Monday, February 10, 2014

I Just Swallowed a Lemon Pit! Day 10 and the end of my Winter Wonderland Cleanse

Gorgeous White Winter, Thank You to the Angels for this Day
Day 10 The Master Cleanser Winter Wonderland Cleanse:

I have been conserving my energy, or rather, putting it to where I wanted it to go most. I thought I'd be posting a lot more, but each day, I "met myself where I was at" and didn't push beyond that. It's been a wonderful ride and the BEST decision I could have made! Winter cleansing is always a whole other perspective. 
As is typical when I do The Master Cleanser, I downscaled my amounts of lemon and maple syrup as the days went on, ending up with 4 tablespoons of lemon per quart and 3 tablespoons of maple syrup.
 I also downsized from 4 quarts to 3 the last 3 days of the cleanse. This is totally intuitive and going with my body - if and when you do this cleanse, trust your own guidance system.
Normally I exercise any day I'm not Flushing with salt water, but yesterday, I skipped it and honored what my body asked for. This morning, my salt water flush took only 12-15 minutes from consumption (and laying on my right side) to elimination. That tells me things are moving really easily on all levels. 
My energy is back with a force today (I got up at 6:45). I feel motivated, focused and alive. My mood is super high and I can literally feel the joy moving inside. As is typical with cleansing, I went through many ups and downs with physical energy, fatigue and lowered mood as well as being "wired," filled with energy and happy - all at different moments, and sometimes close together! My goal of gaining clarity and letting go of any old stuff that was hanging around in me is met. I feel a cleanness inside, as if whatever I needed to let go of was washed away. Mostly, I feel aligned on a spiritual-emotional level, trusting my choices and intuition.
Report: I've dropped almost 9 pounds this time around and by tomorrow, I expect it to be a total of 10. Though that was not my reason  for cleansing, it puts me back in the zone in which I feel my body truly wants to be.
Tomorrow I will introduce solid foods gently, starting off with a kale, pineapple, dill and ginger smoothie and probably having a grapefruit during the day as well. I want to pause between the foods, re-introducing the art of chewing and allowing my digestive system to rest. Cleansing is a highly spiritual and meditative journey. It takes us within to the quieter place of intuition. On a nutritional end, it always becomes so clear how much less food we really need then we think we do, and how much we use food as a filler for sadness, anxiety, fear and lonliness. As I move deeper into February, my intention is to take time each day to tune into my body, eat when I know my body is truly asking for food, pause between the bites to listen and take with me the gifts from this cleanse. My next cleanse will probably be a springtime Juice Feast, so stay tuned...
Most importantly, allow yourself to slow down and listen to what your body is truly asking for. When you think you need to fill it, first take a moment to "Just Be" and see what happens. Don't be afraid to listen to your body and quiet your brain. Let food honor you; choose it with love and not abuse. Love everything you choose and eat it with passion. Most of all, know that you are perfect exactly the way you are and love all parts of yourself. 
As Valentine's Day approaches, do something sacred that affirms your love for YOU. Self-love is the most passionate and healing of all. Sending each of you love...

Monday, February 3, 2014

Winter Wonderland Cleanse Days 2 & 3

Yesterday Day 2 The Master Cleanser:
8:00 AM Salt Water Flush (1 Quart warmed water with 2 teaspoons sea salt)
8:30 AM - Elimination
No exercise to allow my body to flush
9:30 AM 1st Quart Master Cleanser (1 quart warmed water with 6 tablespoons lemon juice and pulp, 4 tablespoons Grade B maple syrup and 1/10 - 1/8 teaspoon cayenne (I always go heavy on the cayenne)
2:15 PM - 1/2 of 2nd Quart Master Cleanser
7:00 PM - 3rd Quart Master Cleanser
8:00 PM 4th Quart Master Cleanser
Lots of extra sleep
Today day 3:
Lots of extra sleep
10:00 AM Rebounder - a bit dehydrated and weak
10:20 AM- 11:45 AM 1st Quart Master Cleanser

1:30 PM - 2nd Quart Master Cleanser 
6:00 PM - 3rd Quart Master Cleanser
7:20 PM- 4th Quart Master Cleanser

 February 2nd yesterday:
I Just got back from NYC. I was wondering how I would navigate my energy through the day of activities and family. Normally, I clear my schedule of any major plans during a cleanse, especially ones that involve lots of other people and outside venues, till I'm in it and decide what my body actually wants. I did my salt water flush this morning, drinking the quart of liquid at 8 and reading a good book while laying on my right side. At 8:30 I eliminated and waited awhile so see if I was complete. Then I took a warm, soothing bath with lavender sea salts, giving myself more time before drinking my first quart of Master Cleanser, which I drank around 9:30. I only got to drink half of my next quart in the car at 2:15 (given the day's plans) and finished it up back home at 7:00. So, I was not spacing my Master Cleanser as I optimally would. I actually did really well on both energy and blood sugar the whole time. No hunger, though when I got home and saw the Organic Black Truffles made with coconut oil that I bought to send my niece/nephews for Valentine's Day, I did have a pang of food lust! I'm drinking my two evening quarts now. Typically, I like to finish up a little earlier, but I had to go with the flow of the day. I'll probably get extra sleep tonight as well. I would love to hear about other people's cleanses, or if you've let go of a food or added one in...please write it.

February 3rd today:
Today was a day of honoring my body, spirit and goals. Last night, I got lots of extra sleep and still needed more this morning. It's interesting for someone who typically wakes up without an alarm at 6:30  (in the Summer it's often 5:00 or 5:30) to be sleeping so much this Winter! My body does eat, sleep and exercise with the seasons, and Wintertime I often honor whatever it needs with sleep. This Winter my body and spirit are wanting a lot more sleep, and adding on the cleanse is certainly continuing this trend! Early Winter was sleep time for processing and integration and now it's more sleep from the cleanse. Remember my post about "Meeting Ourselves Where We're At??" This a really good exercise for me in that teaching. It involves letting go of the noisy thoughts that tell me it's not OK to stay in bed; that it means something is wrong and it's not making good use of the day, and it's a telltale sign of my emotions. So what if it is??? For me, telling that voice loving words and giving that little girl a big hug are the answer. These days, I need to do it most every morning.
After waking up and making my first 2 Quarts of Master Cleanser, I did my 20 minutes jumping on the rebounder/mini trampoline (also known as the lymphosizer, as it's the only exercise that detoxes the lymph and organ system) and noticed both dehydration and weakness. I am typically never noticeably dehydrated, so I know it is connected to cleansing. I love all these new sensations we only get to experience during this time. I bounced at a speed that honored my body's muscle weakness and fatigue, giving it some strong spurts during moments of energy. When we start to detoxify, the first place that energy is pulled from is from our "wei chi," the outermost part of our bodies, so we often will feel incredibly fatigued in our muscles and tissues. Don't worry...this means the body is taking its energy and directing it toward the organs for core healing. When I did the 31-day Juice Feast, there were many days early on that I didn't exercise, and 3 weeks into the cleanse, I ran miles! 
I did a chakra balance tape to let go of any emotional blocks inside my body and align my spirit. I have used this one for thirteen years and absolutely adore it:
 Chakra Balance CD 
 Aleta St. James is a true healer in her ability to help us open up blocked power sources.
I focused on a project that was my goal today, from notebook to computer. I was watching the snow fall the entire day, and when I finally went outside in late afternoon to clean off my car, I was wonder-struck by what appeared to be a foot of snow (but was around 7 inches). The forecast was for only 1-3inches, so this gift was a pure miracle. What came up next for me was the desire to have a playmate with whom to have a snowball fight and build a snowman. This truly was my little girl, my adolescent and my teenager all wrapped into one. I wanted a playmate so badly! Though I missed not having one, I loved that part of me that was ready to play, and I loved that she came out so strong during the cleanse. I remember sledding with my best friend hundreds of times as children, and the rush of going downhill, not knowing exactly how it would turn out, a little scared but excited to go. I remember having warm soup and hot chocolate after coming in from the cold. For a moment, I really missed that, questioning my decision to Winter cleanse - no playmate and no food?
Happily, I let the emotions just Be, and had a juicy conversation with a girlfriend, who promised she would play with me over the next few days, as we are expecting more snow. I just drank my last 2 Quarts of Master Cleanser at 6:00 and at 7:20 and feel completely content.
The most fabulous and sometimes difficult part of a cleanse are the ups and downs as we detox and feel it all. There are moments of exhiliration and moments of sadness, and it's an opportunity to naviagate the largeness of life through the lense of a cleanse.

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Day 1 Winter Wonderland Cleanse

I started my first cleanse in over a year. That's a huge amount of time for me between cleanses. Typically, I would have cleansed last spring and done another Juice Feast, and if not that, definitely in the Fall to detoxify and build my system for Winter. Though I thought about it both times, meeting myself where I needed to be met, when the pull not to "quite yet" was greater than the desire to start one, I waited on cleansing and continued to eat.
Holiday time a year ago, as those who read my blog may know, I inserted a cleanse right in the middle of the season to pull my energies away the holiday foods and energies that pull us all down the rabbit hole. That cleanse ended up literally saving my life, as readers of T.H.E. Blog know. This year, I had a lot of difficult things I was navigating in my life during that exact period of time, but I chose not to cleanse. Life challenges and Holidays = weight gain and lowered energy for me. I dropped the weight simply by going back to the foods that I love and trusting my body, but the energy, moods, emotions and thoughts were still with me, taking up way too much space and pulling me away from my visions, goals and dreams. With all the cleansing I have done, including the 31-day juice feast, I have been feeling that the foods I ate during the holidays sent my body back into old "cellular memory" that surfaced in the forms of thoughts and emotions I hadn't experienced in years. Clearing those out was my primary reason for this Winter cleanse. 
I am fortunate to have clear and shining skin, without acne or major disturbances. Eating a Raw lifestyle continues to support its collagen production and clarity. I believe that a raw foods way of life, by nature of its sheer alkalinity and frequency is the only way of eating that combats aging through the skin. Over the last couple of months, I saw hormonal changes in my skin that I never experienced before, with breakouts in certain key areas that correspond to the organ system. My skin was screaming out for a cleanse. If skin could talk (after all, it is the largest organ, unlike what some men may think :) mine was chattering away.
So here I am, ending Day 1 of my cleanse. I'm doing The Master Cleanser this time - tried and true, I thank Stanley Burroughs once again for creating a cleanse that has stood the test of time.
Like my 31-day Juice Feast, T.H.E. Blog will chronicle my cleanse for the next 10 days.
Just an update and important for any newcomers to know from a seasoned cleanser:
My day started off powerfully with lots of energy for the cleanse and minimal hunger. I had vitality and an uplifted mood that carried me through till after a counseling session. I even rebounded on the mini trampoline for some movement and exercise.
In the second half of my day, I had intended to do some reading and note taking for which I had designated the time. I was clear and looking forward to spending the afternoon in what I had envisioned - cuddled on the couch with a blanket and my computer nearby.
I put myself into a couple of phone conversations that though seemingly fine, brought me back into all my "circular thinking" that has been taking me away from my body and my quietness. One of my main reasons for this cleanse is to clear out the old emotions that have been taking up a lot of space lately inside of me.
It was right after the calls that all my energy was suddenly zapped :) and for a moment I thought: Oh, I can't do this. Why don't I just eat and bag the cleanse. How am I going to do this for 10 days?? It would feel so much better to eat.
I can honestly share that this was emotional (not physical) hunger roaring like a lion!!
And then I changed my plans totally and went into bed for a long nap!
It was super hard to get up, and I thought of skipping my evening Master Cleanser quarts and staying in bed.
One foot in front of the other, here I am, up and having made my second two quarts and almost finished drinking the last one. I am no longer hungry or tired and in fact have enough energy to write this post. Note to myself and to all cleansers: Take the time to stay with your choices and remember that sometimes even talking with dear friends is not what you need. You may just need inner quiet. That is cleansing in itself. Trust your body, trust your intuition, stay with your intention and honor the cleanse.
PS - If your body needs a nap, grab it!

Friday, January 31, 2014

Cleansing Saved My Life - Archived Post

Cleansing Saved  My Life - Originally Posted on 2/4/13 
Readers: I thought it helpful to re-post this blog entry from one year ago:
As some of you know from reading my previous post, at the end of December I was hit by a car while walking and have been beautifully healing my body since.
What I did not share was that at the time, I was in the middle of leading a week-long holiday cleanse. I had just finished Day Five of Master Cleanser and had two days left to go. It felt fabulous to give my digestive system a rest from all the holiday food, right smack in the middle of the month (you might have seen the photo of my pre-cleanse Curry Sweet Potato Latkes). I was then planning to move into Christmas and New Year's, continuing to enjoy the food and traditions of the holiday season.
And then this unexpected event occurred...
The hospital report said: "Woman in good health and well nourished," and I smiled with recognition. Thank you, G-d, I said. I read this a few days after I got home. Because I had not eaten solid foods for five days, I was able to continue my cleanse to the best of my ability, even while in the hospital. I asked my dear friend and health counselor Karyn to bring me my last prepared mason jar of Master Cleanser, still sitting on my kitchen counter, along with a quart of green juice, some kale salad and raw almonds. Because I had had a concussion, I was only allowed liquids initially. These consisted of apple juice, cranberry juice, jello and hot water with a tea bag and lemon. I think there might have been some milk as well. I knew that these would not be the foods I would drink to heal my body at home, nor would I recommend them to anyone trying to heal, so I thanked them for bringing it, drank the hot water with lemon and pushed the trays aside. Instead, I sipped my remaining quart of Master Cleanser, drank my quart of green juice and ate my container of raw kale salad and a few almonds. This is all that I had over those couple of days, and I felt well nourished. Because I had gone without solid food for the five preceding days, I was easily able to do this and feed my body what it craved for healing. It gave me clarity, focus and energy; all that I needed.
When I got home, I felt so indebted to Stanley Burroughs and the Master Cleanser, written in the nineteen seventies and still holding up to this day as a powerful healing cleanse, that each day for the next few days, I made myself one quart of it, a modified cleanse, and sipped it with gratitude and deep, loving connection. I could hardly navigate around my kitchen but nothing stopped me from making that one jar of Master Cleanser each day. I am very clear that a major component to my being here today is that cleanse. My body was in a strong and clean place when this happened, and that was the greatest protection I could have had. Because of being on the cleanse, I was able to stay with that level of healing even though I had been hurt. Moving slowly around my kitchen, I focused on preparing this life force for myself each day.
Once being home, I continued to nourish myself with a mix of raw and macrobiotic foods; raw by day to cleanse, alkalize, release and build my entire body, and macro in the evening to warm my injuries and circulate the blood to eliminate inflammation. My dear friend and health colleague Sonia Maldonado counseled me to bring in warmth, and every day she made me home-brewed teas with fresh lavender, ginger and cayenne. I drank quarts of these, along with more quarts of green juice. She also made me homemade body butters with jojoba, fresh geranium and lavender  to rub all over my body, especially in the injured areas (So Naturals by Sonia). I included a ton of cayenne in everything I ate, and my body ate it up, receiving the warmth and circulation.
I coated myself with Young Living essential oils from the time I was in the hospital onward, and they healed and protected my entire body; skin is our largest organ through which we can receive healing. I used Thieves oil as an antibiotic and Purification to heal stitches and scrapes; other oils for healing bone.
These days I am eating a lot of chlorella to not only blast my body with chlorophyl and oxygen, but also to let go of whatever might have been left from x-rays and scans. I put it right on my raw granola or kale salad. There are many additional tools I have been using in my journey of healing, but all support the same process; cleansing my body and my psyche from this trauma.
I remember how I felt holding that last jar of Master Cleanser; the one I sipped in the hospital. I felt like it was God's holy water here to bless me and keep me strong. The emotional connection I had with that elixir is something I'm not sure I can ever really explain properly; deep, definitely, sacred, without a doubt; loving, so much so; moving, to tears; but truly, what cleansing has now become for me is life saving.

Meeting Ourselves Exactly Where We are At - Archived Post

Meeting Ourselves Exactly Where We are At - Originally Posted on 1/20/13
Readers: I thought it helpful to re-post this blog from 1 year ago:
Today is Sunday, January Twentieth. One month ago, on Thursday night, December Twentieth, I encountered the unexpected; an event that left me repeatedly saying, over the last month, "This was not supposed to happen." At ten at night, after leaving a fabulous film event at the local art movie house, I was hit by a car while crossing the pedestrian crosswalk on a side street in downtown Stamford, Connecticut, where I live. Though I don't recall this next part, as our brains have beautiful ways of protecting us, my body flew into and cracked the driver's windshield. I was taken to the trauma center at Stamford Hospital and was there from Thursday night till Saturday afternoon. Since then, I have been healing myself at home and finally venturing out once more into the world and my life.
I'm not sure where I want to go with this post. It still feels tender to write about, and even though I've spoken about it many times in retelling it to friends, I feel protective of myself in sharing it out loud. Those of you who follow my blog know that I typically offer up scenes from my personal journey in hopes it can make a difference for someone who reads it. In my counseling practice, I do the same at certain moments; share a piece of my scrapbook, struggles, insights, pain and breakthroughs so that I become more identifiable and less unreachable for those trying to heal their own lives. So this is new; this feeling of wanting to shield myself from the world at large. This is 'Meeting Myself Where I'm At.'
This past month has been filled with just that. When I'm not loving my body because it feels limiting; when I'm not loving myself because I'm terribly scared, anxious or vulnerable; when I'm not loving the moment because it feels constricted; when I'm not loving this new place I'm in because I'm longing for the old Hope, I am learning to meet myself exactly where I'm at, without judgement.
The old Hope was ecstatically happy the day this happened. I was grateful for every millimeter of my life. I had a clear understanding and huge appreciation for all the steps that had brought me to that point; I was in love with even the worst and most arduous and difficult parts of my journey, and I understood how each piece had played out exactly as it did in order to bring me to the wisdom and peace I held at that moment on that day. Then this event happened, and what I am left with is this: All my years of meditation, breathwork, therapy, yoga, chakra balancing, emoting, evolving and deep spiritual connection were merely practice for this moment of meeting myself where I'm at.
During the physical and emotional pain that I experienced, I could barely access my divine connection. Theoretically, I knew it was there. I even understood the larger context of this event, or at least that there is a larger context. But day-to-day, through sleepless nights and slow-moving days, the only thing I could do when I couldn't even access deep breathing was meet myself exactly where I was at. "Here you are, Hope. You're feeling this, now you're feeling this, and now this. Can you love yourself through all those feelings? Can you love yourself and let yourself be loved when your mojo has disappeared? Can you love yourself when all the things that define you seem to hang in the balance?" I had to learn, and I'm still learning.
A dear friend said to me, "Hope, you came here with a purpose, and that cannot be taken away."
The biggest battle we fight in life is the one with ourselves. I see this most often in counseling the most magnificent people who suffer with eating disorder. The layers of shame, self-blame and lack of forgiveness astound me. The infinite resources for self-punishment break my heart. When I have the opportunity at those moments, I remind my clients what gifts they are, and to see what would happen if they turn this blame into self-love; instant healing. 
Now it is my turn to let go of who Hope was on December Twentieth and embrace who Hope is now, on January Twentieth; still me, and still here with a purpose.

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Weddings Inspire Me

Over the last month and a half, I went to two weddings, each celebrating the marriage of one of my dearest friends. Both were unique to themselves and reflected the personal tastes and styles of my girlfriends. At each, I danced to fabulous music and ate great food. What was common to both was the joy that every guest had; as if they, too, were invested in the act of these unions. What was most significant to me was feeling I had inside affirming this thing we call marriage. 
These two couples inspired, moved and touched me by the journeys they had each taken as individuals in their own rite and collectively, in their evolving partnerships of growth, trust, loving kindness, challenges, respect, friendship, attraction, devotion, love and now marriage. I had an overwhelming feeling that I understood the distinction between a relationship and a marriage, and how as a couple, choosing to be married creates and opportunity to become more intimate, more committed, more willing to say, "I am my beloved and my beloved is mine." I don't feel that marriage is the only way, or that not being married makes a couple less committed or less in love. It's just that being in the presence of clear and strong "choice" over the last couple of months, it was so obvious that, as much as we can poke at the institution of marriage with its visible downfalls as well as the rates of divorce, in the right context, it has the capability to add a new foundation to a relationship which can build a stronger and more sustainable house. Given the right two people, who each can let go of their ego from time to time and not always have to be "more right;" who see their relationship more in terms of what does make it special rather than what is wrong, and who can practice loving kindness with a wide open heart and an ability to breathe through the challenging moments and rejoice in the beautiful ones, marriage has the ability to create extraordinary joy and divine  and lasting love.
Bearing witness my friends as they declared publicly before everyone they love and who loves them that the sum of their parts is greater as a whole, I had an experience of "being in the right place at the right time," so to speak. In other words, I think I would have missed out not to see, in front of my eyes and illuminated in my soul, the purpose and poignancy of a simple act that can connect two people, heart-to heart, in a way that offers an even greater wholeness than each already had. One can be the most independent person with a rich and full life, which is wonderful, because that person makes the best partner. Self-love and a sense of one's own worthiness are pivotal, and without those, we cannot ever attract a healthy partner and spouse, but the love of another allows us to finally complete the open circle that begins in childhood. Marriage is a ritual that seals the circle. Beyond that, as I saw in these two weddings, when it is agreed upon by two already-committed people, it opens up another level in this spiritual partnership that happens right in the act of getting married. It can only be understood at that moment in which it occurs, and requires trust and a willingness to let go into the other's arms. I think it is worth the risk.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

What are you Eating or What's Eating You?

Today I noticed some sadness coming out of no where. Along with it came a desire to eat more than I had planned or actually even wanted on a physical level. It seems my wires were short circuiting for a moment and I was having a hard time distinguishing between my physical and my emotional hunger. I could feel a satiated and content belly, yet this emotional hole was overriding the circuitry of full with a feeling of emptiness.
Does this happen to you? What can you do?
The other day I wrote about opposite action, elaborating upon changing our thought to another more higher-level one when we are in "addictive thinking"; thinking that repeats itself, pulls us in and doesn't take us to a healthy place. You can do this as well when the circuitry of clear hunger signs goes awry. When we are feeling a missing piece inside, it is super easy to rationalize bagging our commitments to our healthiest, most balanced and vibrant selves. If we have a history of using (abusing) food to numb or fill our feelings, then food thoughts will still come up once in awhile. This does not mean you don't have a loving relationship with food. It's simply that an old message got stuck in the body system (cellular DNA) and needs clearing out. 
The first and most pivotal piece is not to punish yourself or make yourself wrong for these thoughts. That self-hatred will facilitate an internal battle, when what you need at the moment is a strong belief in yourself and an honoring of this "shadow" side that has temporarily emerged (I recommend reading Debbie Ford's, "The Shadow Effect," to get more of a sense of how to embrace our shadow side). No matter what you are feeling, take yourself out of the experience by remembering something powerful you are committed to in your life; something you wanted accomplish today along the lines of goals.
Take an Opposite Action. Literally switch the circuitry of your brain and body by physically putting yourself in a task you have set for yourself. Here are some examples:
Make or return phone calls that relate to other parts of your life
Do 15 minutes of stimulating exercise
Do 15 minutes of deep yoga
Write a new post for your blog!
Answer an email
Think of 5 goals that you are committed to and take 1 step toward one of these goals
Clean out a drawer
Put yourself  "in the activity" of the commitments for your day. It's literally by being in the healthy activity and taking ourselves out of the repetitive addictive feeling state that we switch the cellular response from one of self-flagellation, or punishment, to one of pride and success. Once the new cellular response kicks in, the feelings of emotional hunger are quelled. This action has nothing to do with willpower and is all about cellular circuitry.
By the time I was midway through writing my blog post and responding to a couple of emails, the intense food fantasies were gone; come dinnertime, the physical hunger had actually left my body.
The cleaner we keep our relationship with food, using this technique to rewire any old messages our body is still holding onto, the easier it will become to cultivate an unconditionally loving relationship with our most intimate partner; food, and with ourselves. From this place, we can manifest the life we desire.