I finished a nine day cleanse yesterday, and to celebrate I walked myself around the park (naturally). This was the only movement I had any real energy for, and even then I could only manage one loop.

The temperature was perfect on my arms. I let myself feel it. The sun was as soft as warm cotton, the grass smelling of seed. The soccer kids were all practicing their artful crosses, balls sliding into goals. Perfect.

Most of the cleanse felt nothing like this.

The preceding nine days were rapid and glacial and emotional and empty and sharp and irritating and exhausting and elevating and basically the most inside out turnt up mash I’ve ever felt in my life. It seemed I was cleansing a lot more than my liver.

Habits, in particular, kept churning up to the surface. I noticed thought loops like never before, but somehow they seemed to blow away quickly when I focused on them. I noticed how often I looked at my phone, and decided to leave a book on the back of the toilet for the first time in a long time. Give myself a tech break.

But mostly, I noticed the habit of holding. It started in my body, a kind of clenching. The small muscles around ankles, calves. The insides of my arms holding them close to me. Then this holding—this tension—was everywhere. The micro-muscles along my hairline…my eye sockets… and then, my breath! So often I was holding my breath as if about to dip underwater.

Do you do this? Hold yourself in space as if the contraction would make a shape out of you? As if you could be a container for you, and then somehow could relax knowing you were held?

Maybe it’s just me. Anyway, about the same time I noticed the holding, I noticed how much was also letting go.

I lost a lot of things during this cleanse.

On day one I lost the mirror on the wall by my side of the bed. It fell off without breaking, the screw embedded deep into a drywall anchor that somehow failed. I did not put the mirror back up.

On day two I lost my juicer. Now, if you’ve never cleansed, please know that a juicer is primary. Critical. It is the hurdle in the race, and it is the finish line. I just couldn’t have mine breaking on day two. I exhaled and bought a new one, silently blessing Amazon for coming through with 1 day delivery and a bonus sale, even if I have been vowing to break up with that smirky smile.

On day three I lost my closet. Okay, I lost the bar that held my clothes up in the closet. The bar plunged to the floor in the middle of the night, leaving everything in a heap. I’ll tend to it this weekend when I have more strength. For now I pull a shirt from the rubble each morning and crank up the iron.

On day six I somehow lost my ring while floating the river. It had fit snugly and been a daily protective talisman to me for a some time. I didn’t even notice it float away. I just looked down at the end of the day to see nothing but the revealing tan line across my finger.

And yesterday, on that final hallowed last day of days, the “liquid day” on this particular cleanse, I lost $265. All right, all right. Let’s say I donated it. I’ve had a bad habit of doing more on my phone than I should while driving, and yesterday I got busted for it. The traffic ticket is steep, but I’m very aware it’s nothing compared to the physical, emotional, and financial costs of an accident. I’d been wondering how to break the driving-distraction spell. It seems I have my answer.

In fact, all of these losses were answers.

I took the mirror falling as a call to focus beyond appearance and look at myself in a new way. The juicer part that broke had been on its last legs for weeks, but extremist me just had to see how far I could push it. Rather than be prepared for the cleanse with a well-oiled machine, I resisted being proactive and ordering the new part. This is not unlike my tendency to push an empty gas tank to its absolute limit. Every. Single. Time.

The closet bar was also something I knew needed attention. It had been rigged precariously by a previous resident and showed signs of collapse over a year ago when we moved in. For over a year I avoided it.

And maybe I lost the ring because I don’t need a protective talisman anymore. Could be it’s time to put some of that power back in me instead of around my finger.

I’m clearer as I emerge from these days of cucumber and detox smoothies, maybe even a little lighter. And I’m relieved to loosen my grip, finger by finger, on the things that need to go. I’m trying to pay attention to the holding, letting it ease here and there where I can. Taking a few more deep breaths.

I wonder what else is going to give.