Eating Disorders

Stepping into Karma

“Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to others, and to practice these principles in all our affairs.”-Step 12, EDA Version

karma: Sanskrit for action

 

In many different spiritual paths we are called to help and be of service to others. Through serving others we are able to show people that kindness does exist in what can be seen as a cruel world. That there is something more to life than just the everyday drudgery of Facebook scrolling, Neflixing, coffee drinking, working that 9-5, and sleeping. For those of us who have chosen a recovered life it is imperative that we serve others who were once (still) like us by sharing our story and helping them out.

Step 12 is an action step calling for us to be stewards and it reminds me of another action: karma. We are all familiar with the concept of karma, but the concept of “what goes around comes around” isn’t what karma truly is. My favorite explanation of karma is by Jack Kornfield in his book, A Path With Heart, “karma means that nothing arises by itself. Every experience is conditioned by that which precedes it. Thus our life is a series of interrelated patterns” (273). Kornfield later states, “the intention or attitude that we bring to each situation of life determines the kind of karma we want to create. Day to day, moment to  moment, we can begin to see the creation of the patterns of karma based on the intentions in our heart” (279).

 

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This is precisely what those of us in recovery are to do with our daily lives while waving our recovery flags. Our hearts are to be so devoted to recovery that everything we do is to be intentional. Our intentions for sharing our stories isn’t to be boastful and “hey, look at me” it is to be honest, real, and selfless. We are intentionally making new patterns of behavior to correct patterns of the past.  It reminds me of a quote from my EDA Book, “As we begin to realize that our world has been changed for the better through the step work we have done, we simultaneously become aware that the gift of life in recovery comes with the responsibility to share it with others. Now that we have begun to experience healing in our lives we must extend a hand to those who still suffer”.

I hadn’t really thought much about my own personal recovery lately. I have been falling short on my steps–honestly I haven’t been living a 12 Step life. I lost my mission that I sat out to do when I first began this blog. I began imageoftheheart to share my experience with others who suffer or know people who are suffering, to help them make sense of this disordered world. And what have I been doing? Nothing. I haven’t been generating any  karma, just a pool of nothing.

 

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Over the past month people have reached out to me. I have answered questions on how to support loved ones with EDs. I’ve shared posts with those who are new to recovery. I even helped someone seek recovery. Between the Facebook messages and emails something began to stir within me. Something that I haven’t felt in a long time. Purpose. Direction. A moving current of karma. This karma current swelled within my heart and helped me get back on track. To start the steps over, to be intentional in my recovery and not just throw it to the side like stale piece of bread.

If what Kornfield says is true, “The heart is our garden, and along with each action there is an intention that is planted like a seed. The result of the patterns of our karma is the fruit of these seeds.(277)”. I want to sow beautiful fruit-ripe, juicy, organic recovery fruit. I am tired of have OK, slightly spotty recovery fruit. Since this is a new month I am taking accountability for my actions and starting over. Tilling up my soil and ready to sow new fruit that is sweet with karma.

How is the karma in your life? Are you generating positive action while sowing sweet fruit or are you just skirting by and sowing OK fruit? Are living with intention and removing yourself out of your actions towards others? If you aren’t happy with the answers or the taste of your fruit then take some time to re-focus. Make an intention to be intentional. Lend a helping hand to someone in need, share your story, hold space for others. Generate karma.

 

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Words

As I am making a commitment to writing more I sit here wordless. Or maybe just distracted. I know I have things to say, because I always do, but for some reason I cannot access them.  Error 404.  While I may not have the right words, I know others do. You can “quote” me on that.

Who doesn’t love a good quote? Quotes are some of the best and simplest ways to find the right words when you can’t find any. They are also fun to memorize and use when you are in need of some encouragement or a little beauty. For years I have kept notebooks filled with quotes and song lyrics that resonate with me. They were inspirational, amusing, or acted as a guide through troubling times. Today I am going to share with you some of my favorite quotes. I hope you find some inspiration and beauty in these words as much as I do.

 

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On Eating Disorder Recovery

  • “To be beautiful is to be yourself. you don’t need to be accepted by others. You need to accept yourself.”-Thich Nhat Hanh
  • “You are allowed to be both a masterpiece and a work in progress, simultaneously.”-Sophia Bush
  • “Don’t be afraid to  move out of your comfort zone. Some of your best life experiences and opportunities will transpire only after you dare to lose.”-???
  • “It’s not your fault that you developed an eating disorder, or depression, or an addiction, or whatever else is trying to steal your life away. But it is your responsibility to save yourself. And you can.”-Josie Tuttle
  • “You can’ t change until you accept where you are and who you are. You find out who you are by being honest with yourself and others…Life is never static and neither are we.”-EDA Workbook, Step 1
  • ” Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that frightens us. We ask ourselves,  who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, and famous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There’s nothing enlightened about shrinking  so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of u; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people to permission to do the same.  As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”-Marianne Williamson

 

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On Life

  • “If you add a little to a little, and then do it again, so that little shall be much”.-Hesoid
  • “Being impeccable with your word is the correct use of your energy; it means to use your energy in the direction of truth and love for yourself. If you make an agreement with yourself to  be impeccable with your word, just with that intention, the truth will manifest through you and clean all the emotional posion that exists within you.” The Four Agreements, Don Miguel Ruiz
  • “All of humanity is searching for truth, justice, and beauty. We are on an eternal search for the truth because we only believe in the lies we have stored in our mind. We are searching for justice because in the belief system we have, there is no justice. We search for beauty because it doesn’t matter how beautiful a person is, we don’t believe that person has beauty. We keep searching and searching, when everything is already within us.”-Don Miguel Ruiz
  • “Wherever you go, go with all your heart.”-Confucius
  • “I’ll tell you what freedom is to me. No fear.”-Nina Simone
  • “I was halfway across America, at the dividing line  between the East of my youth and the West of my future.” Jack Kerouac, On the Road
  • “Nothing behind me, everything ahead of me, as is so on the road.” -Jack Kerouac, On the Road
  • “Just living is not enough. One must have sunshine, freedom, and a little flower.”-Hans Christian Anderson
  • “It doesn’t not matter how slowly you go; as long as you don’t stop.”-Confucius
  • “I may not have gone where I intended to go, but I think I have ended up where I intended to be.”-Douglas Adams

 

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On Yoga

  • “If I’m losing balance in a pose, I stretch higher and God reaches down to steady me. It works every time, and no just in yoga.”-T. Guillemets
  • “Yoga is possible for anybody who really wants it. Yoga is universal…But don’t approach yoga with a business mind looking for a worldly gain.”-K. Pattabhi Jois
  • “Do not stop trying just because perfection eludes you.”-BKS Iyengar
  • “Go from a human being doing yoga to a human being yoga.”-Baron Baptiste
  • “Yoga does not change the way we see things, it transforms the person who sees.”-BKS Iyengar
  • “The attitude of gratitude is the highest yoga.”- Yogi Bhajan
  • “Yoga is almost like music in a way; there’s no end to it.”-Sting
  • “Yoga is a powerful vehicle for change. As you build strength you start to believe in your own potential.”-Tiffany Cruikshank
  • “Anyone can breathe. Therefore anyone can practice yoga.”-TKV Desikachar

 

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What are some of your favorites quotes? Share below!

self obsessED

Life has been a whirlwind since I last blogged. Lots of life has happened. Since my last post, my husband and I go had three weeks to move from TN to OK. I have been in OK a little over a month and I have been busy! My goal to work in a yoga studio has happened. I am slowly meeting people and still trying to find a way to dance. I have been to the ballet, sipped coffee in new coffee shops, and tried some new things. While life has been good-I am thriving professionally and loving the city life-I have also been relapsing.

This relapse has been slightly different than previous ones throughout my years of recovery. As one continues in recovery, relapses take different shapes and forms (see my other post Rabbit Hole Relapse). This little set back has been triggered by the move. Which makes sense because I am not in control, I am new to a foreign place (even though OK isn’t too different from TN, the parallels are quite spot on), trying to get my ducks in a row, and my workout schedule has changed quite a bit–more on this next week. On top of all of this my GI Phantom has reappeared and we all know how that goes…

 

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Obviously one must restrict calories and find the control through food manipulation when one is going through an uprising. However, I cannot restrict food because it makes me even crankier, so I just obsess about every piece of food that goes into my mouth. I secretly count calories, have marathon worry sessions (to bad these marathons don’t burn calories!!!!), eat lots of fruit,  and the worst part of all: I become selfish.

Those of us who suffer from ED’s have one thing in common-we are selfish. When we are in the depths of ED despair all we can think about is ourselves: what we look like, what the number on the scale says, if our food choices are healthy, asking our safe person five hundred times a day if we look fat/have our thighs turned dimply/do we look any different, all we can talk about is food-exercise-body image. We aren’t aware of those around us and how they feel, we can’t see how we are bringing them down, we aren’t content, we see the worst in everything, and most importantly we forget to look around and see the beauty in life.

 

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For the past month, everyday I have been negative about my body. Asking Jeremy every hour on the hour that he is home “how do I look?”, “are my thighs turning into cottage cheese?”, “I haven’t exercised today because my schedule is crazy, is that ok?”, “can you tell that I haven’t worked out?”, “am I still pretty?”. Everything is revolved around me, me, me. Even though he is stressed and could use some comfort I cannot see it or give it because all I care about is what I look like. These thoughts not only cloud our head and thought processes, they cloud our vision. We cannot see things for how they really are. We cannot see who we really are. It isn’t until someone calls you out on your selfishness that you can begin to make a change.

This is precisely what happened with me and Jeremy. One day this past week I spent over the half the day not talking about anything but food and my horrible body. I guess (I guess, hah, I know!) that Jeremy had had enough and he said to me, “I know that what you look like is all you care about but….” I can’t really remember the rest but that statement “all you care about” was enough to knock me back to Earth because I DO care about other things. I care about my family, my dog, my husband, being a good yoga teacher, art, helping those around me, spreading smiles and happiness to those who seem a little sad. That statement helped me to back off a little bit, instead of 500 questions a day about my body I’ll ask 490, and focus on my relationship with Jeremy–because my relationship with him will always overcome and be priority over my relationship with Melvin (my ED).

While I’m still coping with my body and not very happy with it, I am trying my best to be less self obsessED and more content(ED).

 

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Ch-Ch-Changes Pt.2: Boobs

Short and sweet…..follow up to last weeks entry….until next week, Sat Nam and Namaste.

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Boobs are weird. Well as least I think so. Maybe it is just mine. Anyways we are going to talk about most guys’ favorite topic: boobs. Sometimes called breasticles, tat ta’s, lumps, pillows, or any other name for them. Well the male species likes boobs; most females who have suffered from ED’s hate them. It isn’t because they hurt during exercise; it is because they are a sign of womanhood. A sign of maturity. A sign of change.

Usually boobs are the first things that begin to change as one goes through recovery. As weight is gained or evened out they will start to take shape. Maybe they are round or maybe they are pointed. Regardless, they appear. In recovery we are learning to accept bodily changes but when a body part you have refused to let grow and mature starts to grow it is mentally devastating. Your boyfriend may like the new boobs but you hate them. They are a reminder that you are no longer who you were. It is also a struggle for control. As humans we hate change by nature. Take that and add an ED to it you get insanity. There are fights with your recovery plan. It is a battle on the home front. You are battling for your life while your ED is battling for you to come back to the dark side.

Eventually you get use to your new boobs. You can wear cute bras (if you like regular bras). Certain shirts and dresses actually look better on you. You may even enjoy how your other half looks at you now. But most of all, you enjoy how you are overcoming your disorder one body change at a time.

this is your brain on mental illness

I have been on WordPress for a year! Wow how time flies. I hope the people who have stumbled across my blog, and those who have not yet stumbled upon me, have been/will be blessed and enjoy themselves. I do this blog for those out there who needs someone to relate to on the ED front, for those who need inspiration, and just plain encouragement. Thank you to my followers, the commentators, and the readers.

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There has been a lot of talk this past week about mental illness, depression, and how one thinks with a mental illness. This has inspired me to share with the world what ones brain goes through. With a mental illness of any kind (addiction, depression, Bi-Polar, ED’s, anxiety, etc…) you cannot think clearly. Your mind is clouded with misinformation that your illness feeds you. The clouds suck the life out of you. The clouds are the bucket that carry you deeper and deeper into your dark well of life. The clouds are free radicals tearing your insides out. Due to this, that is why people: contemplate suicide, turn to drugs, turn to the bottle, eat themselves to death, starve themselves to death etc…We do not have the capability to think clearly. This is why some people turn to suicide. Those who think about it think it is the only way to go. The way that they can cause less harm and damage to their families. Even themselves. Yes, it does not make sense, but that is what a mental illness does. It takes things that do not make sense and twists them around to make sense. That is what people do not understand.

To show you what I mean, I am going to share with you my thoughts. My own personal thoughts that I have every day…Some of these I use to have more regularly, but I am proud to say that over time and hard recovery work I can manage them a bit more…My thoughts do not make sense, but the part of my brain that helps make rational decisions is over-ridden…

Here we go:

*The moment I eat something sweet, a treat, or a dessert, my thighs automatically get dimples or become “cottage cheese thighs”.

*”I’m Fat” becomes my saying, almost mantra, for when I am distressed. Even though fat is not a feeling.

*When I am constipated due to my IBS, I swear that I look fat/or my belly sticks out/that you can tell I am bloated

*When I am anxious I begin to fly off the handle and the only thing that comforts me is to play the scenario over and over and over and over again. DWELL! Dwelling makes everything better.

*The All or Nothing Principal, is not just about exercise: I either eat the whole tray of sweets or pizza OR eat nothing at all.

*I always think people are judging me, and talking about me. Whether it be how fat I am or how skinny I am.

*I always wonder if people are judging my actions, whether it be in the business world or everyday life.

*I can wake up feeling great about myself then something will go wrong and BAM! I hate myself, have an anxiety attack, or feel fat.

*If I fail at something or lose and the person is bigger than me I think, “At least I am skinnier and prettier than her” if the person if smaller than me I think, “I need to lose weight”.

*Food goes like this…..Good Food=Good Leslie, Bad Food=Good Leslie if I am conquering a food fear, Bad Food=Bad Leslie, All Food=Bad Leslie

*I hate math and suck at it, but numbers can make me happy

*One does not simply eat one brownie a day when making a pan of brownies…One must eat it all in one sitting and then judge themselves and do body weight squats for the rest of the night

*I constantly ask my husband if I look fat. Probably around 10 times a day on a “bad” day. Less than that on a “good” day.

*I don’t do this as often, but every morning I would wake up and check my ab definition and use that to monitor my fattness

*If I do everything my ED Melvin says I will be happy, perfect, and the longing for attention and love I want will be fulfilled

*On the anxiety front….if my body feels the weirdest bit off I ask my husband if I am ok. Or am I going to be ok. He hears that just as much as “Am I fat?”

*I am completely irrational when I am having a panic attack. Everything goes to shit and everything flies out the window. You never know what I am going say or do.

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Now this is not a complete list of my thoughts but the most common. It doesn’t represent other forms of mental illness, but it shows that we all have cloudy thoughts. This is how people can make poor decisions. For some more information and education check out the following…

NAMI, the best place to learn more about mental health/illness

Stress, the brain, and mental illness

Robin Williams’ death: a reminder that suicide and depression are not selfish

 

 

Always remember, a smile and kind word can go a long way.

 

And just because I love Bob Ross…

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O, listen to the music

Music is such a powerful tool. Isn’t it great when you can’t find the words to express your emotions or situation that you can turn on a song and it resonates with you. Even an instrumental song can have the same affect. The instruments can strike a chord (hah) within your soul and everything becomes at ease. Below are some of my favorite songs that help heal my soul or I put on when I am feeling overwhelmed with  things.  I like to call these recovery songs….but they are so much more than that. Some are also worship songs. Some are anthems. One works for post break up or other parts of life’s ups and downs.

These are just a few of my favorites…What are some of your favorite uplifting/recovery/anthems?

Beautiful Things, Gungor

I first heard this song at one of my dear friends wedding and became obsessed. Such a simple yet powerful song.

Let it all Out, Relient K

And today I will trust you with the confidence
Of a man who’s never known defeat
But tomorrow, upon hearing what I did
I will stare at you in disbelief
Oh, inconsistent me
Crying out for consistency

……

And I’ll let it be known
At times I have shown
Signs of all my weakness
But somewhere in me
There is strength

The Voice Within, Christina Aguilera

When there’s no one else
Look inside yourself
Like your oldest friend
Just trust the voice within
Then you’ll find the strength
That will guide your way
If you will learn to begin
To trust the voice within

Paradise, Coldplay

Brave, Sara Bareillis

I even wrote about this song…click to check it out

https://imageoftheheart.wordpress.com/2013/09/15/brave/

Girl on Fire, Alicia Keys

This song can get any girl pumped up and feeling great about herself…..

I So Hate Consequences, Relient K

When I got tired of running from you
I stopped right there to catch my breath
There your words they caught my ears
You said, “I miss you son. Come home”
And my sins, they watched me leave
And in my heart I so believed
The love you felt for me was more than
The love I’d wished for all this time
And when the doors were closed
I heard no I told so’s
I said the words I knew you knew
Oh God, Oh God I needed you
God all this time I needed you, I needed you

How He Loves, David Crowder

Without a doubt one of my favorite worship songs. I first heard this song at a service at Redeemer church when I first dated my now husband…

How It Feels To Fly Alicia Keys

I am riding high
Don’t wanna come down
Hope my wings don’t fail me now
If I can touch the sky
I risk the fall
Just to know how it feels to fly

In Repair, John Mayer

While I am not a huge John Mayer fan, I appreciate his musicianship and writing. This is my top Mayer song. This song goes with a bunch of different life aspects…

“I think music in itself is healing. It’s an explosive expression of humanity. It’s something we are all touched by. No matter what culture we’re from, everyone loves music.” -Billy Joel