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Spring Cleanse: What are you ready to let go of?

Tuesday, October 6, 2009 by Marianne Elliott

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Well, it hasn’t looked or felt much like spring around here this past week. Earthquakes and tsunami in the Pacific have left hundreds of people dead, thousands homeless and many more devastated. Here in New Zealand a late cold snap has left farmers without any electricity as they struggle to rescue new spring lambs from the late snow. When disaster strikes I find myself questioning my decision to leave Oxfam, to leave the world of direct humanitarian assistance behind while I write this book. It has been a big change for me and it is taking some time to get used to not having a job that gives me a clear and concrete sense of what I am doing to help.

Then I take a breath. Let it out. Take another. Let it out. I remember that working in war zones or in the wake of natural disasters is only one way to change the world. Writing a book is one way to change the world. Teaching yoga is one way to change the world. Uncovering my own voice, telling my own story, telling my own truth is one way to change the world. I also remember that I don’t have to change the world. I don’t even have to change me. So, I shed another layer. I let go of another set of the beliefs that have served me well in the past. I’m ready to release them and rest in the space they leave behind.

This week, following the full moon, the moon is waning and it is a good time for letting go. As part of this cleanse I’m not only letting go, at least for the month, of foods and drinks that don’t really nourish my body. I’m also taking a little time to notice what thoughts and beliefs I’m still carrying that don’t really nourish my soul.

So as you sit in silence for a few moments every day and as you take the time to prepare and consume nourishing food for your body, notice what else you might be ready to let go of this month.

For the rest of this week let yourself settle gently into the changes you have made to your eating and drinking practices. Notice if you are feeling differently. You may experience some symptoms of detoxification this week, especially if you were consuming caffeine, sugar and/or alcohol regularly before the cleanse. Some people experience headaches, in the past I’ve experienced some confusion/dizziness and also some weepiness. It all passes. Just notice it as it arises and see if you can be present and aware without attaching yourself to the sensation. Use your breath and the awareness of sensations in your body to ground yourself and simply notice what is going on, without judgement.

As you notice the sensations in your body, begin to think about how you want to move your body. This first week of the cleanse, depending what level of cleanse you are doing, you might feel some sensations of fatigue or even nausea. This might be a sign to ease back on any really vigorous exercise regime and focus on gentler, restorative practices like walking or gentle yoga. If you are feeling energetic then by all means, move it! If you don’t usually exercise then this week is a good time to start. Gentle, regular exercise will help manage any side-affects of the cleanse and will help increase the benefits of the cleanse as the weeks go on. 

Here are some great resources:

Kristen’s Raw

If you are aiming for either total or partial raw food for the cleanse then check out this great site, which I found when Kristen herself left a lovely comment here yesterday. She has fabulous recipes and general information and advice about the raw food lifestyle.

101 Cookbooks

A great site if you are planning to mix some healthy vegetarian/vegan cooked options into your cleanse. Today’s featured recipe is ‘Green Soup with Ginger’, yum!

Yoga Today

A great site where you can get free daily yoga practices on video, including this one which is the best place to start if you haven’t practiced yoga before and can’t make it along to a class.

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4 Responses to "Spring Cleanse: What are you ready to let go of?"

  1. Thank you so much for the shout out!
    And, thank you for doing what you’re doing…. helping to change the world.
    Breathing in and out, focused and relaxed, is the way I calm my soul, too.
    Have a wonderful day,

  2. I got this comment from Anne-Marie who couldn’t post it here and suggested that maybe I could:
    “I really needed these words of wisdom on letting go and I have written my favourite quotes from your post in my notebook to remind myself today as I try to cut back on processed sugar, salt and caffeine. Yes, I’m struggling, especially with cravings for sugar. I’m not being very compassionate with myself over these struggles, when the truth is, I’ve been addicted to processed sugar for many years. So I know I can’t expect it to be easy. I have bought some herbal tea and am finding it nowhere near as horrible as I expected! I’m still drinking my morning cup of black tea and the interesting thing about that is, I appreciate this one and only cup of tea much more because I know it will be the only one I’ll have all day. So I savour it in a way I never have before. Salt cravings I am kicking with a delicious, easy and healthy recipe for curried nuts – this week I’m eating curried almonds, just a few at a time. The hardest thing to deal with is what going on instead my head … I need to let go of “perfect”!!”

  3. Swirly says:

    I am glad you are keeping in mind all the different ways one can make a difference in the world. What is extraordinary about you is that you make a difference on so many levels – from the global to the deeply personal, for as you’ve made a difference in the lives of people in Afghanistan and other parts of the world, you have also made a difference in my life.

  4. Angela Negro says:

    Thank you! I accompany you silently from my own space on the other side of the world. We seem to parallel each other in what we are uncovering on a personal level… It is a delight to read your process. Ange

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