Archive for April, 2011

Actually…

what a word! Actually I should, but… I choose not to.

For example, last night: Actually, I should have studied for an exam next week, but instead I chose to finish reading a wonderful book by Christoph Schlingensief. Don’t know if it’s available in English (yet), but roughly translated: “It’s so beautiful here, heaven can’t be better!” He tells the moving story of his bout with cancer.

His determination to live made me take a closer look at the oft subtle accusations which tend to float in the atmosphere in this regard, which imply that the afflicted person brought it on themself. Oh, but that’s not why I’m writing this! Actually… I want to say something else!

In the next to last chapter he said something, which really strikes a note. Again, a rough translation, as polished as I can come up with: “But the greatest concept of freedom is probably that one can solve a problem.”

That set off a spark of thoughts. I know I’ve at times thought that I would be free if I was care-free and had no problems. But when I thought about this, it hit home. Yes, when I have a problem, it inspires (at times even forces) me to be creative and come up with possible solutions. Possibilities. When a problem is solved, there is an elevating aspect of relief, and of freedom. Through taking action, I feel empowered, strong, capable.

True, I cannot always create my problems (though I do have a knack for it, I must say!) to suit my personal preference. Most of the time, in fact, they are more or less imposed on me. But it is always my choice how I deal with it. In that sense also, I am free.

So I just wanted to share these thoughts, because I felt that sentence to be so profound and meaningful.

And now to a different shade of “actually” — I actually think I’m actually going to get some studying done. Right now! 😉

April 23, 2011 at 10:04 am Leave a comment

How much weight gained after bulimia?

This was a search term someone used yesterday and which landed them here. When I see such questions, I want to address them. There is no simple answer to this. It depends on how much you weigh before recovery, your build, height and genetic influence or predisposition, I would say.

Ideal weight is relative. During the first nine or so years of my bout with bulimia and anorexia, my ideal weight was always: Less. I couldn’t be thin enough. Obviously. Then a few years before I recovered, I chose the weight I was at. It was more than at my worst, but not enough to be able to concentrate, sleep well, or feel energetic and enthusiastic. That I eventually was able to admit.

Before I started to eat “normally” I was aware that I would gain weight. I decided that I would give my body the freedom to find its own weight — whatever it wanted. That was no easy decision, but it was helpful to anticipate the discomfort ahead of time. I simply assumed that it would take a while to adjust, and maybe I would even gain more than I thought necessary. But I trusted that once my body was used to regular nutrition, it would settle down somewhere. And that is exactly what happened. For someone whose trust in just about everything had been shattered, that first experience of trusting my body was a true milestone!

After I’d spent so much time trying to be thin enough, during which I was ready and willing to do anything and everything necessary to achieve that aim, I turned it around. I was ready and willing to do anything and everything necessary to achieve a new goal: I wanted to have energy, enthusiasm and feel alive! I desperately wanted a life!

Numbers are useless, but perhaps this number will help, just to show how skewed perception can be. My “ideal weight” before recovery (although more than at my worst stages) was somewhere between 15 and 20 pounds less than what I weigh now. These days, if I lose a few pounds after having the flu, I feel crappy and under the weather. I find it truly amazing that I was able to function as well as I did with so little physical substance. The human body is truly a miracle.

April 19, 2011 at 7:00 pm 2 comments

Close quarters

Yesterday I had a totally new experience on my way back to the office. I’d run a few errands and had a heavy bag in my hand, so I decided the elevator would be a welcome reward for my efforts. A few people walked into the building after me, so I held the door open for them.

We pressed the button for the third floor. Nothing happened. I risked a sly glance at the little sign above the buttons. it said: “6 people or 450 kg”. There were only 5 of us, but 3 were rather heavy. In any case, it looked like we were stuck. One guy pressed a few buttons, but still nothing happened.

One woman said something about claustrophobia in a voice that I couldn’t tell whether she was serious or joking. Probably a little bit of both. Her possible need brought forth my inner galant heroine (I didn’t know she was there!) and I was calm and reassuring. I called someone at the office to organize help, and then we waited. In the meantime, it had gotten rather warm. Someone outside was knocking on the door. To no avail.

I wasn’t really in the mood to get stuck in an elevator yesterday, but then, I can’t say when I would be. Two thoughts comforted me. First, the confidence that eventually we would get out of there. Second, next time I’m conversing with a group of people who were once stuck in an elevator, I won’t feel left out. Not that I’ve ever been in such a conversation, but one never knows when such an experience might come in handy! Meanwhile, I sized up the other occupants, did a quick calculation and realized that we were definitely at or over the weight limit.

It’s one of those small elevators with a door outside and an inner sliding door. After ten or 15 minutes, somebody wedged his fingers in and gave it a nudge. It worked! The door openend and we were free!

We all walked out, and the woman who’d been waiting outside stepped in with the comment: “It does that sometimes when there are too many people.” Calling to mind the best way to overcome a traumatic experience, I stepped back in and rode up to the third floor. This morning I took the elevator as well. No problem.

Later on, it occurred to me that the elevator taught a lesson. It knows exactly what its limits and boundaries are, and is not willing to budge a millimeter if they are overstepped! If it had moved a few feet and stopped, we would have been stuck between floors. So, the moral of the story is: Know thy boundaries! Everyone involved could benefit!

I’m making light of this and might not be in such a good mood today if the “ordeal” had lasted an hour or two. So please, if you’ve had a truly harrowing experience in an elevator, don’t be insulted. It’s just comic relief about my own situation yesterday. Not a generalization. 🙂

April 19, 2011 at 6:35 pm Leave a comment

Source of strength

Last weekend I had a memorable experience. Although (or because?) up to my ears in school and work, I attended a one-day seminar on “Healing Circles” — to booster my emotional well being.

The instructor taught us various Shiatsu exercises for the organs of the body, and gave us a few meditative impulses. In the morning we did a “led” meditation. As usual I drifted off into my own waking dream state after the first few sentences. That is typical, and I’ve gotten used to it. I figure I get what I need, even if I can’t remember everything.

In the afternoon, another meditation was offered. This one was to lead us to a place of strength. I was determined to remain aware, as lately I’ve been lacking a sense of centeredness, and could use some rejuvenation.

After the first few sentences… I was gone once again. Images, scenes race across the movie screen in my brain. There’s nothing I can do about it. But then, suddenly a bat flew past my head. The movement and gust of air “woke” me up. As far as I know, there weren’t any bats in the seminar room, so I assume it was a product of my imagination. Whatever.

The important thing is: This little bat brought me back to the room just in time to hear the rest of the meditation! The trainer described the sun and its warm rays. In my mind I could see the glow, and felt the warmth on my body. I’d missed the description of how to envision the place or how to get there, but knew in an instant where I was.

There was a small clearing in the woods down the hill in back of the house where I grew up. As a child, I spent hours there, content in my own little world. A couple of years ago I had returned to that space — and found it completely changed, as woods do change in the course of 30 or 40 years.

The picture in my imagination was the clearing I knew as a child. A wave of happiness spread through me, and suddenly I connected with that little girl. She was around 9 years old. She was sure of herself. She didn’t wonder if she could attain her dreams. No, her concern was how to go about their realization. The sky was the limit.

After so many years of grieving the hurt, disappointed, suffering little girl who sought refuge in her eating disorder, I was surprised and delighted to come into contact with the girl before that! The one who was excited about life, who had ideas, energy, enthusiasm and trust.

So I focussed the rest of the meditation towards reactivation and integration of that connection within me — as a true source of strength. It was a profound experience of “coming home” — on various levels.

A few days later I told my mother about the experience. I was surprised — at the beginning of the meditation I was simply curious as to where it would lead me. When I started to describe the experience, she said that her first image was of that space in the woods! And a friend had the same reaction! Funny, do they know me better than I do? Or am I looking for something externally that I have within me? Does it matter? I trust that life gives me all that I need — and much of it I already have!

It was a wonderful day and certainly gave me rejuvenation and some helpful impulses for daily life. 🙂

April 17, 2011 at 11:58 am Leave a comment


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