May 12, 2019

On cleansing…

By In HealthAndWellness, Mindset

If it’s not helping you grow, it’s gotta go.

When I hear the word cleanse my immediate thought is of three days of consuming nothing but blended celery or sipping cabbage soup while simultaneously plugging my nose. I’ve never been good at these things because chewing actual food matters too much to me. 

Really though, cleansing is just a fancy word for cleaning. Which the dictionary defines as, “freeing from dirt, unsoiling, unstaining.” When we were moving last fall I can’t even tell you how freeing it was to declutter. We sold some things, donated what we could, and the rest went in the trash. Cleaning, cleansing, whatever you want to call it, not only cleared the physical space, but also allowed the release of emotional and mental space that was being held for certain things in the home I had with my ex-husband. 

Fast forward and here we are, it’s spring and Mel Robbins launched a new free program about spring cleaning your life. Since I put the work in with our move to cleanse my physical environment, that’s done, but mental and emotional cleansing are at the top of my priority list. Mel started her program with a friend cleanse, which I’ve unknowingly already done. Surrounding myself with the best people possible has changed my life and I highly suggest cleaning up any friends that make your life feel messy. 

But boy oh boy does my mental space need a hardcore, blended celery, release the filth, disinfect like Ebola hit the house, cleanse. I’ve spent the last several months with some uncertainly in my life and the lack of control has given me the excuse to use words I had previously taken out of my vocabulary. Slowly I’ve become overwhelmed and frustrated again and those words have been on repeat. I have been lax on making healthy choices, I have been talking to myself like I’m garbage, and the positivity I work so hard to maintain is running on empty. 

I’ve had enough of the mess now though and it’s time to pick up. Thanks Mel for the kick start. So where to begin? Well, my nightly practice of falling asleep while listing things I am grateful for has been AWOL so that’s being reinstated immediately. Because the situation in my life that created this mess lingers I am also going to need to put gratitude on repeat throughout my day. Training my brain to replace every negative thought with a positive one is one tool I’ve used in the past. It takes some practice but it works and doesn’t take long to become automatic. 

One thing that helps with that habit is being more intentional and mindful throughout the day. When you are present it’s easier to stop those thoughts in their tracks. If you are distracted they tend to take over and snowball. Find a keyword or mantra to use throughout the day to stop you when you feel life’s crazy take over. When you feel the frustration or overwhelm maybe you simply say, “I choose,” or “be present,” or whatever you find suits you. Use words to anchor you and sweep the clutter away.

These little mindset tricks have been my guides in the past but I know I need to clean deeper. You know those spaces in your home like the attic or a basement storage area that become the cemetery for everything you don’t use any longer but can’t bear to throw away? Kids toys, old furniture, totes of jeans that might fit again someday, you know the drill. You may need something there occasionally but you hate dragging it out because you have to move things and crawl strategically around random piles of what’s essentially trash. Yet you keep it all on the slight chance it could be of value again someday.  

I have an attic in my brain like this. I’ve stashed judgements, blame, lies I tell myself, and incomplete shitty memories there. To get to this part of my brain I must get past other garbage like low self-worth, resentment, and guilt stacked to the ceiling. I am so uncomfortable with this space that I’ve avoided the mess there except to try and spruce it up with fake smiles and a giant curtain of avoidance. So naturally when life feels uncertain somehow that curtain is blown wide open and the chaos behind it tumbles out in heaps. 

These stains, the dirt, that’s hiding there represents the most important part of my cleanse. Because the rubbish in those deep wrinkles of my brain is directed at me – the me that I used to be, the worst parts of me, my biggest failures, my weakest moments, my shame. The BS that’s not helping me grow. This is where I need to pull up my sleeves and put my hair in a messy bun. This is where the bleach and the magic erasers come out. I’m not sure where to start. It feels like wreckage in there. But it’s gotta go and bit by bit it will. There’s no stopping a woman on a mission to spring clean! 

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