the art of nourishment

I’m on day six of a ten day cleanse. And I’m hungry.

My diet for the last six days has consisted of green smoothies, copious amounts of water, amino acid supplements, a lot of avocados, a few apples, coconut water and herbal tea. And as I may have already mentioned, I’m hungry.

I decided to do this cleanse because I’d heard amazing things about it from a friend, and frankly because I felt like I needed it. My eating habits have been sliding down a slippery slope for the last couple of months– too much processed food, and not enough consciousness about what I’ve been putting into my body. I’ve started to feel disconnected from the instrument that orchestrates my life. So I’m cleansing. Hallueluiah.

There are people out there (you may know some of them personally) who I’m going to call “Zen Cleansers.” They write beautiful, uplifting messages on social media about the amazing benefits of the cleanse that they’re doing– how fabulous they feel, how bright their skin is, how they got to day ten and decided to just keep going, how they’ve hardly even been hungry…

I am NOT a Zen Cleanser. I am a HANGRY Cleanser. I am not going to sugar coat what this experience is for me. And that is not to say that it doesn’t have immense value. Because it does. It is working on me, or rather forcing me to work on me at a level that I was not capable of accessing when my body was satiated and groggy from my overloaded, overworked digestive system.

It has brought all of my inner most emotions and placed them right at my surface. I am like a smoking volcano, poised for eruption at any moment. My emotions are volatile. I’m incredibly reactive and I’ve cried more in the last six days than I had in the previous six months. But there is immense value in it.

I feel old patterns of relating to the world coming up to the surface and releasing. It’s as if I’m experiencing in extreme fast forward the last thirty eight years of my life and with each experience of an old emotional pattern, I feel it, identify it (“wow, that feels just like when I was fifteen”) and then I let it go. I am finding myself needing to navigate my emotions and find productive ways to communicate about them– because my body will not allow me to suppress them. (And I was wholly unaware of my emotional suppression before the blessing of this cleanse.)

I also find that my work, while certainly more taxing due to lack of calories, has felt incredibly clear and easy over the past six days. Information has flowed easily. I’ve had precise clarity in knowing how to approach and help to shift energetic patterns within my clients. I’ve also felt more present in each session, and the work we’ve done has been incredibly potent as a result.

What I find myself ruminating over as my belly continuously sends me hunger signals even though it has all of the nutrients it needs, are all the different ways that I am able to nourish myself. I realize that over the last several months in addition to not nourishing my physical body, I have also not been nourishing myself emotionally or energetically. I’ve neglected my writing. I’ve been spending way too much mindless time, watching t.v. or engaged in social media, which leaves me feeling disconnected and numb. One thing my hungry belly is not allowing me right now is to be numb or disconnected.

Last night after my partner beautifully ushered me through emotional breakdown number 47, we went out with friends and heard two amazing bands. Although my belly felt empty, as I listened to the brilliant musicians on stage and felt the joy of all of the people surrounding me, I closed my eyes, allowed my body to move to the music, and for the first time in a LONG time: I felt completely FULL.

I felt nourished.

What I’m beginning to realize is that nourishment comes from being conscious in all aspects of my life. I am able to nourish myself in so many ways beyond making my belly feel sated. I am nourished by allowing myself to feel and express my emotions– positive or negative. I am nourished by doing my work in the world and experiencing the magnitude of the amazing people who allow me to help them. I am nourished by maintaining my space, and reminding myself that it is an extension of myself. I am nourished by sharing time and laughter with the people I love. I am nourished by singing and dancing and writing. I am nourished by putting my needs at the top of my list instead of haphazardly scrawled somewhere near the bottom.

So while I may not offer a glamorous view of cleansing, this self-proclaimed HANGRY Cleanser can honestly say that despite my hunger, I am loads lighter and more nourished today than I was on day one– and I’ve still got four more days to go…