Written by Natalie Howard
My first 40-day juice fast was three years ago.
I had already been raw for two years, but something in me wanted a deeper experience, a deeper healing, a deeper cellular understanding, a deeper connection within and a deeper experience of radiant health all throughout.
So I decided to do the 40-day juice fast along with a 40-day deepening of my meditation practice (40 minutes a day for 40 days) and a deepening of my Yoga practice—rain or shine.
I also decided to write publicly about it, to create a deeper commitment within myself, because at the time 40 days seemed like a long time, and writing so openly allowed me to document my experience, my progress, my challenges, my inspirations, my journey and inspire others as I was inspiring myself. It was also a process of accountability.
My combo—40-day juice fast/40-day deeper meditation commitment/40-day deeper Yoga practice—has been the most powerful tool along my healing journey. I witnessed my body change from the inside out, and every blood test was a reassurance that I was headed in the right direction.
So looking back on it, there is a lot that I have learned, and here are 10 things I learned and continue to use in my self supported toolbox:
1) Fasting or any combination of practices that support the inner journey will inevitably allow us to feel it all, and feeling it all is a good thing.
Allowing our emotions, energy, thoughts, attachments, to move through us instead of getting stuck in us sounds simple, yet it can be so difficult for some of us to do.
But the more conscious we become of what it is we are feeling, the more congruent we become with our own sense of self and our own spirit, the easier it is for that allowance to flow, to happen, to surrender, to feel it all and know we can still take another breath and live on after feeling it.
2) Become your own health expert, you know yourself best.
Befriend your self again. Today, more than ever, we have access to wonderful and very insightful information—all the answers are out there, if we are willing to seek them, if we are willing to listen, if we are willing to take action and change the habits, thoughts, emotions that are no longer serving us.
We know ourselves best, and we can tap into the wisdom within to guide us on our journey. Yes, we may not know all the herbs and remedies out there… but we don’t have to.
As we begin to tap into ourselves, they come to us as we need them, and we learn, and we become empowered, and we begin to understand the way things are and how much that has an effect on our bodies and we begin to change the way things are into a new way that is more in alignment with whom we truly are at this time.
3) Commit. Show up. Seek support. Commit. Show up. Establish support from within.
When we become aware that we are indeed on a journey, committing to staying on it with an open heart is a big step in showing up. When we dig our heels down and commit, it is easier to seek support because we know where we are standing.
When we commit, when we accept our soul’s contract to do the work, to take a look at our shadow, at our darker side, at our wounds, at our pain, at our story, our spirit bows down and thanks us. Our ego… well it takes us for a ride, it wants nothing to do with it. What do you mean you are going to rock my world? No way, the ego says.
But our Spirits know, we know, we must. So we show up, some days fully, some days partly. We learn to show up and create the space where the magic can happen.
4) Setting our intention(s) for the fast/cleanse/establishing a new habit.
This can be extremely powerful, because we allow ourselves to create the sacred space, to create the boundaries that we need to journey ahead and to connect with our prayers and our desires.
Stating our intentions makes them more real, we allow ourselves to connect a deeper level with our journey and we allow ourselves a deeper connection with our higher self, with the innate guidance and the inner wisdom that already exists within us.
We also connect with the energy of our intention, and if we continue to come back to our intentions, the purpose of the journey will become that much more clear to us, as will the power that we have within ourselves to create and manifest that which we seek. Nope, no magic tricks or fancy curtains, but a lot of digging in.
5) Slowing down.
In this hyper fast-moving world that we are living in, any practice/cleanse that invites us to slow down is a gift to our inner self, our gift to our Spirit, and an incredible gift to our selves.
We are enough. Our bodies, our innate wisdom, our essential selves spend most of our time trying to guide us, trying to point us to the right place at the right time for us, right now, but we are so busy we fail to recognize the guidance.
We fail to listen because the inner chatter is so distracting and constant—or perhaps we are not even aware of our inner chatter or that there is an inner source of guidance at all.
Slowing down allows us to savor the moment, be more present for ourselves and others, tune into our purpose more purposefully, and be the change we wish to be in the world.
I have found that in the process of slowing down I feel more complete and whole in my being, I get out of my head and into my heart, I am more present, I am able to see my priorities more clearly, and I enjoy it all a lot more.
6) Create the space for the witness to unfold. Connect with stillness.
Committing to a longer meditation practice allowed me to get intimate with myself, my thoughts, my mind, my heart, my process, and my breath. By creating the container—the sacred space—I witness, I allow myself to begin the process of surrendering to the life within and the life beyond the boundaries of my skin.
Meditation has allowed me to tap into my own creative healing powers, even if my healing journey has been different from what my expectation of what my healing journey would be.
By creating this sacred space, at a cellular level, my body knows it is safe to show up to itself. As soon as I sit at my space, there is a kind of instant grounding that happens, and as that happens I also notice how that grounding ripples into all aspects of my life.
Connecting with stillness has allowed me to reclaim my self, because it is only in stillness that I can hear my essential self’s guidance. Stillness is one of the strongest magic potions in my book.
7) Moving my body with the intention of awareness through Yoga.
This allows me to move the impression of my experiences that still live in my bones and in my soul, and allows me to connect with my breath.
Yoga or any alignment movement practice will facilitate the release of our body impressions, energetic attachments, emotional wounds, and so much more. For me, Yoga is my therapy. Through Yoga I am able to feel myself breathing deeply, with the intention of aligning my whole body system.
It is liberating, it is a process, it allows me to tap into my body from a felt experience rather than a thought experience. In Yoga there are many practices that facilitate the grounding, the landing of our spirit into our body, into our bones—allowing us to open our hearts to grace.