At several points in my life, I’ve told myself a damaging lie: “As soon as I can be purified, cleared, cleansed of this or that thought, emotion, experience, or meal, I’ll be fine.” I’ve missed so many day-to-day riches in the name of that impending “purer” or “cleaner” moment.
For years I was destroying myself in the name of “purification,” doing cleanses and fasts with a misaligned attitude – in order to get rid of some supposedly toxic aspect of myself. I see now that it was a deleterious process of shaming myself that didn’t “purify” at all. And although I still cleanse a few times a year, I’m now hosting a quality of investigation throughout the process of cleansing now. It’s not about becoming more pure; it’s simply about paying more attention. And when I pay attention, I can tell the truth – to myself or anyone else – in any moment. And when I tell the truth, that’s purity.
I’ve learned from my teacher Dr. Douglas Brooks that this entire life is a “process of deepening engagement, appreciation and participation,” and I’m sensing that purity has everything to do with my level of engagement, gratitude and authentic participation in my daily life. If something is hard to say, I want to find the courage to say it. That’s purity. If something seems lacking, I want to remember the utter sufficiency of my life as it is, and set the example of that state of sufficiency to my child, my parents, my beloved, and my students. That’s purity.
I’ve destroyed myself in other ways; with addictions and reactions. Because I’m vain enough, I’ve ceased most of those destructive habits. And finally I’ve reached a point when I refuse to endlessly punish myself for those past choices, and will no longer try to purge them from my past. As Byron Katie says, self-destruction is an ancient religion. She adds a ringing high note to ensure that we all stay present, “I’m a woman without a future. So there are no surprises. It all just IS what it is.”
This teaches me the most pivotal lesson of all: what I make of each moment is my choice.
I’m already pure when I ask, rather than worry, about something confusing or awkward. The asking is a part of the engagement with the truth, and that too is purity.
Practice: 5 minutes with purity
Sit still, give your heart and your organs the gift of your breathing. Observe your most pressing, current worry, for just 2 minutes. When I do this sitting, I ask what direction this worry takes: is it a projection into the past, or reaching into the future? Because I’m simply sitting, and every time I investigate that question, I realize that none of those projections are actually happening. Once that seems clear, spend the ensuing 3 minutes savoring the fullness of your breathing, in and around your heart… and any connectedness that arises within yourself, or to others, as you sit. Both the expansion and potential connection are healing for your whole body, and when you observe openly, that observation is a path to purity.
Rather than worry about what’s been done or what’s to come, I want to observe, and investigate more. That’s when I feel connected to my heart, when I feel at ease speaking and living the truth, even in the most personal and emotional moments. That’s purity.
CLEANSES IN NYC:
With a very stable, holistic approach, we can all benefit deeply from a few cleanses a year, when we give our digestive system a breather and invite only the finest nutrients to shower our cells with hydration and nourishment. Be sure to ask for support from the purveyors; each cleanse listed here offers personal support as needed.
On the other hand, meant for folks who have never cleansed and want to “wake up,” start to heal an illness or support the body anew: my 2 favorite detox cleanses. Clean and Total Renewal both include one meal a day, along with supercharged, accessible protein powders and well-wrought supplements.