Month: October 2013

detox much?

When you have an eating disorder you can manipulate anything in your head. There is a rational thought/reason behind everything you do. Even if doesn’t make sense to others, it makes sense to you. There are even times you can convince anyone that what you are doing is alright. You are the last person to really see that you are wrong. That your action is anything but rational. It is irrational.

Eating disorders have a tendency to cling to certain words or catchphrases. “Low-cal”, “Increase *insert some word*”, “cleanse”, “detox your body”, “clarify”, “fat”, “get what you want”, “this *insert action* will give you the approval you seek”, “control”, etc…the list goes on and on and on and on. You do the action because at the end of the day you need that control. That approval. A way to change who you are because you struggle with yourself.

When in the depths of my eating disorder I had a long list of things I did not eat, my list of few foods I would eat, what I avoided like the plague , an extreme exercise addiction, and I even mis-used fiber pills/laxatives. All of my actions were because I needed control. I viewed myself as lower than others but by obeying these rules I had set up for myself, I could be up there with everyone I felt inferior to.

In the yogi lifestyle, along with dance life, even fitness, a lot of people talk about cleanses/detox’s. I had friends who did them in the spring. In the yogic medicine, Ayurveda, you do them as the seasons change. Fitness people do it to help them get to their next goal. People asked me all the time if I did cleanses. I don’t know if it is because they saw I didn’t eat a lot or just ate tons of salad, or because I was into those lifestyles. I always said no. I never agreed with cleansing because I didn’t like the idea of starving ones self in order to “cleanse the inside”. But yet, I was ALWAYS starving myself. Though the eating disorder would never call itself a cleanse because an eating disorder is a way of life. A cleanse doesn’t last long.  The idea of detoxes and cleanses always intrigued me. I thought it amazing that people could go a while without caffeine (which is an eating disorders really good friend…..mmmmm coffee for lunch! L-carnatine for snack though I will get the shakes! eye-openers because I don’t eat enough breakfast and I can’t sleep at night because I had no food and I need to be alive during my 8:15 History class) or eat nothing but black beans. Yet, it was everything I did. I didn’t drink the special teas or waters. I didn’t eat the specified times of day. I just didn’t eat. Or I just measured out my whole caloric intake up to my crazy two hour long exercise-a-thon followed by dance rehearsal. Due to this I stayed away from the cleanses. Yet, I couldn’t stay away from my eating disorder.

A few weeks ago I saw Yoga Journal promoting a fall detox. It was only a week long, and that seemed feasible. Their detox plan was food based (which a lot of detoxes aren’t food based. They restrict a lot). You ate a special rice dish three times a day, drank special teas, had a broth you had to for snacks. The  meals were based on Ayurvedic medicine for your dosha type. There was even a special yoga practice that went a long with it. Each day you did a special cleansing and detox practice to help restore your body’s balance. In the morning I was going to have my husband give me a massage with sunflower oil before I showered so I could stimulate my lymph system. In the introduction video this cleanse was promoted as a way to “prevent illness”, “align myself with the seasons”, a “whole food cleanse”, a “purification of my insides”, and a way to break nasty habits I have, along with challenging a new way of being. So I can “self heal” and see the world with a new perspective.

As an individual with gastrointestinal issues that had been controlling her life the past few weeks (because my GI didn’t want me to forget that I had IBS and stomach spasms), I felt as if this detox could restore my internal organs. Cleanse my insides and heal them.  I jumped on this wagon full force.  I was telling everyone about this detox. I was pumped! I looked forward to eating this rice dish three times a day, have my love massage me, do yoga daily, and drink this tea that actually sounded delish. I also liked the idea of a challenge. The video mentioning about how detox help manage your bad habits and push you. I love being pushed.

So in therapy I mentioned this. My therapist was skeptical (my husband was too, but instead of voicing how he really felt he supported me). But using my eating disorder brain, I used therapy buzz words and manipulated it into something that sounded ok. With his approval I went out and bought all my special foods. Sunday arrives and I rise up early to make my rice dish, tea, and cilantro chutney. It takes me all morning! I am in the kitchen cooking up a storm. As I am preparing my meal I see this last slice of cornbread that I wasn’t gonna be able to eat. The hubby was double checking the foods I could eat. He offered me coffee but I had to refuse, I could only do green tea for caffeine.  We talked about his dinners and I realized I couldn’t eat that delicious food. I had a special dessert that I couldn’t finish. Hubs was going have to finish it. There was all this food that I couldn’t eat.

My breakfast is ready. I look down at my bowl of rice, seaweed, carrots, beans, green beans, and potatoes. I have an apple with it.  It doesn’t look like breakfast food. I am unappatized. Where are my Chex? My yogurt? My Whole-Os? I want cereal. Pancakes. Eggs. Anything but this! I take one bite and I say, “I can’t do this.” My husband replied, “You already giving up? You just started.” Hearing those words “give up” sparked my eating disorder. Giving up is a negative. I ate my breakfast. I am not full. Not satiated. I am miserable. Lunch arrives. Rice dish, and a baked potato with a tiny bit of avocado. Day goes on. I am foggy, grouchy, irritable….HUNGRY. Then I realize, I am in the pits of my eating disorder. I am doing everything, feeling everything, I did pre-recovery.  In essence I was restricting myself but not with my eating disorder behavior. I had worked so hard over the past two years to eat freely. Eat that dessert, drink that extra beer, have yogurt, not measure breakfast/lunch/dinner, refrain from counting calories. But here I am restricting what foods I eat. Not feeling sharp. Feeling the sadness of not being able to eat the rest of that cornbread or foods I am now enjoying.

After that realization I gave up this detox. It put me in a very sad place. Inadvertently through all this mind manipulation, I had started down that path of my eating disorder. Like an alarm going off, my wise self, spoke up and said,”evacuate this detox!”. So I did. I snacked on that last piece of cornbread, I made a lovely cozy dinner and had a  nice stout beer for dessert. I heard my eating disorder say (which by the way his name is Melvin), “You gave up. You took the easy way out. You are a failure. You use to have such will power when I was your friend before you dropped my friendship. I say to him as I drink my beer,  “Melvin, I did not give up. I do have will power. I have the will power to give you up and stay in recovery.”

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“Dance, dance or we all are lost”

The other day my husband and I got our weekly Netflix movie. This time it was a movie I picked, Pina. I finally was able to land a copy of the documentary/movie about the famous and influential modern dance choreographer, Pina Bausch. I am sure my husband wasn’t as thrilled as I was, but being the best husband ever, he sat down and watched it with me.  It was great to share Pina with him. While he has been exposed to a lot of dance, he did after all marry a dancer, he hadn’t seen anything as gutsy, eccentric, and edgy as the work of Pina Bausch.

Pina Bausch had a flair for drama, but yet, had a way to reach into your soul with the most simplest gestures. She could even move you with her costuming, use of props, or music contrast. Bausch gave new meaning to the word dance theater.  She  used water on stage, covered the stage with dirt, had people dance with eyes closed. Bausch even did site specific pieces (dance performance at a particular site, usually outdoors). Her work even had humor. She did it all.

While watching that movie, it made me realize why I love modern dance. In modern dance anything goes.  As long as you do it with conviction, zeal, and thoughtfulness, you can create a piece that has meaning.  Modern dance gives you no boundaries. It supports open mindedness in movement. It even encourages different ways of thinking about traditional technique, movement, and conventions.

In modern dance, I am free. Compared to classical ballet where I feel as if I have to stay inside this “classical box”; in modern dance, I get to play. I can take my ballet technique and add something extra. I can roll around on the floor, dance with no music… anything is possible.

This is why I love movies like Pina. It sheds a different light on modern dance. Modern dance is viewed as being “very out there”, “I won’t understand it”, or my favorite, “is it the same as interpretive dance?”. But when someone watches work as that is as emotional and as Pina Bausch’s work, it moves you from the inside out. Modern dance is no longer “out there”. It is relate able. Understandable. Modern dance is you. Modern dance is me. Bausch does what every choreographer no matter the genre wants to accomplish: the moving and stirring of the soul.

 

Rite of Spring

New meaning to living on the edge…

Trailer for the movie

A reel of some of her last work before her death

Find out more about Pina and Tanztheater here: http://www.pina-bausch.de/en/pina_bausch/index.php

 

 

P.S. I am in the process of growing out my hair as long her dancers. The love of my life thinks I will cut it off before it gets that long as I always do. But I really want hair that long….

Soulprint, Part 2

I have finished the second section of Soulprint by Mark Batterson. Again, it proved itself challenging and uplifting. Sometimes I find myself in such awe of everything, then I get frustrated because the book makes it sound so easy when it isn’t (managing memories, finding and sharing lifesymbols, how to change your future etc). I thought the whole determine what season you are in from the first part was mind blowing, sitting here trying to manage my memories (especially of some very harmful negative past experiences) in order to change my perception…crazy. I needed this challenge. This is a good push to help me in my spiritual journey as well as my recovery. So here are some of my favorite quotes, thoughts, ideas from my readings….

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“I am more than my name, more than my occupation, more than my degrees, more than my dreams, more than my family. I am who I was. It’s my footprints, where I’ve been and what I’ve done, that reveal my soulprint. It’s my unique combination of memories that makes me who I am spiritually, emotionally, relationally, and motivationally. It’s also that unique combination of memories that enables me to worship God in a way that no one else does.”

That above statement is one thing I am trying so hard to learn…..

“We have a tendency to remember what we should forget and forget what we should remember.”

“My life is a story, a story that God is writing through me. It’s His-story.”

“In fact, there are three kinds of memory. Sensory memory is as fleeting as a seven digit phone number. Short-term memory has a little longer shelf life. You can recall what you wore, what you ate, and what you watched yesterday, but those details fad like an old photograph. Finally there is the holy grail of memory. A very small number of experiences make it into long-term memory. But is those memories that shape your soulprint.”

“One demention of stewardship is memory management. Like optimizing the hard drive on your computer, sometimes your memories needs to be degfragmented. Instead of keeping a record of wrongs, for example, certain memories need to be deleted. And you need to create a mental folder where you cut and paste the blessings of God. One way or the other, the process of self-discovery begins with a long look at old files. You have to inventory your past memory.”

That is deep isn’t it? It is hard to let yourself go to those dark memories, because you won’t to forget them and not re-live them. Or you, if you are like me, you re-play bad memories over and over instead of putting them a little folder…So difficult.

“they {difficulties} don’t have to define you if you simply let them refine you. That’s the choice: define or refine. and if you let them refine you, God will actually use those negative experiences to redefine you.”

Sign me up! That sounds amazing doesn’t it? It is like what they say in 12 Steps: Let Go, Let God

“Life is lived forward, but it is relived backward. Part of discovering your soulprint is seeing the purposes of god in your past experiences.”

“The ultimate objective of every circumstance is to cultivate the character of Christ in us.”

“You can’t change the past, but you can learn from it. And that’s how you change the future.”