Recently I was lucky enough to attend the Embracing Life! Detox Retreat in Ubud, Bali. The retreat was amazing! A life changing experience that I feel so grateful to have been a part of. One part that made it so special was that my partner came with me, and we were able to share the experience together.
I am sure some of you are cringing. Spending a week of your precious holidays with toxins pouring out of your body (sometimes literally), and your significant other, but I can thoroughly recommend it!
Now as an experimental naturopath I have done detoxes! I’ve done smoothie fasts, anti-candida diets, low reactive eating programs, liver herbs, parasite cleanses, kidney flushes and coffee enemas! All while working full time and continuing to have a semi-normal life (as normal as absolutely liquefying my guts with magnesium oxide and spending a good portion of each day hanging out in the bathroom can be). I thought I knew what to expect. I knew I’d probably feel tired, maybe get break outs, sometimes a head ache, and occasionally get a bit cranky, but what I didn’t expect was the full on emotional detox I went through. I’d like to share my experience with everyone so you may understand a little better than I did, should the same thing happen to you.
Before we started the retreat, we decided to have a weeks holiday in Bali and indulge ourselves in holiday mode! For me that included eating all the foods I know I shouldn’t, such as wheat, dairy and eggs, as well as drinking coffee, alcohol, and having more than my fair share of sugar! At the same time, in preparation for the retreat, we also started taking a liver detox supplement. Oh the error of my ways!!!
Within a few days I had become an angry little ball of stress. My head would not shut up! Not even a $12, three hour long Bali massage could turn off the crazy noise that was going round and round inside my head! And the main source of noise was aimed at my partner. He left his towel on the floor this morning, he was too slow getting ready to go out, he left the top off a water bottle overnight and a million other ridiculous insignificance’s. All these came together in my head and before I knew it I was lying on the massage table, unable to relax, wondering if this really was the relationship for me.
At the time I couldn’t get out of my head enough to logically assess what was going on for me. In hindsight it was a combination of crappy food (I know I can’t live on carbs and sugar only!) and too much liver stimulation, at a very inappropriate time! Note to everyone, DO NOT take liver detox tablets if you are still going to be re-toxing your body at the same time. These things DO NOT cancel each other out!
By the time we arrived at the retreat I was dying for fresh fruit and vegetables and actually craving the start of our 5 day juice fast! Once I took the excess toxins out of my diet and stopped over stimulating my liver, my mind slowly started to calm down. But for me, it was a combination of the fantastic activities included in the retreat that really helped me understand what was going on.
A guest speaker, Daniel Aaron took us through a transformational breathing session which was aimed at focusing on belly breathing; fully relaxed, easy breathing. From this session, I realised I was not belly breathing in my every day life. I was breathing only with the top portion of my lungs, as well as holding my breath to ‘relax’, a very common occurrence Daniel related to stress.
An interesting colonic therapist, Suki, pointed out to me that I hold much of my stress and tension in the area of my stomach. Metaphysically, this indicates I am “holding on” to emotions from my past. This also further explained to me why I was having so much trouble belly breathing and having successful, cleansing colonics.
Another guest speaker Jeremiah Abrams spoke of love, and through his lecture I was able to identify that the ‘toxic’ relationships of my past and their emotional hurts are still remembered in my body. This explained to me why I was having so many “run away, run away!!!” thoughts. He explained how it is important to see and accept your partner for who they really are, not who you want them to be, and it is at this point where you choose to run away due to fear, or stay and commit.
And finally, Leisa did a fantastic talk called “The Emotional Aspects of Healing” where she described how the emotional and physical body cannot be separated, and emotions ‘live’ in our physical body long after the actual emotional event may have past. From this I understood that anything I do to my physical body also affects my emotional body, and vice versa. Physically detoxing for me was also about stirring up old emotional hurts and fears, and having the opportunity to identify them and begin to deal with them instead of suppressing these emotions as I may have done originally.
My beautiful, patient partner and I were able to agree that after this retreat we were closer as a couple (and that wasn’t only just from sharing a bathroom through a bout of Bali belly!). For myself it has highlighted the importance of doing some further emotional detoxing. I know what I need to work on, and I know why I need to work on it. It has also shown me that you never know what form of detoxing you may go through. I didn’t suffer too badly from any physical symptoms, but it was my emotions that really got stirred up!
Emotional detoxing is important. As Leisa pointed out in her talk, emotions and the physical body are linked, and focusing on one will inevitable lead to your focusing on the other, whether you intended to or not. Cleaning up our emotional body is just as vital as having a clean physical body, and I can tell you, it is just as satisfying! This is what I found to be so special about the Embracing Life! 6 & 8 Day Detox Healing and Raw Food Retreats. A beautiful space was provided to encourage and allow my physical and emotional detoxification, as well as to demonstrate areas of my life I can continue working on at home! And I’ve got to say my partner is thrilled to have his smiling, happy, relaxed girl back again!