This time of year, there is info everywhere on how to detoxify your body. Whatever toxin you want to remove, or part of your body you want to cleanse, there’s a smoothie for that! Now, I love smoothies, and I believe that physical detoxification is an essential health practice (especially by eliminating those toxins to begin with – for my full views you can read Organic Manifesto and Demand Organic!). But I also believe that the most toxic toxins start in our hearts. And for true health, healing, and happiness that’s where we need to start. (By the way, I am not a therapist or doctor, just someone who has personal experience in this area).
- Don’t numb it, FEEL it. This is the hardest and first step. How many different methods do we employ to avoid feeling what we really feel? Drugs and alcohol are the easiest ways to recognize the numbing effect. But we can also use food, TV, religion, sports, crafts, or just plain emotional repression. Yes, emotions can be truly painful, but it’s the pain of living, of personal growth, of healing. Let yourself feel what’s in your heart. Truly feel it. Find a safe place and let those feelings wash over you.
- Do the forensics and unpeel the layers. Often, what we first think we are upset about isn’t the true thing that is bothering us. Our emotions come in layers. The first layer might be anger. I AM ANGRY!!!!!! But when you peel away the layers, what might truly be driving that is loneliness, or fear, or hurt. This is where talking with a therapist can really help. Sometimes it really helps to have someone help us dig out from under all those layers we’ve covered our hearts in. As a parent, I often find that when a child is cranky or annoyed, taking time out to sit and talk with them and help them get to the original feeling can be transformative and enlightening for everyone.
- Ask the universe for guidance. Sometimes it can be really hard to get to the source of what is actually causing us pain or anger. When that happens, it helps to carve out some quiet time in nature and ask for help. The universe will often speak back through nature, through “synchronicity,” or through bringing you teachers, if you are open to it. Sometimes those teachers come in the form of a book, or a situation and suddenly you realize that yes, the universe DOES listen! That’s when detoxifying your heart starts to get fun, because it starts to feel like an adventure.
- Replace fear with love. Easier said than done, right? Wrong. It’s easy. Whenever you feel fear, question it and the situation. Ask yourself, what would love feel like in this situation instead of fear? The world is filled with threats and meanness and angry people…but imagine the pain they must be feeling, the hurt in their hearts! It won’t get any better by adding to it. The key here is trying to see the world from the other persons’ perspective. I think this gets easier as we age, since we now experience first hand things our parents might have felt, for example. It’s like exercise, the more you do it, the easier it gets. And just like exercise, YOU are the ultimate beneficiary.
- Let it out and let it go. This step requires action and the courage to act, but is key to the healing process. Once you have identified what is truly the toxin in your heart, the only way to get rid of it is to let it go. If there is something you need to say to someone. SAY IT. But say it with love. If there is something you need to do, a change you need to make, MAKE IT. But make it with love. If there is something you need to express, but don’t have the words, CREATE IT. But create it with love. Your job here is not to hurt someone else (although sometimes that happens), but to have them truly HEAR what you have to say. That doesn’t mean they will change. In fact, they most certainly won’t. But YOU WILL. You will feel better, lighter, happier, cleaner….DETOXIFIED!
- Forgive yourself. Things will never be perfect. You will never be perfect. Other people certainly will never be perfect (especially me!). We will never eliminate every toxin – and in fact, the toxins are there for a reason – just like all that bacteria in our bodies and world that seems bad and dirty but in actuality we can’t live without. Every mistake, every wrong action happened. You can’t change it. All you can do is apologize to the other person/people and apologize to yourself and vow to learn and grow from it. That’s living. That’s life! And it’s beautiful in all it’s imperfections, even ours.