There are so many stories about post-recovery from dis-ease, and here’s one for the now of dis-ease. Being in The Storm is meritable, valid and crucial. The “in-shit”, not the “aha”that comes through healing. What about the pain in healing? I’ve struggled with eating disorders of all sorts for years. I am currently in a bout of depression, keeping afloat, finding peace within me, tempted by escapism and distraction albeit, but aided through therapy to return to the source, myself, to heal.
Lack of self-love and compassion are so harmful, especially when cultivated compoundedly, and one day, they avalanche into presence, and you don’t know how they built up because you can’t see the forest for the trees. It’s so easy to continue with routine and avoidance, but half a life is not Life, not My Life.
There is so much wonderful information about the recovery process and causes of eating disorders. My roots lie in lack of self-love, lack of meaningful self-attachment, lack of self-purpose and pain avoidance as a form of survival. Ultimately, I’m “holding on”, attempting at an obtuse way to control where I feel I am out of control in other aspects of life. I’ve read Pema Chodron’s book “When things fall apart” recently, and her theme is that of groundlessness. This is the essence of life, not grasping on to solidity, not striving for consistency or any form of permanence. To breathe though all the shit and be. I have to believe that I am worth nurturing, worth thriving, worth a whole life.
Eating disorders, after all, are never about the food. With the visible symptoms of weight and food, it’s so easy to falsely blame source, but symptoms aren’t cause. Like Eastern medicine; Ayurveda and Traditional Chinese Medicine both reach for the sources of illness, which lie deep within. Oh fuck, that’s The Work. In the Now. Right now, I had a controlled morning, a controlled breakfast, a controlled schedule. I have been doing 60 min spins on my indoor trainer since returning from my Vipassana 10-day silent meditation course (of which I stayed 3 days because #O#%*@&#$!!!!). I was doing little runs, like I had done in New Zealand, but my body wasn’t accustomed to the pavement and Brimley hill, and spoke in form of a calf strain. Body isn’t recovering well because I stand in the way via not loving myself enough to properly treat my whole self. And so, I spin first thing in the morning. I woke up hungry, and rode through it after taking a Ginseng shot from Xiaolan, a Chinese Medicine goddess in Toronto (an inspirational woman to my being, to the Healer I will become as I heal myself). Breakfast was a “smoothie bowl” with Vega pro and peanut butter, but so diluted because man, ultimately, a damn protein powder smoothie bowl isn’t real food to my body. Real food is how I will intuit my needs and properly fuel, instead of monotonously following routined habit because it is “safe”. This is fear based, because I am afraid of leaving the safe level of comfort with myself that I’ve chosen. The “safe” liking of myself that dictates the set point at which I choose to live my life and treat myself day in- to day end. Wow, fuck eh. That’s it. The thermostat switch needs to change right thur.
I am slowly doing little acts of self-care, and believing that I deserve it. Fuck all this hippie spiritual non-consumerism sometimes because I really feel good in my new silk dress (although as I love myself more, my ass will look more apple-bummed and nicely “jolly” in it). I give myself the space to be human in this lifetime, in this consumerist age. It doesn’t mean that I am less spiritually grounded or rubbish like that. Although I’ve taken a break from social media; Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, all of which I had abused and was blinded into thinking that those relationships were real, when really they were void-filling. I see that these resources can be tools, just as Mind is a tool. My left hand pines for the phone to scroll on insta while eating, but I am reminding myself constantly to “use my mind” instead. Mindfully respect myself and food while I eat. I see how I treat food as a void filling my attachment needs (to self, to others, to purpose), and it is so easy to fall into habit of self-blinding when it hurts the most to accept where I am at, right NOW. Fuck, right now I have a bit of indigestion, and want to expend my being into something, to FEEL, and so I write. I am a little bloated after breakfast, because I know my set-point of Self-love has been hyper-vigilantly controlled after my morning spin – it’s like I am now able to maintain that “threshold pace” for the day after starting on that note. I am close to changing, to choosing Yoga in the morning instead of spinning. My legs are so tired from spinning and I don’t enjoy it. I love running, and want to heal so that I can run and do it out of enjoyment rather than compulsivity. To settle in the groundlessness of not knowing how the world will be tomorrow, maybe I run, maybe I don’t. To love myself enough to trust in the adaptation process. To have my drives stem from a place of utterly compassionate self-love and a deep desire for self-care. That’s why I didn’t aimlessly walk around today, aimlessly trek downtown, aimlessly take my laptop to the plaza’s lib or employment services centre to punch out this post or to distractedly read or scroll though twitter feed. To side-tab endlessly at Craigslist job postings that I deep down know aren’t pursposed for me right now, healing is priority. I am so keen to help others and be of service, but see this at the time as a way to distract myself from healing Me. As I heal, I will be able to help so much, to give, to work, to be around others at this vibrational level in a balance of giving, receiving, wholesomely. It’s 10:17am, and in my head I know I’m counting down the time until lunch, kind of. I see how I fill my time with emptying and filling, as a means to play out a supposed life in the set-point I am at. I wish to raise my self-love set-point. I am starting with breath and awareness.
No phone at the table.
Finding my “still-pointed awareness” prior to meals
Connecting, meaningfully to others that uplift me
Seeking inspiration from other Wild Women
Slowly letting go; cultivating curiosity with letting go of my “anchors” that aren’t serving me
Using muscle testing when I am uncertain of my path
Trusting that the universe has my back
Dear little Melanie,
I love you,
Please forgive me,
Food cravings are often confounded in media towards sweet and fatty foods. When sitting down for a meal, are you mindful of what your body is craving? Steak (low in iron), veggies (alkaline/acidic), ginger (antiinflammatory), or anything else. Whether your body is acidic, alkaline or nutrient-deficient, the body language speaks in hints and whispers to tell us what we need. Often we seek the advice of health professionals, external resources once illness ensues, in order to get the answer we seek. But if our own bodies are posing the questions, should we not know the answers ourselves? We are all we need to be happy and healthy, and when we tune into our body’s requests, bringing mindful awareness into and around feeding, rest, and our fundamental needs, we will not reach the point of illness. And if we do, if we listen, often our own voices are enough to tell us how to heal and repair.
Think of a pregnant woman, nurturing inside her a child. She will have these fluctuating and demanding food cravings. Some, seemingly bizarre. As a mother is carrying a child, we are also carrying inside us our inner child. We have food and specific flavour cravings, but unlike an expecting mother, we are often taught mixed signals about suppressing our needs in favour of work and other demands. A mother knows the critical importance of feeding her child, but we often sideline and back-burn our needs as adults. These whispers and pleas from our body build up, we get confused, and often end up reaching for a sugar hit when stress accumulates and we have forgone our needs for too long. Our inner child needs to be addressed; our awareness needs not be clouded. When we practice mindfulness around body signals and tuning into our body’s language, we learn intuitive eating, just as an expecting mother does when she craves certain things that the baby needs. However in society, an expecting mother is given the space to help the child grow. Her purpose is for giving the baby the best care it can in order to grow. Society doesn’t give space for adults alike to learn this, let along children. Our purposes lie in the roles society subliminally guides us to through social norms. Be that work, school, parenting, caring for others before ourselves. We cannot help others if we have not yet helped ourselves. So, we must relearn to listen. In this way, we can learn to give our bodies what they need instead of suppressing requirements in favour of what society deems priority.
It seems that the idea behind self-love by treating your inner child with love and proper nourishment is thought to be insignificant and selfish versus necessary and self-interested. So our busyness leads us to a block with our awareness channel of our minds to our bodies, and we get sick, overweight and unhappy. We cannot change other people’s stigmas on the need for our health as a priority, but we can change our own belief systems. We can start by understanding the need to nourish our inner child. After all, we are the beings that were so cared for in the womb. We owe it to ourselves to attend to ourselves with as much care and intention. It is time for us to treat ourselves as our little child versions, as did our caregivers and mothers.
Start with mindfulness around your needs. Before eating, take a brief second or a walk around the block if you can spare it, and inquire to your body what it is craving. This takes time and a healthy dose of self-interest (not selfishness) to devote yourself to your own health. Remember, without this space for yourself, your body’s voice will be muffled or silenced, resulting in a buildup of cravings, eventually a crash. Beginning with a mindful practice around eating opens opportunity to truly nourish your body instead of ending up confused, deprived, famished and ill.