Inner Renovations

Juice Cleanse and Detox: Mind, Spirit, and Body Refresher

It’s amazing the clarity that comes during a juice cleanse and detox. Today is the final day, and although it was a brief detox, a lot happened over the past three days. There were plenty of times that I thought I was hungry (since there is no solid food during this time). Then I realized that I was actually getting all of the nutrients that I need, so it wasn’t that I was physically hungry – I’m just in the habit of eating.

Juice Cleanse and Detox

My 13 Top Reasons for Eating (none of which are hunger)

I eat to cheer myself up.

I eat to calm myself down.

I eat to celebrate.

I eat because other people are eating.

I eat because something looks good.

I eat because something smells good.

I eat because it’s offered to me.

I eat because it just seems like it’s time to eat.

I eat when I’m bored.

I eat to keep my hands busy while I’m watching T.V.

I eat to keep from falling asleep.

I eat to wake myself up.

I – JUST – EAT.

Luckily, I am a health and wellness enthusiast, so I exercise regularly and try to make wise choices about what I eat (most of the time). If I didn’t, there’s no telling what sort of health concerns I’d be facing right now.

Benefits to Mental Health and Physical Health

The experience has helped me to develop a better a relationship with my body and an understanding of the areas that I need I need more discipline in. While I attended a cookout, accompanied people enjoying their great-smelling fastfood breakfast, and turned down the most delicious chocolate chip cookie-dough cupcakes I’ve ever seen (all while guzzling down my beet, carrot, and kale blend juices), I realized that the level of discipline that I am cultivating will optimize my behaviors in more than just the health realm but in several other areas of my life too.

In general, making smart food choices and focusing more on wellness has many other benefits:

  • Improves decision-making skills
  • Improves focus and concentration
  • Increases self-awareness and body-awareness
  • Improves ability to stay present in the moment
  • Develops ability to set goals and accomplish with birds eye view
  • Helps spiritual cultivation through fasting and prayer (to name a few).

This Is About More Than Food

What I realized during VIVA-RAW’S 3-DAY RAW FOOD JUICE CLEANSE is that RARELY DO I EAT BECAUSE I’M SIMPLY HUNGRY. My patterns and reasons for eating teetered more on the social and psychological side than the physical. Though I have practiced mindfulness regularly for many years, during this detox I realized that I also need to be practicing mindful eating.

I thought the idea of applying mindfulness methods to my food choices and eating patterns was revolutionary and original – but as I googled the concept, I quickly realized that it was not. Psychologist Dr. Susan Albers has built her body of work around the subject and offers some amazing ideas and resources to Eating Mindfully (which consequently is the actual name of her website and project).  The Awareness Checklist and other great resources are available on her site.  Works out great for me because it’s less I have to research and write about and more that I can just learn and apply. Find out more about what the doctor has to say on the subject. I know I will be!

From Dr. Susan Anders www.eatingmindfully.com

A holistic approach to wellness requires that we address all aspects of our being, meaning that we are engaging in activities and behaviors that foster great health on all levels of our multidimensional selves.  Just as we learn to choose wisely what we take into our bodies, we learn to do the same with what we accept into our hearts, spirits, and minds.

~ CCB

Christ-Centered Cognitions, Inner Renovations

Expecting and Welcoming Change

But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord.

~ II Corinthians 3:18

There comes a point in life when the things that used to work for us no longer do the trick. We have carried our styles, personalities, charms, and attitudes as far as we can and it seems that they’ve reached their expiration dates. It’s time for something new. A transformation on the inside so great that it begins to affect our external environment. This is no easy feat, and must be approached with openness, desire, and most importantly, the guidance of the Holy Spirit.

Change of SeasonsLife is change. There is no use in fighting it. If ever we are to keep up with the ways of creation, we must be prepared to continuously evolve, learn more about ourselves and our environments, and be willing to modify our methods at the drop of a dime. This is scary business to most people, who prefer the comforts and securities of those things that are familiar, and the sanctity of routine.  This accounts for most of our automatic and auto-pilot style of living.

But when change occurs, we do not have the luxury of cruising. We are on our toes, paying attention to every detail, keeping our eyes open for viable solutions, and all of sudden constantly in prayer. God was there the entire time, but for most people,  His Presence seems much more welcomed, revered, and appealed to during the times that the structure of our lives is shaking.

Be Mentally, Emotionally, and Spiritually Prepared for Change…

We can be mentally, emotionally, and spiritually prepared for the times in life when we receive subtle signs or blatant messages that “A CHANGE IS COMING… A CHANGE IS HERE.”  How do we do this?  By EXPECTING IT.

That’s it. That’s the answer. There is the plan. No more, no less. EXPECT CHANGE.

The Plan:  Expect Change…

Once we reach the point where we expect change to occur, it can no longer catch us off guard or cause us to lose our balance. We knew it was coming and so we were mentally prepared for it. There is the ability now to maneuver as needed to continue focusing on our goals since we had already factored in the potential for a shift to occur while we were executing our plan.

This keeps us in a position of power, especially when we remember the reason that it is okay for change to happen – because it is all in God’s hands anyway. When we have a strong faith, we are not dismayed or frustrated when things don’t go according to our plan because we remember that the Master Plan was conceived and in progress long before we got here and long after we’ve moved on. Why? Because things are always changing, it’s the nature of creation. And thank God, because who wants a life of no thriving, growth, or development? That would make us no more than rocks – who even change over time at a much slower pace, but still transform.

All of creation transforms. So why not open our arms and welcome it, and experience the life that God has for us that is far beyond what our human minds can imagine in this moment.

~ CCB

Christ-Centered Cognitions, Inner Renovations

Holding the Keys to Your Own Happiness

HappinessWaiting for someone else to make you happy is like waiting for someone to feed you. As an adult, there are just some things we have to take responsibility for ourselves. It is a myth that someone outside of us has the ability to meet our every needs, create joy for us, and keep us inspired. Even if that person existed, why would we want to put that sort of responsibility on someone else anyway?

It’s challenging enough keeping ourselves happy, it’s pretty selfish to put the burden on another to do it for us.  But that is often what our expectations are. That’s what mine were anyway. To have the people around me cater to my needs, tend to my feelings, and figure out what to do to keep me in a happy place. And when they didn’t, I acted like they failed me – as if they owed me something.

No one owes us anything. In fact, we only owe it to ourselves and to God to make the most of the life that we’ve been given. We owe it to ourselves to be happy with who we are and what we’ve got.

Ecclesiastes 3:12-13 says,

“I perceived that there is nothing better for them than to be joyful and to do good as long as they live; also that everyone should eat and drink and take pleasure in all his toil – this is God’s gift to man.”

The key concepts that jump out at me are:

*BE JOYFUL*

*DO GOOD*

*EAT, DRINK, & TAKE PLEASURE EVEN IN TOIL*

*APPRECIATE GOD’S GIFT TO MAN/WOMAN*

Is it possible that within that verse we are given keys to how to maintain our own happiness?

Being joyful is something that comes from within us – whether or not other people are involved. We can experience joy by being appreciative of the things we normally don’t think about, like how good it feels to be able to breathe on our own and that we woke up this morning and that we can see the beautiful sky and feel the sun against our skin – and a million other things to be joyful about.

Doing good is self-explanatory. Anytime we get caught in the quicksand of our own emotions and start feeling like the world isn’t giving us enough, we can pick ourselves up and get a burst of hope and inspiration by doing something good for someone else. Volunteer at a shelter, donate some clothes and resources to people who need it, call somebody and share some encouraging words, show a stranger some love – do some good in the world. And if you don’t feel like doing something good for someone else, do something good for yourself. Go for a run, take a relaxing bath, do some stretches, set some new goals, join a Bible study or meditation group. Participate in activities that will improve yours or others’ lives.

Eat, drink, and take pleasure in life even when it’s hard. Maybe we have it all wrong – we pull away when times get hard and maybe we should lean in. I know my tendency when things aren’t going well is to isolate myself – I don’t want to be bothered and I don’t want to bother anyone else. I don’t want to go out, my eating habits nosedive, and having a good time is nowhere on my agenda. Good times and depression usually aren’t found in the same room. But Scripture instructs us that even as we toil – while we work hard and face challenges – to eat, drink, and be merry!

Appreciating God’s gifts to us is a key to our personal happiness. If we would just look at what we’ve already been blessed with instead of looking for others to do more for us, we would realize our own ability to experience a self-perpetuating joy, a self-sustaining happiness. The beautiful thing about being happy within yourself is that it gives you something to share with someone else. When you connect with others, no longer will you be the needy one looking to be filled; you’ll be the one with the wellspring of joy that can refresh others.

When we realize we hold our own keys to happiness, we won’t try to borrow someone else’s.

~ CCB.

Christ-Centered Cognitions, Inner Renovations

Ending the Reign of Fear-Based Living

Things happen so quickly. The mind processes information and responds to stimuli at rates so fast we can’t even keep up with it. There’s no conscious participation in making the heart beat, causing the blood to circulate or sensing things in our environment. It occurs in all its complexity, guided by intelligence beyond our own and without our input; making us living and functioning Beings.

Why then, is it such a scary idea for us to trust that things will be okay? Even if we do not stress or obsess about it, it will be okay. Even if we do not divulge all of our fears and doubts to a listening ear, it will be okay. Why is it so hard to trust that once we’ve done everything we can do to resolve a situation, even if we put it down and walk away from it for a while, it will still be okay…

The problem is, we have Selective Faith. It’s like selective hearing when a person seems to only hear the bits and pieces they want to hear; or selective memory where an individual seems to only remember what’s convenient for them. Someone with Selective Faith is strong-minded and confident when they can see the solution in sight or a feasible plan in line to resolve a problem; but breaks down and moves into fear-based living when they don’t know how things are going to work out and haven’t yet seen any resolution on the horizon. These people often talk about how good and all-powerful God is in one breath, yet complain that they don’t see a way out of their problems in the next. Those who are not believers may still exhibit Selective Faith because even if they feel there is no God, they claim to believe in the power of themselves and their mind in one breath, yet express panic at the sight of oncoming trouble in the next.

Fact is, we’re still here. We’ve been face to face with death before (whether we know it or not), yet we’re still here. We’ve been terrified to the point that we thought the bottom would fall out of life at any moment, yet we’re still here. Many of us come from backgrounds and cultures where there were tremendous attempts in centuries past to extinguish the fires of future generations, yet, we are still here. Not because of our own doing; But because there is an Ever-Presence in our lives, the same that keeps the heart beating without our help, keeps blood flowing without our help. The same that was there for our ancestors and that will be there for the children that carry our DNA a thousand years from now.

Don’t let “Faith” become cliché to you. Don’t let the severe overuse of the word cause you to forget its essence. Always remember the reason that it should permanently, not selectively, be a part of your life experience. It is through the faith of those before us and their connection with Our Creator, that We are still here.

In a thousand years, we will be “The Ancestors.” Regardless of how many bills we have to pay, regardless of the pressure we are subjected to, regardless of the opinion of others; Let’s make sure we do our part by living consistently empowered lives so that our strength continues to be passed to the future as those in our past have done for us.

 ~ CCB
Inner Renovations, Positive Mindset for Life

Preparing For Game Day

Preparing for Game Day

You stare at yourself in the mirror intensely as you lean over the sink in the bathroom at your office. Is that sweat on your forehead? Yes it is. Your heart is beating faster and you realize this is a slight anxiety attack just before you have to give a presentation to your administrators. Although you have spent plenty of time researching statistics and collecting data in preparation of selling your idea to this group of stern decision-makers; you now realize that you did not take the time to focus on the way you would present yourself.

The above is a common scenario where one realizes that intelligence alone is not enough when it comes to connecting with people in professional situations. When its time to close deals, attain new clients or get approvals to implement new ideas; much more is being looked at than how much knowledge you have. It is imperative the individual is sending a message to their audience that conveys they are competent and able to lead any team to accomplish the proposed vision. No one will be convinced by a sweating, bumbling, shaking presenter behind the podium who cannot seem to pull it together.

The key thing to remember is that every person may experience a bit of nervousness anytime they are being put in a position where they may be subjected to the judgment and critique of others. It is a natural reaction but the difference between those who are successful in these situations and those who are not is that one group finds their center and pushes through the tension; and the other does not. Here are a few ways to make sure that you are not in the latter:

Affirm to yourself that you are already familiar with the material.

Repeating this in your mind and in the mirror will allow the idea to sink in on a subconscious level so that you do not experience extra tension from fear of not remembering what you need to present. Just make sure that you have actually familiarized yourself with the material! That’s the easy part. The more challenging part is fully processing the fact that you are knowledgeable on the subject so that you don’t have to concentrate on it so hard. Then you can focus on more important things such as keeping your breath steady. This takes us to the next suggestion…

Do breathing exercises to relax yourself and set a comfortable breathing pattern.

We always hear about the importance of being able to control our breath because it helps us control our minds. You want to give the mind something to focus on, so by directing it to the way you are breathing, you are killing a few birds with one stone. The physical benefits of the deep inhale and exhale are that it will slow the heart rate and allow more oxygen to the brain which will naturally put you more at ease. As the mind is focused on the breathing pattern, it does not have as much time to wander on to self-defeating thoughts or ideas that would create more anxiety. In addition to the internal effects, externally you will be projecting a warm, calm and balanced disposition.

See yourself there before you get there.

Mostly everyone is familiar with the technique of visualization. Athletes, public speakers, political figures, performers and many others understand the value of envisioning the entire scenario in the exact way they want to experience it. Doing this gives us a sense of familiarity. When we engage in the actual activity, our mind will go back to what was visualized previously. We feel more confident since we’ve already had the experience in some way; it helps us feel that we are prepared with what to say and what to do. Be very detailed and thorough in your vision. You will want to see yourself moving through the entire situation, from the time you walk into the room and greet the audience to when you are answering questions after opening the floor for feedback.

Clear your heart and mind through meditation.

Know the difference between visualization and meditation. Find somewhere quiet, turn off all distractions, sit down in a comfortable position and be silent; that includes silencing your mind. Instead of doing your visualizations in this moment, you want to dedicate some time to clearing your mind. The thoughts may be swimming around your head but you are not focusing on them. You are looking past them and searching your heart. Determine what you feel there. Fear? Courage? Love? If you sense fear in your heart, try to let go of any of the ideas in your mind that are causing this feeling. Feel free to ask your Higher Power to help you release any negative emotions and to fill you with confidence while you’re in this space.

As you inhale and exhale deeply, focus the mind on your breath and notice how you begin to experience something too deep inside of you to be explained here. Find that place of peace. If you don’t find it the first few times, continue over time until you do. It exists in everyone. It is from that place within you that you connect with how powerful you really are. As you realize this, the self-doubt and self-consciousness will dissipate. The more you are able to connect with yourself in that way, the more trust and appreciation you gain for yourself. When the day comes for you to speak with eloquence, confidence and to be self-assured; your mind will reflect back on the state of realization and peace that you attained for those moments and you will be empowered as you stand before any group of people.

We have all met book-smart individuals who seem to have everything going for them intellectually, but don’t reach their fullest potential. When you look a bit closer, you notice that they would prefer not to speak up when they have good ideas. They would rather not be in front of large groups of people. They seem to shrink when face to face with intimidating characters. You realize that they lack the inner-strength and confidence needed to excel socially-demanding environments. It is about being able to connect with others. It is about knowing who you are and feeling comfortable enough with yourself to let others know too. It is about breaking through all psychological barriers so that you can effectively express yourself in a way that others will believe in your competence and will be willing to work alongside you to help accomplish your vision.

Whether in professional or personal settings, these suggestions can be practiced by making them a part of your daily routine. This way you will always be prepared to rise to any challenge, even the unexpected ones. You will want to spend more time on your visualizations when you are specifically aware of upcoming events. The more we practice, the better prepared we are on GAME DAY.

~ CCB