coming back to the gift of these lives that we all have, that we have the ability to make choices to improve and sustain good health and that we need to think of our bodies as vehicles for change not only for ourselves but for our planet.


Does this mean I change any of my recommendations for detoxification? Certainly not. In fact I say continue in our desire to understand detoxification and give thanks for being able to do so. I will include in my prayers from now on the health of people on the planet who are less fortunate and perhaps even one day be part of the solution to their exposures. Think big or go home…..
~Mary Shackelton

Live from your Spirit, Love your life,

Valerie