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Spring Cleanse: Week Four

Tuesday, October 27, 2009 by Marianne Elliott

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Teaching an outdoor yoga class for International Day of Climate Action. Photo by Pedram Pirnia.

Wow! We are already halfway though the final week of the cleanse. I don't know about you but this process has not gone at all according to plan for me, but I suspect that what I've ended up with was exactly what I needed.

I've been reflecting on what worked best for me this time around (clearing space in my home and – especially – choosing to take a break from negative thoughts about a particular situation) and what really didn't seem to take for me this time at all (giving up chocolate and wine – which I managed fine six months ago).

Instead of leaping into judging myself for my 'weakness' on the chocolate and wine I've been listening to the words of my Buddhist teacher. He encourages me to really listen with kindness to the part of me that thinks or does things of which my judging mind does not approve.  He's not suggesting that I should get all caught up in the stories that might come along with that voice ('I am weak and indulgent') but to hear what my heart is really saying.

What I heard is 'I feel unacknowledged'. The chocolate/glass of wine feels like an acknowledgment of how hard I've been working, a way of treating myself. Listening to that voice and finding some tenderness for it enabled me to create space for that part of me. There was no need to push it away or attach myself to that feeling, I could simply acknowledge it with kindness and know that it too would pass. 

How about you? When you reflect on the cleanse process what do you see? What do you think you'll want to keep up once we get to the end of this month?

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6 Responses to "Spring Cleanse: Week Four"

  1. stacy says:

    just wanted to say I love you. xo

  2. asiyah says:

    Here’s what I learned: I recognized the need to ease up on certain foods when I am feeling stressed. And also, the need to just eat something nourishing when I’m feeling harried and unable to concentrate. i didn’t get rid of the caffeine, but am now more conscious of what i need and when (green tea!).
    It’s been incremental and not the dramatic change I’ve wanted it to be. But, I’m also not too hard on myself. I moved (and commuted and commuted), started a new job and tried to adjust to all of this – so I accept that I couldn’t do what I ‘should’ do. But did become more conscious of what’s going in my body. On second thought, it is a more dramatic shift in my thinking – focusing on the little steps to get me on the way to my larger goals.
    Thanks you for introducing me to all of this and being the lovely voice that told me not to be so tough on myself. I look forward to our next cleanse together!

  3. Swirly says:

    I love that photo of you – so joyful!

  4. Anne-Marie says:

    That is indeed a lovely photo of you Marianne. I wish I could have been there.
    And I agree with almost every thing Asiyah said in her comment! I’m writing a post for my blog about the cleanse, which should be up by the end of the month.
    But for now, here are four things I took out of the spring cleanse:
    +Recognising I have a horribly punitive voice in my head that demands perfection from me at all times!
    +Looking my eating habits squarely in the face … they’re not as good as I thought!
    +I now drink less caffeine than I did at the start of the month.
    +I now eat less refined sugar than I did at the start of the month.

  5. gypsy Alex says:

    I love that you are practicing with a smile on your face. That totally says something about this life change!! xo

  6. B says:

    I’m so glad that you’ve said this because I was feeling really guilty that I haven’t been able to give up caffeine completely! I’m however, drinking less coffee than before and have tried other “substitutes”, so I’m in the right path, I’ve also been looking a lot more closely what I eat and how it makes me feel, and I intend to continue doing that.
    Finally, I’ve started taking my meditation more seriously!
    Thanks for starting this!

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