The Big Cleanse – Finale

March 15, 2012

“The cave you fear to enter holds the treasure you seek.” 
― Joseph Campbell


The first two weeks were quite challenging, as I mentioned in the first big cleanse post. All the emotions, and not a single vice to suppress it.  I found that a lot of thoughts came through that I didn’t like. I found myself to be an incredibly judgmental person. It was like I was sitting back and watching myself, because if I took action on those thoughts I believed to be true, I would have said a lot of things I’d regret.


What was also hard was the social detox. The prescription included no contact with crushes or ex’s, even if they were from high school! I thought that would be no bid deal, but a close friend of mine was going through a challenging situation and I couldn’t reach out. I prayed for her each night, and I was often upset with myself for the pure selfishness of this cleanse. But I also knew I had to do this to find my inner peace.


You see, most of my life I’ve been obsessed with “doing the right thing.” And I’ve found this to be a terrible compass. It has created more stress and anxiety than anything else. The difference between what I believe is the right thing to do vs what actually feels good has created a sense of guilt so strong that I have often felt like ending it all. (I now realize it was an internal conflict of values so unresolvable, that action action in either direction would cause me pain).


As a life long learner, I became aware of this on an intellectual level. But mere awareness never seemed to change anything (not for long at least).  And as I went through the first few weeks of the cleanse, what I feared most was going through it for 30 days and seeing nothing really change. As I mentioned this, my healer laughed and said, “The one constant in the Universe is change. So don’t worry about that!”


And then something shifted after the second week. It started when I began going to bed earlier. I found that I loved spending time alone. I cleaned, I read, I wrote, I meditated, I exercised. I was creating a new lifestyle for myself. Emotionally I felt like there were no big highs or lows. Just a constant peaceful foundation that couldn’t be rocked.


I was taking Kundalini yoga classes 3x a week, and on the 30th day I had my final class. After two weeks of pure peace, I began to feel very scared. When I started the cleanse I couldn’t wait for it to end. And now I didn’t want it to stop. I had entered my innermost cave, made a home for myself, and I didn’t want to leave. I didn’t want to change my militant diet. I didn’t want to be social, or be in a relationship, or even have sex.  And the guilt ensued. I literally felt crazy – like I had experimented with being homeless for a month and didn’t want to come back.


It’s been two weeks since the cleanse officially ended, and to be honest… I don’t know if I’m back. I don’t know where I am. I’m continuing almost all of the new habits, but I’m not tied to them.  I find I have very few judgments. I have a much deeper acceptance of people and myself. I’ve also noticed that the emotion of embarrassment is largely gone. I didn’t really notice it till now, but I used to walk around with this constant chatter in my head, wondering what people think of me, trying to take care of people and not upset anyone. Most of that is gone.


It’s been really nice to reconnect with people. They say I feel more a lot more authentic. And it amazes me how intrigued people are by the cleanse. It definitely gets a strong reaction (in one way or another). A friend of mine noticed a difference so great that he immediately started the cleanse and now I’m coaching him through it. He’s two weeks into it and loving it.


I highly recommend trying it. I’ll post the exact prescription in case anyone is interested in doing it. But even if you don’t, I want to leave you with a question.  How are you distracting yourself? What is it you’re doing now to avoid a feeling you don’t want to feel?  These things are the guards of the innermost cave. They seem benevolent because all they want to do is protect you from pain. They don’t believe you can handle it. They think you’ll die.


But I’m here to tell you, there’s gold in that cave behind the dragon… And God knows we don’t appreciate things that simply land in our lap.