COUPLES THERAPY: DIARY OF A DETOX A DEUX

When Alexandra Roxo decided to embark on a hardcore nine-day Ayurvedic cleanse, she had no idea her girlfriend would decide to come along for the ride. Cue tears, tantrums and an ocean of emotion.

Alexandra (right) and her girlfriend Orian after the cleanse

I was a bit nervous about telling my partner about the detox. We’d only been together five months, after meeting at a karaoke bar in Koreatown where I was instantly drawn to her off key rendition of “Stand By Your Man.”  Since then, we’d been falling in love over wine, croissants, late night snacks, drunken dancing…you know, the general dietary rule breaking that happens when you’re in a state of hormone induced euphoria. So deciding to put the brakes on the fun, so to speak, was a bold move. Especially seeing as we were moving in together a week later.

But I’ve always been one to take risks and do things in extremes, so I went with it. To my surprise, my girlfriend’s response was “I want to do it too.” This caught me very off guard because a) she’s more religious about her nightly cigarettes and wine and her morning coffee than her Jewish heritage, and b) I had been planning spending the week wearing mumus and listening to Enya while journaling, and never imagined doing it in front of my lover. Not to mention the idea of us both of being hungry/grumpy/gassy at the same time! Ew. I was hoping she’d be bringing me tea and holding down the emotional fort while I was the one being “transformed.”

Before the experiment

Okay, so what’s the big deal about a silly cleanse? Well THIS cleanse ain’t for the faint of heart. It’s a full on Ayurvedic experience, which includes rising with the sun, doing daily yoga, meditation and dream journaling, eating only two handful sized portions of vegan food at meal time, drinking your weight in greens, doing a three day juice fast, skin brushing, self oil massage, garlic liver flushes, kidney flushes, oil pulling, salt water colon cocktails. It’s basically its a full time job. But I did it last year and emerged glowing like a baby’s bum and happier than I’d felt in ages, so after this #$%^ing winter it was the medicine I needed. Plus with all the falling in love stuff (loads of white bread, recreational drugs…) I felt like I was in need of a full-on detox to get back on track.

What I wasn’t expecting was the emotional upheaval that occurred. Geez, not only had I stored up a few extra pounds this winter but also like, A LOT, of emotions. Four of my close friends also decided to do the cleanse and we were group texting about it all week. The word “meltdown” came up almost daily. Why were we all crying so much? Were we pms-ing? Nope. Were bad things happening? Not really, except not being able to eat. Shit just comes to the surface when you’re doing a detox, which I guess is why some people opt to take off work or go to a spa to do it. But alas, I’m not Lilo, so the closest I came was steaming up the bathroom and chilling in some epsom salts.

Couples cleansing: a balancing act

And of course, the meltdowns melted into my relationship. It began with me announcing I needed to be alone for the week and storming off in tears, and soon I was dividing the green powder and groceries in two as if I was the star in a reality show about cleansing. I also cried pretty much every day as I released fears about all the attempted relationships gone awry in the past year. And I’ve already gone to therapy and done a peyote ceremony to try and work through that shit.

But those past heartbreaks and insecurities came rushing to the surface with a vengeance with every organ flush I did. And all of a sudden my girlfriend was angry at me! I’d “taken away” her freedom and her ability to be herself (i.e. eat when she wanted to). She grew resentful of me as I asked her; “Did you read the cleanse booklet?” and reminded her “wait, you can’t drink out of the faucet!” As she was too embarrassed to admit she was having these feelings, she just got really cold and distant until I broke down and cried into my turmeric stained hands. (As an aside: she said she didn’t cry at all, but later admitted to sobbing while watching a film about low income housing in Israel. I mean…) It’s an emotional thing, this cleansing.

Very dark green juice

In the dark alone time while staring at my garlic olive oil slurpee, I found myself challenging and questioning everything about the relationship. Everything. No stone remained unturned. The cleanse had forced me to get REALLY real with myself, and now there was no turning back and nothing to hide behind. No robust red wines, no morning coffee in bed, no trips to the bakery on the corner holding hands like we were in some 1990’s rom com. No spontaneous nights getting stoned and laughing ‘til you pee your pants and pass out holding a bag of Doritos. None of that!

You’re just raw. Real. Without frill. Looking tired, feeling grumpy, stinking of garlic and coconut oil. And actually, an honest look at yourselves as individuals and as a couple is pretty much the best gift you can give your relationship. Detoxing together as a couple is hard, but worth it. You don’t have to cleanse your colons together or scrape each other’s tongues, but making a goal and seeing each other for who you are without all the other stuff is a risk that – hopefully – will only deepen your bond.

Here are some tips for doing a detox for couples and not fucking up your relationship:

  • If you’re fully addicted, the first few days without coffee are bad. You may get evil, so maybe take this time alone to yourself and try to start on a weekend when you can scream underwater or hide in a closet.
  • Do not micromanage your partner. If you know more about cleansing than them etc, it’s easy to say things like, “wait that apple’s not organic!” before snatching it out of their hand and throwing it across the room. Just don’t.
  • Be gentle on yourself. Be gentle on each other. Ride the emotional ups and downs like a pro surfer and don’t do anything rash. Just breathe and imagine yourself in that exotic spa, staring at an extremely overpriced juice while gazing at a partial ocean view.
  • Resist the urge to send a photo text asking “does your poop look this green?” Just ask Google instead, please.

Alexandra Roxo is a Brooklyn-based filmmaker. She and her business partner Natalia Leite have a company called Purple Milk that makes all kinds of fun stuff. See more here: Drinkpurplemilk.com

Their new web series Be Here Now-ish, which chronicles the spiritual pilgrimage of two girls’ from NY to LA , will be premiering April 10 on Beherenowish.com

Follow more from Alexandra and Orian @yogi_vegan_lez 

NEW YEAR, NU YOU: THE SPIRITUAL DETOX

Beyond green juice for fashion’s sake, transcendental fasting could take your detox to the next level, says Ruby Warrington. All images Karolina Daria Flora.

In the late summer of 2013, yogi, healer and spirit and lifestyle coach Raquel Griffin designed for herself the ultimate spiritual detox. Negotiating changes in various areas of her life, she found she’d hit a roadblock in her personal development, and so she embarked on a week-long juice fast.

But she didn’t stop there, also incorporating transformative daily mind practice and physical activity, a self-help blast, a daily ‘conversation’ with the Universe (putting all the big questions out there), and what she calls a ‘negativity diet’ (“avoid negative people like the plague, skip the trash talking at the water cooler and leave the rag mags at the checkout”).

“7 Days to Transformation (7DT) was a seven day mind, body, spirit boot camp that I created to generate massive shifts in my life…And boy did it ever!!! Kind of like a giant cosmic reset button the MASSIVE shifts I’ve experienced on 7DT are nothing less than ASTOUNDING,” she wrote on her site Granola Glamour at the end of the week. More than your average detoxer’s high, “I’m talking SEISMIC changes in the landscape here, people…and this coming from someone who’s meditated with the best of ’em and gone on MANY M-A-N-Y a mystic/yoga/health/wellness retreat….”

As Vanessa Grigoriadis noted in an in-depth report on juice fasting for New York magazine later last year, “you will, perhaps, meander down the road to transcendence. When you see people at the end of a long juice fast, they reach a special kind of accommodation with their bodies. It’s out of this world.” And beyond a desire to lose weight, experience increased energy or align yourself with the funky philosophy at Juice Press, 2014 is about fasting for a spiritual experience.

But taking your fast to the next level isn’t just a case of drinking greener juices for longer. “People are juice fasting every day of the week in America and not everyone is having a ‘spiritual’ experience,” says Griffin. “Heck, I’ve been fasting for seven years and it was only until I added intention, energy work, meditation and a serious negativity diet that I had these amazing results. Fasting opens you up but it’s what you do with that opening that really makes the difference.”

She has since been coaching clients through the same process she went through, with similarly enlightening results. “By cleansing my body and releasing anything negative, I was able to consciously choose what I put back in,” says Jillian Villafane, who embarked on 7DT at the beginning of January. “Fasting with conscious intent allowed me to change and transform without limitations, which resulted in a deeper connection to my true self.  As a result I have a clarity and awareness that I don’t remember having since I was a very small child.”

But transcendental fasting does still begin with the physical – specifically with decalcifying the pineal gland, or third eye. “Our ability to connect to higher frequencies is related to the openness of our pineal gland – and it’s when we clean it out that it starts to awaken,” says Griffin, who also points out that it was only last year that scientists reported finding DMT – the consciousness expanding psychoactive molecule in ayahuasca – in the pineal gland of rodents.

Drain your body of toxic mucus the theory goes (or “mucoid plaque” if you want the technical term) and you drain your third eye – which exists in the sinus cavity. From there on in; “you begin to tune in to the fact that miracles are happening all the time. That’s what blew me away – it’s like a constant conversation with the Universe! It’s answering all your questions – mundane things like ‘what shall I have for breakfast, should I sign into this business deal’ – ALL THE TIME. But most of the time we can’t hear the answers, because our pineal gland isn’t open enough.”

On a deeper level; “Having all this input from your angels, your guides, or even God, whatever you want to call it, you realize, ‘I’m not alone.’ And that the Universe is always trying to give us the information that will lead us to the life of our greatest good, which is essentially our purpose.”

Heady stuff – and an idea Elizabeth Gilbert explores in her latest novel, The Signature of All Things. One character, Ambrose Pike, describes his experience of living for several months “on sunlight and rain alone.” “I met he divine,” he says, “Or, I believe I did. I had the most magnificent thoughts. I could read the language hidden inside the trees. Also, there was a full fortnight when I could hear people’s thoughts. I was kept joyous by exalted feeling, by rapture.”

Which sounds not unlike the experience of Matt Monarch, founder of The Raw Food World and something of an expert on extreme fasting. Over Skype, he describes the physical sensation of his third eye opening following an extreme 7-day psyllium bentonite cleanse, after his first year of eating 100 percent raw; “As soon as all this stuff came out of me I started to feel this magnetic vibration right here (he gestures at his brow point) almost like 2 magnets opposing each other. The sensation is bliss…it just feels really, really good, it’s almost orgasmic.”

For the stinky details of what exactly a psyllium bentonite cleanse involves click here, but suffice to say; “it’s designed to take out all the mucoid plaque, and really scrape out your small intestine.” Monarch believes that the only way to “get over the hump” of fasting, and take it into the transcendental, is with intensive colon therapy; “it’s not the raw food or the juice that increases your spiritual experience, but the removal of all toxicity.”

Is it any wonder that yoga preacher Seane Corn joked to attendees of a “detox flow” session at Wanderlust Vermont last summer that; “you know you’re a true yogi when you can openly discuss your bowel movements,” or that there’s an exercise called “Unblock Your Bowels, Unblock Your Life” in Gabrielle Bernstein’s upcoming book Miracles Now? “I believe that the flow of our bowels has a direct correlation to the flow of our life,” she writes. “Skeptical? Ask yourself if when you’re feeling super stopped-up, your life is stopped up too.”

This could be because, as Clean Gut author Alejandro Junger puts it; “Your body has two brains: one in your head and one in your gut. While your first brain serves as your intellectual hardware, your second brain—the gut—is your spiritual and emotional GPS. Without it, you’re lost.”

Authors of the website Astro Dream Advisor, where you can find information on different ways to clean the gut, advise; “While doing (a psyllium bentonite) cleanse it is helpful to imagine that with each elimination you’re having you’re getting rid of any old outworn, un-needed thoughts, ideas, feelings…”

Which comes back to Raquel Griffin’s approach. “Our emotions are stored in our tissues, so when we detox we start to shift all those cell memories – which in turn can change the way you relate to the world and be a building block towards a ‘spiritual experience.’ Because once we remove the emotional lens through which we see the world, we’re able to see how it really works.”

For Monarch, this meant the beginning of a lifelong spiritual journey; “And trust me I’m not religious, but once you realise that god is in everything about our existence…then he has the ability to bring you through that door, and up and up and up.”

To experience 7-Days to Transformation with Raquel Griffin visit www.granolaglamour.com
@granolaglamour