1 Detox That Actually Works

I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but detox diet cleanses do not work. When healthy, our bodies already naturally detox themselves. I will tell you about a way to aid the detoxification that our bodies already do…

Lemme begin by bringing up the lymphatic system, a system that plays a vital role in the immune system. 

The lymphatic system includes about 600-700 lymph nodes, which are essentially checkpoints throughout our bodies filtering out unwanted microorganisms. Lymph fluid is pumped through the lymph vessels. The lymph fluid gets filtered through the lymph nodes.

However, the lymph fluid doesn’t have access to a pump the way the blood has with the heart.

In fact, lymph fluid is pumped through the body via muscle contraction. Muscles contraction occurs when we exercise as well as when we breath deeply and consciously.

So throw your detox diet out the window and engage in something way easier instead: breathing!

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I didn’t realize how awful my breathing habits were until college, after I started yoga classes.
I would subconsciously tense up often, allowing my breath to get shallower and shallower.
I’d wonder, Why is remembering to breathe so hard for me???
It sounds bizarre, and it is bizarre. But also common. That’s why yoga instructors remind their students to breathe, over and over and over again.

Personally, as someone who struggled with severe anxiety, I can say that it’s actually quite easy to forget to breathe, to really breathe. When one feels uneasy and apprehensive about the world around them, breathing doesn’t occur as a natural solution, or at least it didn’t to me.

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And, looking back, it’s no wonder I was sick so often as a child. I suffered especially at the mercy of my tonsils: Low and behold, I found out tonsils are a part of the lymphatic system and are composed of tissue similar to the tissue of lymph nodes.
Something as simple as conscious breathing would have upped my immune system game and eased my anxiety. 

My former inadequate relationship with my breath contributes to the reason why I am now so passionate about this topic. It took longer than I thought it would for me to acquire the habit of conscious breathing. I can attest to how disconnected from the breath humans can become and how life-changing it is to get in step with it.

Anyway, the moral of this post is: Don’t neglect your lymphatic system. Remember to move and breathe to pump the fluids through the nodes to maintain health and actually detox your body.

Even on days you don’t want to exercise, take a few minutes to really breathe. Try it while showering, gardening, walking the dog, doing the dishes, commuting, etc. Anywhere, anytime. Your body and mind will appreciate the love. And remember: It’s legit detoxing.

I should write a separate post based around the importance of breath, I think… 😉

For detailed information on the lymphatic system, give this video a go.

With love and gratitude,

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Tell me: How much or how little attention do you give your breath?

The Spiritual Truth About Periods

Let’s talk about something we don’t typically talk about in much detail: periods.

Periods have a long history of being taboo, unclean, even deadly (I wish I was kidding). All of that is, of course, bullshit. It’s time we talk about the truth.

Here, I aim to express that the menstrual cycle is a sacred gift. It is my hope that more women will tune into the wisdom and power of their periods.

(Note: I say “women” for ease, but I am referring to anyone who experiences periods. We all have masculine and feminine energies within us regardless of our gender identities.)

This past year, a year of severe growth for me, I drastically changed the way I perceive periods, or “moon time” as it is sometimes called. That change of perception totally altered my relationship with my moon time and the way I now experience it.

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My Period: Before Awakening

I’ll start from the beginning. I got my first period at 12 one day while I was home. I knew it was going to arrive soon because: hello, pubes! However, I still didn’t quite understand periods and I got sort of…freaked out that day.

Despite feeling awkward, I knew I had to tell my mother about my surprise visitor.

She seemed happy for me, and being a spiritual person, she congratulated me.
I felt even more awkward. “Congratulations” is for special occasions. This couldn’t possibly be one of them.

Dealing with my period at school was tough. I was able to get away with wearing one pad an entire day at school, but after my body adjusted to getting cycles, my flows got heavy. And I learned, in the most embarrassing way possible, that I couldn’t get away with just one pad per day anymore.

Soon, in addition to the heavy flow, my periods got painful. Like shitting-and-throwing-up-at-the-same-time painful.

I went home early from school many times as a teen due to the crippling pain. In 2010, it got even worse, and for two or three cycles in a row, I was borderline hospital-bound. Eventually the thought of enduring one more period made me burst into tears.

I couldn’t live a normal life, so I made my first appointment with a gynecologist to go on oral contraceptives — aka the pill.

The pain subsided drastically but it was still there, twisting my insides into knots on the heaviest days, still holding me back in my life at times. I tried several pills and the pain was consistent, but at least it wasn’t excoriating like before. So I continued on with the pills.

Eventually, I began to skip my periods all together (a legitimate, safe option while on the pill since the body isn’t ovulating, FYI). I loved not having a period. But every once in a while something nagged at me that I should endure it, and sometimes I would. Then I would regret it when the pain and discomfort started.

The Spiritual Side of Menstruation

My views on menstrual cycles began to change when I first learned about Red Tent gatherings.

“The Red Tent is a place, a space, that women retreat to when they are bleeding, menstruating, when they have their ‘moonflow.’ The Red Tent or Moon Lodge or Blood Temple can be an actual space or a virtual space, or a state of mind, one way or another it needs to exist.” (source)

This was my introduction into the spiritual side of menstruation.

The reason for retreating is to tap into the inner wisdom that naturally exposes itself during menstruation. We become more sensitive. We even become more open to receive prophetic, telling dreams. We become more susceptible to receiving the messages we need to receive.

“In the native American tradition if you wanted to destroy a village you simply destroyed the Moon Lodge – the place where the woman gathered every new moon to intuit insight to govern the tribe. So it stands to reason that the fastest way to rebuild our global village is to re-instate the tradition of the Moon Lodge or Red Tent.” – Tanishka

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The feelings we have felt throughout the previous weeks will bubble up during moon time. It is a time to be reminded to work through our emotions, to be in tune with what’s going on inside our hearts and bodies. Moon time is a time of cleansing and purification, both literally and figuratively. It is a time to take it slow and honor the sanctity of rest. 

It is said that whether or not we take time to rest and reflect during our flow influences our fertility, hormones, and the difficulty of menopause.

Our moon time is a cycle within a cycle within a cycle…

“The year has its seasons, and the weeks that compose our cycle mimic those seasons. Week One (day 1 – first day of bleeding – day 7): Death Rebirth Phase
Spring energy
Week Two (day 8-14): High Energy Creative Phase
Summer energy
Week Three (day 15-21): Coming Down and Harvest Phase
Autumn energy
Week Four (day 22-28):Distillation and Clarity Phase
Winter energy
By honouring her cycle a woman honours the feminine, the dark, the juicy, the mysterious, the feminine power of creativity, sexuality and our Mother Earth.” (source)

Our periods also cycle with the moon. It is no coincidence that both the lunar and feminine cycles are about 28 days long. The moon’s light affects our cycle, but with electricity so heavily used in our modern lives, our bodies become out of touch with the moon’s phases. If you’re interested in reading more about this phenomenon, here is an academic study of night light altering menstrual cycles. 

My Period: After Awakening

After recently researching and journaling on the sanctity of our moon time, I deeply felt the urge to go through with my period. Luckily, I was just about to hit the placebos in my birth control pack.

I spent time reflecting and meditating and honoring my womb during that period. I tapped even more into my power as a woman, as a goddess, as a bearer of life. I felt the energies of my womb, an odd but familiar sensation from a previous and intense LSD trip.

I suddenly started to “get it.” I felt connected, grounded, sacred. I felt powerful reveling in my holy womanhood.

This may sound kind of crazy, but that period was actually pain free. It was the easiest period I had in ages, maybe even ever. I haven’t gone through a period again in the few months since then, probably more out of habit, but I no longer harbor any negative feelings toward my period.

I realized the intense pain I was feeling before was a reflection of the depression and anxiety I was experiencing inside on a constant basis. I have become even more aware of the interconnectedness of the body and mind. Before, I just assumed I had bad genes because many other women in my family experience difficult periods. Little did I know, there is much more to periods besides biology.

Honor Your Womanhood

We are told to be ashamed of our menstrual cycle and that it is something to dread. These social and cultural messages suffocate our divine feminine spiritual growth.

Women are so much more powerful than they are given credit for in our society. I hope over time, more women will spiritually tap into their moon time and make the most of it. This will certainly help fade the stigma associated with our bodies and our cycles.

I want this to be a culture in which women empower themselves with their own divine intuition, and in which communities uplift and respect their women. The wisdom of the woman is under-appreciated and oftentimes neglected, ignored.

Women: how many times have your feelings been dismissed while you were feeling particularly sensitive? There is wisdom in those emotions, but society views them as annoying and inconvenient. And what else do we view as annoying and inconvenient? Our periods.

Many native communities honor and celebrate a girl’s first period. The Apache tribe’s traditions stood out to me during my research. They dust their girls with pollen, a symbol of fertility, before a four-day long ceremony to complete the transition into womanhood. Get an intimate inside look at this ceremony here

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Now as an adult, I realize why my mother congratulated me when I got my first period. 

I noticed I am writing this article in the midst of the closest, biggest super moon since 1948! How fitting.

I challenge you to tap into your divine feminine energy especially during the “winter” week of menstruation.

With love & gratitude,
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Comment below: Do you perceive your moon time differently now than you used to? If so, how?

Additional reading:

“Sacred Menstruation 101: How To Reclaim Your Period”

“Moon Time is a Blessing, Not a Curse”

3 Reasons Why You Need to Connect with Your Inner Child

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I realized I had been neglecting my inner child in the middle of a counseling session. Counselor and I had spent considerable time delving into my childhood, and at first I wasn’t sure I even needed this kind of therapy. I naively thought I had already accepted and dealt with the pain of my childhood. When I looked back on it all, I would shrug it off dismissively. I’d think, Whatever happened, happened. I totally moved on.

How wrong I was…

I knew I had to confront the pain after noticing the tears I repeatedly held back while speaking about my earlier hardships.
The time came for me to finally, deeply confront the loneliness, the manipulation, the betrayal that my inner child (or child-self) endured. And young, courageous Valery endured it with compassion, with grace. I am so proud of my child-self for making it out without becoming severely hardened by the world. 

The exact kind of healing I experienced as a result of that confrontation wouldn’t have been able to happen any other way.

If you haven’t already, I hope you too will open up your heart to your child-self.
Here are 3 reasons why you should:

1. Connecting with your inner child fosters compassion for yourself.

Feeling compassion for your child-self opens up another dimension of healing. Your child-self was deeply influenced by her caretakers, her surroundings.
And, if you’re like most of us, your childhood included pain, and probably lots of it.
We were just small, innocent humans trying to get by in life in the only ways we could.
You didn’t deserve to hurt.

Consciously make the decision to love your child-self. Forgive that child, accept that child. Do not judge that child. Invite your child-self to enjoy life with you, right by your side.
Showing your child-self compassion is an important step in self-healing.

Remember, you are not a separate entity from your child-self. Your child-self is always within you. Showing compassion for the child is showing more wholesome compassion for the adult you are now.

If you can love, forgive, and accept that child, you are doing the same thing for your adult self.

Next time you think you fucked up, think of your child-self. Would you be so hard on her? Probably not, so why would you be so hard on yourself now?
Remember that she is always within you.

2. Connecting with your inner child fosters compassion for others.

Everything is interconnected. All humans, all of life. Feeling compassion for yourself comes full circle into your daily exchanged energy with others.

Connecting with your inner child is also connecting with the world.

Imagine the next difficult person you come across…as a child. Perhaps they are difficult because of childhood traumas. Perhaps not. But can you forgive this child anyway? Can you accept this child for who they are? If you can, you are demonstrating true compassion for others. You are changing the world.

(It all begins from within.)

3. Connecting with your inner child allows you to finish the transition into adulthood.

As adults, we are held accountable for our habits, thoughts, and actions, no matter how unhealthy. Some, or even much, of this unhealthiness can easily stem from childhood traumas. (Note: Do not be afraid to admit that what you may have endured was traumatic for you. This is acceptance and is part of the healing process.) These buried traumas inside us can only be worked through by connecting with our child-self.

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To be the healthiest adults that we can be, we must acknowledge and begin to heal our traumas. The pain in our childhoods contribute to the ways in which we interpret and interact with the world.
Now, a fair warning: Confronting our child-selves will probably come with a lot of pain—pain we may not have even realized was ever there. This is important to do though because, frankly, our pain really muddies up our lives. Our pain stifles our creativity, our ambitions, our love for ourselves and others. It is a fog that surrounds our eyes and our hearts.

Charge into your pain.
Feel it.
Embrace it.
Breathe.
Let go.
(Repeat as needed.)

I’m sure your inner child would be so proud of how far you have come. Be proud of them right back for enduring so much and still turning out to be so lovely, in spite of it all.

Each of us is both a child
and a parent of that child.
You have got to honor this connection within yourself and make that child feel seen, heard, understood, and loved.

With love and gratitude,

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❤️ Tell me: What is one way you plan to honor your inner child?