My desire to connect with people that have similar mindset brought me to Living Foods Institute (LFI) in Atlanta. I originally came across their website in March or April and right away I knew that I wanted to go. It was going to be tough to take time off for myself for ten days because that wasn’t something that I was used to doing. For some reason it felt selfish to dedicate time for healing, but by now I knew better than to give in to negative thoughts of my restless mind. There is nothing more important than health and taking time off to heal so that I can be a more positive and capable presence in lives of those who I love is not selfish in the least. And so I made another wishful determination - I was going to go to LFI in the coming year. By some miracle or law of universal attraction I was presented with such an opportunity in about six months. I booked for February without another nagging afterthought, it was my wish manifesting. I took the gift with gratitude and joyful excitement.
It is funny how future is always so different from what we expect. I wanted to go to Atlanta to learn more about raw food (in case a tidbit of important information managed to escape my attention after reading a dozen of books), to get hands on experience preparing recipes and, of course, to meet others who were interested in this kind of lifestyle. Lucky me, I got so much more than I would have ever anticipated. Let me start by saying that the whole place was physically created with love. From the moment you walk in on the first morning of classes to the evening of graduation from the program on day ten, you are literally surrounded by positivity and joy. It is so drastically different from the “real” world that it takes some getting used to before one can let the guard down and take a deep breath. Worries and negative thoughts dissipated one by one in each one of us who attended the seminar and we relaxed into a mindset of healing.
About thirty perfect strangers timidly introduced themselves. Some came in hopes to heal a life-threatening illness and others wanted to learn more about raw living food to prevent illness from ever occurring. I had tremendous respect for them all - it takes guts to follow your inner voice and to go against what is commonly accepted. One of the first things we were taught was the importance of positive attitude. Healing starts in the mind. It is a thought and a feeling of being healthy. Thus the routine of daily affirmations practiced at the center to reinforce our positive beliefs. Our emotions play an integral part in either creating or disrupting the balance in our bodies. When the negative feelings of pain, fear, regret or anger are held on to for a long time, they produce blockages of energy in our physical bodies and we manifest sickness or “dis-ease”. Therefore, a path to health is through finding balance on all levels – physical, emotional and spiritual.
For ten days we prepared and ate only organic raw vegan foods and, contrary to popular assumption, no one was starving. We cleansed physically and emotionally, and even though some days were painful for some of us, we kept smiling and supporting each other on this journey because we understood that the process of releasing toxins is an essential part of healing. With each day we bonded with each other more and more as our hearts opened to give and receive love. We weren’t perfect strangers any longer as we witnessed each other’s pain when feelings bottled inside for years, or even decades, came to the surface with the help of healing foods and therapies. We cried and laughed together. We shared without holding back. We found new ways to let go of the past and to forgive. We discovered how similar we all are deep down, no matter what religion we followed or didn’t follow, no matter if we were rich or poor, what race we were thought to belong to or how we previously viewed ourselves. We were there on a mission to heal ourselves peacefully and with respect toward the planet and our bodies, and to discover an even bigger mission called life, which is the process of spiritual growth through giving and receiving unconditional love.