Last week I completed a 7-day detox. This was an opportunity to detox physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually. It created an opportunity for cleansing and awakening; an opportunity for being and letting go; an opportunity to bring more mindfulness, consciousness and awareness into my daily life and to notice and create daily rituals that serve me well. After speaking with one of my soul sisters via Skype this week, I decided to share some of these reflections that I have become more aware of post-detox, in hope of inspiring something within you.
A few weeks ago, I was troubled with a lung infection. Both my Grandmothers passed away last year and I learned that my grief shows up (physically) in the lungs. Often our emotions present themselves in a physical part of our body until we face into them a little more honestly. The mind-body connection is truly incredible. As a mother of a small (adorable) toddler, I try to be thoughtful in how I display my emotions in an age-appropriate way around our son, Noah. That being said, I have not quite found this balance yet and therefore my grief has recently been ‘stuck’ in my body, suppressed and stored for another, more convenient time (which I never got round to). Sound familiar? Well, detox gave me more opportunity to allow these difficult emotions to surface and to face into these more fully.
In terms of the detox itself, I chose to do a raw juice detox, drinking only liquids for 7 days. With juice fasting, my body had the opportunity to focus on the natural healing powers in order to repair and rejuvenate at a deeper level. Detoxification speeds up cell regeneration and provides a much needed cleanse for all of the internal organs. It helped to retrain my palate to enjoy healthier, natural foods, and brings about new vitality to my whole body.
In the main, I stuck to vegetable juice (although there was a couple of times that Noah popped in a half-eaten apple that he had been eating for breakfast). I made all of the juices in the morning and as you can see, Noah delighted in helping me with this. I made 4 or 5 juices to last me the day and I found that this was enough. I also prepare water with lemon, lime and grated ginger in a jug before bed, it is a drink that all my clients love and something I do on a daily basis. In addition to this, I also prepare sparkling water with freshly squeezed lime (which is the detoxing equivalent to a glass of champagne) and I soak a spoon of flaxseed in water overnight, it’s a great source of omega 3, amongst many other benefits.
For those interested in the details, in my green juice I used organic spinach, kale, watercress, celery, cucumber and lime. In the other juice I used organic carrot, beetroot and lemon (and occasionally, Noah’s half-eaten apple). The trickiest part of doing a raw juice detox was actually preparing cooked meals for my son to eat (and him not eating them). Oh and on day 7 – the final hurdle – my hubby arrived home with a chippy! For future reference Kevin, that’s not cool.
Throughout the 7 days, I continued to do high intensity exercise and found that I had more strength and energy during my workouts. I love Shaun T’s Insanity Max 30 and use this to workout most days of the week, although sometimes I swap one of these workouts for a run outdoors or go to the gym for a weights session. Losing my baby weight has been an incredible journey for me and during the detox I took a photo of my physical transformation because I want to be my own inspiration.
Often we use photos of other people to inspire us, but what if we could inspire our own journey? What if we could do more to acknowledge our steady progress and take a moment to look how far we have come? Kevin and I would love to have another baby in the future and therefore I already know that my body will go through huge changes once again, so the photo above is a reminder to myself that I have got what it takes to completely transform my own body. This takes strength, determination and endurance but it such an empowering journey to embrace, when you dig deeper and push your body beyond your own expectations and respect our bodies by fuelling them mindfully.
As well as my more intense form of exercise, I like to make sure that I get a walk outside in nature most days that I am not working. I try to time this with Noah’s nap if I can. I love being outdoors and what a great excuse Noah’s nap is for me to incorporate this into my daily practice. During the detox, I made more effort to also create time for incorporating more yoga into my routine which I would like to do more of in the future. I even managed a handstand which was a secret end-of-year goal for me!
As the physical body rejuvenates, so the mind begins to clear. In these clearer moments, I was presented with an opportunity to look at my life and recognise what (and who) no longer serves me and in which areas I need to make changes or grow. I noticed that as the week progressed I became more silent, I went inward. Disconnecting from social media for longer spells was really useful and I spent most evenings hanging out with my hubby rather than working through my extensive to-do list, as I really wanted the focus of being rather than doing.
Fasting is often used as a way of helping people to connect with our spiritual self. Once the physical body begins to heal, detoxification moves onto the mental and emotional level, and finally (towards the end of the week for me) reveals a spiritual body hidden beneath. During my detox, I was taking steps to bring myself to a more peaceful place where I could slow down and be still. In the stillness, spirit can be found and guidance is more easily accessed. I noticed that my presence and gratitude expanded tenfold.
As the body detoxifies, it releases stored emotions from the cells. I mentioned earlier that I like to show age-appropriate emotions to our son Noah, which I don’t think included me wailing on the ground on day 3 of the detox, as my emotions truly began to surface and I was not able to ‘control’ them. Our beautiful son wiped my tears from my eyes and told me “it’s ok” and that I was “all better” which of course, made me cry even more. We cannot change what has happened to us in our lives, but we can look at the past with love, acceptance, and compassion. This is not always easy but when we choose to change our perception then we really free ourselves from our past and embrace the present moment. When we keep our face towards the sunshine, the shadows fall behind us.
One evening, noticing how prevalent my emotions were, I did a meditation to allow myself to be with the grief I was experiencing following the loss of my Grandmothers. To support this on a deeper level, I then experienced a Shamanic journey to meet my Spirit guides and gain more clarity as to how to move forward and not feel overwhelmed with the grief in my day-to-day life. The journey I took that night was intense and transformative. I was able to unlock something powerful within myself and the whole process was deeply healing. Through this detox, I feel I became open to a new level of intuitive awareness and guidance.
As a Reiki practitioner, Reiki is embedded into my daily live and daily practice. As well channeling for my clients, I have many personal spiritual practices, one of which is reciting and living by the Reiki principles, known as the Gokai, which I recite in Japanese every day.
Just for today, do not worry.
Just for today, do not anger.
Honour your parents, teachers, and elders.
Earn your living honestly.
Show gratitude to all living things.
The Reiki principles begin with “just for today” – a phrase which is a keystone for living in the present moment, being present in the here and now. I practice mindfulness on a daily basis and during my detox, I experimented with various mindful practices including: mindful breathing, mindful drinking, mindful walking, mindful playing, mindful housework, mindful cooking – basically, everything I was doing was experimented mindfully. All mindfulness techniques are a form of meditation. The goal of mindfulness is to achieve a state of presence by deliberately paying attention to thoughts and sensations, without judgment – moment by moment, breath by breath.
The cultivation of this moment-by-moment, breath-by-breath awareness is a practice that will inevitably help us to cope better with any difficult thoughts, feelings and/or emotions that cause stress and anxiety in our lives. With regular practice of mindfulness, rather than being on auto-pilot led by emotions influenced by negative past experiences or fears of the future, we develop the ability to root the mind in the present moment and deal with challenges in a clear, calm, and confident manner. In developing this consciousness, we are able to let go of limiting thought patterns and focus on positive emotions, increasing our wholeness, compassion, respect, understanding and gratitude.
Clearing clutter helps removes these blockages and imbalances. When I move through space that is filled with energy, I feel inspired and the energy within me is amplified. When I create order and harmony in my home, I am able to be more present and more radiant. I have more energy and the energy in my home and in myself are able to flow more easily. Part of my daily practice is therefore to tidy as I go and I always go to bed with a tidy house – noticing how it feels to fall asleep in a clutter-free room and without any dishes waiting.
Last year, I read the book ‘The Life-changing Magic of Tidying: A Simple, Effective Way to Banish Clutter Forever’. My hubby found this highly entertaining at the time. I remember him saying, “you are actually reading a book about how to tidy up, what next Heather?” The book is brilliant though, I would highly recommend it if you are interested in transforming your home and your life. It enabled me to recognise how important it is for me to have a tidy home. I enjoy mindfully tidying and appreciate how restorative it feels to live without clutter and mess (and how it contributes to all aspects of my life).
As well as these everyday mindfulness practices that make the once mundane activities much more enjoyable – and yes, I am saying you can choose to enjoy housework! – I also make time to meditate to bring more peace, stillness, happiness and balance into my life. My meditation often takes the form of seated, silent meditation but I also use mantras or choose to do more active meditation, for example walking meditation.
On day 7 of my detox, I used a beautiful walk in nature to bring my awareness to the gratitude I have in my heart. I walked mindfully, with each step I brought my gratitude into my awareness, considering and noticing what I was grateful for in that moment. I found myself smiling, with a heart full of love. I finished the practice by this tranquil pond, knowing that gratitude has a ripple effect. Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. Gratitude unlocks our positive vibes through allowing us to see how good things really are and opens up our heart and mind to possibility. If you want to be happier, cultivate an attitude of gratitude.
For this reason, one of my daily practices is that I go to bed counting my pearls. I bring my awareness to all of the things I am grateful for and all of the blessings from that day and imagine each of these being added to a string of pearls and wearing these pearls to go to bed. Imagine how much better you are going to sleep after filling your heart with gratitude and retracing the moments of your day that you feel deeply grateful for.
During the detox I had some fascinating dreams. My Mum and I often share dreams that we have, speaking through important messages or key themes that emerge. Dreams are a way in which our true self holds up a mirror for us to look into and see ourselves and says, “this is what I think is what’s really going on” and presents this in a story of some sort, with characters and objects that represents aspects of ourselves. Sigmund Freud stated, “dreams are the royal road to the unconscious.” Dreams use a symbolic and metaphoric language therefore we need to be curious with dreams and rather than trying to ‘figure out’ what they mean, we have to think about what we might be experiencing in relation to our dreams that corresponds with our real life.
For example, in one of my dreams during the detox I was trying to grasp on to some butterflies too tightly (in fear of them escaping) and in the process, I crushed these delicate little creatures. In analysing the dream and integrating the key themes that emerged, I came to realise that when seeing myself as the butterfly, I was able to see that the butterfly – a symbol of power – was rightfully mine, but that this still needed to be handled with great care and respect. Part of me was feeling under pressure to prove myself to an audience (which represented my ego) and in doing so, I wasn’t respecting how fragile and delicate this power retrieval really was.
In another one of my dreams, I explored the theme of shame and humiliation, not knowing where to express my shame or who with. Daniel Siegel stated that dreaming is “one of the important ways we integrate memory and emotion,” with the dream serving as “an amalgam of memories in search of resolution.” It is the feeling of the dream which is more important than the actual content of the dream, the characters and storyline are just expressing underlying feelings.
I would recommend keeping a note book or paper by your bed to capture your dreams as I believe that dreams offer us a little hidden door to our psyche, and when we climb inside that door, we are able to understand ourselves more fully.
A beautiful friend of mine gifted me with the Daily Greatness Journal which I used to bring focus and positive intention to my days. It also has space for me to capture significant dreams. I love this book and find it hugely beneficial in focusing my days, setting positive intentions and attracting more positivity to my life.
We have all heard of the law of attraction, what we believe, we receive. The idea is that we can attract anything we want into our lives by focusing on our desires and using affirmations, expecting good things to happen, being appreciative, and taking inspired action. Our thoughts really do matter. Our thoughts create our feelings, our feelings create our actions, and our actions create our life. They’re all interconnected.
Keep your thoughts positive, because your thoughts become your words.
Keep your words positive, because your words become your behaviours.
Keep your behaviours positive, because your behaviours become your habits.
Keep your habits positive, because your habits become your values.
Keep your values positive, because your values become your destiny.
As you begin to embody positive affirmations and believe them, you will start attracting what you want in your life. The most important rule, in addition to your affirmations being positive, is that you say them with emotion, in the present tense, and use ‘I AM’ statements. This is something I do each day as part of my Daily Greatness Journal and I have big handwritten affirmations up on my fridge which I read every day. The repetition of these highly emotional affirmations is what brings about real, positive change.
Being a Spiritual Practitioner means that I have a true desire to change the world through empowering people. In order to do this, I have to face into my own fears, let go of limiting beliefs or stuck emotion, and put the needs of the whole above myself as the individual. As I find more power in my connection to the Divine, I find more power to live a life of joyfully serving, of following my heart, of letting go of worrying about what others thinks about the choices I am making.
For me, spirituality is a way of life, it’s an attitude, a way of being in the world. It is a sense of connection to something greater than ourselves. It is seeing love in all people, in all living things and respecting this. It is being mindful of myself and others around me. I have shared some of my own daily rituals (there are many more I have not mentioned) but what is important is that you know that we can all build on our practice, none of us are ever starting from nothing. Your way of loving, of accepting and of relating to the world and the people around you is a spiritual practice in itself.
Doing my 7-day detox supported me on all levels – physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually. I noticed that after my detox my energy levels were so much better, my clarity of thought and connection to the Divine had significantly increased. My body felt great and I noticed a deep inner confidence and my heart continues to be filled with a deep sense of gratitude.
I am aware now through this depth of reflection that I was physically detoxing, mentally quietening, emotionally cleansing and spiritually awakening. It’s no wonder that I am already looking forward to my next detox!