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the master cleanse: retrospective

September 29, 2010

With the GRE in less than 2 weeks, my first round of Grad School applications due in a little over 2 months, working longer hours, and a professional quality painting to create every week until my art show opens, I have BARELY had the time and energy to keep up my healthy lifestyle, not to mention blog about it.

So I have decided to take this opportunity to post something I wrote before I began blogging.  A year ago I did the Master Cleanse, a natural colon cleansing fast involving only consuming water, lemon juice, maple syrup and cayenne pepper for 7-10+ days straight.  In a way it is extreme, which I don’t like, but I still believe it was worth it to have the experience.

The Master Cleanse was one of the things that really taught me about listening to my body because, for some reason, without food in the system my body’s voice became clearer.  It showed me how to view food as medicine rather than simply recreation, and when I started eating again I learned what it means to be fully present and connected while eating.

It is good for me to remind myself now and then of the lessons I learned from the Cleanse.  And now I’d like to share my experience with you:

A Cleansing Experience!

I have finished a week of the master cleanse and now I am easing back into “normal” life. Sam and I did the Cleanse together, which was both wonderful and challenging, but I want to talk about my own personal experience with the cleanse.
In case you’re not familiar with it, the Master Cleanse is a kind of fast, typically 10 days long, in which all you consume is organic lemon juice, cayenne pepper, maple syrup (as pure as possible), and water. The idea is that we have toxic matter stored in our bodies from our less than perfectly healthy modern lifestyles, and this is a method of flushing it out. It has also become a weight loss fad, as rapid weight loss is one of the effects. I like to think I did it for the most wholesome of reasons, but I’m sure it’s a combination of many things. I spent over a month researching the cleanse and contemplating it before deciding to do it, and I believe this was a very important part of the process.
Sam and others have fairly recently introduced me to the idea that we store memories and emotions in our bodies. It doesn’t seem like a coincidence that I store everything I take in, both physically and emotionally. I’m an absorber, so much so that I get flooded/overwhelmed. This is why I’m in this transformation process; it summarizes the challenges I have with my body as I try to make it as healthy as possible. I’m starting to see how everything is connected, starting with the various elements of self.

Speaking of connection, one of the most awesome things that happened during the cleanse was that I was intensely drawn to sunlight. As soon as the sun touched my skin each day, I knew I needed it. I had to be in it. Before doing the cleanse I imagined that I would spend a lot of time in the sun. I didn’t think much about why I imagined that at the time; it’s just what I pictured. This image certainly turned out to be true. I needed the sun’s energy. I bathed in it in the fullest sense. I did a lot of thinking and feeling and being in the sun last week. It’s funny cuz just a few weeks ago I was thinking about the mind blowing reality that we receive oxygen from trees and vitamin D from the sun. It’s such a basic concept scientifically; we are taught at such a young age how to label this phenomenon in scientific terms that we often fail to fully realize how incredible it is! We are so undeniably connected with the universe that we absorb life-giving energy from celestial bodies millions of miles away! I think it’s cool :0)

But this cleansing experience wasn’t all connection and sunbathing. Because we store emotions and memories in the body, it makes sense that other things are released besides toxins. The first few days of the cleanse were surprisingly normal. I had a terrible headache for one night (possibly caffeine withdrawal), but other than that I only noticed little things: powerful cravings, slight irritability, dizziness, lack of focus (and yet slightly increased productivity at work because I wasn’t over thinking things… interesting), a heightened sense of smell and touch. Later I noticed an increase in my creativity and a dramatic difference in my ability to hear my body’s communication with me. I also noticed that I could let things roll off my back easier throughout the day without them getting stuck inside of me. Then one day I had a more intense experience: in the morning, I received an email from my dad with some sad news about a family friend of ours. I started crying, more than I thought I normally would have. I ended up lying in the sun and leaked tears for what felt like hours, pulling up various childhood memories and experiences, grieving them one by one. I made some new connections between my past self and my present self. I held and then released things I’ve been pushing down and holding onto. It actually felt really good.

I also lost 10 lbs. throughout the week. Every time I lose weight extremely quickly, I end up getting violently ill at some point in time. I have always interpreted this as two things: 1) acknowledgment/embodiment/sign that I am a sensitive person, & with all of the toxins etc. being released, I simply get flooded; 2) A reminder to live in balance and not go to extremes (which sometimes makes me frustrated/angry because my body IS extreme in it’s desire to hold on to everything). Going into the Master Cleanse, I was confident that I could handle any emotions that arose (and many did!), but I also knew that the one thing that could keep me from completing the full 10 days was if I got throw-up-sick. This is what ended up eventually happening.

While I was sick I found myself pleading with myself/god/the universe, saying I was sorry for living out of balance. On the other hand, I also remember knowing that I was only sick because I was in the process of getting rid of stuff that I needed to get rid of. This is why, even though it might sound crazy, I almost kept going. In the face of two conflicting truths, I decided to default to the promise I had made to my mom before starting the cleanse: if I got sick, I would stop.

Stopping the cleanse is a gradual process and comes with its own set of challenges, physically and emotionally. So I still feel as though I’m doing the cleanse, even though technically I’m not. I will be back to “normal” by the end of the work week, but this experience has changed the way I look at things and therefore will change my lifestyle.

The main thing that I’ve learned in an experiential way (rather than just knowing cognitively like before) is how much every single thing we eat/drink impacts us. The first time you intake something besides the lemon juice mixture after doing the cleanse, you feel it coursing through your veins and you can feel the food’s energy emanating from your body. Of course that effect fades as your body readjusts, but what a powerful experience! The functional/concrete extension of this experience is that I will no longer be able to turn a blind eye to anything I intake. I want to know what I’m putting into my body. I’m a bit horrified now at the reality of food in America: pesticides, hormones, preservatives, chemicals, and ingredients so processed they don’t really even qualify as food. If a spoonful of organic ginger carrot soup can explode through my body, imagine what all of the chemicals do! Yikes. I never thought I’d become so overly aware of what I eat in this way, but I’m actually glad.

After the cleanse, I have new-found motivation to continue losing weight and letting things go. I’m also actually quite excited to get back to the gym! I want to feel strong and comfortable in my body. I’m on my way.

Stopping the cleanse a few days early sucks. It hurts my ego and taints any sense of pride I have for doing what I did. Then again, that’s mostly just the perfectionist in me. I’m so glad I did a week of the cleanse, and I’m actually planning on doing it again a few months down the road now that I know what to expect. I think there’s still toxic stuff in there that needs cleansing… plus I will welcome the opportunity to be reminded of all that I’ve learned.

If you are at all interested in doing the cleanse yourself or have any questions or feedback, you are always welcome to contact me 🙂

(originally posted as a Facebook Note)
by Diana Rosinus on Sunday, September 20, 2009 at 2:33pm

image courtesy of http://www.google.com/imgres?imgurl=http://www.buybowtrol.org/wp-content/uploads/2010/01/TheMasterCleanseSecretsReview.jpg&imgrefurl=http://www.buybowtrol.org/more-reviews/the-master-cleanse-secrets-review/&usg=__IRBaE6Q8QiQl81IRRtlmG7SX964=&h=300&w=272&sz=48&hl=en&start=13&sig2=FNxqN8zz26HLh20wFcGc5g&zoom=1&tbnid=uD02lZMInMyAbM:&tbnh=116&tbnw=105&ei=j4KjTLrcLomksQPc3Kj6Bg&prev=/images%3Fq%3Dmaster%2Bcleanse%26um%3D1%26hl%3Den%26client%3Dfirefox-a%26sa%3DN%26rlz%3D1R1GGIC_en___US357%26biw%3D1212%26bih%3D776%26tbs%3Disch:10%2C206&um=1&itbs=1&biw=1212&bih=776

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