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or why pleasure and enjoyment should be at the core of detoxing (not virtuous self-mortification!)


Cleansing and detoxification through fasting etc. is often associated with an over-controlling attitude and either feared or criticised because of it.


The illusion of control we may get from fasting is not one that I encourage by giving long prescriptive and proscriptive lists of do’s and don’ts. In fact the benefits of a cleanse are greatly increased by relaxing, letting go and resisting the need to “do” anything. Not getting energy from food means that our will is lessen which is the first step towards letting go and an opportunity to experience that sensation.

 


Although health is a personal experience, it undeniably includes an ability to connect with pleasure and enjoyment which is a lot less obvious than it may first appear. True pleasure,comes from experience and choices and is different from the perceived pleasure which is in fact a mere habit (lack of choice) and/or external transference (from media, family, etc.) of what constitute pleasure.


Our survival dictates that we get pleasure out of sugar (the baby has to find mother’s milk attractive and satisfying) however within that mechanism is also the fact that the baby will stop sucking when he is satisfied because of the amount of fats and proteins mixed with the sugar. Trouble arises when the baby is given sugar water (or formula milk) to stop him cry thus making an association between sugar and comfort whilst missing the wholesome combination of ingredients/sensations. It becomes very difficult after that to distinguish between the need for comfort and the need for energy requirement especially because the later does come with pleasure and is all around us!  
A supported retreat will allow both: the safety to let go and a deep and relaxed sense of pleasure which comes from giving ourselves the time to connect with our deeper needs. In this state it becomes easier to sort through our habitual eating and drinking and evaluate their true pleasure value. It is also the time to think new pleasure habits… but no need to wait for that! Start experimenting with this comprehensive (but by no mean exhaustive) list of inexpensive pleasures to treat yourself daily

 

  • 1.    Have an early night. Sleep is often lacking at the profit of TV and Computers. Switch yours off and enjoy the pleasure of a good night sleep
  • 2.    Have a long bath mixed with 300g of Dead sea salts (or Epsom salts). Rich in Magnesium and great to prepare you for sleep
  • 3.    Be exceptionally nice to shop assistants, tube staff, taxi drivers etc. They deserve to be treated with respect often aren’t and you will get to appreciate and feel appreciated. Appreciation is a feeling that has demonstrable value. It was used by Sydney university in an experiment with patients recovering from heart surgery.
  • 4.    Forgive your loved ones for their inadequacies and tell them you love them. This is the one single regret that the majority of people express on their death bed. Plan to be different!
  • 5.    Make yourself a cup of expensive (preferably organic) green tea. Green tea is packed full with antioxidants but expensive ones are so much tastier!
  • 6.    Make yourself a cup of green coffee. Stimulating but in a subtle way and beneficial to weight loss and insulin normalisation. Why resist!
  • 7.    Use your imagination. It is proven that imagining your-self exercise, for instance, will have measurable benefits. You can also use your imagination to think yourself relaxing somewhere beautiful or making passionate love or achieving your own personal goal at work. Whatever turns you on let your imagination push the limits!
  • 8.    Be present to what you do. So many times we avoid situation by trying to procrastinate, or escape them. To be present will bring us to a state of heightened awareness but remove the alienating judgments that we may be passing about ourselves or the situation/person that we face. By helping us connect with our environment and others  we are creating new permanent neurological pathway that make us feel less isolated and lonely, two emotions proven to send us to an early death.
  • 9.    Go for a 20 minutes fast walk and swing your arms. Walking, not only keeps you fit, but also simultaneously activates both sides of the brain thus helping clear obsessional thoughts and resolve problems or internal conflicts
  • 10.    Read this list again. Forming new habits can be a protracted process but it is linked to the difficulty of the task and the length of time before gratification. Practice on small easy tasks at first. Choose to replace or modify a habit with something that is relatively easy to do and gives pleasure with a short time before gratification.

 

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