I wanted to share the story of my love affair as a means to addressing this phenomena I struggled with for so many years. When I started my holistic path, I felt like any decision I made that was not holistic would take me off my path. I convinced myself that any alcoholic beverage, any fried food or bar of chocolate was dishonoring the path I had committed myself to. I found any opportunity to shame my lifestyle choices and judge the integrity of my healing path.
My herbal love affair began in the summer of 2016 when I would start my mornings off with a green juice, meditation, herbal drinks and yoga. By late afternoon I was ready to head into my busy restaurant job and face the troubling stress and triggers instigated by customers, staff and self sabotaging thoughts. It was around closing time that I spiraled into my alter ego of coping with alcohol, greasy food, and late night shenanigans leaving my liver inflamed, heart stressed, and embedding emotions further away from my conscious mind. In this state of being, life became bearable until morning, when the consequences of my actions became apparent.
So how do you cope with living a double life? One part of you so desperately wants to feel better, eat cleaner, drink teas and move the body, when the other part of you ignores all reasoning and sabotages the desire to be healthy through alcohol, unhealthy foods, and behaviors? For me personally, I had to let go of the black or white thinking that was limiting myself to embody one lifestyle or the other. I began working with my mentor of three years that showed me, carefully and kindly, how I was treating my body and emotional stability through this black or white thinking and supported me in questioning why I do what I do. Why do I drink alcohol? Why do I drink herbs? Why do I juice? Why do I exercise? And through this daily questioning of my beliefs, I slowly started letting go of what a healthy lifestyle “should” look like and began creating my own.
Through honoring both sides of myself, I started integrating my behaviors as a means of transitioning towards balance and harmony. After all, I no longer wanted to feel bad for my actions and wanted to acknowledge that my lifestyle was changing, but not immediately. Change takes time, and most of the time when cutting things out cold turkey we deprive ourselves and over indulge when we feel it necessary. I continued asking questions:
What does a life look like where you can have a bag of chips with TV and still take your bitters? Can I drink tea throughout the day and still have an alcoholic beverage at night? What if I take my herbal tinctures to relax my nervous system before going to happy hour?
I realized that I was the only judge of this herbal love affair and that anyone who looked down upon me for having a balanced lifestyle - of enjoying the junk food and drinks while simultaneously loving my herbs, green smoothies, and detox weeks - was judging from their own belief system that they either created for themselves or was instilled upon by others. I had to uphold my power as an individual and take my life back into my hands, loving every phase I was in.
The major guidelines I began implementing in my daily choices are: If I want to consume it, do it because it makes me happy and I will enjoy every second Do not consume something if I feel bad about it, will regret it, or in a negative mindset Be mindful of the environment of which I find myself drinking and eating and the conversations being exchanged
To this day I continue in the guidance and support of my amazing mentor that I was able to create balance and fluidity in my daily habits. She helped me in healing my relationship with my body and food, not through mainstream protocols, but through the loving environment in which she supported and gently nudged me towards choices that I was proud of.
One example that imprinted my thoughts was the notion that I digest the emotions of which I consume. If I am ashamed of eating chips, then I will eat those shameful emotions with it. If I consume chips in a fun environment laughing with friends and enjoying the delicious crisp bites, then I am fueling my body with those emotions as well. This level of awareness has helped me in staying mindful when eating/drinking and expressing gratitude for the food and environment.
I will say I will always have a strong affiliation with herbs and they are my forever go to when it comes to healing, restoration, and harmony for the mind-body-spirit. There is not a day that goes by that I do not consume herbs either in tea, cooking, or tinctures. They have been an amazing ally in my healing and have truly helped me cultivate a sense of inner peace knowing that our bodies are intelligent organisms that have the power to heal themselves when provided the right environment, internally and externally.