Archive for March, 2008

Cleaning out the Closet

I thought since I’m about halfway there, I had things figured out. Today it seems that I’ve got things about halfway figured out, and nothing is definite. Spring is coming. That is a time for clearing out the old, letting go of what we don’t need, making space for the new, getting organized and cleaning up.

My oldest item which takes up the most space is: fear. Fear has been the constant in my life, never failing to accompany me and often helping me make a cautious decision, which I later regret. Letting go of the fear means I don’t have to figure everything out now. Since it is not necessary to know the end result, I can jump in anywhere.

Puttering is one of my favorite words. I love to start just by clearing the papers on my desk. Next thing I know, hours have passed and I’ve landed somewhere else in the house, leaving a trail of order behind me. Recently I was lost in speechlessness. Weeks were spent searching for an opening line, to no avail. Then a situation simply occurred and made discussion a necessity, which turned into an intense four-hour puttering in the relationship.

I tend to let housework collect and then do a marathon cleaning. The older I get, the more sense it makes to simply keep at it. I just don’t have the energy to clean the whole house in one day. Maintaining a relationship is kind of like keeping house. After this last discussion, I was exhausted, and decided I would rather keep at it regularly than let things collect.

My fears have long filled the closet and I can’t close the door anymore. Thus I am compelled to sort them through and get rid of them – one at a time, or by the handful. This can also be dealt with in the puttering mode. Once in the habit of letting go, it feels natural to go with the flow, to take risks, to talk, to face fears, to challenge, and to declare needs.

My first fears grew out of my lack of control. As a child, I was helpless. Now I am a grown woman. I do not control my environment any more now than I did then, but I am powerful and have well-developed coping mechanisms. I can deal effectively with outside influences, and I can be a source of influence.

At 5 am this morning I met 13 women in a parking lot. Together we walked uphill to a sacred spot at the base of a mountain. We celebrated Good Friday, the Spring Equinox, the full moon and the beginning of Spring. A fire was made, and each woman had the opportunity to put her burdens into the flames, that they be transformed. Some had written their wishes on a piece of paper to be burned. Others simply spoke the words and burned them symbolically, along with various herbs for clarity, cleansing and strength.

After expressing gratitude for the opportunity, I offered my fear to the fire, and asked it to transform that fear into courage and love. Night turned into day, the sky brightened, and it began to snow lightly. When we were finished, we walked back down to the parking lot, through the softly fluttering snowflakes, drove through the misty morning to the home of one of the women. There we had a hearty breakfast, with good talk and lots of laughter, to give us strength for the ongoing journey. After all, I’m only halfway there! 

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March 21, 2008 at 11:32 am 1 comment

New Garden

I suggest to you, let us stop placing this stone
at each other’s feet or before our own.

Let’s push it aside to open a door

to a healthier place we’ve been longing for.
 

There’s a Japanese garden
growing in my mind.

Creativity and necessity

caused it to be designed.

I took the boulder

that’s been on my shoulder

the one we’ve been pushing all these years,

which has caused such anguish and tears.

Yeah, so I took that rock and set it

next to a tiny pool

dreamed up a trickling stream

and some flowers on the rim.
Pink ones for the heart,

violet for the soul,

expressing spirituality

which helps to make us whole.
 

The rock is yet to be transformed.
It still weighs upon my shoulder,

brought from another lifetime

and we keep getting older.

We’ve been rolling it back and forth

weighing each other down,

caught in the silence of speechlessness

leading each other to frown.

Now I’ll add some rays of the sun,

to make us feel warm and alive.

Then this masterpiece will be done

which will help us again to thrive.
 

Come sit with me on this smooth boulder,
lean up against my lightened shoulder.

Take a moment to bathe in the sun,

soon enough there’s more work to be done.
 

March 21, 2008 at 10:20 am 1 comment

Birth

Birth is a beginning
And death a destination
And life is a journey
From childhood to maturity
And youth to age
From innocence to awareness
And ignorance to knowing
From foolishness to discretion
And then perhaps to wisdom.
From weakness to strength
Or strength to weakness
And often back again.
From health to sickness
And back we pray to health again
From offense to forgiveness
From loneliness to love
From joy to gratitude
From pain to compassion
And grief to understanding.
From fear to faith
From defeat to defeat to defeat
Until, looking backward or ahead,
We see that victory lies
Not at some high place along the way
But in having made the journey, stage by stage.
Birth is the beginning
And death the destination
And life is a journey, a sacred pilgrimage
To life everlasting.

March 20, 2008 at 4:48 pm Leave a comment

The Power of Dreams

In this context, I mean the conscious dreams or aspirations that we have. It’s not like I have nothing better to do, but I manage to think reflectively during the day and today my thoughts wandered to singing.

As I worked on my book (Diary of a Recovered Bulimic), which is comprised of journal entries over a period of 20 years, I was surprised by the frequent mention of my desire to sing. I first mention wanting to sing when I was 20. Every time the wish had come up in the past, I’d suppressed it, since I didn’t think I could sing well enough. Ten years ago, when I was 35, I suddenly realized that all I’d ever wanted to do was sing, but had never dared to pursue it. I thought this realization was a new discovery. I decided to pursue that dream and make the most of it, given my life situation and despite my age – 35 is slightly a bit old to become a rock star, but it works fine for a singer/songwriter. Since that time, I have been singing, writing songs and learning to play guitar. I have given a dozen concerts and I confess: I love standing on the stage and talking to the audience – and singing, too! 

Now that the background information has been provided, we jump into today’s reflection about the power of dreams. I’ve never been very ambitious, although I do work hard when I have a project or job to do, but just never had that sense of purpose. That has changed. I want to be the best singer I can possibly be, given my late start. This goal is what helped me give up smoking four years ago and not miss it. I didn’t want the smoking to affect my voice.

At the moment, a lot of old stuff is coming up from my past. I thought I had dealt with everything when I first recovered, but things just keep coming up anyway. Perhaps such long-term recovery and strength are necessary before the really heavy stuff can be handled. I don’t know. In any case, I am facing old fears and destructive behavior (relationship) patterns, as well as considering some major changes in my life. Some days I am tempted to just give up and forget everything. What gives me the strength and determination to continue? Singing and the desire to sing the best I can!

The voice is an extremely sensitive instrument. I have noticed in the past how it is affected by my energy level. When I am tired or under stress, I cannot sing well. Singing is also about letting go. I cannot sing well when I try hard. It has to be effortless and flowing, which is no easy task for someone with my background. As is true for many anorexics and bulimics, I have a tendency towards perfection. Since I plan to record a CD in the near future, it would be in my best interest to feel strong, well-rested, not be stressed, and to simply let go and enjoy the process. This realization more or less hit me over the head today. That is the key! I realized I am willing to go to extreme lengths, to take risks and assert myself for my voice. My voice is me!

My mind continued to wander in between chores and errands, and I felt a warm sense of gratitude spread through me. My dream gives me strength to face the more difficult tasks and situations in my life, and encouragement to cope well. My reward is the ability to sing freely and let my voice express itself fully. I’m not there yet, but since I stumbled upon this piece of clarity today, I know what I have to do.

March 11, 2008 at 4:36 pm Leave a comment

Previous Thoughts on National Eating Disorder Awareness Week

I wrote this blog recently for her circle ezine and would like to share it here as well… 

According to the National Eating Disorders Association, February 24 to March 1 is Eating Disorders Awareness Week. My own story comes to mind. Rather than go into personal detail, I would like to share what I learned in the process of recovery after 13 years of bulimarexia.

There will always be enough for me, whether it be food or love. I can say “No” to dessert or requests that demand too much of me. I can say “Yes” to dessert if I have room in my stomach, if it looks good, and if I WANT some. I do not consider that a sin. Nor do I consider it a sin to say “Yes” and do someone a favor, if I find it acceptable or within my means. Good eating is about 3 meals a day, a regular thing. It is not about diets or fasts. I feed my body regularly. It has come to depend on me for nurturing. In return, it gives me strength, energy, determination and the ability to pursue my dreams. I consider that a fair deal.

I have learned that eating is not about will power or discipline, neither of which I claim to have. It is about taking time for myself. I eat slowly and chew thoroughly. That allows me to enjoy food, prevents indigestion, and gives my body plenty of time to send the “satisfied” signal. Afterwards I feel good and can devote myself to other activities.

I admitted that I didn’t know how to eat, or what hunger and satiation felt like. I wanted to recover and enjoy life. In the process of recovery, it helped me to set up a basic food plan and commit myself to eating “normally” for six months, no matter what. That is a realistic alternative to the quick-fix mentality of this day and age. It doesn’t mean someone will lose a certain amount of weight in 10 days, but rather, that they nourish their body and let it find its own ideal weight where it can function best. This long-term approach is life-enhancing.

Recently I encountered some recovery myths in a conversation. I would like to set things straight. Now that I am healthy, I still get sad, feel lonely, screw things up, get tired, act like a child when I’m angry, don’t know everything, make mistakes, get irritable when I’m hungry, have undesirable habits, and am still rather untidy. My marriage did not improve as drastically in the long run as I’d hoped. But I also often feel happy, enjoy spending time with people, actively pursue my hobbies and derive great pleasure through them, enjoy my children, feel energetic, enjoy a good meal, love to listen to music and read. In other words, many of the less enviable qualities have remained, but health has enriched my life incredibly. 2008 is my 20th year of health.

March 9, 2008 at 3:46 pm Leave a comment

Nourishment for the Soul

At present, I am in a very difficult space and tortured with inner struggle regarding my domestic situation. This past weekend was spent in the city where I once lived for 18 years. The days were filled with good company, shared meals, and the chance to unburden my heart and receive generous feedback from friends.

During previous visits, I tended to divide the days between meeting with friends and wandering as a loner. It was a pleasure to walk around by myself, go to the movies, art exhibits, museums, cafés. After such weekends, I would come home tired and hungry, because I often am too busy and forget to eat when I’m on my own. Lately I have felt so alone in my daily life, that I felt a strong need to reach out this time and make contact with old friends. Thus I barely had a couple of hours to myself, other than the drive there and back.

With so much suffering going on in the world, it seems shameful to lose myself in such petty concerns, since I am otherwise very lucky in this life. But in the state of suffering, it is difficult to contribute to society. During the drive home, I felt incredibly strengthened. Not only had there been wonderful food at brunches, lunches, a party and a dinner, as a welcome change of pace from the frequent noodles, potatoes and rice, which my children prefer. It was more than that. I was surrounded by dear friends who care, who listened to me and offered input, sharing from their own experience. The connection to other people, the situation in which one can sit back, relax, and simply BE is what makes life special. Friends with whom I have shared many experiences and years help me feel grounded and alive. They nourish my soul.

It has always been easier for me to give than to receive, but these days I am grateful for the gifts of friendship which shower abundantly over me. There is indeed a time for everything. Now it’s my turn once again to be emotionally needy and accept the support offered by others. As I drove home, I felt tired from all the excitement, but this time I was well-fed, both physically and emotionally.

March 5, 2008 at 8:50 am Leave a comment


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