Suzanne Norman

Enlightened Living Articles

Detoxification: the missing link in disease prevention

Tuesday, January 08, 2013

Chemicals and wastes are polluting the earth’s environment on an unprecedented scale. Toxicity is of much greater concern in the 21st century than ever before. We are assaulted by enormous amounts of both environmental and stress toxins daily, and our bodies can’t keep up.

Just a partial list of toxins include: chemicals and additives in processed foods and low quality supplements; heavy metals and pesticides; contaminated tap water; preservatives in foods and products; industrial uses of mercury & heavy metals; radiation; carbon emissions; residues from drugs, pharmaceutical and recreational; pharmaceutical by products; increased radiation; and even stress.

We ingest new chemicals, eat more sugar and refined foods, abuse ourselves with stimulants and sedatives daily. We have seen an increase in toxicity diseases such as cancer and cardiovascular disease, arthritis, allergies, and obesity. Symptoms such as immune weakness, headaches, chronic fatigue and/or pain, skin rashes, GI problems, and sinus congestion can all be a result of toxic overload.

Your body detoxes naturally everyday, but the overload of toxins we are continually exposed to can overburden our own detoxification process. Our bodies can only handle so much and when the detoxifying systems are blocked or backed up, inflammation and irritation in the body increased, blocking normal functions on a cellular, organ, and/or whole body level.

Body purification has been a part of mankind’s rituals for health and well-being for thousands of years and detoxification techniques are at the foundation of every great healing philosophy. Personally, I participate in a detoxification ritual three times a year without fail, and if I am traveling a great deal or feel a higher level of stress, it may be another two or three short periods of detoxification. I believe this is the reason I have not had a single health crisis in over twenty years.

Detoxing may bring to mind a grueling (and dangerous) water fast…and this may be the reason so many people avoid it. The truth is, a proper detoxification program is gentle and supportive, and after a few days you will feel amazing. More energy, clearer skin, freer joints, less bloated.

A detox program aims to remove the cause of disease before it makes us ill. It’s a time-honored way to keep immune response high, elimination regular, circulation sound and stress under control, so your body can handle the toxicity it encounters.

“Most people come equipped by nature with all of the pieces of a puzzle necessary to enjoy life with excellent health but by the time they get their career and family underway, most have not only managed to scramble the puzzle….they’ve actually lost some of the pieces” – Dian McLaren

Plato said “the unexamined life is not worth living”, and yet, for me, a daily meditation practice can be one of my biggest challenges. I know the value of sitting quietly for a few minutes each day, I feel how mindfully moving my body opens me and makes me feel more alive, I know how vital these things are to my mind and soul – just as food is to the body.

The single greatest investment we can ever make in life is an investment in ourselves, it is the only instrument we have with which to deal with life and to contribute. And to be effective, to perform at our best – calm, grounded, clear, we need to recognize the importance of taking time regularly to nurture our body and our mind.

As the familiar saying goes “As a man thinketh in his heart, so is he”. It takes conscious effort to meditate, to reflect and look objectively within – but until a person can say honestly, “I am what I am today because of the choices I made yesterday”, that person cannot say “I choose otherwise”.

Yesterdays meals will not satisfy today’s hunger. Each day we must nourish, each day we must reflect.

“An angry man opens his mouth and shuts his eyes”

Friday, January 04, 2013

“An angry man opens his mouth and shuts his eyes” -Cato

“Oh, I shouldn’t have said that”
How many times do you hear yourself saying that? How many times do you react to a situation only to regret it almost immediately and then expend a great deal of emotional energy trying to make it “right”?

Perhaps there are times when someone lashes out at you and says something hurtful or sharp and you obsess about it all day long, your day totally affected by someone elses actions.

Someone pushes your buttons and you react negatively, either with words that may sting (which always leave a lasting impression) or with lingering toxic thoughts that poison your system. There are just a few situations and/or people who still seem to have the ability to push my buttons (and I know that this is the universes way of helping me learn and grow), but after such moments, in reflection, I realize that I lost control – and I once again remind myself that between stimulus and response is a space…. in this space lies my freedom to choose my response. Far too often we react before recognizing that space, that freedom to choose.

We can decide within ourselves how circumstances and situations will affect us. Between what happens to us (the stimulus) and our response to it, is our freedom to choose suffering or ease, in that moment, and moving forward.

People are conditioned by their life experiences and if we remind ourselves of that, that they are just a product of their conditioning, we may find that we view them through different lenses. A more compassionate view of the person may take the sting out, may make it all less personal.

It’s not what other say or do to us that hurt us the most, it is our response to those things. I read a wonderful analogy to this once..“chasing after the poisonous snake that bites us will only drive the poison more deeply through our system. It is far better to take measures immediately to get the poison out”.

If we want to change a situation, we first have to change ourselves. To change ourselves effectively, we first have to change how we view the world around us, our perspective. This is not always easy as we are conditioned by our experiences, by our family and by our culture. We simply assume that the way we see the world around us is the way it really is, and our attitude and behaviors are based on these assumptions.

We must look at the lens through which we see the world and understand that it’s the lens itself that shapes how we interpret the world and our experiences. Once we understand this, our compassion builds, our patience expands and our hearts open, even to those who hurt us.

The next time you feel yourself reacting to the words or actions of another, stop yourself, take a deep breath and allow for that space….then you can choose how or if to respond. Recognize that how you respond will effect you and the other, permanently. You have the power to change your world for the better as long as you always recognize your freedom to choose how you see the world and how you respond to it.

The practice of mindfulness, which we learn and cultivate through yoga and meditation practice, changes the structures of the mind, softens the hard edges and clears our lenses. Before long, our habitual response to every experience in our life comes from that space. We choose the compassionate expression of peace, empowerment and love. So, keep stepping to your mat, keep breathing, and keep working…your body, your mind, and the world, will be better as a result.

A healthy outside starts on the inside” -Robert Urich

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