I am going to do a cleanse. But not one of those “I am only eating cabbage and lentils for the next forty days,” or one of those, “I’m only going to drink the juices from vegetables and fruits” cleanses, although I’m sure they have their benefits. I’m making up my own. And I desperately need it. I invite you to join me – but first, it’s probably critical to understand why you want to cleanse.
Why am I going to cleanse?
Because I’m tired. No, I’m more than tired – I am exhausted, and it’s pervasive and ever-present. It’s the ominous cloud hanging up above my head, threatening to storm me down with yawns and naps before it’s even 10 am.
Most the time, I don’t even notice that I’m tired anymore. I might be considered a perfectionist by some, but I think really it’s just greed rearing it’s ugly head – greed for knowledge, for self-awareness, for patience and love. I throw myself deeply into the activities that I am doing. Commuting and work takes up 50 hours per week. Once a month I have Yoga Teacher Training, that spans the entire weekend – Friday night, Saturday and Sunday. I’ve developed a meditation practice that I aspire to do twice a day (but I realistically only get to it once), I journal daily, and I’m in the middle of four different books. I try to do the physical practice of yoga daily, with most classes being 75-90 minutes in length. I keep a blog and pour my soul into it because I am hopeful that one day I can turn my yoga teaching and writing into a career.
My life is about others. At work I teach 14 group exercise classes per week. (Which means I do the exercises as I teach them with our residents. Luckily I’ve gotten smart enough to stop using weights daily and start instructing more with my voice – the tricky part is, with hearing loss in the retirement community, many of the residents cannot see my verbal instructions, so it’s only through the action that they can follow.) In the afternoons I do personal training, which means being half trainer, half therapist. I maintain the pool, I maintain the fitness center, I develop and run programs and I act as the contact point for health and wellness for all residents and staff. I am passionate about what I do, so I add in extra activities that aren’t required: I’ve started two wellness committees, I plan extra fun events, I help out with other department needs. I track statistics and I manage schedules and I listen and respond to the needs of each and every resident and staff member who steps into my fitness center. It’s chaotic and it’s wonderful.
At home, I have a wonderful boyfriend, who I often get the opportunity to practice love and patience with as we go through, what I lovingly refer to as, “disagreements”. We get the joy of having his son here every so often, which means my life is re-routed to align with what we decide to do as a family. It’s chaotic and it’s wonderful.
In my personal life, I strive to continually grow. I sign up for workshops and go to yoga classes and, as of late, go to the dentist about 1-2 times per week. I stay on top of my bills and on top of the housework. It’s chaotic and it’s wonderful.
Today as I was leaving work, I stopped to chat with a resident. She was getting ready to attend a jazz concert on the plaza; I said how wonderful that was, and I would be attending yoga. She looked at me for a moment, paused, and said, “Do you ever stop?” In that moment, my answer was, “No! Never. If I stop, I might not continue to grow. I have to keep moving to keep going!”
On the ride home, I stopped to consider her comment for a bit longer. I started to notice the fatigue that has been creeping on my body for the past several months. I felt heavy and uncomfortable and like all I wanted was for the damn radio to stop blaring so I could have a moment of peace. I noticed how out of balance I felt… My digestion wasn’t working properly, I am not sleeping all night, the fatigue goes down to my bones and I am drinking way more coffee than ever before. There’s a ringing in my ear that seems to be permanent.
I had been considering a cleanse before then, just because my body has felt out of whack. But in that moment, I knew that it would be a different kind of cleanse… Not just a cleansing of food, but of mind, of body, of spirit. I need to re-align with the priorities in my life and allow myself to REST. Being on the move all day every day is not going to serve my higher purpose.
Do you find yourself in a similar situation? Are you fatigued without repent?
I considered how to proceed with the cleanse – in an ideal world, I would have as much time for meditation and yoga and self development in the world. But, since I live in the real world and I’m not developed enough to jump out on my own, I have to maintain a job – to cover the mortgage, the bills, the costs of living. So, what really, can I pare my life down to?
What is most important? God and my spirituality is my most important thing, hands down. Second is my personal relationships (family and friends), and third is my (very prematurely) budding career path. Other things hold weight, but those are my top three priorities.
So, with these thoughts in mind, I’ve developed a plan for a four to six week cleanse. A cleanse that will work with my own priorities. A cleanse that will give me the chance to have time for myself, to sit back and view my life and enjoy the process, instead of rushing to the finish. Beginning April 7th I intend to:
1. Eat healthy, real foods – no processed foods, no caffeine, no alcohol, little added sugar.
2. Wake up at 5 am, daily, to practice yoga on my own, pray, and meditate before work.
3. Leave my phone in the car during work (unless I know I absolutely need it for important information).
4. Check my personal email, social media, etc. just once per day.
5. Take regular meditation breaks at work to recuperate from care.
I will not push myself to attend yoga class as often I as have; I will be satisfied with attending class once or twice a week, instead of more often. I will listen to my body and I will stay in tune. I will rest when I need to rest, and when I need something else I will recognize and follow.
It’s taken nearly 27 years to respond to the needs and listen to what my body is throwing at me. I am not 17 anymore and I cannot keep up with this pace of life without wrecking my body, soul, and spirit. I am hoping to step out of this cleanse a happier, more well-adjusted person, with a heck of a lot less fatigue.
Aparigraha – paring life down. Becoming non-attached. Non-hoarding. Letting go – of possessions, ways of life, whatever is holding you back from realizing your true potential.
And it’s time for me to bare down. I had a nice little cleanse in the woods for a week, living on my own… Now it’s time to bring that beauty, that tranquility, back with me to the real world. Please join me on this journey!