Tag Archives: Dis-ordered Eating

Day of Rest

softdexterConfession: Even though I don’t talk about it as much as I did, I am still missing Dexter something awful. I was looking through my archive of journals this morning for something specific I wanted to write more about, stumbled across my entry from the day Dexter died, and maybe partly because Sam and Eric were gone on a walk and I was alone and knew no one would hear me or be upset by it, I started sobbing. It seems harder to “get over” this loss because I still wasn’t really over losing Obi or Kelly when “it” happened again. And to be quite honest, since I’m confessing, coming clean, in the past five or six years really awful stuff has happened, much of which I didn’t talk about here, either because it was someone else’s stuff or because the consequences of speaking out were too great. Add that to the fact I’m an introvert and Highly Sensitive Person who is easily overwhelmed and it’s a toxic mess.

Stress, suffering comes from resisting what is happening, when things aren’t going the way we wanted, and no matter how evolved we might be, how able we are to stay with, cope with the hard stuff, no one wants to see those they love suffer, get sick, or die. My delusion that I should be able to help, to fix it, and smashing myself to bits if I can’t, only adds more suffering.

Continuing in the spirit of confession, yesterday I ate an entire bag of Smart Puffs. They are all natural, gluten and trans fat free with no preservatives, and an entire bag is 630 calories, which is less than a Big Mac or a Peanut Buster Parfait, but still it was a deliberate binge. I was tired, frustrated that my energy wasn’t keeping up with everything I wanted to do, so I took a break to watch TV, a really good show from Mike Birbiglia, My Girlfriend’s Boyfriend. I finished off the tail end of a bag, less than 10 puffs, could have stopped right there, but made the decision to open a new bag. Multiple times I made the decision to keep going, keep eating, and eventually finished the whole bag.

(This video has been helping me to be gentle with myself when I eat something I think I shouldn’t, I remember his sweet little voice listing off everything he’d eaten, groan about how it was too much, and it makes me smile, have a sense of humor about it rather than beating myself up)

Underneath any binge is always the collection of all the other hard stuff I haven’t quite been able to deal with, all the bad stuff that’s happened, the things I’m sad or worried about, what’s been lost, the various times and ways I’ve abandoned or denied myself.

The bottom line, whether you weigh 340 pounds or 150 pounds, is that when you eat when you are not hungry, you are using food as a drug, grappling with boredom or illness or loss or grief or emptiness or loneliness or rejection. Food is only the middleman, the means to the end. Of altering your emotions. Of making yourself numb. Of creating a secondary problem when the original problem becomes too uncomfortable. Of dying slowly rather than coming to terms with your messy, magnificent, and very, very short—even at a hundred years—life. The means to these ends happens to be food, but it could be alcohol, it could be work, it could be sex, it could be cocaine. Surfing the Internet. Talking on the phone.

For a variety of reasons we don’t fully understand (genetics, temperament, environment), those of us who are compulsive eaters choose food. Not because of its taste. Not because of its texture or its color. We want quantity, volume, bulk. We need it—a lot of it—to go unconscious. To wipe out what’s going on. The unconsciousness is what’s important, not the food. ~Geneen Roth, Women Food and God.

whatareyouhungryforI am rereading Geneen Roth’s Women Food and God. You already know, if you’ve been reading, that I am working with a therapist who specializes in dis-ordered eating. I’m also starting a book group with the book Intuitive Eating led by Rachel Cole. I’m making an effort, but in other ways I am surrendering, letting go of effort, letting go of pushing and trying and forcing. I also am back to weighing the most I’ve ever weighed, after losing this same 20 pounds six years ago, having hired a trainer and started yoga and even running and going on yet another diet, starving myself down to what seemed acceptable. Slowly the weight came back — some due to more food less movement, some because of the shame I felt being called obese by someone who was supposed to be helping me, some of it because my body is changing and my metabolism and energy levels just aren’t what they were — but mostly because I wasn’t dealing with the underlying issues.

Brave Belly

When you believe without knowing you believe that you are damaged at your core, you also believe that you need to hide that damage for anyone to love you. You walk around ashamed of being yourself. You try hard to make up for the way you look, walk, feel. Decisions are agonizing because if you, the person who makes the decision, is damaged, then how can you trust what you decide? You doubt your own impulses so you become masterful at looking outside yourself for comfort. You become an expert at finding experts and programs, at striving and trying hard and then harder to change yourself, but this process only reaffirms what you already believe about yourself — that your needs and choices cannot be trusted, and left to your own devices you are out of control. ~Geneen Roth

I don’t want to keep doing this, cycling through restriction and binging, punishment and control followed by rebellion, shame and smashing myself to bits. I’ve lost all sense of what my authentic body might be and I want to discover it, that point at which I am both happy and well, sane and healthy. I want to reach the point where I can stay open to what is happening, show up for what is exactly as I am, to feel the full weight of how sad I am, how much I have lost, allowing how much it’s going to hurt. And the one thing I know for sure — it’s not about the food.

Day of Rest

Being a dis-ordered eater sucks. Sometimes I get so sick of it, so tired of trying to change that I sink into feeling I will never ever ever be rid of this way of being. And to be clear, it isn’t even about the restricting and binging, isn’t about food at all, but rather my struggle to process the intensity of my experience, to control what is impossible to contain, to soothe myself, comfort the feeling of overwhelm, numb the sadness, the suffering caused by both too much and not enough.

I was really feeling this yesterday morning. In a few weeks, Andrea Scher is going to take some pictures for me, of me, and I am starting to feel a whole lot of anxiety around that. I’m not happy with how I look right now, have no idea what I’m going to wear, keep calculating how much weight I could lose if I starved myself and did extra cardio for the next few weeks, “you are obese” ringing in my head even though I am the same size as the average American woman. It’s exhausting.

When I pulled a card from my tarot deck, like I’ve been doing every morning, I asked for help, for clarity and guidance, asked how I can shift this situation. I pulled the Mother of Swords, “Sharp Perceptions,” with the warning that there’s “a potential for her criticism to soar.” Very clearly the message was that I have the power to heal myself through awareness but that I have to be gentle, practice self-compassion, not slip into smashing myself to bits — again, it’s not really about healing my relationship with food but rather with myself.

motherofswordsAnd this healing isn’t about restriction or control or change at all, it’s about renunciation. By that I mean the Buddhist concept of renunciation, which is not just rejection of something but rather a way of saying “yes” to life, to feeling, to the present moment and whatever it might bring. In her book The Wisdom of No Escape: How to Love Yourself and Your World, Pema Chödrön says,

Trungpa Rinpoche once said, “Renunciation is realizing that nostalgia for samsara is full of shit.” Renunciation is realizing that our nostalgia for wanting to stay in a protected, limited petty world is insane.

…that’s fundamentally renunciation: learning how to let go of holding on and holding back.

We don’t, out of fear of the unknown, have to put up these blocks, these dams, that basically say no to life and to feeling life.

The whole journey of renunciation, or starting to say yes to life, is first of all realizing that you’ve come up against your edge, that everything in you is saying no, and then at that point, softening. This is yet another opportunity to develop loving-kindness for yourself.

There is something in this concept of renunciation, this coming up against my edge, this shift from rejecting to letting the world touch me, allowing myself to be vulnerable, softening and opening, that makes me want to lean in.

compassionquoteSo there it is, the perfect example of how my sharp perceptions will facilitate healing. I got the card and in thinking about what it meant, I pretty immediately thought of renunciation, and knew the way Pema describes it would be the place to look, and it totally makes sense as the key and ties back to the card, how it says that there is the potential for criticism to soar and Pema says renunciation is about softening, being gentle. And as I was writing this in my journal, I notice the quote on the next page, “the body is your temple, keep it pure and clean for the soul to reside in,” and it’s from B.K.S. Iyengar, founder of Iyengar Yoga, considered one of the foremost yoga teachers in the world. I start yoga teacher training in a few months, which is another key part of my healing practice, because as Jen Lemen said recently, “a huge barrier to joy is the refusal to live in our actual bodies.” It’s like a “wink, wink, nudge, nudge” from the Universe — you are on the right track, Sugar.

And finally, in case I didn’t get it yet, my meditation practice is a video Susan Piver made for the Open Heart Project, Working with Self-Judgement.

The Universe does conspire to help you, if you show up. A leaf dropped in your path, a card, a line of poetry, a video, a kind word, help when you hadn’t even asked, the memory of an idea that you look for finding it to be the exact wisdom you needed in this very moment — the clear message that I can figure this out, can trust myself, but also to take care, be gentle and kind. Today, I am resting in this.

Something Good

1. Oh, hell yes, from the Bloggess.

2. On Starting Over Again, from Lisa Congdon.

3. How Depression Serves Us on Elephant Journal.

4. I need to find a dance studio, stat: Watch this 2-year-old and her mom break it down to Beyonce on Hello Giggles.

5. You are not broken or in need of fixing, a beautiful poem on Many Voices, a Sounds True blog.

6. Wisdom from Thomas Merton,

To allow oneself to be carried away by a multitude of conflicting concerns, to surrender to too many demands, to commit to too many projects, to want to help everyone in everything is itself to succumb to the violence of our times. Frenzy destroys our inner capacity for peace. It destroys the fruitfulness of our work, because it kills the root of inner wisdom which makes work fruitful.

7. 12 Storytelling Podcasts That You Need to Be Listening To on BuzzFeed.

8. Who Sees The Real You? from Soul Pancake.

9. Kids on LOVE! from Soul Pancake.

10. Wisdom in the form of a poem by Hafiz,

We have not come here to take prisoners,
But to surrender ever more deeply
To freedom and joy.

We have not come into this exquisite world
To hold ourselves hostage from love.

Run my dear,
From anything
That may not strengthen
Your precious budding wings.

Run like hell my dear,
From anyone likely
To put a sharp knife
Into the sacred, tender vision
Of your beautiful heart.

We have a duty to befriend
Those aspects of obedience
That stand outside of our house
And shout to our reason
“O please, O please,
Come out and play.”

For we have not come here to take prisoners
Or to confine our wondrous spirits,

But to experience ever and more deeply
Our divine courage, freedom, and Light!


11. Shared by Positively Present Picks: Jerk Cats Knocking Stuff Over.

12. Brene’ Brown’s new ecourse, The Gifts of Imperfection.

13. Flying Takes Getting Used To, a poem from Ken Robert.

14. Little boxes on the hillside… home to 40,000 Buddhist monks: The stunning makeshift town that has sprung up around a Tibetan monastery.

15. Pema and Me and the Essence of Life on Huffington Post, in which Robin Amos Kahn says,

The essence of life is that it’s challenging. Sometimes it’s sweet and sometimes it’s bitter. Sometimes your body tenses, and sometimes it relaxes or opens. Sometimes you have a headache, and sometimes you feel 100 percent healthy. From an awakened perspective, trying to tie up all the loose ends and finally get it all together is death, because it involves rejecting a lot of your life experience. There is something aggressive about this approach to life, trying to flatten out all the rough spots and imperfections into a nice smooth ride.

all of life is to be embraced, that all experience is here to teach us important lessons, even the most painful ones, and all human beings struggle with this at some point in their lives — it is part of being alive and connected to each other.

16. This close, another beautiful post from Christina Rosalie.

17. your daily rock : trust your heart.

18. Joy Retreat, an upcoming offering from Cidgem Kobu that’s sure to be wonderful, (because everything she does is, she is).

19. 7 Things You Should Stop Expecting from Others on Marc and Angel Hack Life.

20. How to Wish Someone Well for Real in a Way that Will Blow Your Heart Wide Open from Danielle LaPorte.

21. Still Writing, a review of Dani Shapiro’s new book on A Design So Vast. I just started reading Dani’s book Devotion this weekend, and can’t wait for her latest. In Still Writing, Dani shares this quote,

The good writer seems to be writing about himself, but has his eye always on that thread of the Universe which runs through himself and all things. ~Ralph Waldo Emerson.

22. Wisdom on the Buddhist teaching of emptiness,

The actual teachings on emptiness imply an infinitely open space that allows for anything to appear, change, disappear, and reappear. The basic meaning of emptiness, in other words, is openness, or potential. At the basic level of our being, we are “empty” of definable characteristics.

23. Adorable Brothers and Best Friends: Baby and His Dog Share Strong Bond, cute pictures on Dog Heirs.

24. living ether, from Doorways Traveler.

25. How Sweet It Is, Kat McNally saying sweet things.

26. Wisdom from Tama J. Kieves,

When you’re tired, you don’t feel creative, hopeful, capable or blessed. You can’t touch the light or depths. Rest is the first step to flight. Our culture runs us ragged. Go against the grain. Don’t be so “productive.” Rest and let the sunshine break through the clouds in your soul.

27. 25 Examples Of Artistic Watercolor Tattoos from Bored Panda.

28. Go Outside: mini-mission from Be More With Less.

29. Danielle LaPorte: Living With Fire And Desire, an interview on Good Life Project.

30. Thank You from Mystic Vixen. *sob*

31. October Notes from Jeff Oaks.

32. Why Self-Compassion Helps You Meet Life’s Challenges on Psychology Today.

33. On Publication Day from Dani Shapiro.

34. This Is The Most Inspiring Yet Depressing Yet Hilarious Yet Horrifying Yet Heartwarming Grad Speech on Upworthy. Really, you should watch it — it’s awesome.

35. Is Disordered Eating The New Normal? on Do You Yoga.

36. A Note from the Universe, “Jill, you’ve done better than you know. You’ve helped more than you realize. And you’re closer than you think.”

37. Wisdom from Dr. Clarissa Pinkola Estès,

Be wild; that is how to clear the river. The river does not flow in polluted, we manage that. The river does not dry up, we block it. If we want to allow it its freedom, we have to allow our ideational lives to be let loose, to stream, letting anything come, initially censoring nothing. That is creative life. It is made up of divine paradox. To create one must be willing to be stone stupid, to sit upon a throne on top of a jackass and spill rubies from one’s mouth. Then the river will flow, then we can stand in the stream of it raining down.

38. Wisdom from Pema Chödrön,

Basic wakefulness, natural openness, is always available. This openness is not something that needs to be manufactured. When we pause, when we touch the energy of the moment, when we slow down and allow a gap, self-existing openness comes to us. It does not require a particular effort. It is available anytime. As Chögyam Trungpa once remarked, “Openness is like the wind. If you open your doors and windows, it is bound to come in.”

39. Neglected Ducks Get Their First Swim on Elephant Journal. This is what real joy, true freedom looks like.

40. Rachel Cole on The Fulfilling Life an interview with Kelly J. Dahl.

41. A new post from Hyperbole and a Half: Menace.

Something Good

1. Writing and Speaking for Introverts, from Chris Guillebeau on The Art of Non-Conformity.

2. Good stuff from Alexandra Franzen: And So It Goes and “If all else fails…” 10 of the BEST possible worst case scenarios and Terrified Of Missing Out? (Me, Too.) 31 Mantras For Me – And You!

3. Good stuff from Marc and Angel Hack Life: 6 Things You Will Regret About Today and 7 Questions to End Your Week With and 6 Reasons Your Relationship is Suffering.

4. Dear Body, by Vivienne McMaster on Kind Over Matter.

5. Jason Sudeikis, Ed Helms Parody Mumford & Sons in Band’s Video on Mashable. I like it when people can laugh at themselves, don’t take themselves so seriously.

6. Wisdom from Sakyong Mipham, “If we do not appreciate the sensitivity and subtlety of the human heart, how can we appreciate the sensitivity and subtlety of the natural world?”

7. Let’s Talk About Dogs and Euthanasia: When Is It Time? Should You Be Present? a good article by a vet on Dogster about an important topic if you live with and love a dog. I have made this decision twice for my dogs, determined when it was time, when their suffering had surpassed their quality of life, and needed to be there with them, was lucky enough to be, but that might not be the right decision for everyone.

8. Rawness of Remembering: Restorative Journaling Through Difficult Times a new class offered by Esmé Weijun Wang.

9. Good stuff from Be More With Less: How to Master the Art of Slowing Down and Simplicity is Not a Destination.

10. Sex Everyday for a Year from Brittany Herself.

11. How my cat Refurb accidentally raised nearly $1000 for charity.

12. Why I changed my mind on weed by Dr. Sanjay Gupta. I wish more people would take the time to do the research before forming an opinion, before passing judgement — but I think that about just about everything.

13. Somebody Went And Wrote the Ultimate Craigslist Missed Connection on Gawker.

14. You are enough. by Sherry Richert Belul.

15. Amy McCracken on 3x3x365, talking about grief, explains so perfectly what it’s like to live it. And just four days later, she shares the best news ever.

16. Vegan Zucchini Corn Fritters recipe. We have so much zucchini right now that I have an eye out for new ways to eat it. We are also going to try it as a pizza topping.

17. Dear Condescending Advertising Agencies: This Is What Your Ads For Women Look Like on Upworthy. In other advertising news, my dog Sam has real issues with the Kia Hamsters.

18. a ten point guide : the myth and magic of homo sapien introvertus in which Sas Petherick suggests the perfect introvert motto, “I’m okay, you’re okay. Please leave soon.”

19. Burglars Return Stolen Computers To Nonprofit With Heartfelt Apology Note on Huffington Post.

20. A beautiful art installation and explanation from the artist, originally shared by Karen Walrond on her blog Chookooloonks,

21. Crowdsourcing Hope from Hopeful World.

22. So much cuteness (and reminds me so much of my Dexter), As promised, more pics of my half German Shepherd Dog, half Norwegian Elkhound named Reboot! on Reddit.

23. From the Positively Present Picks list: Recipe Remedy, 5 Ways to Get Out of a Slump, 5 Tips to Stop Making Comparisons and Feeling Bad About YourselfConquer Clutter in a Month Infographic, and this wisdom from Robert Brault,

Optimist: Someone who figures that taking a step backward
after taking a step forward is not a disaster, it’s a cha-cha.

24. Emerging Women, October 10th-13th in Boulder Colorado. Just another thing to add to the list of amazing things happening that I won’t be doing but probably would if I had unlimited time, energy, and funding.

25. Wisdom from Geneen Roth on Facebook,

I think I’ve probably told you all this before, but I thought about it again this morning and so wanted to write about it again… My friend Natalie Goldberg once told me that we are always practicing something and most of us practice suffering. That really touched me. In each moment, depending on where our attention is, we are either practicing being awake, being presence, or being caught up in our stories. The past, the future. What he or she did, what I will do when, when a particular thing happens and I will finally be happy. You know the way it goes. So, in this very moment, what are you practicing?

When I remembered what Natalie said, I was practicing a familiar kind of suffering. I was believing one of my top ten stories about what’s wrong with me. And then, the moment I remembered what my friend said, I realized I had a choice. I could stop. Right now. Then I noticed that the sun came out in my body. I felt lighter. I felt free. The moment you realize you have a choice, the moment you stop being enthralled by your own fantasy, everything changes. It’s as if a bubble pops and you wake up from your own dream. So–what are you practicing right now?

26. Dancers Among Us, a beautiful set of images.

27. Does anyone know how to stop binge eating? from the Institute for the Psychology of Eating.

28. A Couple Leaves their Jobs to Build a House of Windows in the Mountains of West Virginia from This is Colossal.

29. How to Do Yoga With Your Cats, a sweet and funny video, (and P.S. most cats I’ve known would murder you if you attempted this).

30. This wisdom from Sharon Salzberg,

It is never too late to turn on the light. Your ability to break an unhealthy habit or turn off an old tape doesn’t depend on how long it has been running; a shift in perspective doesn’t depend on how long you’ve held on to the old view. When you flip the switch in that attic, it doesn’t matter whether its been dark for ten minutes, ten years or ten decades. The light still illuminates the room and banishes the murkiness, letting you see the things you couldn’t see before. It’s never too late to take a moment to look.

31. Dear Diary, from Jeff Oaks, in which he suggests, “Let it go. See what happens.”

32. Good stuff from Tiny Buddha: Stuff We Don’t Need: 5 Reasons Why It Doesn’t Lead to Happiness, Discovering the Elusive Truth and Falling in Love with Yourself, Finding Life Through Death: How Loss Teaches Us to Appreciate More, and Wabi Sabi: Find Peace by Embracing Flaws and Releasing Judgment.

33. Will this be the scariest thing I’ve ever done? in which Satya of Writing Our Way Home talks about her plans for a three week digital sabbatical.

34. Choosing to be formidable from Seth Godin. I want to be someone who is “magic about to happen.”

35. Hungry for the Impossible from Rachel Cole. (P.S. Her next session of Ease Hunting starts September 2nd, I took the first and highly, wholeheartedly recommend it).

36. Danielle Ate the Sandwich interview on Living Myth Media. I especially loved her last answer.

37. The story of Aero on K9Runner. If our Sam had been a bit older when Animal House rescued him, this story could have been his. I am so grateful for the people at Animal House and the volunteers like Pete who commit to giving dogs without a home another chance.

38. Caught this guy playing with himself. Don’t let the title fool you, this is one of the cutest, sweetest videos ever.

39. This wisdom from the Karmapa, Ogyen Trinley Dorje, from the book Beyond Anger: How to Hold On to Your Heart and Your Humanity in the Midst of Injustice

We all depend on one another. For this reason, whenever we act according to self-interest, sooner or later our selfish aims are bound to clash with the aims of the people we rely upon to accomplish our own goals. When that happens, conflicts will inevitably arise. As we learn to be more balanced in valuing others’ concerns with our own, we will naturally find ourselves involved in fewer and fewer conflicts. In the meantime, it is helpful to acknowledge that conflicts are the logical outcome of this combination of self-interest and interdependence. Once we recognize this, we can see that conflicts are nothing to feel shocked or offended by. Rather, we can address them calmly and with wisdom.

40. “All of us have special ones who have loved us into being.” *sob* 10 seconds isn’t going to be nearly enough, Mr. Rogers.

41. What Is a Diet vs. a Way of Eating? from Anna at Curvy Yoga. She’s so smart.

42. Meditation Practice is Your Ultimate Best Friend on Elephant Journal.

Self-Compassion Saturday: Anne-Sophie Reinhardt

Today is the first official day of the World Domination Summit, (WDS). I am trying not to be jealous or feel sad when I look at all the pictures and updates being posted on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. It’s kind of like having to stay home from summer camp or missing a school field trip because you are sick, knowing how much fun everyone is having, feeling a little left out and sorry for yourself. And yet, I know it was the right thing for me to not go this year, that Dexter needed me here, that I need the time to grieve his loss, (and besides, I spent so much money on it last year, I really couldn’t justify spending more, again, so soon).

One of the best things about WDS is the people you meet, the connections you make with those who are doing similar work and have similar ideas, who share your intentions and your experience. Last year at WDS, I was lucky enough to meet Anne-Sophie Reinhardt. Without planning to, we kept running into each other over the course of the weekend, sitting together and talking about the things we had in common. I didn’t get to spend nearly enough time with her. She has the biggest heart, makes you feel immediately safe and at ease, and she has the best smile, the greatest laugh.

annesophiewds2013

Anne-Sophie in a WDS hammock, 2013

Anne-Sophie Reinhardt is a body image expert, self-love advocate and the author of Love Your Body The Way It Is. Join her newsletter and receive your free 3-part video series helping you to break free from your obsession with food and your body. On her website’s about page she says,

For the longest time, I was caught in a circle of self-doubt and self-loathing. Now, I’m free, confident and happy with myself and my body. My mission is to help you achieve the same.

And,

I write on, teach and live self-love and body-love. Sometimes, I even breathe it … I believe that every single woman can find peace around food and her body. I dream of creating a world where women love themselves unabashedly, completely and guiltlessly.

I am so grateful for the work Anne-Sophie is doing, the difference she is making, to me and in the world. And I am so happy to be able to share her perspective on self-compassion with you today.

annesophie

1. What does self-compassion mean, what is it? How would you describe or define it?

To me, self-compassion means having a binge and not beating yourself up. It means looking in the mirror and saying to yourself: Yes, love, your stomach isn’t perfect, but I love you anyway. It means laughing when you make a mistake instead of going into self-attack and it means responding to your ever-present critic in the head with a loud and clear “Fuck You”.

Self-compassion is a skill that every woman can learn. It’s a process that you commit to and once you decide to go from self-attacking mode to self-compassionate mode, your life completely changes.

Self-compassion helps to heal broken hearts and wounded souls. It’s the elixir of self-care and the golden heart of a self-loving person.

Self-compassion also means taking a bath at the end of a hard day, learning to say no when you’re exhausted and hell yes when something really exciting. Self-compassion doesn’t always feel good to you but it’s always good for you.

2. How did you learn self-compassion? Did you have a teacher, a guide, a path, a resource, a book, a moment of clarity or specific experience?

Big question. I think that I’m still very much on the path to learning self-compassion. I never had a specific teacher or even a guru, but through my recovery from anorexia, I’ve read a lot, sat in meditation for days, tried, failed and tried again. I’ve learned to first not act on the constant critic’s advice and then I learned to respond to it in a different way. There were days when it was easy not to be so very hard on myself and there were and still are many days, where WWIII is happening in my body and mind.

Two steps forward. One step back.

That’s reality, life and a true self-loving path. If you can accept that, truly accept it, then you’re one step closer to a wholly self-compassionate life.

3. How do you practice self-compassion, what does that experience look like for you?

My number one way of showing self-compassion is to nourish my body with healthful, delicious food. I’ve been negating myself food for 14 years and it’s still my weakness. Another way to practice self-compassion is meditation. For about 8 months, I’ve been meditating every morning instead of running to the computer and letting the craziness of the day into my world. This lets me start my day with deep introspection and I always feel more balanced, which leads to being kinder to myself.  I often treat myself to a mani/pedi when I’m in a big self-attack mode or I simply go for a walk in nature, which never fails to ground me and helps me to see what’s really important. Also, when I had a fight with a loved one or I’ve made a mistake, I am kinder with myself as I used to be. It takes presence and practice in those moments, but the more often I do it the more intuitive a self-compassionate response gets.

4. What do you still need to learn, to know, to understand? What is missing from your practice of self-compassion, what do you still struggle with?

Lots of things. How to not be so hard on myself when my business doesn’t do as well as I’d like it to go. How to be at peace even when I can’t work out for a few days. How to be present and grateful for being myself instead of always looking for the future. I still need to understand what complete peace of mind feels like, but I trust the process and I know that one day soon, I’ll know or I won’t. Either way, I’ll be more grounded, happier and kinder to myself and others.

MG_0432-Anne-kl1

I am so grateful for Anne-Sophie, for her responses — so genuine, just like her. I love how she described self-compassion as “the golden heart of a self-loving person.” To find out more about Anne-Sopie, to connect with her:

Next on Self-Compassion Saturday: Susan Piver.

P.S. If you didn’t see the first post in this series, you might want to read Self-Compassion Saturday: The Beginning.

Something Good (Part One)

1. Todd McLellan’s ‘Things Come Apart’ Showcases Beautiful Photos Of Disassembled Technology on Huffington Post. So cool.

2. Worst Client Comments Turned Into Posters on Bored Panda.

3. Rest in Peace, Clifford, a beautiful meditation on death and the loss of furry ones by Elizabeth Gilbert.

I had to say goodbye this weekend to my dear cat Clifford — the king of all cats, heart of my heart, coolest of the cool, best of the best, friend to the whole world — who had finally, after a life that was both deeply noble and entirely absurd, reached his end.

We haz sad.

Clifford came to us nearly six years ago from the animal shelter, by way of a supermarket parking lot, where he had been found wandering hungry. He has certainly never been hungry since, as you can see by his comfortable girth in this photo. We never had the first idea how old he was, or anything about his backstory. I only know that chose him above all others at the shelter because of his giant Falstaffian belly, because of his slightly drunken-looking face (not a day has passed that I don’t laugh whenever I lay eyes on him), because of his purr (the loudest I have ever heard), but mostly because the way he fitted himself deeply into my arms the moment I picked him up. Saturday night, I held him in my arms again while he floated off peacefully.

While it was clearly Clifford’s time to go (as I joked in tears to a friend, “What kind of unfair God would pluck a geriatric, diabetic, toothless animal with arthritic legs and increasing incontinence right from the prime of his life?”) it is still heartbreaking. We love our furry-headed friends in a way that is different, more inexplicable, and more tender than other kinds of love, and when they go, it makes us ache to our core.

But here is what I keep thinking. I met a monk once in India who told me that one of the karmic roles of our beloved pets (“part of their service,” he said) is to come into our lives as teachers. They are sent here not only to teach us how to love, but also to teach us how to die — because they do it so well, and so uncomplainingly. We need these lessons, you see, because we are so famously bad at death, we humans. We are so afraid of it, so angry at it, so resistant to it. But our furry-heads, they see death differently. And as they slip away from us, they try to show us, “Watch me do this: It’s really not that difficult. You just have to let go…”

Thank you, Clifford. You did great. I watched carefully. I tried to learn. I will always love you. There will never be another like you.

3. Sara Bareilles’s new video for her latest song, Brave.

4. Food is Gross, and this blog is funny.

5. What I Ate Wednesday: Intuition on Back to Her Roots.

6. Two photo apps that I really want, but will only work on my ipod: A Beautiful Mess and Over.

7. Anne Lamott on writing,

I get to start a new section of something I’m working on, which means, all the bad voices will be sitting on my bed when I wake up; and they will have already had coffee. But I will drown them out by getting to work. They will talk more loudly: “You’re beating a dead horse. The well has run dry. It’s all over for England.” But I’ll push back my sleeves and plunge in. Things will go badly, and I’ll make lots of mistakes, but I’ll also make some progress on getting a shitty first draft down on paper–and at that point, I will be halfway home.

8. Thoughts on Creative Joy and a Lightbulb Moment by Tracey Clark.

9. Shy Dog Studio. I saw this painting at the emergency vets last week when we were there for Dexter’s physical therapy appointment. I love it. It reminds me of Sam, but I loved it even more when I found out that Nicole, one of our favorite staff members, is the painter.

shydogstudio

10. Sacred Love: 12 Things at the Bottom of Everything from Rachel Maddox.

11. Are you Tired of Life? Encouragement for the Overworked, Stressed and Exhausted from The Freedom Experiment.

12. soundtrack to your life | anna guest-jelley from Sas Petherick. I adore Anna Guest-Jelley (and Sas, of course) and especially love this part of the interview, “How do you take care of your body? By listening to what it actually wants, rather than telling it what it should have/do/be.” Amen.

13. I Have An Eating Disorder And No One In My Life Knows by Kristen Forbes on Role/Reboot.

14. Girl Talk: I Don’t Know What I Weigh — The Case for Stepping Off the Scale by Claire Mysko on The Frisky, in which she says,

The choices you make about what you eat, how much you exercise, how proactive you are about attending to your physical and emotional well-being — those are the choices that impact your health. The number on the scale might change as you make healthier or less healthy choices. But you know what? It might not. A woman who binge eats will be healthier if she starts seeing a good therapist who can help her curb the disordered eating behavior and address the underlying issues that fuel it. Whether or not that results in weight loss isn’t the point. If I suddenly start eating more crap takeout food and start taking cabs everywhere, I will definitely have less cash. I will probably have less energy. It might affect my blood pressure and my cholesterol. Will I gain weight? Maybe. Again, not the point. I gained and lost weight through years of disordered eating (and believe me, I tracked the number by the minute in those days). I was in a “healthy” weight range when I was a raging bulimic. Bingeing and purging? It ain’t healthy. The reality is that weight is not a reliable or holistic indicator of a person’s health.

15. Zach Sobiech died today. I knew it’s how his story would end (how all our stories will end) but that doesn’t mean my heart didn’t break a little anyway. While he was here, he lived.

16. Why I Don’t Diet – An Ode to My Father.

17. 59 Reasons We’re Going To Miss “The Office” on Buzzfeed.

18. On being uprooted. Or, finding home. from Sherry at Simply Celebrate.

19. Serving Sizes.

20. Milla Jovovich on The Conversation.

Uh-oh! I got so excited that I pushed publish before I was done making my list. Part two is on its way.

Not Knowing Where to Start

This is one of those posts, kind and gentle reader, that is at this moment as much of a mystery to me as it is to you. All day I have been thinking about what I wanted to tell you, what I had to say, to share, without being sure exactly what I would write. There is a big shift happening in my life right now but it’s not entirely clear to me how this is going to work out so I haven’t formed a neat and tidy way of communicating it. All I know for sure is that I want to tell you the truth.

I finally had an appointment with my new doctor. I have been struggling with fatigue for the past few years, have hypothyroidism and a family history of diabetes, (all kinds, on both sides), am most likely perimenopausal, and don’t get enough rest. I am a highly functioning food addict who has struggled with disordered eating for 30+ years, having gained, lost, and regained the same 20 pounds at least that many times. I want to be free of it, this struggle and dis-ease. I want to be strong, healthy, and whole, with the energy and stamina necessary to do the work I long to do, to live a full life.

Things have to to change. A series of unfortunate incidents with my previous doctors made me realize that I wasn’t being cared for as well as I should be, that I needed to seek out a new perspective, someone who would view me as a whole person (not just a body) and consider all the potential healing modalities available. I chose someone who practices Integrative Medicine, which according to her, “evaluates the patient as a whole. It does not view the patient as a chronic disease, an illness, a list of medications, or a recent hospitalization–but rather as a complex being made up of physical, mental/emotional, and spiritual parts all interdependent and woven together. All of these elements are respectfully addressed in developing strategies to treat illness and more aggressively prevent disease.” Sounds great, doesn’t it?

It was good. But, we have some work to do. I have something to teach her about dealing with people who have a history of dis-ordered eating and self-loathing. For starters: don’t call them obese, no matter what the BMI chart says. And for heaven’s sake, don’t call them obese repeatedly. Call them curvy, solid, voluptuous, thick, full, well-rounded, sturdy, slightly heavier than optimal, weighted down–but don’t call them obese.

Brave Belly

I get it. I need to lose some weight. It’s the same weight I’ve been losing and gaining for years. I already knew that. I get it. It’s there, in part, because I am an incredibly sensitive and porous person, without natural thick skin or any other kind of protective barrier between myself and the energy of my environment, the suffering of every person I encounter, the meanness and brutality of life. I am easily hurt, and I eat my feelings. This in turn makes me bigger, more stable and substantial, heavier, harder to knock down, safer, calmer (at least in theory).

What she said hurt me. I’m pretty sure she thought I was confused about my situation, didn’t realize it was serious, and that this “truth” would motivate me to change. In reality, it sent me into a shame spiral. Thank goodness that same afternoon I was leaving for a retreat with Susan Piver, had a safe, supportive space to go in which to process what she’d said. I truly believe that without my practices, the support and wisdom I have access to, she would have only made things worse with that one word. I’m hoping the next time we meet, I can effectively and kindly communicate this to her so that she is better able to help the next person like me, a person who might not have the support, the tools I do to process and cope.

whole

For now, I get back to the work of educating myself. Along with Susan Piver, her support and wisdom and our shared practice, I am so grateful for the work and friendship of Rachel Cole. Both of these amazing women, (along with such writers and healers as Geneen Roth and Tara Brach), remind me to always approach myself, my struggles, with gentleness, to give myself space and compassion. In this way I can face this transition, which is going to be so difficult, with wisdom and lovingkindness–because this is so much more about loving myself than about what I do or don’t eat.

I can also count on the people in my life who love me to support me, encourage and help me, to make me smile, to laugh. Like my trainer, who after hearing what my doctor had said was extra encouraging to me when we worked out, telling me much more often than normal what a great job I was doing, (seriously, it was adorable). And my husband, who told me “we’ll figure this out, you’ll know what to do, and I’ll help you,” who loves me, is more concerned with the size of my heart and how much I love him back than a set of numbers anyway, who won’t judge me when I eat a cinnamon roll the size of my head. And my courage circle and other friends who reminded me of how much I am loved, of my real value, my truth worth. And my friends who gave me recommendations when I asked them for a kind and gentle therapist who works with dis-ordered eaters.

I can find and accept help, but more importantly I can trust myself.