I had planned on going on a cleanse this week. Last year I did almost a week of only kitchari and cooked vegetables. No coffee, no sweets, early bedtimes. It was tough-going, as cleanses always are, and brought up a lot of emotions that I worked my way through. By the end, I felt clear-headed and grounded and thought it was worth the harder moments.
Since fall transitions are tough and I like feeling clear-headed and grounded, it made sense that I would follow the same prescription. Rinse and repeat, right?
Except something didn't feel right about the plan. Even as I said it out loud to others, I just couldn't see myself eating only kitchari for a week.
Now there is a difference between not wanting to do something I really need to do and something not feeling right. The former involves a lot of resistance. I get excited, I get upset, I procrastinate, I pout. All these emotions may not be the easiest to feel but they are a clear sign that the issue at hand contains a lot of energy. They are an indication to push through the resistance and see where all that energy leads. In my experience, a lot of energy always leads to a place of growth if I harness it correctly.
But this plan felt kinda like a dead fish. No emotions, just a general blah feeling. Finally I took a moment and asked myself what I really need to do for a steady transition to fall.
NOURISHMENT! A voice inside of my head was very very excited to say this and lit the word up with tiny light bulbs at the center of my mind. Right away, it made me think about adding things into my life instead of taking them away.
"Ok, I said, "I'll add things in. What would be nourishing to bring into my life?"
"Well," that inner voice chattered, "Why don't you start with a new cozy wrap sweater and socks without teeny holes in them. Let's stock up the pantry with ghee and dried grains and get some new tea. Oh and add a few really good-smelling candles to the list. Those are nice in the morning when you mediate. Also, Poncho's collar is broken and smells horrible and he might like to be nourished too with a new, clean one. "
"Hmm," I said. "But all of that requires spending money. Don't you know that I don't like to spend money on myself? Travel is ok, if it's work related, but anything else is D-E-C-A-D-E-N-T and that's kind of a bad word in my lineage. Maybe I can buy it all second hand?"
"Nope," the voice said. "You buy everything second hand and that's cool but this time is about you investing in a few things that you really need and love, things that bring you joy. You talk all the time about investing in yourself and now it's time to prove it."
"Wow," I responded. "You're totally right. I am kind of stingy with myself. But it's scary to buy myself things I love. I feel excited and nervous and guilty and...."
"Weren't you just saying that all those emotions are a sign that you should push through and make yourself do something?" the voice said.
Damn she is good. So shopping I went. I found a great sweater that lit me up from the inside when I tried it on. When I pulled out my credit card to buy it, I realized it had been a little while since I bought myself something I really loved. I put it on as soon as I got home (a sign that I totally love something) and immediately felt so much more nourished. Wearing it, I felt ready to face this transition to fall, excited even.
For all am I adding in, I did decide to cleanse one thing--my technology addiction. I'm putting my phone on airplane mode when I wind down at night and turning it back on after I meditate in the morning. (Thank you Francesca for this amazing tip). I'm using that extra time time to do yoga and read this amazing book and learn more about the tarot.
Last night Poncho and I went out for his final walk of the evening. It wasn't even that cold but of course I was wearing my new sweater and had left my gorgeous new vanilla & fig candle burning on the kitchen counter. Poncho sniffed away at the bushes and I looked up at the crispening leaves of the tree above and felt so held by everything in that moment. Not only did my head feel clear but my heart was connected too.
It was a similar feeling that experienced after my kitchari cleanse last year yet had come from a completely different avenue. I found it by indulging rather than denying, by listening instead of demanding.
Real deal cleansing totally has it's place and I will use that tool again when I feel the energy moving me that way. Maybe kitchari will be right again for next fall. I will have to wait and see. But for now, as nature turns deeply inward yet again, I am going to bundle even deeper into my own wisdom and trust that inner voice that loves me a whole lot.
It's when I can really trust what my insides are saying to me and take gentle action in that direction that I find real and sustainable source of nourishment. When I finally give it space, this source is only too happy to cushion and support the always shaky, always deepening forward movement of my life.