30-Day Spending Detox
For the past nine months, I have been using the element of pleasure to help me see highter truth and focus my energy. I've been looking daily, and even moment to moment, to clarify, "What do I desire?"
At first, I had no idea what the answer could be. I knew what others in my life wanted. I know what my husband wants -- close the deal, achieve financial freedom, play golf, make love... I know what my children want -- friends to play with, books to read, my total and complete attention on them, a pretty new dress... But knowing the answer to what do I want was at first unclear.
But once I started flexing the desire muscle, I started to see lots and lots of wants... a bouquet of peonies, a trip to St. John, a beautiful new lingerie set, a chocolate covered caramel, a massage, a sushi dinner...
Weeeeeeee... the fun of desire...
I suddenly was seeing all of these desires peek up and call to me everywhere I went, all the time. Calls to try new things, go new places, sample new foods, and buy new clothing... I honored my voice of desire but was also a bit nervous.
Where would this seemingly voracious voice lead me?
I took, what for me, was a tremendous leap into the unknown as I turned the care of my body over to this inner voice of desire.
The back story is that I have struggled my whole life to maintain a weight that feels thin, beautiful, and healthy. I am thin, yes, but because I have been extremely disciplined, controlling, even domineering with my body to force it to my will of what to eat, not eat, and how much to exercise.
My inner voice of wisdom kept telling me that I needed to hand over the keys to pleasure and desire, letting go of control and will, but it was extremely hard. To stop counting calories? To stop weighing myself each morning? To trust that my body alone would have the answers was terrifying.
The first month I turned over the keys, I gained a few pounds. I could feel it in my clothing. I knew the scale was tipping upward.
The voice of self-loathing and self-doubt was hammering away in my head, but I didn't give up.
I believed in my gut that I could trust my body, my desires. So I vowed to listen more clearly. To devote myself even more to my commitment to giving my body what she desired.
I started spending time each morning, and throughout the day, connecting to what Jenna LaFlame, author of Pleasurable Weight Loss, refers to as "your female animal." I connected with my female animal and asked her what she deeply desired. And I realized that the more I listened to this voice -- what to eat, how much to eat, when to rest, when to dance, when to stand in the sun, when to take a bath, when to make love -- the more in harmony I felt in my body.
I realized that the off the hook, outside good boundaries wants for a pile of cookies or a plate of pasta were not coming from my body. Nope. They were a substitute for something else missing in my life. Often it was that I was tired, so my mind developed the thought that I'm hungry, and wouldn't I like some popcorn. Or when I was feeling anxious, instead of dealing with my anxiety, my mind would say, "Why don't you get yourself a little snack to calm you down?"
I started to really discern between the voice of my body, and the voice of my uncomfortable mind. I'd start eating the leftover cereal in my daughters breakfast bowl and....
I'd hear the voice of my body say...
"Just to be clear -- this is NOT coming from me. I am not the one asking you to dump your daughter's garbage into your mouth."
In a short time, I'm back into my pants feeling light, thin, and utterly free. Empowered. Radiant. And finally also relaxed. Profoundly relaxed. I'm no longer at war. I am at peace.
But just as soon as I started to feel this new sense of peace, I began to become aware of another area of my life that felt out of whack. At first it was just a mild sense of irritation that seemed to be sitting at the edges of my consciousness, but with the peace and ease that had been created by ending the war with my body, that little buzz of irritation seemed to grow louder and louder.
Finally, I could no longer ignore it.
What is this irritation, this discomfort I am feeling? Where is it coming from? What is it about?
I asked my inner guides to shine the light to reveal what was at the heart of this buzzing, irritating feeling within me.
My guides quickly revealed that it is my relationship with money.
Ugh. Swallowing hard.
Not surprising, really.
My relationship with money has always been challenging. I've always felt overwhelmed, victimized, powerless, and hopeless in my relationship with money. I have tried to master it, dominate it, control it... all those same things I've done in the past with my body.
My inner critic judges me in these three primary areas -- my lacking in each:
- My ability to manifest large sums of money of my own accord
- My ability to save and steward money in a wise and powerful way
- My overall awareness and daily management of my checkbook and other financial accounts.
In the past, I would shame myself, tell myself I am a failure and wrong. And then put myself on a strict regimen of budgeting, tracking, and shaming when I did wrong.
But this time, I thought to myself, what if I could lean into pleasure and desire as my guide?
That felt like a curious and even exciting way to explore my relationship with money.
So I began looking toward my desires.... But I quickly stumbled to know what my true desires are. Unlike my body, which is an actual body that has it's own wisdom and sensations, how could I hear my true desires on what I should or should not use my money to obtain?
So I sat with this question. And in a few days, the answer came.
My inner voice of wisdom reminded me that I am more than a physical being. I am also a mental, spiritual, and emotional being. My wisdom also pointed out that even more than that, my being extends all around me into the physical environment of my life, my home, and the places I commonly dwell. My wisdom showed me that this is my larger Wisdom Body, and like my physical body, I can sense the harmony and discord that lives in this larger system of me. And like my physical body, I can also ask my Wisdom Body for guidance.
I'm not sure why but this was deeply helpful to me, and I sense that it might also be helpful for other women to become present and aware to this larger wisdom body that they exist within.
So I began posting questions to this part of me, and immediately the answers have been springing up like tulips.
The immediate reflection and guidance I received was that I have lost my ability to experience the true pleasure of spending money (or exchanging energetic power for something I desire) because I have been in the habit of spending money so unconsciously.
My Wisdom Body explained to me that I needed to take a break from spending, at least for 30 days, in order to bring my system back to a baseline from which I can start to truly feel the pleasure of exchanging money for a desire.
My Wisdom Body told me to think of this period much like I would a food detox. It will act as a way for my system to rest. It will allow for the release of toxins stored in my consciousness. It will also help me more clearly observe my desires as they come up.
Thus, I begin today a Spending Detox.
My agreement to myself through the end of May (which will be a little more than 30 days) is the following:
- I will spend money only on essentials (food, bills, and the planned expanses for my daughter's birthday party, the planned expenses for my husband's birthday celebration, my weekly hair blow-out, my bi-weekly mani/pedi, and one dinner out per week).
- No spending online whatsoever, as I notice that I am particularly unconscious when I spend online. I am expecting this will bring about a great deal of new awareness.
- I will notice and write down any items that I really, really want to buy and ask myself, "What does X represent?" (aka, do I really want X, or is it a substitute for something else?) Perhaps through this experience I will discover which desires are "real" desires versus "counterfeit" desires.
- I will journal observations... what I notice in my behaviors, the moments I want to buy something, the reasons why I feel drawn to make certain purchases, how much is enough, what i really miss, what I really don't miss, etc.
My Wisdom Body also gave me this important mantra to hold as my light-keeper during these 30 days:
The most important gifts we can give to ourselves or others are energetic.
In other words, I look to things in places that the energy of love, light, peace, healing, acceptance, or joy might better fill.
Lastly, I just want to say how deeply ready I am for this. Not just ready. But longing for a rest of spending. I am ever so grateful for our abundance, and grateful that the choice to spend money is available to me. But I am longing for a higher level of experience, and my unconscious spending habits are holding me back, keeping me from my light, and dragging me down in the physical weight and responsibility of "stuff" management. This detox feels like a needed retreat to the top of a quiet mountain where I can once again hear the voice of love calling to me.