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I Saw the Sun and it Opened up My Eyes

Sure, Ace of Base had different lyrics in mind when they wrote the hit number “The Sign”, but my 10-year-old self had original lines in mind. In the back of my Dad’s Nissan Quest Minivan, I belted out, “I Saw the Sun” thinking this was surely what they meant and missing most, if not all, of the relationship context.

I was growing up in the woods of Killingworth, CT; “The Sticks” they called it and, quite literally, we were surrounded by sticks, streams, and jumping frogs that I would catch (and release) by the bucketful. So when Ace of Base, in their Swedish accent, was singing about seeing the sign and getting into the light where you belong, naturally, I believed they must have been singing about the sun. And, joyfully I obliged them and spent much of my youth under the sun creating earthy potions, serving up mud pies, and sprinkling myself with creek water under the bendy-tree shower.

After graduating once from high school and three times from Ithaca College, I practiced physical therapy at a teaching hospital in Rhode Island. This was great and offered me lots of learning experience in dating medical students, residents, and doctors. I also gained valuable experience as a physical therapist. And, after three years I was ready for more adventure and set off to South America for travel, exploration, and the wild unknown. Along the way I picked up an avidity for speaking Spanish, a love for salsa dancing, a grievous parasite, and the man who would become my husband. I willingly kept 3 of the 4 and willfully sought to rid myself of the other. I am, of course, speaking of the pesky parasite that mercilessly plagued my poor belly for over a year. In the end, I thanked him as he helped me open the door to Ayurveda, my slow health plan that has knocked the bug out of my system and rocked my world while doing it.

One Indian Ayurvedic-immersion and a round-the-world trip later I am head-over-heels for Ayurveda. This ancient medicine makes intuitive sense to me. It is both simple, yet incredibly advanced with the test of 10,000 years to credit its virtue. I find myself scouring the textbooks, cookbooks, and online world to soak up this “knowledge of life”, the literal translation of Ayurveda. Others call it the science of life or the celebration of life. I call it a life-saver and can’t imagine my life without it.

Ayurveda is a balancing act. It acts to balance the mind-body-spirit in whatever way(s) it has fallen out of kilter. It can prevent illness, heal disease, and eradicate parasites! The amazing part is, that for providing such a powerful punch, it is a gentle, side effect free medicine that uses nature to heal the root of the problem rather than with a band-aide approach to healthcare. Ayurveda emphasizes prevention and astute awareness of ones body to keep it well and thriving. Yoga, daily routine, and meditation are paramount to this healing science that emphasizes eating, exercising, and living in accordance with your constitutional (dosha) make-up.

A pause for reflection and I see how my high school English teacher, Mr. Luckenbach, was right on about the Archetypal Hero’s Paradigm. In my story, as in my vivid technicolored dreams, I am the hero. I went out in search of knowledge, wisdom, faced some challenges, overcame my critical and nearly devastating flaws to undergo a transformational change and return to my roots where I share my hard-earned wisdom just like Simba in The Lion King. Not that I’m the King of Pride Rock in Killingworth, CT bequeathing my sage advice, but I have returned to my roots, my twigs. By that I mean nature.

18 years after reinventing Ace of Base’s lyrics and I still bask and play in the sun. The only difference is now I see the sign as well as the sun and I know that no one’s going to drag me up to get into the light where I belong. Interestingly, I continue to make earthy potions, serve up unrefined food, and cleanse myself with natural products. Instead of catching frogs I forage for local veggies at the farmer’s market and root around for obscure organic spices at the natural food store. I am passionate about providing nurturing food to my friends, family, and look forward to sharing this healing work with my community (including you, the reader).

I’ve compiled a short rendition of my vision, Sol y Luna Ayurvedic Cafe and Wellness Studio. Sol=Sun and I invite all to bask in the sun and reflect in the moon=Luna.

The short version: Community Renaissance meets Wise Medicine in a Peaceful Soulful Space.

The long version:
Setting the Scene– A space is beautifully aligned as it nestles into nature, abounding with the sights and smells of herb gardens and wildflowers. This space is a welcomed retreat, a wellspring for connection, a place to celebrate life, to nourish one’s soul (and tummy), and to explore, shift, and revitalize the body.

The doors are open to all to show up for space or connection, growth or reflection, for touch or to taste, for movement or stillness, or just to be. As you step inside you are greeted by smiles, friendly faces, and a joyful feeling that you’ve come home. You’re offered an herbal tea prepared with the freshest chamomile (grown as locally as possible– the greenhouse attached to the cafe) and sit by the sunny window to soak-in the blissful rays. The room suffused with warmth from the fall sunshine and heat from the wood-burning stove causes you to shed your layers and you feel your shoulders lengthen down away from your ears.

A short while later, the room fills with ebullient energy as the Vinyasa yoga class empties out into the cafe. Enthusiastic chatter and collective Prana filters through the room as the yoginis pick up their power-packed smoothies made with veggies ripe from the garden. Others yearning for something more filling, select dosha-aligned meals uniquely prepared to optimize each individual’s health.

A weekly bulletin outlines the upcoming events and community outreach activities happening locally and abroad. On Sunday afternoon an acoustic trio is playing for the Fall Harvest party in the garden, cafe, and studio. A local gardener is giving a workshop on organic composting this evening.

You pop in for an energizing Afro-Contemporary dance class where you sweat and investigate the dynamic play of rhythm. Before you leave you book a therapeutic yoga session one-on-one with a mainstream healthcare drop-out that believes the future of healthcare is all within.

If you’ve read this far, kudos. And gratitude.

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