Turmeric powder and fresh root
About four years ago, my life went through some shocking changes. A short relationship had ended abruptly (although right on time, really), triggered by an abortion that I went through. Deciding to go through the abortion was very difficult. However, after consulting my inner wisdom and guidance (and with heart-felt conversations with a close friend), I decided this is what I needed to do.
Luckily, I was so in tune with my body and my monthly cycle (I had read “Taking Charge of Your Fertility” and applied their methods of observation to my daily routine), that when just one week had passed after my normal menstruation start date, I had a strong feeling that I was pregnant. Two weeks after my normal menstruation start date, I underwent a medical abortion. It was definitely one of the most painful things I had ever experienced. (Women, there are some great ways to track your fertility and utilize herbs to regulate the womb, please refer to Sister Zeus’s page for more information. I pray that the more elegant knowledge of wise women’s ways around reproductive health will be given the light that they deserve, once again.)
Serendipitously, I turned to a book on my shelf and found a chapter in it I didn’t even recall noticing during my first skim through the book. In Maya Tawari’s book, “Women’s Power to Heal through Inner Wisdom,” I found the spiritual guidance I needed to cleanse my body and part with the innocent being that desired to come through my body. For months, I practiced a cleansing ritual and made peace with my decision. My body and being had never felt so sure about a decision. And, deep inside, I felt the small being that was to come through me…was looking at me in intently and with understanding. The time was not ripe for this beautiful soul just yet.
About this time in my life, a relationship had ended…I decided to go through an abortion…and I decided to leave a job I had been in for five years. It was an intense time in my life. I was shedding a lot of skin and my nervous system was in a state of shock. I did not know what would be on the other side.
It was at this point in my life that I decided to begin teaching yoga — mostly yoga asana. I announced this to my main teacher and she supported me. And, as if magic hands were orchestrating my world, a couple of classes opened up for me to teach at the studio I had been attending for about five years. They needed a regular teacher for those time slots and I agreed. Soon enough, a part-time job at a non-profit opened up that complimented by teaching schedule.
However, as I let go of one trapeze bar of my former reality, my stomach found itself in knots as I waited for the other bar to come my way. Before some of the pieces started to come together, I literally had nothing to hold onto. Even though the world provided me what I needed, my nervous system was in high alert. Things were shifting quickly. A massage therapist I had been going to was also going through a medical degree program in Ayurveda. I asked her if she had any suggestions on Ayurvedic herbs or concoctions I could take for my nerves and my loss of appetite. She wrote down a recipe and I dutifully bought all the ingredients:
1 1/2 cups raw milk
1/4 teaspoon amalaki powder (indian gooseberry)
1 1/2 teaspoons turmeric powder
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1-2 tablespoons ghee
warm the milk and simmer the herbs in the milk for a few minutes (don’t overdo the simmering or heating of the milk, though)
take the mixture off heat,
add honey to taste
Amalaki (Indian Gooseberry)
I made my first drink when a group of international friends were over visiting my roommate, who was Palestinian. Her friends were from Iraq, Morocco, and another from Palestine. They were watching me put my drink together and commented on how ghee (clarified butter) was commonly used in Iraq. However, they said that mainly boxers ate large quantities of it. I smiled, patiently stirred my drink, and thought to myself, “maybe I wasn’t so different from a boxer in this rough and tumble modern life and culture?“
For some reason, I felt that this nurturing drink was a deep affirmation for my body — that I loved it and wanted to care for it the best that I could. My roommate and her friends brought a light energy to the room that contrasted what I felt inside; however, it underscored the importance of that moment. Out of the blue, the friend from Morocco pulled out her small, orange camera and took a picture of me drinking the concoction as if it were a celebration. I felt very seen and very held at that moment. And, I felt very cared for by myself.
The next day, my appetite was back in full force and I was eating like a lion. I really couldn’t believe the turn-around. I continued to drink this combination of ingredients, once a day for a week. I also began to educate myself more about the drink.
Amalaki is the powder of indian gooseberry. It is very tart and astringent. Beyond the basics of Vitamin C and such, the name of the medicine means the “sustainer” and is considered the most powerful, rejuvenating substances in Ayurvedic medicine. One of the reasons is that it contains 5 of the 6 Ayurvedic “rasas” or tastes, which stimulate various organ systems in the body (each tastes relates to an organ system). Amalaki is said to nourish the blood, skin, liver and bones.
Turmeric is a well-known staple in the kitchen. It is also a powerful medicinal. It has strong anti-microbial and anti-inflammatory properties; it is good for internal and external use. It is also a source of trace minerals and one of its constituents, curcumin is a well-known antioxidant.
To me, this drink felt like a soothing hug from the great mother of the world. It was very calming and grounding. I also could feel that it was delivering nutrients deep into the tissues of my body.
***I feel that this drink would also be good for cancer patients, or for any patient who loses their appetite due to intense medical treatment. I also feel that this would be a good drink for someone grieving a loss of any kind. Bring this drink to a loved one who might need some deep nourishment…***
(Thank you for letting me share this with you! This post is definitely personal. But, the wisdom of this drink and its powerful affect on my system needs to be shared! I also wanted to share my experience with the abortion process because I feel that there is so much misinformation out there around reproductive health and the challenging decisions we have to make in life. I personally feel that when women start connecting with their fertility cycle again…and stewarding the beautiful feminine energy we have inside…that the right answers will come to us on how to proceed. That being said, we need to remember the old ways of caring for our wombs and our reproductive health. Another good resource for this is Susan Weed’s book, “Down There.”)
What a powerful, beautiful and important post.
Thank you for being so honest and open about your experience. I admire your courage. There is so much shame and secrecy around abortion and so many walking wounded in our culture who have never had a chance to process the grief and loss of their abortions and come to peace with their decisions because of the stigma surrounding that choice. Through your example, you are an inspiration.
I agree with Lynn and Beth. Beautiful post. Thank you for sharing something personal in such a lovely, nurturing way.
Thank you Beth, Lynn and Nancy for your kind words. I really appreciate you reading my post and offering encouragement… Lynn — so true — a lot of shadows around the topic of abortion…or even emennagogues and abortifaciants… I’m really interested in opening up the herbal doorways to helpful plants again…as well as educating women on their fertility cycle again — so any harmful intervention is lessened…
After 8 months of not menstruating, I began taking Lindsay’s monthly seasonal intelligence course. I started drinking this every few nights and following some other wise bits of her advice and I’ve had my period ever since for several months in a row now. It’s lovely and I’m so appreciative.
Oh that’s such good news, Linsey! We haven’t been able to talk about your menses in awhile and I was wondering how things were going… Wonder-ful…