Detox Isn't Just for Diets
For the majority of my 31 years in this body, I’ve been generally dissatisfied with something - whether it be my looks, how I feel in my body (awkward, stressed, and not at home), my relationships, my job - you name it, I’ve probably been unhappy about it at some point. And for a long time, I thought something was wrong with me because I just wasn’t fully satisfied, even when from an outsider’s perspective I had it going on. I felt like I didn’t have a right to feel how I was feeling because I “should” (dangerous word) be grateful and happy for the way my life was unfolding, but nevertheless, I was feeling stuck in the muck.
Lately, I’m beginning to see how my occasional pessimism and lack of life satisfaction is connected to the trauma I’ve endured over my lifetime, the wiring of my brain as a result, and even my biology. I used to write off my discomfort and bad feelings because I didn’t feel entitled to be in that headspace and would try to just “get over it” by pushing it out of my head. And while it’s true that there are so many people suffering way, way worse than I am it doesn’t disqualify my pain as real.
I used to trick myself into thinking that because I was a healer I was doing all the work I could to heal myself. After going through a few really rough months and finally seeking help from a therapist for the first time I discovered the underlying truth - I was using personal development as a way to bypass actually feeling my emotions, which is what was keeping me stuck.
I remember being in a period of transition last year and working with a mindset coach who flat-out called me out on this by saying something along the lines of “you have a lot of feelings, and you’re not allowing yourself to feel any of them.” My way of trying to get through the pain and discomfort was by intellectualizing my way out of it or numbing myself out with busyness, social media, and sometimes alcohol.
If this sounds familiar, know that you are not alone and there is nothing wrong with you.
One thing I have learned along my journey in healing myself is that the mind and body are so intertwined, and often when there’s an issue with one there’s an issue with the other - and they’re likely related. I don’t believe that we can just “fix” an issue in one area without diving a little bit deeper, because whatever the challenge is will likely resurface if it’s not fully processed. Unprocessed and unrealized emotions will take up residence in your physical body and stay there until you make the time and space to work through them.
Think of it this way. What would happen if you were to simply snip the tops of the weeds in your flower bed so that you could no longer see them above the ground? Their root system would continue to grow, and new weeds would sprout at the surface unless you pulled them out by their roots.
If we truly want to heal, we have to lean into the discomfort of having all of those old, painful, and sometimes scary roots come up so that we can excavate them from our souls. (This is often best done under the guidance of professionals you trust, such as a therapist, counselor, acupuncturist, energy worker, etc. depending on what you’re working through and what kind of external support you need.)
Knowing this, it's easier to see that the root cause of much of our physical disease and dis-ease is highly connected with what’s going on for us mentally, emotionally, and energetically. If you’re doing “all the right things” to deal with a physical problem but still aren’t experiencing relief, I’d highly suggest digging deeper (no pun intended) so that you can heal and transform your pain and work towards making peace with the parts of yourself that need a little TLC.
A few months ago I attended a workshop at the beautiful Hawthorn Farm Retreat Center in Medfield, MA where I met my dear friend Erin Holt. After the event, we stayed connected online and have become fast friends because we’re such kindred spirits. We dove right into the deep, dark waters of what we were dealing with and I really cherish the meaningful conversations I’ve been able to have with her because I know there’s zero judgement on either side. And we make each other laugh a lot, which is so good for our health.
Erin is a functional nutritionist, an advocate for safe beauty, a fellow mama and businesswoman, a yoga teacher, and an overall amazing human being. She’s also a huge science nerd and researcher like me, so that makes me love her just that much more. Erin knows her shit when it comes to this mind-body business, and when I read this paragraph in her most recent newsletter it made me see how damaging not dealing with our emotions really can be.
“Unprocessed emotions play out physically in the body as chronic pain, chronic fatigue, IBS, autoimmunity, fibromyalgia, cancer, diabetes, etc… As Dr. Gabor Mate explains at length in his book ‘When the Body Says No,’ unmetabolized emotion is a toxin that creates disorder in the body.”
This spoke to me immensely because I’ve experienced this first hand throughout my life. For a long time during and after college, I suffered from excruciating stomach pain and gastrointestinal issues that were eventually diagnosed as IBS. I tried medications, nutrition and diet modifications, exercise, and basically whatever other physical changes that were suggested to me to alleviate this dis-ease in my body.
However, it wasn’t until I began dealing with things like my stress level, expressing my emotions and needs, and accepting help that my IBS symptoms because less prominent and now it all makes total sense to me. I needed a more holistic approach to healing, which included working through my unmetabolized emotions.
In just over a week Erin is leading a mini-retreat all about Deep Detox back at Hawthorn Farm where we first met (the space is soooo beautiful), and you better believe I’ll be in attendance. In her workshop, she’ll be guiding attendees through lecture and practice, encouraging you to examine, release and detox from cultural programming, limiting beliefs and trapped emotions that keep you from creating the change that you want.
I'm not any sort of affiliate for this workshop, but I believe in this woman and her work so much that I couldn't keep it to myself. If you’re interested in this topic, know you have work to do, and are able to get yourself to Medfield, MA on Saturday, April 21st for a few glorious hours of deep detox, check out the link below to learn more and buy your ticket. I hope to see you there!