Tuesday, December 21, 2004


Some people smell.

 Or I should say, we all have a scent, it's just some people’s odours talk to us more than others. Whether it's piss off or come closer, it’s the strong messages that we notice.

The smell of a lover is a particularly interesting one. Scientific research has shown we are attracted more to someone who’s immune system is different to our own, supposedly it is our primitive programming to reproduce and create strong offspring. But science has come up with another pearler, women on the pill’s pheromones change. All of a sudden she attracts men who are the same, rather than different to her own immune coding. What odd things happen in relationships when there is pharmaceutical roulette going on?

Odd things, ex lovers. I caught up with an ex (middling distance, not recent, not ancient). The first thing that hit me was his smell. It was like the heat that comes off clothes when you iron them (as if I know what that is like). It came in waves. It smelt hot. Hot body heat. Not sweat. But not attractive either. It was on the edge of being repulsive. My mind vaguely recognised it. It was distracting. Periodically the pheromones would hit me and the closest response it evoked was mild nausea. All I could think was, did I find this smell sexy once? No pharmaceuticals involved in this process. Just the passing of time. Am sure our immune systems haven’t mutated, but the psyche has altered. Friend has become foe. There was a primitive message to definitely not mate with this one. Danger Will Robinson!

I remember another boyfriend. We had swapped favourite tshirts before we parted, his unwashed, worn for a few days. I remember taking it to bed and cuddling up with it on my pillow when he was no longer with me. I never washed it. I don’t remember ever wearing it. I don’t know what became of it. Probably assigned to the rubbish bin when the next one came along.

I dated a guy, or more accurately went out on a date with someone a couple of years ago who had the worst halitosis I have ever encountered. It was vile. We were at a club, which by its very nature was noisy. If I was less than a metre away the smell was enough to make me wretch when he talked to me. If I sat further away I couldn’t hear him. But speaking with him involved images of some dead animal rotting in his intestines, belching its carrion message with every word.

I feigned a tummy ache. Went home early. No kiss good night. No further dates.

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Sunday, December 19, 2004

Detox - the short cut to Nirvana?

If I wanted to be rich I would specialise in weight loss, delaying or reversing the aging process and detoxing. The first two have been a fave of orthodox and complementary medicine shonksters for eons, but the third is a curious new arrival circa the late 20th century.

A detox has become popularised as the shortcut to Nirvana. But I suspect those pushing the line have never done it. To “detoxify” or motivate the rubbish to move out to Werribee (non Melbournians note, this is the home of the sewer pipe into the bay), we need to turn our elimination organs on ‘max’. This takes more than sipping on some strange tasting tea or gorging on spring water (equally curious this supposedly pristine drink comes bottled in plastic potentially leaching pcbs and other unhealthy substances into the fluid). No, a real detox gets you in touch with the notion that our bodies are made of 90% mucus.

A true detox is essentially a fast. By putting no food into the body our digestive organs are no longer side tracked with endlessly processing food. This gives them time to do a little maintenance. With a gut no longer loaded to the gunnels, it can spring clean and in its own sweet way sweep the gunge out. At the same time our lymphatic, renal and respiratory systems get some time out for a tidy up. The sinuses may turn on the sluices. And this is where the aforementioned mucus comes in. If you are a lymphatic type (prone to colds, ear, nose and throat problems, often a curse of the blue eyed blonde) phlegm flowing from these orifices could happily fill a bucket or two. At the same time, your skin rewards you with lumps, bumps and pimples a plenty.

You may be well on the road to doing the best thing ever for your body, but the first few days are not pretty. Caffeine withdrawal headaches, hunger, constipation and zit city relocating to your face. Food cravings tend to go on the 3rd and 4th day and if you are lucky this is replaced with some kind of euphoria. You may begin to feel light and clean.

Ideally a total fast goes for 7-10 days, with only water or eliminative herbal teas. Dry skin brushing and enemas usually accompany this. Nothing like whiling away the hours lying on cold bathroom tiles with a rubber hose in your nether regions. The most crucial part of the fast is when you reintroduce food. It is recommended you stay on unprocessed organic food, alcohol and caffeine free for as long as possible. Oh and there is no place for drugs of any kind on a fast.

Obviously a first time faster needs professional assessment and support to see if you are suitable for such a journey. Not one for the fainthearted. You won’t be able to work during this time. Ideally you will head to the hills or the sea to enjoy some clean air, away from EMR emitting devises, with time and space to let your mind detoxify too.

So the concept of ‘detox in a box’ will continue to amuse me. Some pills and potions to supplement a life crammed with meetings, deadlines and physical or emotional demands. Save the dollars and start the easy way. Just like Nancy Regan said, a detox means saying “no” to drugs. Not just the bongs and martinis but also things we take for granted like the contraceptive pill (once you have gone to the end of the packet and negotiated other non chemical forms of contraception), the latte and even green tea (a sneaky source of caffeine). Go for clean food. The kind you make from scratch – raw, steamed and baked. Oil free. If it doesn’t look like it does when it comes from the ground, don’t eat it. Gone are flesh foods, dairy and anything refined. Eat at a table, chew well and be conscious of each mouthful as you slowly munch. Stop before you feel full.

By comparison detoxing the body is relatively easy. It’s the mind that is the difficult one. Life is full of toxic people, toxic jobs, toxic families, toxic thoughts and other forms of self-abuse. Detoxing the soul involves only saying ‘yes’ when you mean it and disappointing other people sometimes. En route to selflessness, where you can give without resentment, is positive selfishness, where you get in touch with yourself first, take care of your own needs before you can even consider sharing freely with others.

The fast is the ultimate naturopathic experience, but something most enjoy more in retrospect. After, your eyes shine, energy abounds and really, your shit doesn’t stink (as if yours ever did!). You will feel better than you ever have before.

All this in a box? Fantastic! Bring it on.


40 something. Well at least I am something. But there is a current that flows through the 40's. A struggle beween complacency and discontent. A ripple of desire for change which threatens to become a tsunami. I watch others battle with it. There is a lot of inertia, excuses about how change in my life now affects too many other people. Then shrugged off with that excuse, the beast of discontent turns on them. It is not a pretty sight.

Impermanence, a cornerstone of buddhism, is the only unchangeable factor in life. I do nothing to my aging terrace house and it does not stay the same. It decays, the plaster peels, holes appear in the roof and let in water. Weeds grow (gardening, and lack of, has been my biggest teacher in the impermanence game), fruit goes from just ripe to spoilt in a flash, from smelling lush to the queasy odour of fermentation. I do nothing, I am stuck. But things that appear solid around me, alter.

My body becomes fleshier, though I haven't changed my routine. I exercise more now than I did at 30 but my shape would not suggest so. Time alters us. Is it a cop out to say I would prefer to alter my perception of self with it, rather than fight the image change in the mirror?

But my mind has fleshed out too. That is one part of me I don't want to reduce or sculpt into a 'more acceptable' form. There is more information swimming about, to make greater connections and faster. Not slower. More diverse. Greater girth. No complaints there about areas of growth.

What is the flavour of your 40s?
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