Last November I wrote to this community about a 21 day detox I was taking on. I made it 8 days before I completely derailed. I still managed to cut the excess body fat that was making me uncomfortable (even just a week of raw food does wonders), but I didn't achieve my goal - to complete a 21 day detox. I also didn't give myself the opportunity to write a bad ass follow-up blog with before/after pics. I'm not aware of the impact of this on the PTH as a whole, but I'm sorry I didn't keep my word. I can only hope that writing this blog invites integrity back into this space and reminds us how generous and important it is to have a community like PTH. It was a member of PTH who invited me to write this follow-up post, insisting I "give myself and others the permission to share." Thank you. I am eternally grateful for the lack of judgement in this correspondence.
As I am beginning a new detox today, I felt it fitting to take on the gentle challenge of my PTH friend and follow-up. But first, a word from a poet...
In an radio interview not long before his sudden death, poet John O'Donohue said, "the visible world is the first shoreline of the invisible world". The first shoreline.
I love this image. I love the way this idea opens my mind to the vastness of the unknown world, to the continuous mystery that surrounds us. When I hear him say it in his adorable Irish lilt, when I say it myself to others, I light up like a botanist discovering a new species of orchid. Suddenly, everything is changed and my eyes sharpen to the subtle movements and rustlings that may hide another secret treasure.
John continues on to say:
"in some way the poignance of being a human being is that you are the place where the invisible becomes visible and expressive in some way."
I failed. Yet hidden within this failure are lessons, the invisible world of what I learned. Perhaps, inspired by John O'donohue's words, the first shoreline of success is failure. As so many have noted before, successful people fail often.
One of my mentors, Seth Godin writes about failure: "When you fail (and you will) be clear about it, call it by name and outline specifically what you learned so you won't make the same mistake twice. People who blame others for failure will never be good at failing, because they've never done it."
In an effort to outline what I learned and take the advice of my mentor, the following is a list of what failing a detox has taught me (an ongoing list...please add to it if you've been through it):
1. Don't Take Failure So Seriously.
Amazing people fail. Be one of them. Lighten up, smile at my humanity and take on the challenge again, renewed through laughter and joy.
2. I am still loved.
Just because I failed doesn't mean my friends and family don't love me anymore. Often I hide when I fail at something, I hide away for days, even weeks because I don't want to be seen as a failure.
3. Be seen as a failure. Heck, write a blog about it.
It felt good to write this blog. I wish I had written on day 9 of the detox.
4. Share your commitment with others.
That's what I love about Permission to Heal - its a space where I can share my ongoing healing journey and get earnest feedback on the challenges I face. However, online sharing is half the battle. Looking back I wish I had shared my commitment with an accountability partner offline, maybe even shared the detox adventure with another friend. It got lonely and I was vulnerable to derailing.
5. Lean on ritual. Find new words.
Taking on a 21 day detox is not for that faint of heart. It was challenging in ways I never expected, much like crossing a new threshold of experience, like a coming-of-age. For my next attempt at detoxing, I will instill a morning mantra-"honor the voice of grace". (what's yours?) "When we stand before crucial thresholds in our lives," observes Irish poet and philosopher John O'Donohue, "we have no rituals to protect, encourage, and guide us as we cross over into the unknown. For such crossings, we need to find new words."
So, I begin a new detox today, armed with Arden's Garden juice and a beautiful day. I have an audition in 22 days, the biggest audition of my entertainment career. I want to bring my best, healthiest and enlivened self to this opportunity. I look forward to sharing with PTH the outcome of this detox and the audition.
I wish you all great success in life and detox. And if you fail, may you find beauty in it. May you find blessing in your return voyage.
Thank you to Permission to Heal for being a space for the invisible world to become visible.
* * *
I highly recommend John O'Donohue's book of blessings, To Bless the Space Between Us. There is something for everyone, every threshold and every promise for something new. If you click on the image of the book below and purchase the book on Amazon, a percentage of the sale will automatically be donated to this lovely community, Permission to Heal.