Sunday, November 15, 2009
Weekend Detox: Clearing the body, home, and spirit...and the act of giving.
May you be inspired to take some time out for your most valuable commodity..you! Doing so might just give you more get-up-and-go to serve and be present for the people and things you value most!
It is Sunday, and I am nearing the end of my weekend detox. I had planned for this weekend a few weeks ago. Life has been a little too busy for my liking lately and with my upcoming Kinder-Garden planting and Mike's visit (yey!), I knew I needed a little time alone to really declutter, collect my thoughts, unplug, and simply take care of myself. I have been feeling lately that I have been giving so much time and energy to others, and although I love the projects and people involved, it was time to spend some time alone and refuel the tank. Add in another Master Cleanse and all systems were a-go for me to really detox my body and life in general. What has unfolded this weekend has been a unique opportunity to really take stock of all that is currently present in my life, revisit the past, and give, not only to myself but to others.
Friday, Day 5 of my cleanse, greeted me with a headache and a quiet nudge that things were a little off. I did not feel like myself all day and simply felt irritable. The headache continued throughout the day and I did not have the get up and go to even teach my kiddies yoga that day. I was more than ready to call it a day and head home. Classic example of what happens to me when I push myself too hard and don't get enough sleep. I came home and napped for a good 3 hours and then decided it was time to finish clearing out the closet...tomorrow would be the day I would drop of my donations to charity, something I do about once a year. Going through my closet and bedroom, I came face to face with a lot of my own waste and a lot of my on emotional ties to objects. Each of the items I would be giving away represented a piece of my past ( I went through this a bit last weekend when I was cleaning out my car...who knew how much of my past could be sitting in my trunk!). I had to ask myself why I was holding on to it. With some things, it was very easy to let go. But with others, there were definitely strong memories and ties to them. Repeatedly, I had to keep asking myself, "What are trying to make room for in your life? What would you like to invite in?" This helped tremendously, as I kept seeing how it is not only the emotional and mental things we hold on to that blocks us, but also the actual physical stuff that disallows new, more aligned experiences and people to enter in. After several hours of this, I turned in to read a book I never have time to read, wrote in my journal, and slept like a baby.
Saturday greeted me with no headache and this initial thought: "Instead of being a consumer (which really means consume-more), try being a consume-less!" This became my FB status update and mantra of the day, definitely brought on by last night's closet cleaning and seeing my own waste pile up. I was ready to have a productive day of releasing old stuff but also giving to others who could really use it. It really was my day of karmic yoga. I have to admit that I was greatly inspired by Mike and all the donations he has been making, as well as a post he had on Facebook about a guy who decided to give out peanut butter and jelly sandwiches to the homeless. Taking all these things into account, I started my day by loading the car with books to donate to the library just down my street (why had I never visited it in the past two years?!), clothes and other goods to donate to Salvation Army, and 5 almond butter and agave sandwiches to give to the homeless on my way to yoga. (I had five really awesome buns that a parent brought me, but I don't eat bread. I decided I could do something good with them, though, by giving it to someone who needed it).
At the library, I not only donated the books but finally became a member, checking out Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver, which my friend Dawn has been suggesting to me for weeks now, and I checked out two movies for my quiet night at home. That felt amazing, knowing my books would be put to good use. Second stop was the Salvation Army; they gladly took my clothes, old stuffed animals, dog bag, old printer, and other random items, including a bag full of unused lotions that people gave to me as gifts (please don't buy me lotions...but Dawn, yours is the exception..that one is amazing! And organic and all natural! I am trying to clear out as many unnatural products as possible and Victoria's Secret Lotions just ain't cutting it!). Next I was off to Santa Monica for a little Farmer's Market and afternoon yoga at Yogis Anonymous, but on my way I was on the lookout for some homeless people who would want my sandwiches. Unfortunately in Santa Monica, this is not hard to find. I found a small group of homeless people off of 5th and asked if anyone would want some sandwiches. I walked up to one lady who refused them, but quickly a man asked if he could have them; I gladly gave them to him and he thanked me. I had missed the Farmer's Market by about 20 minutes but it was a small price to pay. By the time I got to class, I already felt like I had done days worth of yoga, the kind you do off the mat. Taking Chani's class and taking the time to recenter, pay gratitude, and continually ask the question "What can I give?" left me feeling even lighter than before. All in all, it was a beautiful way to spend my morning and afternoon.
Saturday evening was all about more decluttering and cleaning. I washed clothes, cleaned out the frig, and sorted through a pile of mail. It may not have been a wild Saturday night out, but it was much needed. I am realizing that the more organized my space is and the less clutter I have, the more organized I feel and the more I open to something new and better. I took a nice hot shower and fell asleep to one of my rentals.
I woke up early today but ready to be productive. After laying around for a bit, I began my Sunday with dusting my entire house. This was great because it forced me to get rid of old magazines, go through more mail, and take stock of any pictures or other memorabilia that I have up. I made a conscious decision to make sure that I only had pictures up of people that make me smile and fill me up...a lot can change in two years!
At this point, my home was looking almost how I wanted to. And since I am on a cleanse, I have not only being cleaning out the physical space of my home and decluttering any emotional baggage, I have also been decluttering my body by giving it a much needed break from excess food, alcohol, and tuning into what my body really needs. Just like the cleaning of my home and the sorting of the closet, I have given myself the space to see what I really need nutritionally, what is just an emotional tie (in this case, to food and why??), and what I want to invite in to my body once the cleanse is over. (This is partly why it was great to go through the fridge and see what old food I was holding onto...want to have space for nice, yummy produce!). No good machine can keep going without a tune up and the body is no different. Plus, by not concentrating on food, I was able to devote my energies elsewhere.
The afternoon found me napping and then up to work on a sample project that I am having my students complete for Thanksgiving. Basically it is a paper Cornucopia, and on it they are to draw or cut out pictures of at least three things they are thankful for and then write a sentence about it. For any project, I show them a sample, so I decided to one of my own. I couldn't have decided to do it at a better time, as my mom and I had just got in a little tiff on the phone it brought my energy down. Time to do something positive. My simple sentence was, "I am thankful for my friends, family, students, and yoga practice." I found myself immediately charged again as I had trouble picking pictures out...there are just too many good people in my life and not enough room! (See pic at the top of this entry). What a gift! Can't wait for my students to do this.
Now that my home (and body) is so much cleaner and decluttered and I have had ample time alone to reflect and even give back to others a bit, I had one more bit of symbolic cleansing to do...a sage cleansing. Sage cleansing is an ancient ritual done by Native American and shamanic cultures to remove negative energy from a space. I have been really wanting to do this for awhile and bought the sage months ago. There seemed like no better time than now to go ahead and do it. I looked around on the internet for some ideas on how to do it, and one idea involved creating a personal mantra for the cleansing. I meditated on it and came up with this, " May this space be cleared of any past negative energy and past hurts and may space be provided to bring in love, possibilities, and pure joy. May my heart be open to manifest all that I deserve and desire and may those who enter my home fill it with love and bring me closer to my life's purpose." I walked through my entire apartment saying this mantra, feeling the old energy leave, and feeling completely open to what might come. To end the cleansing, I saged myself and the outside of my door frame, sealing in the good energy and symbolically closing the door on any negative energy. Even if it was just a symbolic gesture and the validity of it is in the eye of the beholder, I did feel lighter once it was done and, even to my surprise, had a total surge of energy. I truly believe that not all things can be explained logically and we as Westerners can stand to learn a lot from the Native Americans and other indigenous cultures. Moments after the cleanse, my mom called and we had a wonderful, long, heart-to-heart. Part of what we discussed was food and cleansing; she has agreed to let me help her develop a plan to get her body back on track and switch to a less processed, whole food diet. Let the love come on in!!
I am ending my weekend of cleansing now by going to a friend's birthday (love you, Rupa!). I have spent the last 24 hours alone and am now ready to share my space and energy with others again; it's amazing what good can come out of a much needed detox, internally and externally. I can't think of a better way to end this weekend than to now celebrate the life of a good friend and to surround myself in good company and energy.
As my much needed weekend detox comes to a close, I have these parting words for you should you decide to your own weekend detox:
1) Give yourself time to reflect on what you want to manifest in your life and what is stealing your energy. This will help you to decide what items you would like to let go of and possibly what people and/or projects are no longer serving you.
2) As you let go of things you no longer need, send them off with the good intention that they will be of great value to the next person who possesses them. Do not pack away any bad memories or grudges with them. Be grateful that those items served you and then release with love.
3) Do something nice and nurturing for yourself during this time as well. Take a class, get a massage, sleep in, take a long bath, etc. Remember, the idea is to not only clear your space but your energy as well.
4) Do something giving...whether it is donating clothes or food, this will open your heart in a whole new way. I promise you that you will float all day...you will get back way more than what you gave away!
5) If possible, do something nurturing for your body. Even if you don't do the Master Cleanse, try to eat as clean as possible. Remember you body is your temple, your home that you take with you all day, everyday. What sense is it to have a sparkling clean home if your internal home is full of junk and toxins? Take this time to clean your internal home, reflect on your current diet, and make some new intentions as to how you will now nourish it. Likewise, go through your sundries/cleaning supplies and try to switch to products and cleaning agents that are as natural as possible.
6) Declutter the mind and refill it with something motivating and enlightening. Take this time to let go of old thought patterns that are no longer serving you and invite in new thoughts and vibrations that will add to your life. Read a good book, listen to audio programming, or watch a documentary that will inspire you and take you to new heights. You now have the time to do it, so make the most of it.
7) Find your own "ritual" that will allow you to feel a sense of completion. It could be a sage cleaning, but perhaps for you it could be prayer, mediation, or simply journaling what you learned through your weekend detox. We are all different and have unique ways of accessing our higher self. I am just sharing with you my experience, which in a year might unfold in a totally different way. Find what works for you.
8) Finally, give thanks and reflect on what you are thankful for. Nothing nurtures the spirit like gratitude and you will close your weekend with a new sense of just how full your life really is. I find that the more I give thanks, the more goodness keeps coming to me.
Which reminds me....
I am thankful that I have a wonderful place to live in that I can nurture my soul, have friends and family over to fill it with love and laughter, and to rest in.
I am so thankful to have so many people in my life who love me and inspire me daily.
I am so thankful to work with such wonderful students who make me laugh and teach me more and more about myself.
I am thankful that my favorite person will be here with me in a just a matter of days and that he inspires me daily with his own contributions to his community. You were my inspiration for this blog in so many ways. Much love and gratitude to you, Mike.
I am thankful to have the knowledge as to how to care for my body, access to quality food and water, and the common sense to know when to take a time out.
I am thankful for yoga and my beloved studio, fellow yogis, and beautiful teacher, Ally Hamilton. I love all that these individuals represent.
Lastly, I am thankful that I have such abundance that I have the luxury to even sort through items and decide what I am going to give away, when there are so many who don't even have enough food or clean water or clothing to survive, not to mention lack of shelter. I do not take for granted what a blessed life I have.
In the season of giving and giving thanks, I am thankful for my life that is so full, for the trials I have experienced and learned from, and for how simply awesome things are for me right now. And I am thankful for you.