Dear Cleanse Almost-Grads,

I want to share with you why certain practices, like cleansing, bring up fear. Yep, my F word! This is important to talk about because your mind might be unhappy at the moment with so many adjustments in your eating and drinking. The everyday rhythm has been ‘messed with’ and the mind ain’t too keen on this type of behavior. So, fear is often a loud voice that lands with both feet on the deck of your mind and tries to regain control over the ship.

Pema Chodron, in her book When Things Fall Apart writes about fear saying:

“Fear is a natural reaction to moving closer to the truth.”

She goes on to say that going on a…

“Spiritual journey is like getting into a small boat and plopping into the vast ocean looking for unknown lands. For all we know, when we get to the horizon, we are going to drop off the edge of the world.”

Spiritual journeys require dedicted practice and a great deal of courage to push off from the known world in search for what lies deeper, in the vast waters of the unknown. This “unknown” is often what we have forgotten about in our internal world. That relm sometimes gets forgotten and lost amidst the speed of the internet or the multiple roles we play in a given day: mother, daughter, partner, teacher, healer, taxpayer, yoga student…

Kathryn Templeton’s BIG Spring Cleanse

What the heck does this have to do with our cleanse? Well, remember when we talked about letting go of old habits and the need to offer up something to put into their place? The space between letting go of the old behavior and beginning the new one is often where fear sneaks onto your ship and takes over. The idea of meditation is not to avoid the fear, but rather to become intimate with fear. When people are considered brave we think they have no fear and it is not so. They may be a ‘coward’ yet they are intimate with fear and have the courage to do the thing they fear anyway. Keeping our feet on the deck, having the courage to be with fear is the trick; not check out, avoid the fear or distract our minds with foods, alcohol, buying something…whatever the technique, as this keeps fear in charge and we cheat ourselves out of the present moment.

This is one reason the ‘sweet’ taste is so important in the ayurvedic diet. When the body feels loved, tastes love—it thrives. The sweet taste provides that signal to the mind and the ‘intelligence’ of each cell. When the intelligence remembers it is loved it thrives, it cozies up to fear as simply part of life without attachment to the natural impulse to dissociate or ‘freak out’, rather the intelligence knows it is all going to be okay, it will pass, and finds courage to be in that moment standing on the deck of the mind with fear by its side singing a pirate song.

yo ho, yo ho, a yogi life for me 🙂