February 21st, 2014 Heather Purdin
From Mirasol ED Recovery Guest Blogwriter ~ Pamela Hale
I know that for you it may be even harder than for some people to look in the mirror and see your own beauty. But I think it’s hard for all people. Especially for all women.
We women have been misled about the truth of our beauty. The word is loaded with associations about looking good, pleasing men, and being inauthentic. Those associations are so strong that we tend to look at ourselves and judge only the outside.
In reality, Beauty means the inner, holy essence shining through us, unmistakably beautiful. Don’t we want to walk in that kind of True Beauty?
We can do it when we see a beautiful baby, or a little child who just oozes innocence and pure beauty. The last thing in the world we’d want to do to such a child would be to tell her that she’s inferior, that others look better, that she’s not beautiful. We automatically want the little ones we love to shine and to know their True Beauty.
We are prejudiced against ourselves. Why can’t we treat ourselves, the ones we spend our whole life journey with, at least as well as we would treat someone we barely know?
What prevents us from seeing ourselves as Beautiful and walking the Beauty Path are the veils that dropped in front of our eyes when we took human form. Then, through lifetimes, we weave these veils tighter for understandable reasons–to avoid oppression; to achieve the safety of invisibility; to create ways to survive and protect what we love. We have woven these veils to cover the hurt of our wounds. The veils we have worn have served us well in many ways, and often the ones we’ve woven are quite lovely.
But they are not for these times. We are the ones–here to bring forth our real powers, our Truth, our real Beauty, our wisdom, our healing, our medicine. We cannot afford to have these veiled any longer. We need to see ourselves as we truly are, and step onto the path we are meant to walk. The world needs the sacred feminine energy that only we can bring forth.
Here are three tips for beginning to lift the veil that clouds your vision of your own True Beauty:
1. Focus on your heart. Risk feeling your feelings, knowing you are more than your feelings. Feelings come and go, but the energy in your heart is enduring, eternal, pure.
2. Use your breath to breathe into your heart. Send compassion to the soft, vulnerable places within your heart, thanking that heart for giving you the courage to survive all you’ve survived.
3. Tell your heart it is beautiful. Thank it for being your True Beauty, for holding that True Beauty inside you. Thank it for actually being you, the real you. The you that is Truly Beautiful.
Now, try looking in the mirror. See if you can imagine seeing through your outer layer to what lies within. You can practice this spiritual vision by trying this with others. What do you “see” about others that is invisible to the physical eye? Now try it with yourself.
Seeing your own True Beauty is a matter of life or death if you have an eating disorder. And, it is also a matter of life or death for the planet. If we all could see the inner beauty of everyone and everything that is alive, things would change fast. And we need things to change fast!
So do it for the planet, if that’s easier than doing it for yourself. Or do it for someone you love, who longs for you to recognize what lies within them. And then do it for the one who will be your lifelong companion—the one you were born with and the one you will die with, and the one you will dance with, make love with, cry with and laugh with. That would be yourself—your truly beautiful self.
February 17th, 2014 Heather Purdin
From Mirasol ED Recovery Guest Blogwriter ~ Hope
A misconception floats around the underground, “Self-care is selfish!”
Selfish cries far from the roof, and it doesn’t make sense. Self-care is essential to well-being, making it a vital, personal responsibility. For those recovering and healing from eating disorders, learning to practice self-care becomes a critical necessity.
In an earlier guest blog, Faith wrote about grounding. When she discussed “soothing grounding” skills, she struck a chord with me. She admitted that allowing herself gentleness and kindness to be quite challenging. And. She. Is. Not. Alone.
Let’s air it out here. Self-soothing feels great, until the guilt floods and washes away your sin, leaving you quite miserable in the end. It’s nearly poetic, but so off base. We must take good care of ourselves. This is one of our most important personal responsibilities: take good care to the greatest of our ability.
[Sept. 26, 2013]
First it was the strange gurgling coming from the bathtub and toilet. Off and On. A little bubbling up became slightly worrisome, until the brown water started rising up at a pace of a horror movie. The water stopped right below the tipping point. Oh, I sighed out in relief for the longest two seconds before the sewage demons roared with massive flood waters. The raw sewage continued to rise through the toilets as water streamed beyond the bounds of the bathroom and covered nearly 700sqft of my apartment. This was no match for hardwood. When anyone asked all I had to say was, “It’s really bad!”.
My instinctual nature was right on target. I grabbed everything from the floors and threw it on higher ground, using my chaise, bed, and brand new couch as landing pads. I even threw, though with love, Cricket and her basket on the bed. She’s a Chihuahua rescue, sister to Peanut.
It look hours for the plumbing folks to make the water stop. Can you believe it happened to be THE HOTTEST DAY in September? I paced a lot – around the yard, to the car where the girls were air conditioned, inside the blasted unit, just watching everything happen. This is finding my inner observer we so often speak about in yoga. “To stay sane, do not judge this situation.” J
When the HOA contact came to site, he shook his head in a very “this is not good” fashion and reported to the board, “This is the worst I’ve ever seen.” That sunk heavy. Luckily, The water restoration crew estimated I’d be home in 5 days.
After the water restoration folks cleared out most of the water and put my furniture up on risers, the girls and I headed to a hotel. Thank goodness at last sight upon leaving, I packed my special little box. I just knew I would need it. Tonight, the special little box reminded me to soak up a little luxury, enjoy the spa bathroom, actually use the lotion, and wear the hotel robe! Plop down and then relax on the bed sounds great. Self-care in crisis.
What is this special little box and how do I get one? To stimulate healing, making a special little box allows for what Faith described in her original grounding blog as physical grounding. First, you need a box. Dollar store is acceptable. You can decoupage it if you’d like. Then, to keep you in the moment via physical grounding, find little tokens that evoke the senses (aromatics, textures, colors, tastes, etc.). For example, I have a sample block of memory foam bed. I also have a tiny essential oil vial. Smelling the essential oil may lead to a full on spa experience just as it did with me. Also included are tokens self-soothing in nature: quote cards, reminders of humor, a part of my childhood blanket, and other reminders hopeful and elevating in nature.
[Oct 1, 2013]
Yay! It’s moving day. We’ve checked out of the hotel and are going to move back into the apartment. It won’t take long to clean everything so life can resume as normal. This could have been so much worse, or so I thought.
When we met with the HOA, landlord, and insurance adjuster, they dropped the bomb. The flooding was such a disaster that the hardwood floors buckled and sewage seeped through. The floors need to be replaced throughout the unit. Even worse, the contaminants were level 3, the worst possible grading. The unit has been deemed uninhabitable because the restoration time is now estimated at several months. They say this as hazmat teams enter and exit the boiler room beneath my unit.
I am officially a homeless couch surfer looking for a new apartment. This all came out of the blue. I am completely devastated. This was my favorite apartment in all of my renting years – charming, safe, comfortable, just wonderful place to live and be. At least I have a friend to take me and the pups in for a while. Gratitude perspective shift.
[Oct. 2, 2013]
I set out today ready to start clearing out the mess in my apartment. Instead, I just sat on the chaise and let reality settle. I did not judge myself for failing to get started. I started the grieving process and that was enough. On this particular day, anything else seems unbearable. Now that the adrenaline has worn off, I feel like an energy vampire has sucked me dry. I decided to paint my nails instead of working. Self-preservation.
[Oct. 3, 2013]
I used my coffee shop gift card and treated myself to mocha. Today I have accepted the reality that I have to move out, sanitize my belongings, find storage, and begin the apartment hunt. I decided to first pack a month’s worth of toiletries, clothes, and comfort items before boxing up all of my belongings. Among my goodies, I chose nail polish, lotions, incense, essential oils, fuzzy socks, yoga DVDs, books, and a small basket of decorations that were easily portable and most soothing to have with me. MOST IMPORTANTLY, I made sure I had my special little box.
[Oct 7, 2013]
I was shoving things into the POD™ as quickly as possible while the rain poured. I knew I had worked so hard that I needed to detour my route to grab and go some dinner from Whole Foods. I made it to yoga class with just 5 minutes to spare. “The power of simply showing up.” Today’s theme.
[Feb 7, 2014]
I have since relocated. After just a month of uncertainty in between, I live next door to the charming, safe, abode I had before. So my home is home again. The uprooting has passed.
I still have my box, but today it’s perched on the center of the console to bless everyone who walks through the doors of my once again safe, charming, creative, invigorating home. Welcome home.
This really could have been so much worse.
February 16th, 2014 Heather Purdin
From Mirasol ED Recovery Guest Blogwriter ~ Pamela Hale
Do you believe you have the power to give up suffering?
It’s a difficult question if you’re in the grips of something as tricky as an eating disorder, but I invite you to explore it with me…
A client of mine decided not to suffer any more. That’s right—just like that. Just decided, and released it. The idea of suffering, the habit of suffering (which may have built up over lifetimes, if you believe that) and the belief that she somehow deserved suffering. All of it literally went out the window. She was just done with it.
So, who can do that? Is this client a goddess? Well, in a way, yes.. At least she was able to look at her situation and her possibilities through the lens of a goddess. I call it the mythic lens, and learned that from a teacher of mine, Alberto Villoldo, who teaches energy medicine.
In energy medicine, we look at a habit or a belief—an experience that seems to rule someone’s life—as an energy. And energy can change form in an instant. Shamanic practitioners have techniques for releasing and transforming energies. But you do too!
Think of how you sigh when you are feeling too much pressure, or too full of emotion. That’s an instinctive way of releasing energy. Imagine you have a physical or emotional feeling you’d like to feel less of. Allow it to gather in your hands and then giving them a good shake. Picture the energy just flying out your fingertips. If you’re near a fire, picture the energy being consumed or transformed by that fire—or light a candle to do this for you. If you’re outside, shake unwanted energy out of you into the earth. The Earth Mother can take it!
Maybe trying these techniques doesn’t “fix” everything for you. But can you allow it to let you believe in your own power to manage your energy? Your emotions? You are probably a lot more powerful than you think.
Now, back to suffering. Here’s the deal about that:
There’s a difference between pain and suffering. Life is going to give us some pain—that seems to be an unavoidable part of being human. But suffering is optional. Suffering is the anticipation, the worry about pain, and the keeping of pain after it’s actually over. Pain is really felt in the moment, and suffering can happen when we’re locked into a scene that’s really about the past or the future. So you have a choice about suffering. Want to give it up?
If it’s hard to imagine that, try looking at your own life as if it were a movie or a myth about a goddess. Can you root for the star? What do you as the observer, wish she would realize she had the power to do? How can you picture her giving up her suffering?
Once my client saw the choice she had, she was back in her power. When she was locked in suffering, she had no power. Now she asked all her helping spirits for assistance, released the energy of her old patterns on her breath, and I helped rattle it out the window.
Now she has to live in the new reality. Chances are, there will be moments when it’s tempting to return to that old habit, just because it’s familiar. So I asked her, as a goddess, to hold two choices—one in each hand. In one hand, she held the old patterns and the old habits of descending into that pit of suffering. In the other she held her power to choose.
As a goddess, she could see that goddesses do not deserve suffering. In fact, they are called upon to relieve the suffering of others. So they can’t afford to spend time and energy on suffering of their own. They have to be fit, and in fighting shape. They have decisions to make, wishes to grant, cosmic battles to fight, epic romances to manage. Suffering gets in the way.
So, I invite you to don your goddess glasses and look at your suffering through the mythic lens. You just might find you have more power and more choices than you thought. I wish you the freedom and the relief you’ll find on the other side!
February 14th, 2014 Heather Purdin
From Mirasol ED Recovery Guest Blogwriter ~ Pamela Hale
My mother didn’t have an eating disorder, but she did have trouble loving herself. A gorgeous woman when she was young, she always said that for her, beauty was a curse. “I got too much attention,” was all she would say to elaborate. But I got the idea that beauty set her on the wrong track–the track of thinking that it’s all about the outside. Mom always cared about how things looked to others, which is why it was such a sad irony that she became an undiagnosed bi-polar, alcoholic woman whom few could understand or admire.
I always think of her in February, because her birthday was Feb. 2. And because of Valentine’s Day, when I wonder if she felt lonely. My biological father, who loved her in her prime, died when I was just a baby. Even though my stepfather took care of her all her life and loved her until the last day, I think she had a broken heart.
I think of her now, writing to you, because I know that others on Valentine’s Day feel alone too. And so I have some wishes for those who do.
I wish for people who, when they look in the mirror do not feel love for that self: clear vision. Just as my mother struggled to believe she was a treasured child of God, I wish that victory for you.
I wish for people who are too worried about how things look to others, the ability to put their own truth first. Just as my mother struggled to be free of conventions, I wish liberation for you.
I wish for people who are creative, the courage to keep on creating. Just as my mother stopped painting because it was “too lonely,” I wish for you the joy of reuniting with the deep creative well inside you.
I wish for you to be connected to the big thread of love that is woven through everything.
I wish for you to know you are all right exactly as you are.
I wish you might get up out of bed with gratitude for the way the sun strikes the glass on the bedside table, or for the strange snoring of the dog who sleeps in the corner.
I wish you might forgive life for its hardness, and forgive yourself for your softness, and laugh at some ridiculous joke at least once a day.
My mother’s devastating trail of physical and psychological suffering happened a long time ago, but it’s amazing how it all still touches me, and how I see such suffering repeated all around me, despite our “progress.” It’s still difficult to say “Yes!” to our lives, especially when they present us with big challenges.
My wish is for you to take on life as a lover would, with attention, with tenderness, with the thrill of meeting each other every day, and with a benign ability to forgive almost anything. That way, whether or not you have a lover in the flesh, you will have yourself. You came in with your self one day, and you will leave with her on another. May you love the odd, painful, gorgeous, mysterious journey in between those two days, and know and love that self–that old friend– well by the end.
February 9th, 2014 Heather Purdin
From Mirasol ED Recovery Guest Blogwriter ~ Faith
CONFRONTING FEAR, ANXIETY, AND MORE ON GROUNDING WITH GLITTER!
Anxiety, fear, panic – everyone experiences such emotions during their lives. The degree to which emotions overtake people can be extreme, both suffocating and disabling at times. In the midst of an eating disorder and during recovery, such distress is common and the eating disorder is often used to regain control or cope with the overwhelming emotions. For such reason, it is important to learn how to deal with ways to fight your fears, distract yourself from panic, and ground yourself in order to fight against the use of eating disorder symptoms and use healthy coping mechanisms in their place.
We all know the emotion of fear too well. It partners with anxiety and hits at full force, at times we may least expect it. In recovery, everyone has their own fears that come up. Perhaps it’s a facing a new food or maybe it’s going to the grocery store. Just remember the fear does not have to control your life.
Facing your fears is no easy task. The thought of walking into a lion’s den is right up there with my own social phobias and the thought of eating half a cake. Just thinking about such events can bring on feelings of panic and anxiety. I have found some grounding techniques help detour a full on panic attack. If the panic is more physiological, the mental tools tend to be more helpful, whereas if the panic arises from overthinking, the physical distractions might be more effective.
By building and then practicing grounding skills, you can face the fear with success:
· If you are completely flooded by fear and anxiety and finding yourself in the midst of a panic attack, take a time out. Distract yourself for 15 minutes by walking around the block, having a calming cup of tea, or refreshing shower (figure out what works for you). When you calm down, then decide where to go from there.
· Although it may be difficult to sit with the feeling, try asking yourself “what’s the worst that can happen?” There may be a fear that eating the peanut butter and jelly sandwich will blow you up to a balloon. Remember to deep breathe. Most of our fears turn out to be time wasted in worry. By getting used to coping with the panic, eventually the fear minimizes and fades away.
· Continue to expose yourself to the fear; rather than avoid it. In theory, the more you face it, the less the intensity of the fear. Start slowly.
· Don’t expect perfection or get caught up in black and white thinking. Life is full of stress. Setbacks may happen, because life is just messy sometimes. This is all a practice not a perfect.
· Rather than run from the fear, sit with it and take a moment to visualize a calm place of safety. Try to let the positive feelings overtake the negative until you feel more relaxed.
· If someone of support is available, talk about it. Share what the fear is and what you are experiencing. There is even a new online service called “FearFighter.”
· If you are finding yourself vulnerable to a lot of emotions, go back to your basics. Make sure you have had enough rest, followed your meal plan, properly medicated, and practiced a reliable coping skill, etc.
· If possible, change locations and sit there until the panic has subsided. (Make sure to return to the original location so it does not become a place of fear).
· Play mental fitness games such as simple math or word games. Add up numbers, digits in your phone numbers, multiplication tables, make a mental list of everything around you that starts with a certain letter, etc.
· Use water. Sometimes splashing your face with cold water helps bring you back from the panic, or holding an ice cube can distract you from the intense sensation of the panic.
· Grab some scrap paper, or anything lying around and start folding. It doesn’t have to be origami; it can be random folds, a paper airplane, anything to distract you until the sensation subsides.
When everything becomes too overwhelming, “grounding” is a very helpful skill. There are three major ways: mental (which focuses on the mind), physical (which focuses on the senses), and soothing (which means caring for yourself in a very kind way). Some prefer one over another, or you may find all three are useful.
· Describe your environment in detail.
· Play a categories game with yourself.
· Say a safety statement such as, “My name is_____. I am safe right now.”
· Count to ten or say the alphabet very slowly.
· Take a hot/cold shower or run hot/cold water over your hands.
· Touch various objects around you and be mindful of their texture, temperature, material, color, etc.
· Carry a grounding object in your pocket such as a rock, piece of cloth, yarn, etc. to touch when you feel triggered. (I carry a small key chain token that I can rub and find this immensely helpful).
· Clench and release your fists.
· Walk slowly noticing each step repeating “left,” “right” and so forth…
· Focus on your breathing.
· Think of your favorite things.
· Picture people you care about.
· Say affirmations to yourself.
· Remember the words to an inspiring song, quote, poem, etc. (i.e. Serenity Prayer).
· Say a coping statement such as “I can handle this, this feeling will pass.”
Our genius creativity helps us create things that help soothe, distract, or ground us, enter the glitter bottle! Directions will follow but when you shake up your glitter bottle, you are practicing your grounding skills as you watch the glitter swirl and fall to the bottom to settle again. It’s the skill of observation, anchoring us to the present moment. It’s pretty; it’s fun; it’s helpful!
- Container: This is typically made with a glass mason jar, but since I often make these with children I use water bottles with smooth sides.
- One bottle of clear or glitter glue (not white glue that dries clear): I like using regular glue so I don’t have to deal with the hot water since I make these in my office. Glue/glitter glue works best, but you could also use corn syrup if that’s all you have. You have to pour it directly in the water without letting it touch the sides of the bottle or the glitter will stick to it.
- Water: It can be room temperature if you use regular glue but should be hot (I use boiling water) if glitter glue is used. If the water is not hot enough then the glitter will become clumpy and separate.
- Glitter: I use mostly super fine glitter with a little regular sized. I sometimes add sequins, beads, shells, plastic jewels, etc. Glow in the dark glitter looks really cool if you can find it. Less (or even none) is needed with glitter glue bottles
- Food coloring: This is optional. Only use one drop or it becomes difficult to see the glitter.
- Strong glue or duct tape: This is used to fasten the lid to the container. I like using colored duct tape.
- Making a Calm Bottle (clear glue): Fill the bottle 3/4 of the way full with water. Then add the glue (and shake) and glitter (and shake). I use a funnel for the glitter. The more glue you use, the longer it will take the glitter to fall. I usually use the whole bottle. Add 1 drop of food coloring, if desired, and then glue/tape the lid on.
- Making a Calm Bottle (glitter glue): Instead of clear glue you can use glitter glue. If you go this route, then mix the glitter glue in a bowl with very hot water (I boil the water) before adding it to the bottle. If the water is not hot enough then the glue will clump up and not work. You can add 1 drop of food color and additional glitter is desired.
Other Recipes and Step by Step Directions: http://spoonful.com/crafts/calming-glitter-bottle
food, social situations, panic, & isolation are things that need not rule our lives. The more we practice facing our fears even if it’s sitting with anxiety and panic, the more we can reclaim our power the eating disorder has taken away. You are more powerful than your emotions, and you deserve to have the opportunity to embrace each day and every moment that comes with it.