There is little use me going into the details of liver cleanses. Abundant information is available on-line, about what they are and how to proceed with them. However, for the purpose of clarity and considering the number of options out there, I will specify that I apply the protocole developed by Dr. Clark, which, briefly put, requires you to fast on the 6th day of your cleanse (usually a Saturday) from 2 pm onwards, chuck down a pint of olive oil mixed in with grapefruit juice at 10 pm and continue fasting until the next day 12 pm. The sought-after result is the expulsion of greenish-brownish stones. (For reference’s sake, a French-speaking website I find useful is http://rebeccanaturopathe.com).
Now this is clarified, if I tell you it is presently 11:24 AM on a Sunday and that I have to wait another half hour before I can eat, I imagine you know exactly what I am getting at… You guessed it! Last Saturday, I mustered the courage to purge my liver. This was my 13th liver cleanse. I had not done one in over three years, after doing 11 over the same number of consecutive months, and then a last one – which I feel did not really work – a year later.
Liver cleanses of the Dr. Clark type are incredibly powerful. This is probably why I needed to take a little break from them, give myself the space to process them. I guess at times the cleansing cycle can go full circle almost instantaneously, while at others, it needs to stretch out over a longer period. What I am hoping for is that at some level, somewhere, I have been reaching the end of a given cycle and was ready for a new one. Regardless, I strongly felt the urge to give the experiment another go and so I did.
Personally, my liver has never delivered any stones and maybe never will. I am the only person I have heard of in this situation but it does not take away from the benefits of the cleanse. Quite the contrary. Almost every time, during the hour of meditation that follows the cleanse, I see/feel hands massaging my liver and pushing out blackish grime. (I use the term ‘to see/feel’ because I am referring here to internal sight: I suppose it is the messages my body sends to my mind, which some might refer to as third eye visions). I also often see/feel a little brush or cloth nicely foamed up scrubbing away at my organ. It is the most delightful sensation – almost orgasmic really – which is accompanied by physical movements and/or tingling.
Before I reach that very pleasant moment of the cleanse, however, I tend to get caught up in the dreaded hours between 6 and 10 pm. Time and time again, I get irritated by the clock’s apparent stand-still. I feel a mixture of anxiousness, panic and excitement. I have no idea what will happen, how my body will react and I can only hope for the best. Add to it the recollection of past liver cleanses, with their intense aftermath, and you have yourself an explosive mix. It is usually a hard a struggle for me not to cave in at that point and interrupt the entire process.
Fear breeding fear, my mind tends to wonder back to one liver cleanse in particular, one that left me in quite a stupor. Every cleanse is different and this one was above and beyond memorable. What I experienced coming out of my liver then was an enormous ball of information split in three sets of emotions. The first part regrouped melancholia; the second, anger; and the last, anxiety.
I have no rational explanation for it except to conjecture that subconsciously, we know everything that goes on in the body at all times and that memories are stored in us in a condensed form. Indeed, in the weeks that followed the cleanse, it became apparent to me that what I had perceived as a ball of information was turning into a long thread of memories and emotions that were progressively revealing themselves to me. I guess I could compare it to a huge bundle of knots pushed out of my liver and submitted to my brain knot by knot.
The analysis is what I would call the period of due diligence. ‘Alea jacta est’. There is no turning back but who knows where the battle will lead. And I choose my words carefully: for some of us, it really is a battle. Given the intensity of the cleanses and the baggage they stir up, a number of people, myself included, experience the (re)emergence of suicidal tendencies. I remember literally holding onto my coffee table on a number of occasions in order not to do something I would later regret – or, to be exact, not be around anymore to regret.
I would therefore never advise anyone to engage in liver cleanses without the support of a doctor, as well as the presence of at least one good listening ear – be it a friend, a coach, a therapist… And this is coming from someone who has never even struggled with any sort of hard-core addiction! Liver cleanses are not something you improvise. Doing them the Ayurvedic way requires you to prepare for them over a number of years, namely by adopting a clean diet and drinking enough water – if only to ensure your body is strong enough to handle them and flush out the toxins produced.
Put simply, although I am a believer in combining tools and approaching issues from different angels, in my experience, few are the therapies that are as drastic as the liver cleanse. The good news is: no matter how hard they are, you survive them… And apparently, you eventually end up wanting to do more of them. Well, if you are anything like me at least.