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transformation

Meet Frank, Kindred Spirit

Remember I mentioned I met this guy Frank at my solo show last week? Well it so happened that a screening of the documentary film about his experience was taking place yesterday. It just so happened that I was able to make it. I was so glad I went.

I started tearing up right away, pretty much at the opening credits. There were a few moments when I was out and out crying. It was terribly moving.

This is the film in a nutshell:

May I Be Frank documents the transformation of Frank Ferrante’s life. He unknowingly stumbles into a local restaurant in San Francisco, Café Gratitude, a raw, organic and vegan café…where he feels welcomed and free from his collapsing personal life. Frank is asked by Ryland, one of the servers, “What is one thing you want to do before you die?” Frank replies, “I want to fall in love one more time, but no one will love me looking the way I do.”

Inspired by the possibility of helping Frank, Ryland invites him to come into the café everyday for the next month. Armed with a camera and a wide open heart, Ryland soon enrolls his brother Cary, and Conor, his best friend, to participate in supporting Frank’s transformation. The final agreement is made that for the next 42 days, Frank will turn his life over to three twenty-something young men committed to his healing and prepared to coach him physically, emotionally and spiritually. Frank will eat only raw food, practice gratitude, visit local holistic practitioners, and get a weekly colonic. Ryland, Conor, and Cary get to support and witness Frank’s miraculous transformation. Frank gets a new body, a clearer mind, and most importantly, a soaring spirit.

The film is pretty much a “Supersize Me” in reverse. I wasn’t sure how they arrived on 42 days for this “experiment,” but he chokes down his wheatgrass shots every day. He eats all his meals at Cafe Gratitude.

Now it’s no secret that I am not a big fan of Cafe Gratitude. I don’t think I will ever be a vegan or ever convert to eating raw food. But I AM grateful to them for what they have done for Frank and probably countless others. And I do not  think I will ever, ever have my colon cleansed. But I am a complete sucker for transformation, and of people having Second Chances, and turning their lives and health all around. I am very interested in forgiveness and in cleaning up one’s relationships in order to clean up one’s overall health. The second installment of my solo show is going to be all about that very topic.

Frank looks like a million bucks now. He’s so healthy looking, and vibrant and athletic. And he’s a blogger! (I was fascinated by his blog post in which he describes feeling objectified for the first time in his life).  I am so happy for him. And it also makes me think about being in this place, of achieving some up-until-now-unachievable goal. Health or a certain clothing size or a number on the scale. Then what? A while back I found myself feeling terrified. That I got to enjoy it for a small period of time but that it was going to be snatched away. (by home? by my own inner troll self that doesn’t WANT me to be healthy OR happy) I could see people gaping at Frank in awe and I was wondering if he ever feels that same terror. That this is just a nice dream and one day he’s gonna wake up to that other life again.

Today I am feeling like my own health and good place is not as tenuous as I feared a few months back. But that’s just today. I wonder if some of this might not be behind my continually striving and pushing that bar up: 5k, marathon, triathlon, WW staff, solo show. What’s next? If I keep doing more and more will I be immune?

No.

So I just have to keep doing what I’m doing, doing what feels right, trying to be mindful every day.  Trying to be gentle with myself.

And in the meantime it feels great to have found yet another kindred spirit on the journey.

Amazing Grace

Today was a wonderful day. Started with a WW meeting which just felt… good. Not packed with people, but great energy. Then I went to a Nia class, something I haven’t done in what feels like a long time. (weeks?) It was one of those transcendental, beautiful Nia classes. It felt so energizing/calming all at once, and very moving. It ended with everyone sitting in a circle while we listened to a beautiful rendition of “Amazing Grace” by the Soweto Gospel Choir. It was so emotional for me, sitting there and listening to that music.

Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound,
That saved a wretch like me.
I once was lost but now am found,
Was blind, but now I see.

I really felt those words. A year ago I truly was wretched. I was unhappy, unhealthy, and sad. I can’t believe the  journey I have been on this year. A few people were crying as we sat there. I got a big lump in my throat.  Then she played a chant of Om Namo Bhagavate, as a send off for her upcoming trip to India. As we sat, the instructor walked around and I heard a little “plink” on the floor. She put a little Buddha charm in front of each of us.  Another beautiful anchor for this year. The back of it has an inscription that translates to “Buddha bring me safety and comfort” or something like that. I felt so so happy when I left that class.

It’s truly been a year of grace.

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