Experience Life Magazine

Fun With Detox!

Pilar Gerasimo on how clearing things out — your diet, your home, your heart — can provide a fresh start.

Pilar Gerasimo

I love my coffee. It’s probably the first thing I think of upon waking, and it’s often the last thing I think about before drifting off to sleep (as in, “Ooh, do I have coffee and cream for tomorrow?”).

I revel in the aromatic delight of my home brew in the morning — and on many days, I also bask in the pleasure of a good latte in the afternoon. So yes, I love my coffee with an affection that borders on addiction. But I make a point of enjoying it in moderation, and every once in a while, I take a break from it entirely.

I do a little detox a few times a year, and every time I do, I’m glad I did. For one thing, I know it’s good for me to give my body a break from caffeine (and dairy, which for me is inseparable from coffee). For another thing, I often find a perverse pleasure in noticing that my life without these lovely indulgences is actually still pretty sweet.

While I’m detoxing my body, I often notice (as our intrepid staffer Heidi Wachter did during her detox experiment) that I get nudged to detox my heart and mind, too. Stuff comes up to be processed, and as it clears, I feel lighter, happier, more me.

Mid-detox, I tend to become more appreciative of all my blessings — and increasingly aware of any pesky toxicities and tolerations that have been lurking at the edges of my awareness.

Take, for example, the clutter that’s been building up in my office and hall closet. (For insight on the meaning and impact of excess stuff, see “The Emotional Toll of Clutter.“) Or the conflict that’s been brewing with a colleague. (For Byron Katie’s help with doing “The Work” on such challenges, see “Loving What Is.”) Or the crazy-making little thought cycles that keep hijacking my consciousness and focus from things that matter more. (Find counsel on dealing with “Monkey Mind.”)

It’s almost as though my heart and brain say to my body, “Hey, as long as you’re taking out the trash, how about taking a few of these extra bags along with you?”

I think that — because I typically experience a significant increase in physical energy and mental focus as the result of detoxing — I am inclined to accommodate such requests.

During one such detox last spring, I dove into my overpacked file cabinet and wound up pulling approximately two horizontal feet of dusty, no-longer-relevant stuff out of its drawers.

Thanks to the reclaimed space, filing became easy once again, and — ta da! — my resistance to filing vanished. (Need some organizational inspiration? See “Getting Things Done: ‘Organize,’” the third in our five-part series with “Getting Things Done” expert David Allen.)

During a liver-cleanse program I did a few years back (you can get the basics in “Fast Track Liver Detox” at ELmag.com/liverdetox), I had so much energy I could barely contain myself. I wound up turning a cluttered spare bedroom into a “serenity room”—moving large pieces of furniture all by myself and happily blasting Earth, Wind & Fire oldies loud enough that my brave and faithful pit bull, Frida, quietly retreated to the lower level of the house.

I am not saying that every aspect of detoxing feels fabulous. I’ve certainly experienced my share of caffeine-withdrawl headaches, cravings, low-energy doldrums and periods of
peevishness. And on one occasion, God help me, I endured the agony of regretfully turning down one of my mom’s homemade spelt caramel rolls.

But I’m over that now. In fact, I’m thinking it might be time to gear up for another detox experience. I’ve been hitting the coffee a little harder than I  oughta be, I guess. My file drawers are starting to feel a little over-packed. And I’m getting that spring-cleaning urge.

Plus, I just talked my niece and longtime fitness buddy, Xanthi, into doing the Minneapolis Esprit de She 5K with me (www.espritdeshe.com). Given that I haven’t been running at all lately, and she’s been doing hardcore training for rugby the past four years, I’m going to need the extra burst of energy and enthusiasm just to keep up with her. (Read our story at ELmag.com/fitnessbuddies.)

Whatever inspires you to take good care of yourself this spring, I hope you’ll find a few ideas in this issue to get you started — and that you’ll commit to having some serious fun in the process.

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Pilar Gerasimo is the editor in chief of Experience LIfe magazine.

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