Dear Cleanse Almost-Grads,

Well, here we are at day #6, who’s counting? So many concerns and discoveries have been occurring it may seem like you need a cleanse from your cleanse! Not to worry, this is the process. Your experience during this week (cleanse) is whatever it needs to be for where you are in your life at this very moment. Some of us deal with the “blocks” or gratis (Sanskrit for knots) early in the process and some of us hit the wall about now.

Consider what you are attempting to do. You have stayed in the flow of everyday life; all the speed, demands and external forces of nature and chosen to alter how you respond to that experience. You have set yourself a mighty task. My guess is that might be your nature, setting up mighty tasks for yourself and then working through those tasks, sometimes with grace. Sometimes without grace, then what? Judgment. Gosh, that does not sound useful. Here is another opportunity to turn your gaze inward and love yourself.
Love the fact you are in this wacky, kitchari-eating, maple-syrup-drinking, nostril-oiling thing! Love the fact you care enough about yourself to pause and oil your own body. Allow the critical voice to call, but instead of answering, let it go to voicemail. Why not? You know what it wants to say. It is well meaning but not needed at this time.

Change, my friends, is first about death. We have to let certain behaviors die so new ones can be reborn, same with thoughts. The ‘little deaths’ of activities and thoughts we used to have living with us hour-to-hour and day-by-day is tricky. Choosing to sit and meditate might be the death of going to the TV and being over stimulated, an activity that we might have enjoyed and so when we don’t engage we experience loss or death. Choosing to be aware of the things we are not doing for ourselves in the cleanse, the cheats, or perhaps even insight that this was not the time to cleanse, due to stress or our environment (family, job) not supporting us. That awareness is a death of the hope we had that the cleanse experience would be different. All these changes involve deaths, letting go of what was and an opportunity to except “what is”, with grace and without judgment. That is the trick!

Ishvara Pratiaharya is a wonderful meditation that I use when I am struggling with a ‘little death’ or change and grace has not made it to my door. Seating my beloved (God, the Divine, nature, ganesha) who or what inspires bliss, in my heart and meditating on their radiance offers me a way to undo that wall between myself and grace. It is a way back to loving myself as the divine loves me. Seeing myself through the eyes of God as a lovely soul who deserves kindness and gentleness. Then, I allow myself to receive that kindness and gentleness in my heart.

This is my hope for each of you. Allow yourself to be loved by the divine, fully without judgment or the shoulds.’ In fact, that is what this whole silly cleanse thing is about, clearing out the blocks, the knots in our minds and bodies so the fire/agni, the illumination of the divine flame and prana (life force) and love can circulate into our every cell, thought and action.

First allow yourself to feel the love you have for yourself, fill up the tank with your own shine. Then all will see and feel your radiance, your self love, it will inspire their lights to shine back. We say it everyday in yoga class. Namaste, this is what Namaste means. It is your great gift. It is the dharma of all our lives

“This little light of mine, I’m gonna let it shine, let it shine, let it shine, let it shine!”