Grace to those who read this whole thing.
When you hear or read the word “toxins”, What comes to mind? Poison? Lead? Paint? Carbon Monoxide? Carcinogen? Maybe those familiar with common toxins in everyday products, would think of: BPA, Dioxin, Atrazine, Phthalates, Perchlorate, and Polybrominated Diphenyl Ethers? *see bottom of post for descriptions*
Toxin, according to dictionary.com is considered:
n: any poison, produced by an organism, characterized by antigenicity in certain animals and high molecular weight, and including the bacterial toxins that are causative agents of tetanus, diphtheria, etc., and such plant & animal toxins as ricin and snake venom.
But can you think of anything else you’ve heard, seen, experienced, apart from physical toxins?
Have you ever felt like a certain person, environment, job, song, book, movie, videogame, situation, item, addiction … Has been poisoning you in some way? Something that binds you, sneaks in, grabs ahold of you and ruins something? Maybe it’s something you haven’t identified with until now. Something that consumes your time, your energy, your mind, your heart. We all have toxins in our lives. They’re inevitable, because we live in a fallen and broken world.
Far from perfection.
Addressing these toxins should be first on our agenda: are we mindful (recognizing) these toxins and working to purify ourselves from them? Are we making efforts to simply ignore them in hopes of them merely disappearing? Or are we embracing them, allowing them to be a part of our lives – living toxic lives despite knowing their consumption of, and detriment to, us?
Toxins are things that may not be apparent at first. But have you ever lost sleep thinking too much? (I’m raising both my hands on this one) Have you felt a gut feeling that feels like its purpose is to eat away at your life, your soul, and your insides? What about after that indulgence, instant regret, guilt and possible shame arise? What about shame itself that hangs around your head, your life – the feeling that you can’t shake no matter how hard you’ve tried…
Perhaps these are toxins to you.
Identifying toxins may take more than an ounce of vulnerability with oneself: recognizing something that truly affects you, negatively, recognizing the imperfection in your life…
Although this step is vital, and perhaps could take an unsurmountable amount of time… The Lord and I wish that you won’t stop there. Take careful consideration prior to reading on, because it does require effort and require commitment and most importantly vulnerability with the imperfection that is in you.
As previously discussed in my first blog post, a holistic lifestyle is one that recognizes that living involves many aspects of one’s life: physical, mental, emotional, spiritual. And these things affect one another and can change, interrupt, positively or negatively have influence upon each other – Whether or not you have a relationship with God. Therefore, identifying physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual toxins are all increasingly important and that a spiritual toxin may be affecting you emotionally and that a physical toxin may be affecting you mentally or spiritually is key to know and remember.
There are things… Whether physical, mental, emotional, or spiritual things, that are battling for your heart, your mind, your strength, your soul, your time, your LIFE. So how do you know if it is a toxin or not? Does it help your life? Does it heal your life? Does it lead to restoration? Does it hurt you?
If you have a toxin identified, many toxins, or are still considering what could be a toxin in your life. You may be asking, “How do I get rid of it? How do they go away?!”
The first step is identifying your toxin(s). Restoration will be a future blog post. Research with an open mind. No, I do not think you should do anything morally compromising; however, I think there is a tendency in some “Christian culture” to reject meditation, deep breathing, experiencing mindfulness, etc. but the Lord has given us breath to breathe & commands us to meditate on His Word (Bible Gateway). However, if these things are ‘morally compromising’ for you, the Lord will open other doors for you to experience purity and cleansing from these toxins.
Tackling Physical Toxins:
Did you know that Bath & Body Works (as an example) contains an extreme amount of Toxins? Once that cause allergies, skin irritations, etc.? I challenge you to read the ingredient list on the back of your B&BW product and to look up what each ingredient is… Scary stuff! I also challenge you to look at ingredients in your household cleaners, food, perfumes, etc. . . Do you know what the ingredients actually are?
Another option to tackling physical toxins is by using an App called “Think Dirty”. You can scan household products, and some B&BW products to see what is safe and what is not: It even gives you a list of the harmful chemicals that are in your products (Clorox wipes!! Ah!!)
A certain way that I have been adjusting what my body is consuming or what I am using to clean with, live with, experience is by utilizing Essential Oils. 100% all natural, safe, organic, non-toxic, an PURE essential oils from Young Living. If you have any questions or would like more information, let me know – I love talking about them and have lots to share, including vulnerability about how they have affected me! Contact me here, or read a little about oils here. Enough with my soap box…
So I ask: How’s your health? Anything harmful in your cupboards? Temptations? PITCH! “You are what you eat” (Yes, I eat peanut M&Ms. So I am a peanut M&M.)
Everything in moderation and being stewards of the body, mind, strength, and spirit you have been given.
What about Mental and Emotional Toxins?
You may have toxins such as DVDs, music, media, books… What about reminders of your past / present that are haunting? Take time to ponder if you really should have whatever it ( or he/she) around? (Hint: if it is toxic, affecting you negatively, poisoning you, you shouldn’t!). Are your thoughts clouded? Try to recognize and see what is clouding… not clear? Give it time and say to yourself when trying to clarify “What is wrong? What am I longing for? What is it that I truly want? What’s in the way? What’s causing the ache inside?” If you have a relationship with Christ and desire to identify the toxins… Ask him to reveal them to you, in humility, for he surely humbles the proud and gives grace to those who ask.
Mindfulness is when you recognize the body’s, mind’s and emotional reactions to certain stimuli (memory, smell, movie, song, thought, etc.) and to allow yourself to feel whatever it brings up in you. Does a memory leave you feeling sad? Happy? What about a thought you can’t get rid of? Is it something you wish to leave? Or is it comforting? Take a couple minutes and think to yourself, “What am I feeling?” and it is OKAY if you feel “nothing”… Be mindful of that. Do you want to feel something when you think of that memory, smell that scent, hear those words? Mindfulness is recognizing that you wish to feel, or you do feel. Be present.
Once you become mindful of this toxin, this feeling, or even just being there and allowing yourself to experience being present with yourself (How you are feeling NOW, what you are thinking about NOW, maybe even recognizing the lists running through your head about the day, the week, the year, etc.) Hint: I ALWAYS have lists running in my head of things I need to do, wish to do, wish I said, wish I would have done, hopes, fears, etc. It is real and I get that. I am recognizing that in myself. Being mindful isn’t difficult. It doesn’t even have to take more than a minute. It is about recognizing it (whatever IT is) exists. Breathing exercises may be helpful if you’re someone like me who thinks of ALL the things ALL at once and you have a physical reaction to the thoughts, emotions, and anxiety. By breathing slowly, taking deeper breaths, you allow the oxygen to enter into your brain that it needs, and to increase your blood flow that increases feelings of calmness, and physically can change your chemistry. It is allowing you to (honestly just took some deep breaths here instead of typing so to help aid in process of thinking) be mindful of what you are thinking/experiencing.
Another suggestion that I have is … Watch a movie or listen to that one song that brings tears, or brings joy, or brings excitement: sometimes the way we feel or the way we wish to feel is like a light on a dashboard: it demands to be recognized, felt, heard… Sometimes emotions NEED to be let out in order to experience physical, mental, emotional, spiritual peace and stillness.
Some people need to do something physical in order to clear one’s mind apart from deep breathing. I suggest taking a walk – with or without music. Even in our busy world, taking a quiet walk, without anything to buzz or listen to (hint: PHONE) can be beneficial. I consider it a “cleansing walk”, one that can promote thoughts, prayer, meditation, mindfulness… It causes us to consider all that surrounds us: whether beauty or the gross things (i.e. bird poop). But it causes us to experience the present, what we so often wish to forget or ignore accidentally. *Tendency to dwell on past or think too much of the future*
This brings us to the Spiritual Toxins.
Whether or not you are a believer in Christ, how do you recognize your spirituality? Do you know you have a spiritual side to your being, your existing? Sometimes by ignoring this, it can cause physical, mental and emotional issues (Another blog post perhaps)… Toxicity is rampant upon spirituality which is the most important part of oneself if considered a believer in Christ. Often we call this toxicity as “idolatry”… When something (someone) gets in the way of our identity as a “Chosen One of God”: they are things that take us, distract us, dance with us, and lead us away from our grounding, our purpose, our relationship with He who created us. They can also ruin our relationship with others, with God, and with ourselves (battle between flesh & new self).
Flesh: Earthly, sinner-born self, inclination to sin/wrong doing, death is certain
New Self: Restored, forgiven, choosing life & given newness apart from sin, suffering, and death.
The first step is identifying toxins. Recognize them, find them. Call them by name. Future steps will (hopefully) be addressed in future blog posts!
I am praying over this Blog Post, mindfully considering who may or may not read these words. And it is okay if it is rejected, skipped over, forgotten. This isn’t the importance. What is important is your heart. Where your heart lies, Who it belongs to, and whether or not you would consider being vulnerable with yourself, with Christ, or with others.
I challenge you to reveal your toxicity to a friend, a relative, to yourself, but most importantly to the One who created you. To be vulnerable is to offer room for comfort, love, support, and guidance. YES IT IS ABSOLUTELY TERRIFYING to ADMIT ANYTHING. However!! To remain in the darkness, to hide, and to be shamed by your toxicity is what our inclination is. But I challenge you to break from the mold, to be more than merely existing to survive. I challenge you to thrive. If you are fearful of rejection: reach out to me; I can offer that which was offered and given to me: grace. forgiveness. support. and LOVE. I look forward to hearing from you, dear friend.
p.s. I love this man. So so much. And we’re getting married in 17 days. 17 DAYS PEOPLE.
Toxins listed at beginning of post:
1. BPA: This synthetic hormone has been linked to various forms of cancer, as well as reproductive problems and heart disease.
How to Avoid It: Many canned goods use BPA in their lining, but the chemical is also found in up to 40% of store receipts, and some hard plastic containers. Forgo taking sales receipts whenever possible and avoid plastics that are marked with “PC” or recycling label
2. Dioxin: This carcinogen can build up in the body and the food chain, and can adversely affect the immune and reproductive systems of those who are exposed to it.
How to Avoid It: Industrial processes release dioxin, meaning that the American food supply is already widely contaminated. But it helps to cut down on exposure by eating fewer animal products, especially meat, fish, milk, eggs and butter.
3. Atrazine: An herbicide frequently used on corn crops, Atrazine is also a common drinking water contaminant that’s been linked to breast tumors and prostate cancer.
How to Avoid It: Buy organic produce and purchase a drinking water filter that’s certified to remove Atrazine. You can find a list of EWG-approved filters on their website.
4. Phthalates: Phthalates can encourage the death of testicular cells in men and are linked to hormonal changes, birth defects related to the male reproductive system and thyroid abnormalities.
How to Avoid It: Avoid plastic food containers, children’s toys and plastic wrap that’s made from PVC. Phthalates are also found in some personal care items, sometimes listed generically as “fragrance”, so check your labels.
5. Perchlorate: This rocket fuel component can severly disrupt the proper thyroid function.
How to Avoid It: Perchlorate is already widely found in produce and milk, so avoiding it altogether isn’t necessarily possible. But using a reverse osmosis water filter can help reduce your intake.
6. Polybrominated Diphenyl Ethers: PBDEs are flame retardants, and while some of them have been phased out of industrial use, their long chemical lives mean that people and wildlife across the world have already been exposed to them.
How to Avoid Them: It’s virtually impossible to avoid PBDE’s entirely, but it helps to use a vacuum cleaner with a HEPA filter, which can cut down on toxic-laden house dust. Taking extra safety precautions when removing carpet is also recommended, as old padding underneath may contain PBDEs.
7. Lead: It’s common to write off lead as something that’s avoidable as long as you’re not eating paint chips, but exposure to it can also come by way of breathing in the dust from old paint that’s crumbling off your walls. This hormone disruptor has been linked to brain and kidney damage, nervous system problems and a host of other physical and psychological impairments.This poison can cause skin, bladder and lung cancer, but it can also result in osteoporosis, high blood pressure, and suppression of the immune system.
How to Avoid It: Keeping your home free from crumbling paint helps to avoid exposure, as does using a filter that prevents lead contaminants from making it into your drinking water.