Sometimes it’s hard to choose freedom.
I am thirteen days into my twenty-one day cleanse. (Read here for part one). So far it’s been a very spiritual practice as I learn to listen to my body, my spirit, and my heart. There has been invitation and opportunity.
Wednesday night was the end of the fruit and veggies portion of the cleanse. The program I’m following allows for lean meats to be added back. But I was cooking a sausage-based sauce with sweet potato noodles for my family. There was chicken in the fridge I could eat and I went back and forth.
The law was to first, wait until tomorrow. And second, to eat only the chicken. It would have been easy to stick with that plan. Simple. Rote. Mindless.
But I felt an invitation to consider why I was cleansing and what my specific goals were. I was cleansing to break the nightly ritual of reaching for a glass of wine, sometimes four times a night. I was cleansing from the three shot latte that greeted me every morning. I was cleansing from the sugar-carb laden meals that had become my staple over the summer.
This healthy meal I was making for my family? Not really the thing from which I was trying to escape.
I listened to what I knew my body needed. Depriving myself of a nutritiously dense meal with my family would have been a practice in asceticism and it wouldn’t have been beneficial to me. I realized the habits I was hoping to break, had loosened their hold. I didn’t need to carry it out to the letter of the law further than this space.
So I ate and enjoyed the meal with my family.
I’m beginning to see a trend in how I disconnect the spiritual from the physical. I treat them like they are two separate entities, instead of understanding while one may house the other, they both need to be tenderly cared for. They are intimately connected. With this cleanse I’ve seen how I can and need to listen to both. Letting go of the law allowed me to listen and I was able to make choices that were so healing and good for me. It was hard because I wanted my box. I wanted to win and “finish strong.” But that would have been an exercise in control and power. Not a relationship.
In that moment I chose the harder thing for this rule-following, law-loving girl. I chose to live by the Spirit of grace that I long to know more fully. I chose to let go of what I knew and trust myself to walk forward as well as I could in this place of less certainty. And that has been the journey of the past year. So much not knowing—but a sense of calm surety that this, here, is good too.
I am not running towards gluttony. I am not giving up or caving to the bad habits. I’m not undoing or forgetting. For me this is the healthy space. The space of in-between and learning true balance.
I’ve started cooking dessert for my family a couple times a week. Because I can and there’s freedom.
And for once there’s a leftover glass of wine sitting on the coffee table in the morning and it’s not mine.
This week I chose freedom.