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A Year Of Cleansing

Updated: Aug 8, 2022

half a lemon open-faced on marble slab
Photo Cred: Chandra Oh / Unsplash

My favorite way to drink coffee was black with stevia + a lemon ring. I loved powdered greens mixed in cold water with big ice cubes—the kind you squeeze out of a bendy silicone tray. My gallbladder hurt after my last liver flush, like I’d just undergone major surgery without the cutting. Maybe it was the organ figuring out what to do with all the extra space after hundreds of gallstones moved out. I could breathe better, but when I took in too much air, a tender soreness made itself known under the bottom of my left ribcage. I knew this would pass. One of endless cracks and pings resounding everywhere, then nowhere, at distinct and changing locations across the mysterious land of my entire body.

I had commenced a year of cleansing to bring peace back to this land. To see if all these tiny uprisings could be connected, as I knew most everything to be.

My prep was 86-ing social media for months at a time. Leaving my phone off for week-long stretches. Then stepping away from relationships that felt more draining than nourishing. Meditating regularly-ish and writing it down to encourage the momentum. And then, detoxing my body through holistic protocols that both scared and intrigued me.

I wove in and out of all the things I didn’t want, and what I craved more of. Sometimes feeling like I was taking huge leaps, in the wrong direction. Like things would never stick.

But I kept writing things down. The ones I did throughout each day that felt good. Solid. Healthy. That made me feel accomplished. If I didn’t meditate, at least I flossed. Some days I drank coffee, with stevia + a lemon ring. I also drank powdered greens. There could and always would be, contradictions. I was finding peace with that.

Stepping away from social media was a relief. It flung open the gates to a life I always had right in front of me. One overflowing with coziness, wrapped inside The Succulent Jungle with a panda cat and adoring partner in crime for company + play time + pep talks. I had endless books to read, journals to write in and beautiful things that served no other purpose than kindling childlike wonder and joy—like my mini amethyst kitty and three-legged clay pig named Katoots. I had everything I needed to do what I wanted, now, already. My first rule of power became using as little as possible to get the job done, or at least get started.

When I left my phone off, the world kept turning. I focused into the small daily actions that moved me forward in bigger ways. I’d been getting too caught up in the urgency to respond, making minuscule, energy-sucking to-do’s big priorities. Slopping my writing and self-care on the back burner. Phone-off was a way of saying “No” by creating distance. There was no drama, because I was just living my life. What I stopped feeding, stopped persisting. And life assumed a new normal, where my priorities held real power. I commanded my time. Relished my energies. And decided to spend those most precious currencies in ways that served my highest good.

When I stepped away from energetically expired relationships—connections that felt unhealthfully dependent, stagnant, draining or unfitting—it catalyzed some of the biggest, most positively empowering shifts in my life. I realized how many not-so-great circumstances I put up with to avoid feeling alone. I had closed myself off to many of my true loves—adventure, writing, nature, carefree fun, holistic schtuff and believing anything is possible—because I was clinging to relationship dynamics I used to keep myself small and tell the same self-pity story over and over. Sometimes relationships lock us in a role grid, where we act according to the dynamic we’ve set with someone. We act according to their expectations and they act according to ours. And we don’t allow ourselves to grow out of, or act differently within it. When I find myself acting the same with someone, when I’ve really grown—just to fit into the mold we’ve poured for each other—it’s usually time to move on. Sometimes it’s them moving on, sometimes it’s you, or me. It’s not always mutual, and that’s ok.

When I decided to really give meditation a go, to release all the times I’d tried it before to iffy avail, the various techniques I’d convinced myself were the “best”/“right-est” or the methods I didn’t have access to at that point in time—I started to look forward to the relief that flowed in subtly, soft waves of soothing centeredness lapping over my being. Sometimes I got distracted and spent most of the 15 minutes I allotted catching myself in elaborate imaginary scenarios—not even helpful ones! Imagining things going bad. People saying things that sucked. Stressful situations yet-to-happen. That was part of it. Being nonchalant about the brain chatter, and gently focusing again on the whoosh of passing traffic outside the window, the hum of the space heater, the trickle of the fountain on my patio. I breathed in pockets of bliss occasionally, where everything lifted and contentment rose up and out and through me. That feeling, although often fleeting, kept me coming back, and writing it down when I did.

I applied lots of handy holistic know-how in my quest to be peaceful inside my skin again. I regularly did an energy technique called Tapping to release stress, soak my subconscious with affirmations or shed layers of distracting shit so I could sit down and write. I journaled like a fiend. Every morning, I sat in a patch of sunlight in my living room with Jaxy Panda and did an Abraham Hicks practice called a Focus Wheel where I wrote down how I wanted to feel (a specific emotion), then spun into a series of statements that supported and encouraged that way of being. This geared my mind toward solutions and generally happy schtuff. I also moved flossing to the top of my Life Habits List and strategically placed dispensers next to my bed and on the bathroom counter, right in front of my face and within arm’s reach. I massaged my feet and hands with arnica and essential-oil infused salves, slipping on booties and gloves to purposely put them out of commission, while I intentionally lounged. I rolled out a mat in my living room and did yoga, more often than not.

Sometimes I drank a whole bottle of wine, even more, in a single evening. Ate chocolate or other gloriously decadent meals. Many of these activities remained in The Gray. Were they SelfLove, or self-sabotage? What tipped the scales was the intention and frequency. Every once in a while, when it felt inspired and carefree—cool. All the time, stringing into a series of compulsive numbing-out habits—no bueno. I went easier on this gauge, loving The Gray, letting the definitions fade, erasing the black and white lines that dictated “good” or “bad.”

When I dove into detox protocols, I made a real commitment to my Self. I would weather nausea and diarrhea. Headaches and lethargy. Ugly emotional outbursts and general malaise. Pronounced Discomfort. Frightening pain. Then, some of the resounding pings and cracks would mellow down to nothing. I trimmed down when I forgot to laser-focus on my weight. Green smoothies tasted truly good again. I still enjoyed coffee when I wasn’t doing a cleanse that didn’t jive with it. Stevia + a lemon ring, yeah boy! Powdered greens too, baby. Contradictions abounded. It ALL contributed to forward movement, fluidity and flexible expressions of self-care.

In a year a cleansing, I find myself at the very beginning of untapped avenues within my life path, capabilities of my body . . . and the limitlessness of my spirit. Now resounding, are not the pings and cracks of this mysterious capsule housing my body, but the reminder:

It’s never 1 thing, it’s everything, working synergistically and synchronistically together, compounding in my favor.

There is always SPACE amidst the clutter. In all of life’s pockets that often appear full to brimming, we just have to make it.

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