Hello, beautiful reader. Welcome to a short story in life lessons, as learned by me - Kijana.
A few weeks ago, my spirit siblings and I got together to meditate for the full moon. We met in Sila's goddess lair, and invited our inner children to join us so we could shower them with loving affirmations. Our energy was playful, but purposeful. As we set our intentions for the cycle ahead, we all agreed to love ourselves unconditionally.
It's a commitment I've made to myself many times before - but this time, witnessed by two beings I truly love unconditionally, it felt different. It felt like I was no longer allowed to lie to myself. I couldn't deny the responsibility that came with awareness.
I had to admit to myself then, and I'll admit to you now, I have not been loving myself. It's something I'm slowly waking up to, but when I really look back, this has been a fairly consistent behavior throughout most of my life. In my teenage years, I struggled with my weight because of a disgusting diet and inconsistent physical activity. (I mean, there were some emotional traumas, but we can save those for a different day.) I only worked out or ate healthy when I “needed” to lose weight, and for that reason, my weight would fluctuate a lot - going from one extreme to another in the unhealthiest way.
This habit continued in college, only magnified with the addition of drugs and alcohol. I could've caught the hint when I woke up in a hospital bed with a tube down my throat during my freshman year after overdrinking, but that would've been far too simple. Instead I kept drinking and overeating, until I had reached 180 pounds by the end of sophomore year. I hated visiting my mom's house, because she would just tell me to get my life together (lol, if you know my mom....), and I honestly couldn't face the reality.
I actually stopped drinking for three months, hit the gym, and the aderall, hard, and lost almost fifty pounds by the end of the summer. It was not healthy, but it felt good to look good. Anyone who is or has been overweight knows that you are treated completely different by society as a bigger person, and as a 21 year old, being able to share clothes with my roommates for the first time felt like the most amazing thing. Sadly, this is one of the first times I ever felt beautiful. Mostly, I felt seen.
Of course, it couldn't last. Fast forward four years to the calm of a toxic-relationship storm, and I was back up in weight and miserable. My mental health was suffering, my drinking had taken a turn for the actual ugly. I felt stuck in my job. I couldn't recognize myself. Shit, I didn't even know WHO I was, in order to be able to recognize myself.
I won't hit you with the whole "yoga saved my life" story, but, my mat was the only place where I was hearing the voice inside my head. The realness. And she wasn't happy. Hardly impressed with what I had created for myself. "You know better," she told me. I knew what I had to do. Break this version of myself apart to put my real self back together.
Fast forward to our full moon meditation. In the time since then, I've shed quite a few dead relationships and toxic habits. I don't drink anymore. I'm vegan. I meditate. I exercise. It's leaps and bounds from where I was - but it doesn't mean I'm loving myself.
It's so easy to hide behind labels. We use pretty pictures and fun captions on social media to make every day seem light and breezy. But life is far from that. It's heavy and its REAL. My real is that for the past eighteen months I've been eating like shit, if I eat at all. I push my body to the dumbest limits, and when I choose to "nourish" it, it's usually on a late night binge tip. This causes me to wake up in agonizing pain from acid reflux every morning, and it usually lasts about four to six hours. No alcohol, but I load up on coffee and weed to push through emotional rollercoasters, and I push off my meditations and yoga practice in the name of "work." I KNOW BETTER - and because I know better, I tell myself that I'll do better ... eventually.
But after our full moon meditation, "eventually" became now. It was so different this time, and I'm so grateful for this new awakening.
While we set our intentions, Sila shared her struggles, which are different from mine, but we both wake up every day in agonizing pain. It’s something we’ve talked about for a long time, in fact, but I think we both chalked it up to just something we deal with. But now, all of a sudden and in the presence of our inner children, we were both setting our intention on healing this pain we’ve been dealing with. We didn’t want to be in pain anymore.
When we reconnected the next day, Sila, in the most loving way, called us out. She pointed out that we needed to help each other through this pain; between the two of us, we know we have the tools. We decided to do a three day alkaline smoothie & juice cleanse. We juiced fresh and meditated together each day of our cleanse. We brought our intention into every aspect of our day, and cherished every sip. We drank ginger teas each morning, and at night before bed. We checked in constantly with one another. Each day we reported less pain in the morning. By the fourth day, I had no acid and no hunger pains when I woke up. In fact, I slept an hour later than I usually do, because I normally wake up from the pain each morning.
On the third night, we broke cleanse with a broth. On the fourth day, we came together for a hot yoga class, to sweat out those lingering toxins. I will say that on the second night, I really struggled. I wanted french fries SO BADLY. And it would’ve been so easy to just get them. I wouldn’t even have to tell Sila. But all I could think about was our inner children, looking up at me, begging me to love myself through this pain, so that I could eventually be without it. That's a different type of accountability.
So, the lessons I’ve taken away from this cleanse:
1. To love yourself is not to buy yourself nice things or eat ice cream after a bad day. Those things, and others, can be used to assist in self love, but they cannot be the foundation. You can’t trick your heart, you can’t half-ass your love, and the last person you should be cheating is YOU. Consciously and subconsciously, we inflict pain on ourselves through bad habits. We tell ourselves that things are okay when we know they aren’t, sometimes we deny that things are happening, simply because no one else is there to bear witness. This cannot persist. We must love ourselves individually, so that we can collectively be better. The messages you are repeating in your head and the food you are putting in your body matter. So damn much. One major breakthrough I had on this cleanse was realizing that I couldn’t put food in my body subconsciously anymore. I often eat on the go, or binge eat to fill a never ending hunger “pain.” And it comes back to haunt me. My body doesn’t want trash, or to be stuffed with food to shut up the messages that it’s sending me. It wants love. Conscious love, I learned.
2. Truth is love. Being honest with yourself and others is the greatest gift you can offer us. It doesn’t help if you're pretending that everything is good, when there’s a tempest brewing inside of you. Bring your shadow to the light. Deal with it on the main stage. Your shadow does not own you - but you do have to actively take the control. Otherwise it will manipulate you. I realized that my throat and solar plexus chakras have been at war with each other. My solar plexus, goddess of truth and intuition, has been on FIRE, probably since the day I was born. My intuition is very strong (this isn’t something I’m just bragging about, this is evidenced in my birth chart), and I have some important messages to share. But my throat chakra has been blocked for awhile now, and I’ve not been speaking my truth in full. This is contributing to the acidic army that runs through my esophagus on the daily. (Currently working on eliminating that army, with green juice bombs. It’s a process.)
3. Intention is something we are born with. Yours is deeply ingrained within you, and if you fight against it, you are killing yourself from the inside, out. Many of us are asleep. I was for a long time, and I was also low-key trying to kill myself with alcohol, bad relationships, and bad food. When I stopped denying my inner-self, everything changed. And I’m still waking up, little by little.
4. Being vulnerable does not mean you’re weak. I didn’t want to admit that I wasn’t taking proper care of myself, because I thought that would make me look weak. I’m used to taking care of people, and I didn’t want anyone to feel like they needed to take care of me. Well, guess what? I NEED LOVE, TOO! At times, I need to be taken care of, loved, hugged, sometimes held while I cry. I’m super sensitive, and that’s okay. I feel everything and I choose to feel, and not numb myself. If you try to numb out the bad, you will inevitably numb out the good. You can’t pick and choose. It’s all or nothing.
5. I need to drink a green juice every day. I’m not going to front, I love me some french fries. And that’s okay, sometimes. But mostly, I need to focus on giving my body real food, mostly alkaline based. I need to cook for myself, This is such an important part of my healing and self-love - taking the time to do that for me. I deserve the best foods, and it’s hard to get healthful food if you eat out constantly. And, by the way, you deserve the best foods, too.
I want to end with this: In the past, people have come to me for juice cleanses and other detox teas and tonics. While I will still facilitate those for you, it will no longer be me sending you on your way with a bunch of juices and detox shots. If you want to order a cleanse from me, you have to be able to commit to yourself. You have to be able to make time for a daily meditation practice, a hot yoga class or sauna session, and a long term nutrition and lifestyle plan. No more basic shit. We’re leveling up across the board, and I’m so ready to continue on this journey with you all, in love and in light.