Cleaning Up

by Elaina

Right now, I’m about at the half-way point of a trip back home, one with the set intentions to relax while reconnecting with family and friends. One of my first projects when I got back home was to undergo a dietary cleanse. Having had some general health discomfort over the last years, I had been looking forward to this break as a chance to slow-down and investigate the causes of my troubles.

As this was the first cleanse that I had attempted and that wintertime was quickly approaching (my book highly discourages cleansing over the cold months), I did a truncated version of the process. Even with the shortened version though, I was still able to learn some key lessons:

  • Take advantage of limited resources in order to expand skills: The first section of my cleanse dictated that I eat only vegetables and small amounts of fruit. None of my usual staples of grains, fish and legumes. I was definitely a bit intimidated by this restriction, but it ultimately unleashed a great deal of creativity in me. Rather than being bogged down on my limitations, I channeled my inner MacGuyver to put new and yummy things together. In nonprofits we rarely have every resource we could ever dream of, but that doesn’t mean that we can’t still do amazing things with what we do have.
  • Moderation is key. I had been suspecting for a while that my discomfort was due to some level of gluten allergy, and with how well my body reacted to the vegetable-only stage, I was fearing that my suspicions were confirmed. However, when I started working in wheat and other gluten-bearing products after the cleanse, I didn’t have the same reactions that I was having before. While there may still be a low-level issue affecting me, I have found that my problems have largely been solved by having these suspicious ingredients in moderation. By getting off the mega gluten binge I’ve been on for years, it’s reinforced the creativity that I learned on the cleanse and helped me be much healthier. I now turn to other binge areas of my life to see where I can improve with moderation.
  • Appreciate patience. Along with the cleanse, I have also jumped into a practice of daily meditation. While only a couple of months into this practice, I have felt a level of mental clarity that I have never experienced before. It’s also helped me have a new perspective that I will bring back into my professional life. It’s too easy to get caught up in the new and shiny at the expense of long-term strategies. It’s easy to get impatient with a communications plan without letting it run its full cycle. While there is always room for strategy adjustments, I am glad to learn to be patience and let our plans have their space to grow.

As I am at the half-way point of this trip back home, I am being thankful of the accomplishments and lessons learned so far, and looking forward to the rest of this journey. I hope to jump back into my professional world with a greater sense of calm and confidence.