Cleaning Up and Cleaning Out

Hard to believe that a year has passed since I left for India and the ashram. My Guru-ji was right – it would take a good six months to a year to “unpack” all the things we experienced and learned. I’m happy to say I’ve put so many things into practice and am noticing obvious shifts in my thinking, my level of happiness and peace (increased), and my desire to live the best version of myself. I can honestly say that THESE PRACTICES WORK!! Part of this desire has led me to make more conscious choices regarding my health of body and mind so this fall, I have embarked on a “CLEAN UP/CLEAN OUT” mission.

First I began with a CLEAN OUT for my digestive system in the form of a mini dietary detox and now that I’m feeling so much better, I will continue this by following a guided Clean Eating plan for the month of November ( if you’re interested in joining me – options for “busy people” so no excuses!).

Second, I acknowledged that my surroundings (mainly my office) again desperately needed as much attention as my digestive system so the big CLEAN UP began (how many times have I started this and then things piled up again?) Was there a way I could literally and metaphorically SHED unneeded pounds of paper and old bills and magazines and junk on my desk in the same way as I could do this in my body – for good? My office cleanse so far has been as liberating and satisfying as my dietary cleanse, and for the same reasons that accumulated toxins in the body create dis-ease and discomfort, so do the accumulation of years and years of paper in my filing cabinet. To break the cycle means using the same awareness we cultivate in meditation – acknowledgement of what IS (and one step further, contemplation of how things came to BE this way) and conscious effort to auto-shift out of the samskaric grooves of habit into more nourishing behaviours so that new more supportive patterns become engrained. Calling upon the energy of transformation, commitment, and discipline (called “tapas”  in Sanskrit), I am using this task as a way of living my yoga in a most practical and relevant way.

Third, a synchronicity – just at the time of my embarking on this CLEAN UP/CLEAN OUT mission, the opportunity came up to take a course with the Canadian College of Naturopathic Medicine called “Mindful Healing – Connecting the Cell and the Self” with Dr. Paul Epstein ( How perfect – so I enrolled. So far this course is teaching us how our “biography becomes biology” with the understanding that what has happened in our lives becomes embedded in our bodies, minds, hearts and influences everything from the way we think, speak, act, to how we live out our daily lives (even like accumulating junk in your office…). It has a huge bearing on our health right down to the cellular level…so the real healing must come when you deal with your stuff – when you CLEAN UP and CLEAN OUT, not just once but as an ongoing practice. This idea is nothing new and of course, the whole practice of Hatha Yoga is to cleanse, detoxify, and get rid of what keeps us stuck in our smallness, our pettiness, our self-importance, our material wants and ego desires, and to prepare the body and mind to re-awaken to what is our true nature – clarity, peace, happiness, vitality, resilience, love, connection.

So I’m pumped and motivated and excited and also a bit scared. This means delving once again into dark corners and places where things have been buried. Just like my dusty filing cabinet that still holds tax returns from 20 years ago (seriously???), I will be poking through some old memories I chose to forget. And I might be hungry or craving a latte or a glass of Cabernet…But that’s okay. Armed with all the tools I have worked so hard to develop through my yoga and meditation practice like compassion, self-love, inquisitiveness (AND a good dusting cloth and Dyson vacuum cleaner…), I willingly choose to “go there”.

Cleaning with Buddha



  1. Rhonda said,

    November 5, 2014 at 6:03 pm

    I love your post Anne. True to my feng shui practise to bring about a change or a renewed energy we must de-clutter our lives to allow room for growth, new energy, endless possibilities. Can’t wait to hear what opens up for you!

  2. ANNE STUBBS said,

    November 5, 2014 at 8:25 pm

    Thanks for your comment, Rhonda. For starters, what has opened up is a clear pathway to my desk! While I’ve only managed to clear about a quarter of my office so far, it feels so good to at least make a dent. Same with a change in eating habits, starting off with small steps like eliminating refined sugars in my diet. Already I’m sleeping better and feeling more positive and motivated. And interestingly enough, my achy hip has not been so achy in the last couple of weeks – perhaps the “healing” has begun!

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