Thursday, October 29, 2009

Touching the Source... My Retreat


Dear Partners in Healing...

I am about to do a temporary disappearing act and wanted to let you know what's up so you wouldn't think I have fallen off the face of the earth. I'm wading through a deeply challenging period in my life. I'm currently in the middle of a major health crisis. The past couple of months have been spent in and out of the hospital being pricked with needles and tested for every yin-yang affliction under the sun. I'm in a great deal of physical pain and it has become very difficult to manage with my ever-increasing workload.

It seems that life has only become busier for me and in the process I have begun to feel depleted and overwhelmed. I have completely fallen off of my priority list. This has moved me into a self-reflective state. I have had to own up to some hard to swallow truths about myself. I am shrouded by the cloak of shadow work.

For those of you who are unaware, I am in recovery from eating disorder. I battled anorexia and bulimia from the age of 12 until I was 24. I came dangerously close to losing my life. I released those behaviors and found a certain level of recovery until life intervened with its emotional storms. Having a complete lack of coping skills, I developed binge eating disorder. This is how I became an obese woman. I have found a great deal of healing through the path of intuitive eating. I continue to be in metamorphosis... in the thick of my cocooning stage. I thought I was further along in my recovery until I read some important information about the healing process involved in reclaiming the self from the jaws of eating disorder. I learned full recovery is achieved when there is no longer a focus on food or body size... when these preoccupations do not have residence in your consciousness. Although I have come a long way in this regard, it is clear that I have not been completely liberated from this influence. The realization hit me like an arrow in my heart.

Suddenly, I was able to see the way my latent eating disorder tendencies have been wreaking havoc in other areas of my life. Eating disorder has always been my coping mechanism. It is the only way I knew how to care for myself. Amidst the chaos and upheaval of my life, it provided me a sense of control and odd safety. When I felt overwhelmed and incapable of facing my pain, I had the eating disorder to turn to for refuge. It acted as my life-preserver, enabling me to survive. It helped me cope with a lack of emotional security, making me feel falsely empowered and in-control. It helped me get through deep feelings of rejection and denial of love by providing an all-consuming, though dysfunctional, distraction. In a real sense, I am still here living and breathing because of my eating disorder as F'd up as that may sound... it's what is real.

Since I no longer use my body or food as the outlet for these imbalanced tendencies, I have experienced a transference. The eating disorder now finds expression through my work and I am running myself into the ground. I'm at the pinnacle of my recovery process. I am about to embark on the final leg of my healing journey. The past few months have been intense. I'm releasing a lot of emotions. Buried wounds have been resurfacing that are extremely painful. Even in my sleep I cannot find reprieve because old hurts are haunting my dreams. I have been crying a lot and feel that raw ache in my heart that you get when something is begging for recognition and release. At times, the intensity of what is surfacing has knocked me to my knees. As a result, I have begun to distract myself with my work. The control coping mechanism of my eating disorder has transferred to the area of my career.

I am inundated and everything has fallen to the wayside. The amount of work I have on my plate is impossible for any human being to keep up with. I often hear that I am Wonder Woman, as if this is some badge of pride. I'm here to tell ya, I'm no super hero. One look at the state of my house, ignored scholastic projects, and complete utter lack of self-care will make that abundantly clear. In response, my body has started to scream at me. I know that my physical pain has an emotional/spiritual source. I feel that truth vibrating in my bones. From head to toe
I am pain. It is as if the pain has consumed me and it's all I can feel anymore. This physical pain seems to be reminding me that I am still here in the face of my deepest self being completely ignored. Interestingly, the left side of my body is more activated. I do not think it is coincidence that this is my receiving side. I need to let go and open myself to receive. I need to allow myself to feel all of the emotions that are surfacing so they can be released. I must learn to lovingly care for myself by bringing my life into balance. Equilibrium is sorely lacking.

I have heard my soul's call and I am responding. I have created a retreat for myself. From November 1st-9th, I am unplugging and tuning in. The computer is going to be turned off. The, "Through Thick and Thin" team is covering for me at the forum. Susie, a member of our community who feels more a sister to me, has been a great facilitator in helping me come to this space where I can let go and create an opening to receive. She has generously donated her time and energy to write, "Through Thick and Thin's" November Community Challenge piece. It is amazing to witness how much people show up for you when you clearly express your needs and let go. I'm grateful to each and every one of you, moderators and community members alike, who have stepped up and volunteered your time and care to tend to the community while I am away.

During my retreat there will be no work. I will let the message center take my calls. I need to reconnect with my spiritual source and tap into my true needs. I intend to lavish myself with pampering. I am going to recommit to my yoga and meditation practice. I'm going to nourish my body with nurturing whole foods and move in pleasurable ways. I'm going to get outside and let Mama Nature wrap Her lovin' arms around me. It is time to discern what is meaningful and create a life that supports that vision.

A group of my friends have organized a healing circle for me and this is how my retreat will close. I have never received on this level from others. It is a big step for me to move into this space of openness, trust and vulnerability. I believe it will be cathartic. I wanted to share a glimpse of where I am at in my healing journey so you would understand my absence as I tend to my self-care. It seems self-care has been a running theme lately. Every woman I speak with is feeling this need to receive. I feel that it is important for me to set the tone in living the truth I speak. I must be a mirror of the intention for women to pencil themselves back in. Otherwise, I'm simply paying lip service and not walking the walk.

So dear friends, though I will miss you as I take this time away, I know that I will return a fuller woman with more to share. Know that as I travel inward I also hold a light for each and every one of you. May its glow guide you toward your own self-renewal as I whisper blessings of love to fall upon each of your hearts.


  1. I'm avoiding feeling some difficult emotions that have been surfacing for me over the past year that relate to old wounds. It has been a traumatic year as it is with many losses and I had to put my emotional processing on the back burner to keep my head above water. I need to create space so I can unplug from everything and simply sit with what I am feeling. I need to invite healing energy in. I need this immensely. Up to this point all my energy has been going out. There needs to be a balance of give and take. It is time I open myself to receive.

  2. Good Luck, I hope your week goes well Shannon... Good Answer!! I'm going through the same thing.

  3. I think so many of us are experiencing this Deb. Sometimes we have to pull our energy back to connect with the healing energy we need. I hope you create some space to renew yourself. So many women are crying out for this right now. It amazes me how many women are feeling the pull to unplug and turn within. Wishing peace and healing for you as well.

  4. Shannon,

    Good for your for honoring yourself in this way. We will miss you while you are doing this important healing work but we will be here to welcome you with open arms when you return.

    Peace and Namaste

  5. Thank you for the love and support Christie. It means a lot to me.