Thursday, September 30, 2010

Birk Baehr on the SLOW Food Movement

Birk Baehr is an 11 year old boy who has a passion for the planet and educating others about what is wrong with our food system. In a mere 5 minutes this articulate young man pinpoints the problem with how we produce food today and what we can do about it to make it better for everyone. Let's support the truth-tellers in the world... those brave enough to take a stand and use their voice for the good of all. Birk Baehr is such an individual. I hope you will take the time to view his talk on food politics today...

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Big Changes in Store for the "Big Fat Lie"

As some of you may know, I went on retreat for the month of August. There's a lot of shift happening and the landscape of my life is starting to look very different. I know I'm not the only person feeling the call of new roads. Everyone I talk to from dear friends, to strangers I chat up in line at the grocery store seem to be caught up in the spin cycle of change.

Sometimes, in order to allow the new to enter it is necessary to release the old. Call it creating some breathing room for the new. At the very least, redefinition is usually in order. I'm experiencing this right now with a great deal of my online projects. These changes will affect "The Big Fat Lie".

Unfortunately, the majority of participants in this project have fallen away. So much so, that it's not really much of a project anymore. At least, not in the way it was intended. Initially, this bummed me out because I put a whole lot of myself into "The Big Fat Lie". During my time away, my perspective has shifted. Change can be a very, very good thing. It often is essential and rather than resist the inevitable, I have decided to open myself to new possibilities that can emerge from this work.

I'm not quite sure what that will look like in this moment. I want to give some time for a new vision to emerge. At this point, there is no longer an intuitive eating project. I've appreciated each person that expressed a desire to be involved and contributed what they were able to. I thank you for your time and participation.

Whole foods, sustainability, and heaping a whole lot of love on this planet of ours is still very important to me. I want to continue to write on such topics and keep a blog going that offers informative resources for people looking to care for their bodies while also extending that care to the earth. I may keep this blog and have it go through some alterations to reflect the changes I am experiencing. I may start a new blog all together that is in alignment with the fresh direction that has emerged for me. I need some time to sit with it, feel out what's the best fit for me and how I want to share my voice in the world.

From this point forward, there will be no more monthly focuses. Last month wrapped up a solid year of monthly editions. The previous focuses continue to be available through the archived postings. They are there for you to dust off and revisit if you feel moved to do so.

For now, I'm going to continue to take some time to figure out my next step. I will be sure to post my decision as soon as I have reached that point of clarity. A big thank you to all of you who have visited this blog and shared the energy of this vision. It's time for a new vision to be born.

Friday, July 30, 2010

"The Big Fat Lie" August 2010 Community Focus



- Do the choices you make at the supermarket support the ethical treatment of animals? Do you know? Dairy and egg industries are notorious for abusive practices. Don't be fooled by the label on those products that boast words like 'natural', 'farm-raised', 'cage-free', or 'free-range'. Those terms are advertisements used to evoke down-home images that play on our ideals. Upon seeing such labels, most of us envision green pastures with happy cows grazing on grass and chickens clucking merrily, going about their daily business of pecking at bugs as nature intended. The farm life most of these dairy cows and laying hens are living is stark in contrast to that pristine image.

You may assume that because you purchase organic you are exempt from participation in the abuse of animals. Not so. Disturbingly, many organic farmers have found loopholes that allow them to meet the bare-minimum criteria in order for their products to gain the right to use that label. This month, do your research. There are farms that have cruelty-free practices. It can be a bit like searching for a needle in a haystack, but they're out there.

Here are some tips to get you started in your search for dairy and eggs raised in a humane way:

1. Get educated about what really goes on behind the scenes to bring dairy and eggs to your table. After doing your research you can make an informed choice about whether or not you want to support these practices. You can begin your research by visiting the Farm Sanctuary site. I have provided a direct link below to their "Truth Behind Labels" campaign.

2. Find out how your current dairy supplier scores both in terms of meeting organic standards and the ethical treatment of animals. Visit the Cornucopia Institute to view detailed reports and see your dairy's scorecard. The Cornucopia Institute's mission is to promote economic justice for family scale farming and humane practices. I have provided a direct link to their "Dairy Report and Scorecard" article.

3. Take advantage of the worldwide web. Do online research and explore animal welfare websites that can point you in the right direction to find ethically produced animal products. To get you started, I have supplied some helpful links below.

The American Humane Association has been protecting animals and children since 1877. By utilizing their search feature and entering the words 'dairy' and 'eggs' you can find extensive information about farm practices and those that have been approved by the AHA.

By utilizing the link below you will be led to the Animal Welfare Approved "Farm Profiles" page. Click on the region you live and get a listing of all Animal Welfare Approved farms in your area.

4. Nothing is as telling as seeing a farm's practices firsthand. Many farms offer public tours where you can actually see what goes on in a working day, allowing you to interact with both farmhands and animals. Seek out a local farm in your area that boasts humane practices and see if they not only talk the talk, but walk the walk. If you do find farms that hold themselves to a high-standard of cruelty-free practices, be sure to give them a shout out here on the comments section of this post. Whistle blowing is important and necessary but we also need to celebrate those who are doing good work in the world.


- Write a letter to your body. This is something I did recently and it was very cathartic for me. I have posted my letter here at "The Big Fat Lie" so you can see how I approached this exercise. This is a statement of ownership of your body. We only get one earth suit and its care is our responsibility alone. This letter is a way for you to acknowledge the current state of your relationship with your body.

Does your body need more attention? Have you been listening to your body and respecting its needs? Is your body hungry for love, affection, pampering, creative outlets, nurturing food, fresh air? Have you neglected your friend? Do you owe your body an apology? What do you plan to do to make amends?

This exercise may also highlight some stuck places. Through writing this letter you may recognize the need for more attention to self-care, yet not feel ready to make the commitment to yourself that is required to make this change. Allow your truth to emerge, whatever it may be. This is about getting real and owning where you're at. Allow space to explore feelings of resistance, fear, concern, or insecurity that may arise.

It's an act of power to own your experience... to claim full responsibility for your quality of life. If you do become aware of present limitations, give yourself a break. Judgment and guilt are useless emotions. View this exercise as an opportunity to raise awareness around areas that may have escaped your attention. This can be a potent catalyst for change. Never underestimate the power of truth-telling. Accept where you are presently. If you decide you want something better for yourself you can move forward from your current reality with intention and consciousness.

Periodically, you may want to renew your commitment to care for your body by writing follow-up letters. This will reflect the evolution of your healing path. The road to wellness is often a long, winding one with many twists, turns, and detours along the way. Such is the nature of any journey. Writing these letters can become like landmarks, highlighting your progress.

Keep these letters in a special place. When you feel stuck and like you've run out of options you can reflect back on their messages. You always have the power to chart a new course. Your path is never static. It moves and breathes right alongside you. Even when it feels like you are spinning your wheels, getting a whole lot of nowhere, there is movement happening. It's just that sometimes it's an inner movement, not yet evident to the outside world. This doesn't make it any less valuable. Progress is progress. These letters can become like a road map to the express route back to you.

- Take a summer stroll down to your local library and check out a cookbook that tickles your fancy. Think outside your recipe box. Choose a cookbook that peaks your interest and features cuisine outside your norm. Maybe you'll want to explore vegetarian cooking. Perhaps you'll be drawn to more worldly flavors like Indian, Thai, or Cuban cuisine. Each week for the month of August whip up one of the recipes from the cookbook. Go ahead... live on the edge and try something new. Variety is the spice of life and in terms of nutrition, a varied diet nurtures health. Enjoy exploring new tastes. You may discover what will become favorites for years to come.


- Nothing fills the well of your soul like giving back. What cause is near and dear to your heart? Where do you feel more awareness needs to be raised? This month, volunteer your time and energy to a worthwhile pursuit. Become a champion for a cause and receive the joy of service.

There are many ways you could go about doing this. You could volunteer your time at a center. You could hold a bake sale to raise money for donation. You could start a blog to become a voice for an issue that is important to you.

"In giving you are throwing a bridge across the chasm of your solitude." 
- Antoine de Saint-Exupery, The Wisdom of the Sands

Reach out, make the connection and touch another soul today, finding your own renewed.

Feel Your Connection to Nature:

- Now is the perfect time to go camping. Pitching a tent in the elements is a great way to experience the simplicity of  being without the distraction of all the modern technological trappings. There is something about feeling that close to nature that reminds us of our connection to the wild wonder of this planet. It's also a great way to support your state parks. This gives back and provides services that protect our natural resources. Plus, it's fun! Who doesn't enjoy huddling around a campfire, roasting smores, and laughing the night away with good friends? You can even enjoy the adventure of a moonlit hike.

I know, I know, I hear the protests. Some of you would prefer a five star hotel to a night spent under the stars. When was the last time you gave it a try? Maybe you could be open to an overnighter. No major commitment required there. At the very least, gather together some loved ones and head out to a local state park to enjoy a full day of earthy fun. You can always call it a night in the comfort of your own bed.

A Letter To My Body


Dear Body,

I have been thinking about you a lot lately. I feel like there is some distance between us. I miss how close we used to be. You've been such a loyal friend to me and I realize I haven't been there for you lately. This doesn't sit right in my heart. I owe you an apology. That's why I am writing you this letter. There are some things I need to express to you. I hope you will hear me out. I know I have let you down. You have every reason to be upset with me. I want to heal our relationship and I am ready to own my part in the rift.

I'm sorry I have abandoned you. I have neglected your needs. You've always shown up for me. You've had my back, but when you needed me most, I checked out. I haven't been a very good listener. I have monopolized the conversation and been a bit of a bully, forcing you to put up with shit that no friend should ever have to tolerate. I know that when I have been hurt, it is healing to have my pain acknowledged. I am aware of the harm I have caused you and I want to make amends by owning up to the ways I have neglected our friendship.

  • I have stayed up into the wee hours of the night watching the Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson. I have pittered around the house tending to things that could easily be put off till tomorrow while you begged me for the respite of a warm bed and a soft pillow to rest your head upon. All you wanted was to let the tension of the day melt away as you slipped off to slumber. I have denied you this need.

  • I have kept you cooped up inside, chained to the computer. These four walls have been creeping in around you. The computer has become your leash, tethering you in from taking fresh air into your lungs, feeling the warm breeze caress your face, the sunshine kissing your skin, the cool, green grass tickling your bare feet. You have been hungry for these things and I have served you an empty plate.

  • You have been in pain. You have asked me for help, knowing my healing gifts. I have denied you the benefit of these gifts, instead bestowing them freely upon others. I have put the needs of others... some strangers to me... above those of my best friend.

  • I see you come alive when you dance. Your passion... your inspiration... seeps through every pore of your being when immersed in that ecstatic movement. Dance is your lifeblood. Your connection to your creative power. Without dance, your soul becomes withered and small when your birthright is to live large in this world. I know you struggle to move at your current size. I have seen you labor... the gasping for air, the muscle weakness, the difficulty in letting yourself soar when you feel anchored to the ground with limitation. You need more tangible support from me so you can continue to enjoy the dance you love. I am aware you need physical therapy after dance class in order to recover. You need to be strengthened so you have a solid foundation to support your art. You need the release of yoga so the tightness in your muscles can melt away, giving you more freedom and ease of movement. You need the time and space to consistently practice so you can adapt to the physical demand that is being placed on you and evolve as an artist. I am aware of all of these needs and I have dropped the ball. You have suffered as a direct result of my lack of response. You have been sidelined by repeated injury and have been denied the dance that is like air for your soul to breathe.

  • I have silenced your hunger. I know how important it is for you to have breakfast each day. When you are denied your morning meal, it lays out the welcome mat for ED to pay a visit. I am aware of this and have betrayed you by leaving you vulnerable to ED and his shenanigans. I have heard your pleas of hunger and drowned them out with copious amounts of coffee. I have distracted myself from listening to you, putting off addressing your needs until completing inconsequential tasks I have deemed more worthy of my attention. These tasks will always be there, ready for me to pick up where I left off later. If I don't take care of you, I am not guaranteed such grace. I need you. Without you, there is no me. It is time I moved your needs to the top of the list.

  • I have been a slave to the grind. I have pilfered your energy by burning the candle at both ends. I have worked you into the ground. I have become a devotee to the dogma of the human doer. I have undervalued the experience of the human being. You have expressed your discontent in symbols... cricked neck, aching back, cluster migraines, stress, emotional strain, apathy, depression... a sign language articulating your need for downtime. I have pushed you to your limit... far beyond your means.  I do not blame you for being angry with me. You are inflamed... incensed. You have raged. You have screamed. I have ignored you when all you wanted was to be heard.

  • You are sacred and long to be honored. You wish to be pampered and lavished with love. You crave foot rubs, sensual touch, homespun facials, massages with luscious aromatherapy oils, manis and pedis. You relish being adorned in queenly finery... silky fabrics, precious baubles as rare and priceless as you, a trace of Egyptian Goddess perfume blessing your belly, the small of your back, your thighs. These things do not make the woman, but they do rouse a purr. It is treating you as my altar with each act an offering to honor, cherish, adore. It is a reverent bow to the sacred within.

  • For many moons you have been encouraging me to adopt a vegetarian approach. You have shown me how supported you feel from the inside, out on this kind path. I didn't completely trust you. I wasn't all in. Even though you thanked me when I explored a whole foods vegetarian lifestyle with radiant energy,  glowing skin, healed digestion, clarity and calm, I repaid your gratitude with questioning. I doubted you when you have always been honest with me. I continued to sporadically force feed you foods that made you howl with discomfort. You rebelled and rightfully so. I asked you to lead me to health and when you did, I bit the hand that feeds me. 

Please forgive me for ignoring you, mistreating you, refusing you, dishonoring you, and taking your needs to be insignificant. You deserve so much better than this. Remember when I was a little girl? You and me... we sure had a lot of fun, didn't we? We've had some great times together...

Splashing through the creek chasing polliwogs...
Drinking in the sweet nectar of honeysuckle on lazy summer days...
Lying in the field gazing at a sea of clear blue sky with fluffy cotton candy clouds sailing by like ships in route to the land of daydreams...

We used to belly laugh, dance, twirl, leap, run, nap, create, imagine, dream, explore, discover. We still can. We can make new memories. Let's get back to the way we used to be before all the naysayers, dream crushers, and fear told us it wasn't OK to simply be. I know you have been ready for a long time. I've arrived a bit late to the party. I'm here now and I promise to never leave your side again. 


Let's pinky swear on it.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

"The Big Fat Lie" July 2010 Community Focus



  • Dreams speak of the unclaimed parts of ourselves... our hopes, fears, desires, needs... our truth. This month bring some awareness to your subconscious by engaging in dreamwork. Keep a dream journal by your bedside. Each night before you slip off to slumber, open your journal and write down a question for your subconscious to answer in your dreams. In order to invite your subconscious to come forward and speak to you through your dreams, phrase your question as, "What do I need to know about... my relationship, my career, my health, my family, my friendships (you fill in the blank)?" Simply jot down whatever has been troubling you or rattling around in your head with no apparent direction or solution. Create the invitation for the guidance you need to come forward from the deepest place within you. If you haven't had anything in particular on your mind you can leave the question open-ended and simply write, "What do I need to know at this time?" In the morning, when you rise, simply write down whatever you remember from your dreams underneath the question you posed in your journal. Don't worry about figuring any of it out in that moment, just log what's fresh in your memory. If you can't seem to recall any dreams, log any phrases, words, or images that come to mind in those first waking moments and don't worry if they make sense at this point. Simply make your notes. Sometimes, when engaged in dreamwork, you may wake in middle of the night from a vivid dream. If this is the case, go ahead a take a second to jot down the impressions you remember. Later, when you have time, sit with your dreamwork entry and see what it speaks to you. What does it symbolize? What guidance came filtering in through your dreams in relation to your question? Open your mind and see what threads of connection you can form. This is a wonderful way to begin to get in touch with your own internal guidance.

  • Sinus issues are very common at this time of year. Air conditioning and the dry heat of sweltering days can irritate delicate sinus tissues. So many people throw away money on anti-histamines and nasal sprays when there is an extremely effective natural solution. Nasal irrigation with the use of a neti pot has been found to be very beneficial for preventing sinus infections, allergic responses, headaches, and asthma. Ayurvedic texts outline that the practice of nasal irrigation using a sea salt water blend can have a balancing effect on all the systems of the body, including the emotions. I have been using a neti pot upon the recommendation of my doctor and I am amazed by how much it has freed up my breathing. I have also noted benefits that extend beyond the alleviation of my sinus issues. If you struggle with sinus-related maladies, give yourself the opportunity to discover this healing approach. Now is the perfect time with summer in high gear to get some relief using a natural method. Neti pots are very inexpensive. When you add up all the costs of allergy medications, inhalers, and anti-histamines, it becomes clear what a wise investment this can be in your health. You can get your own neti pot by following the link below...
  • Pay homage to the sun by starting your day with a sun salutation practice. Sun salutations are a series of yoga poses, or asanas, that are threaded together in a sequence that moves like a dance matched to breath. Opening poses or back bends are matched to inhale. Folding forward poses are matched to exhale. Sun salutations center and energize your entire being. It is a wonderful practice to begin your day with and is very much in harmony with the summer season. This sequence provides strengthening, cardiovascular, and flexibility conditioning in a relatively brief amount of time. Ten minutes spent in sun salutation can be of immense benefit physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually, by helping you connect with yourself and the natural rhythm of the world around you. If sun salutations are a new practice for you, you may want to begin with as little as three rounds of the sequence. Each week as you feel strengthened, you can add more rounds until you reach a place that feels right for your body. I have included a video below that demonstrates this sequence for those of you who may be unfamiliar with yoga. The video features Shiva Rea and a sun salutation practice that is a little over 8 minutes in duration. Namaste...

Spirit & Feeling Your Connection With Nature:
  • This month our spirit and nature focuses are combined. We are going to give ourselves the opportunity to experience nature as healer. At some point during this month gather together a blanket to spread out and lounge upon, some food and beverages, a soul-stirring book, journal, sketch pad, pens, pencils, markers, bubbles, whatever you like, along with the willingness to head outdoors and spend the day communing with the natural world around you. Give yourself the gift of this day to simply be and get reconnected with yourself. Sit and do nothing if you like, just listening to the rhythm of your breath, the sounds of nature swirling around you in this dance of life. Meditate or do some yoga barefoot upon the cool grass. Blow bubbles like you did as a kid or cartwheel yourself across an open field. Write in your journal about whatever comes up for recognition in your soul. Let out your creativity and doodle to your heart's content or draw a picture of your natural surroundings. Nap as the sun warms your bones and you are serenaded to sleep by the songs of birds. Ask those deep questions and listen for nature's answers. Feel your connection to all that is and the sublime beauty of simply being in nature's loving embrace.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Happy 4th of July!


"The Big Fat Lie" would like to wish all of you a happy 4th of July weekend. Go out and enjoy some down home BBQ. Soak up some sun. Catch the fireworks with the family. Most of all, have fun and be safe. Make sure to hand over your keys if you get carried away with the libation. Be sure to look out for family and friends by making them do the same. Let's do our part to ensure we all have a good time by practicing some common sense. Please don't drink and drive.

I'm off to enjoy a three-day weekend of festivities, but I will be back next week to post the July 2010 focus. Until then, make the most of this holiday break. Kick up your heels and have yourself some fun!

Thursday, June 3, 2010

"The Big Fat Lie" June 2010 Community Focus: Surrender to June's Sensual Embrace


June is a romantic month. This is the most popular time for weddings and there is a little history behind this. The month of June was named after one of the most powerful Goddesses in the Roman pantheon, Juno, the Goddess of love and marriage. For this reason, the month of June has traditionally been viewed as a blessed time to wed.

This month also features summer solstice on June 21st. The longest day of the year is a time when lovers tryst. We celebrate the beginning of summer by letting down our hair and releasing our inhibitions. With the sun finally peeking through the storm clouds of the last of the spring showers, a new kind of energy fills the air. This is when summer romances begin. Balmy evenings create the perfect conditions for a moonlit stroll. Pleasure and festivity is at hand as we enter the flow of the summer season. A passionate warmth tinges the advent of summer that brings out a bit of the hedonist in all of us.

In harmony with the spirit of this month, our June 2010 Focus will center on reconnecting with our sensuality. Slip into something more comfortable and delight in the slinky vibe of the season.


  • Get in the mood with some reading to tickle your senses. Dust off that old copy of the Kama Sutra and explore its offerings. Lose yourself in the pages of, "Delta of Venus" By, Anais Nin. If you're a true romantic, pick up your favorite Jane Austen novel. Or drink in some poetry that plucks your heart strings. Whether you revel in erotica, are a Twi-hard, or can't seem to part with your Harlequin romance novels, make some time this month to turn up the heat by sinking into a book that gets you a little hot under the collar.

  • Prepare an aphrodisiac feast. Many of the fruits and veggies on offer this summer season are considered aphrodisiacs. Coincidence? You be the judge. The word aphrodisiac comes from Aphrodite, the Goddess of sensuality and love. It is believed foods that possess aphrodisiac qualities have the ability to rev libido and stoke the fires of passion. Set the tone for a steamy picnic. Bring along chocolate covered strawberries, pesto pasta salad, arugula dressed with truffle oil, and a bottle of mead to work its magic. Or design a menu of your own using the below list of aphrodisiac foods.
Foods That Get It On and Poppin'...

  • Almond
  • Arugula
  • Asafetida
  • Asparagus
  • Avocado
  • Bananas
  • Basil
  • Broccoli Rabe
  • Carrots
  • Chocolate
  • Coffee
  • Coriander
  • Fennel
  • Figs
  • Garlic (I know! Goes against every bit of dating advice you've ever received.)
  • Ginger
  • Honey
  • Licorice
  • Mustard
  • Mustard greens
  • Nutmeg
  • Oysters
  • Pineapple
  • Pine nuts
  • Raspberries
  • Strawberries
  • Truffles
  • Vanilla
  • Wine
  • Infuse your sweat sessions with sensuality. Explore forms of movement that put you in touch with your sensuous side. Dance is a great way to get fit and creatively express your soulful sexuality. Belly dance not only awakens the goddess within, it is also tonifying for the entire female reproductive system. Latin dance sizzles with lots of spicy accents, perfect for introducing you to your muy caliente side. If you really want to let loose you may want to take a burlesque class and learn the art of tease. These are the obvious options, but let's break down the word sensual. The dictionary defines sensual as, "Relating to or affecting any of the senses or a sense organ; sensory." This expands the possibilities. Explore the sweet surrender of your body releasing through the sinuous flow of vinyasa yoga. Embrace the sensory delight of weightlessness as you swim to temper the heat of the day. Just about any form of movement can be sensual if you are fully present in your body and allow yourself to be in the experience.
  • Coax your sensual nature out of hiding. Pamper yourself with luxurious treats. Create your own signature scent using a sensuous blend of aromatherapy oils. Jasmine, ylang-ylang, myrrh, patchouli, and the grand diva, the rose, are intoxicating aphrodisiac scents. You can also use these oils in a diffuser to give your boudoir an alluring vibe. Wear clothing made of fabrics that surround you in rapturous bliss. Think billowy skirts, flowy garments, outfits that have a wink of flirtatiousness made of fabrics that feel good to the touch like satin, silk, or bamboo. Get in the mood by infusing your space with candlelight, intoxicating music that lifts your senses to another level, a gorgeous bouquet of roses on your bedside table. Reconnect with your romantic nature. Even if you are single and loving it, you can invite sensuality into your life. Hit all your senses... sight, sound, smell, taste, touch, and let the enchantment commence!

  • Being open to new things is sexy. This month, expand your view by bringing some attention to your second chakra. Eastern thought speaks of an energetic body compromised, among other elements, of chakra energy centers. It is believed there are seven main chakra energy centers that run from the base of the spine all the way up to the crown of the head. Each chakra has dominion over a particular life energy. In alignment with our sensual focus, we will be concentrating on the second chakra which is the energy center that houses our sexual and creative energy. The bodily location of this chakra is 1-2 inches below your navel. This chakra vibrates to the color orange. It's element is water and it's related to the sense of taste. It is said that we experience stagnation, illness, or obstacles in our lives when our energy centers are blocked. By nourishing the chakras with healing intention, we can keep them clear and open, thereby inviting more free-flowing energy and balance into our lives. Working with your chakras does not require you to subscribe to any particular spiritual belief. Think of this more as holistic healing which can bring you into contact with the mystery of your soul. The second chakra is about connection. Connection with our creativity, sexuality, intuition, emotions, needs, and sense of self-worth. Dysfunction in the second chakra shows up physically as, lack of energy, fatigue, IBS, low back pain, sciatica, urinary tract infections, reproductive and libido issues. Emotional manifestations of excessive second chakra energy include, aggression, Type A behavior, overindulgence, obsession, power trips, manipulation, and an intense need to control. Excessive energy can also show up as blurry boundaries. Deficient second chakra energy is characterized by, lack of trust, resentment, frigidity or impotence, guilt, blame, co-dependence, insecurity, avoidance of emotions, denial, and feeling paralyzed by fear, unable to move forward in life. You know your second chakra energy is low when you have trouble feeling what you feel. That sense that you can't quite put your finger on what is bothering you. These imbalances show up in our lives as blocked creativity, or creative burnout, addiction, intimacy issues, and money problems. The beauty is, these imbalances can be addressed. Work with some of the suggestions below to get your second chakra humming.
Simple Ways to Balance the Second Chakra...
  • Get your body moving. Exercise is a great way to balance the energy of the second chakra. Hip-opening yoga asanas, belly dance, hula-hooping, and even simple hip circles and pelvic thrusts have a stabilizing effect on this chakra.
  • Belly rubs using one of the afformentioned sensual aromatherapy oils dispersed in a carrier oil like almond oil balance this energy center. Better yet, see if your lover can show your tummy some appreciation by giving you the massage so you can relax and receive.
  • Surround yourself with more orange if you feel your second chakra energy is deficient. Highlight this color in your wardrobe and surroundings. Wear jewelery that features stones such as carnelian or tiger's eye that have an orange hue.
  • Water has a tonifying effect. Make sure you are well-hydrated by keeping a water bottle on your person. Take soothing mineral baths. Cool off on a hot day by taking a dip in the pool. Visit the ocean or other bodies of water to calm and center.
  • Create affirmations. Write them on post-its and put them in prominent places, like the dashboard of your car, where you will see them often. A nice one to work with that resonates with the energy of the second chakra is, "I openly express my sensuality. I honor my sacred sexuality."
  • Remember that you don't need to drive yourself so hard. Take breaks within the day for rest and play.
  • Engage in a practice of self-care. Eat foods that make you hum. Move your body in pleasurable ways. Create space to decompress. Play more and stress less. Get quality sleep. Indulge in a little daily pampering. Nourish the relationships and passions that are important to you. Keep your home tidy so you can let go and relax at the end of the day.
  • Engage in meditation. Close your eyes and breathe into your belly. Let your belly relax fully, rising and falling with each breath. Focus your attention on the area 1-2 inches below your navel. Imagine an orange orb spinning there. This is your second chakra. How does your chakra look? Is it a bright orange, or does it appear murky? Does it spin freely, or is it stuck, slow, or sluggish? Imagine bringing this energy center into a place of healthy balance. Get creative. There is no wrong way to go about this. Let the child inside out to play. This is very much in harmony with working with second chakra energy. If you see your second chakra as dark and cloudy in your mind's eye, you can imagine a hose appearing, cleansing the chakra with purifying water. Envision the water washing away all the gunk until your chakra glows bright orange. You can even visualize your breath going into the chakra, blowing out the cobwebs, helping it spin more freely. Just play with it and feel it out. Open your mind and let your creativity lead. Spend as much time with this as you like and trust that when you are able to see your chakra balanced in your mind's eye that the healing has taken effect. Pay attention over the next few days after working with this meditation and note any changes you experience or feelings that come up. You may even want to jot down synchronicities in your journal.
Feel Your Connection to Nature:
  • Grab a blanket and head out the evening of June 26th for a little stargazing. You'll be in store for a celestial treat. This night will not only feature a full moon, but a partial lunar eclipse that will be visible throughout the western Americas, Australia, and most of eastern Asia. Nothing feels quite as magical as taking in the beauty of a clear summer night's sky. Enjoy! 

Movin' and Groovin' with the Vibe of the Summer Season


Summer is an energetic time of year. With day longer than night, we are at the year's zenith of activity. It would be a shame to piddle away this exuberant energy going through the motions at the gym. If ever there was a time to think outside the box when it comes to fitness, this is it. There's such a wide variety of exercise options during the summer. See if you can invite a spirit of play into your training sessions this season.

Think back to the carefree days of summer when you were a kid. Remember the excitement you felt when that final school bell rang announcing the start of summer break? Recall that sense of childhood enthusiasm. Growing up doesn't mean getting old. Breathe some of that youthful energy back into your heart and just play. Relax around your workouts and kick up your heels a bit. It's a great way to switch things up and experience movement in a new way.

Fun in the Sun Fitness:

  • Run through the sprinklers with your kids.
  • Play Marco Polo at the local community swimming pool.
  • Have a good old fashioned water balloon fight.
  • Head out to the park. Fly high on the swings. Monkey around on the monkey bars. Play tag with a group of friends. Let yourself be silly and free. Play as if no one is watching just like you did back in the day.
  • Catch a bitchin' wave on your boogie board.
  • Go rollerskating down the boardwalk.
  • Hit a music festival and shake that groove thang. Dancing is fun and a great way to work that body. Having live music involved is the cherry on the sundae.
  • Take the family to a water park for a day of frolicking.
Of course, there are also plenty of summer activities for the weekend warriors to enjoy. Spike these activities with a little playfulness. Drink in the spirited energy of the season. We all benefit from letting our hair down a bit. Pack a gourmet picnic to tote along on your hike. When you reach the summit celebrate your bird's eye view with a fabulous feast. Gather a group together for a kayaking trip down the river. Meet downstream on the shore for a luau party. Finish up that intense bike ride at the movie theater downtown. You can park your wheels while cooling off in the air conditioning as you take in one of the summer blockbusters.

Group sports are another great way to invite more play into your training. Connect with your buddies for a friendly game of tag football. Hit the beach for a round of volleyball. With all the laughter and good times you'll be sharing with friends you'll forget that you're working out. Let fun be your mantra when it comes to fitness this summer season. Your body and spirit will thank you.

Summer Training Activities:

  • Hiking
  • Rock climbing
  • Biking
  • Surfing
  • Water Skiing
  • Swimming
  • Aqua aerobics
  • Football
  • Basketball
  • Softball
  • Soccer
  • Volleyball
  • Trail running
  • Jogging
  • Walking at the beach. The sand provides great muscle strengthening resistance. Consider throwing in some intervals by running up the sand dunes. You'll get an amazing training session in nature's gym.
  • Kayaking
  • Water running. Many community pools offer lanes for this purpose. The water provides resistance that makes this a very effective low-impact form of exercise. It's also a great way to get that intensity while beating the heat.
  • Water polo
Another thing to consider are the many charitable walks, runs, and triathlons that are hosted in the summer. These events provide a wonderful opportunity to get out there and move your body while giving back to a worthy cause. Approaching training as a way to pay it forward provides a hefty return in yummy feel-good vibes. If you are inspired, investigate which causes have events slated for the summer and pick one to participate in that is personally meaningful to you.

On a final note, make sure to keep yourself well-hydrated this summer season. Between the period of 1979-2003 excessive heat exposure contributed to the death of 8,015 Americans. There are certain risk factors to be aware of in order to keep yourself safe this season while you're out galavanting.

Preventing Heat Stroke:

  • Infants, children, the elderly (age 65 and older), and those with chronic medical conditions are more susceptible to heat stress. Extra precautions should be taken in these cases.
  • Air conditioning provides the number one source of protection from heat stroke. Make sure to break up time spent in the elements with cool down periods indoors. Malls, libraries, movie theaters, and other public venues offer a place to cool off and recover from the heat.
  • Be aware of your local weather. Both the weather channel and public health center in your area can keep you informed of heat waves and the safety measures you need to take to ensure your protection.
  • Stay well-hydrated. Bump up those fluids, especially when training outdoors. Physical activity makes your fluid needs go up. Also, be mindful that caffeine and alcoholic beverages are dehydrating. Double up on your water intake for every glass of dehydrating beverages you consume. If you are exercising on a hot day, a good rule of thumb is to consume 2-4 glasses of cool water each hour to prevent heat exhaustion.
  • Be sure to replace salt and minerals lost through sweating. A sports drink, or Emergen-C can help with this. However, if you are watching your salt intake because of a medical condition be sure to consult your physician before consuming these beverages. 
  • Wear lightweight, breathable clothing and don't forget to slather on a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of 15 or higher. Make sure to reapply sunscreen regularly according to package directions and don't skimp when it comes to application. For reference, it takes about a shot glass full of sunscreen to properly protect the body from harmful rays. I personally recommend a chemical-free mineral based sunscreen for complete protection. If you will be outdoors for a long period of time, consider wearing a wide-brimmed hat. 
  • Think of scheduling your outdoor training for the morning or early evening hours when the sun's rays are a bit more forgiving. Scope out shady areas ahead of time so you can dip in for a rest should you begin to feel over-heated.
  • Slow your roll! Back off on your usual intensity of training on sweltering days. It's advisable to take the pace a little easier during heat waves.
  • Consider training with a friend. It's good to have someone on hand should an emergency arise.
The Signs of Heat Stroke:

  • Body temperature of 103 degrees F or higher.
  • Overheated body with an absence of sweat. Sweat is the body's cooling system. A lack of perspiration is cause for concern.
  • Disorientation/confusion
  • Nausea
  • Dizziness
  • Pounding headache
  • Strong, rapid pulse
  • Unconsciousness
In Case of Heat-Stroke Emergency:

  • Call 911. Make sure medical assistance is on the way.
  • Get yourself or the victim to a shady area immediately.
  • The main objective is rapid cooling. This can be achieved in a number of ways. Submerge in a cool tub. Cool down with a water hose or spray bottle. If caring for another who is overheated,  you can sponge them down with cool water, or wrap them in a soaked sheet while you fan them, as long as it is not humid.
  • Keep an eye on body temperature and continue cooling efforts until the body temp drops between 101-102 degrees F.
  • If medical personnel are delayed call the emergency room for further instruction.
  • DO NOT GIVE THE VICTIM ANYTHING TO DRINK. This may seem counter-intuitive but it can actually medically complicate a crisis situation and is contraindicated.
  • If the victim begins to have involuntary muscle twitching make sure that they have a clear area so they don't injure themselves on any nearby objects. If the victim vomits, turn them over onto to their side to keep their airway open.
Heat exhaustion is a more mild form of heat-related illness and is not an emergency situation. Although, it is important to monitor this condition so it doesn't progress to heat stroke. An individual with heat exhaustion may be pale, tired, weak, and dizzy which can lead to fainting. They may also have a headache and muscle cramps. It is possible that nausea and vomiting could be present. The crucial difference between heat exhaustion and the more serious heat stroke is that the individual with heat exhaustion will be sweating heavily. There will also be an absence of confusion and disorientation. However, it is important to seek medical assistance if the individual suffers from high blood pressure, has a heart condition, or if symptoms seem severe. Trust your gut. If you feel that medical help is needed, you are most likely correct. Don't question that judgment. Simply act.

In Case of Heat Exhaustion:

  • Rehydrate with cool, caffeine-free, non-alcoholic beverages.
  • Lower body temp with a cool bath or shower.
  • Rest and recuperate.
  • Find an air-conditioned environment.
  • Change into light, breathable clothing.

With a little common sense and preparedness, you can have a safe, fun summer season.

The Time is Ripe to Enjoy Summer's Bounty!


The long dog days of summer are upon us, ushering in a festive time of year. Everything feels a little different in the summer. The smell of freshly mowed grass fills the air along with the laughter of neighborhood kids beating the heat with water balloon fights. It is a season when whimsy can be found walking barefoot in the cool grass, taking a dip in the local watering hole, or slurping on a refreshing popsicle as a sticky sweet trail makes its way down your arm. It is also the best time of the year to savor nature's ambrosia. There is an overflowing bounty of produce waiting to be relished. The yield of the season is not to be missed. After all, what is summer without sinking your teeth into a succulent juicy peach? That savory BBQ fare wouldn't be the same without fresh seasonal veggies hot off the grill served on the side. The time is ripe for picking from the wide array of gorgeous produce on offer this summer season. Enjoy!


Summer Seasonal Fruits (June-July-August):
  • Apples
  • Apricots
  • Blackberries
  • Blueberries
  • Boysenberries
  • Cherries
  • Currants
  • Figs
  • Melons
  • Peaches
  • Raspberries
  • Strawberries
  • Tomatoes
  • Watermelon


Summer Seasonal Vegetables (June-July-August):
  • Artichokes
  • Arugula
  • Beans
  • Beets
  • Broccoli
  • Cabbage
  • Carrots
  • Cauliflower
  • Celery
  • Collard greens
  • Cucumber
  • Eggplant
  • Garlic
  • Kale
  • Lettuce
  • Okra
  • Onions
  • Peas
  • Peppers
  • Potatoes
  • Radishes
  • Spinach
  • Summer squash
  • Sweet corn
  • Swiss chard
  • Turnips
  • Zucchini


Summer Seasonal Blooms (June-July-August):
  • Alstromeria
  • Amaranthus
  • Baby's breath
  • Bird of paradise
  • Calla lily
  • Carnation
  • Casa Blanca lily
  • Chrysanthemum
  • Cockscomb
  • Cosmos
  • Dahlia
  • Delphinium
  • Foxglove
  • Freesia
  • Gardenia
  • Gladiolus
  • Gloriosa lily
  • Heather
  • Hydrangea
  • Iris
  • Lilac
  • Stargazer

Thursday, May 27, 2010

"Through Thick and Thin" Kicks Off, "Women, Food and God" Weekly Support Group

Women Food and God: An Unexpected Path to Almost Everything

Hello Community,

May 12th, 2010 will go down as a very pivotal moment in history for the non-diet movement. It was on this day that Oprah had Geneen Roth on her show to discuss her new book, "Women, Food and God". Many of us have been waiting for Oprah to pick up the baton and spread the message to the global community as only she can. As I watched the interview, it felt like a victory for all of us.

I'm glad that Oprah has decided to give up her battle of the bulge and instead learn how to deeply care for herself. This was quite a leap in her rather public struggle. I know it took a great deal of courage, self-reflection, and honesty for her to come out and announce to the world at large that she will never diet again.

I enjoyed the show very much. I do wish that Geneen had more of the floor. I feel that Oprah did most of the talking and I really wanted to hear more of what Geneen had to say. Talking to many other people who saw this interview I have come to discover that this was the general consensus. I also was disappointed that the show did seem to have overtones of the diet mentality peppered throughout. Hey, I get it. Americans want to see results. It's all about the numbers. However, images of before and after shots seemed to run completely counterintuitive to the message that was being shared. It reminded me of something very pertinent that Linda Bacon said in her book, "Health at Every Size". I'm paraphrasing here, but quintessentially Linda expressed that intuitive eating approached like a diet is nothing more than a diet. I couldn't agree with her more.

With splashy images of now thin women who had used the approach outlined in Geneen's books and workshops, the general message conveyed was, "Follow this path and you too can be skinny. You can have the body you've always wanted." Sadly, I feel this does a great disservice. I would have appreciated a more well-rounded view of what this process really entails.

I heard no discussion whatsoever about the anxiety that is encountered when making the choice to never diet again. The illusion was painted that this is a seamless transition free of complication. Those of us who have spent any length of time using this approach know that it is anything but. I heard nothing of the struggle, the confusion, the emotional upheaval, or the fact that where your body chooses to happily settle may not even be in the ballpark of the fantasy view you covet of your body's natural size.

This is not a quick fix. It is the road less traveled and a long, winding road at that. However, despite the ups and downs, it is worth every step taken on the road back to you. That's what we are doing here. We are finding our way back to ourselves... our sacred selves. We are excavating our authentic life. A life that has become buried under the rubble of food and body obsession. Food and body obsession has served as a distraction in our lives. It has prevented us from feeling our emotions, owning our truth, being in contact with our true needs, and discovering the source of our passion and purpose. This is a process of reclaiming. If you think it has anything to do with the size of your dress or the silly little number on a scale, you are missing the point... big time.

Of course we all desire to be our best self. We all want health and vitality but this reality is never obtained by fixating on our weight, stepping on the scale each morning, or having our lives amount to nothing more than the pursuit of thinness. Ironically, health and well-being become the natural result when you nurture self-love and respect. When you have high regard for yourself, you want to take the very best care of you. There is no need for coercion. No dangling carrot that needs to be chased after. When you accept yourself through and through in this moment, you move from reacting, to responding. Reaction is based in fear and response in love. When you get up each morning and greet the day with excitement for the possibilities that lie ahead, you are responding. When you can look at your reflection in the mirror and smile because you know that in this moment, you are more than enough, in fact, you are quite wonderful... you are responding. When you feed your body nourishing foods and move in a way that infuses your life with pleasure and fun, you are responding. Love is the movement and from this momentum all self-care takes root and flourishes.

Diets are based on reaction. You feel crappy about yourself and your life so you react by blaming your body for all of your woes rather than tuning in and feeling out what is really going on. You feel there is no meaning and purpose in your life. Instead of getting in touch with this sense of lack and gaining understanding into your needs and how they can be met, you cling to the illusion that if you only weighed 20 lbs. less everything in your life would be perfect. It's not that carrying around a lot of excess physical baggage can't compromise your sense of wellness. As Geneen Roth states in, "Women, Food and God", if the size of your body has created a scenario where your entire life revolves around your sense of limitation, it's time to think of taking better care of yourself. If you are huffing and puffing to get up a flight of stairs, if you can't tie your own shoes, if getting up out of a chair takes a monumental effort, it is time to consider how well you are showing up for yourself. But... even in these cases, focusing on the weight will not free you from your gilded cage because you never get to the heart of the matter. You never really figure out the ways your current behavior is serving you. That emptiness inside never gets addressed and you remain in a self-perpetuating cycle of abuse. Moving toward self-love, respect, and acceptance is the path to freedom.

Despite my disappointment with certain aspects of the interview, every time that Geneen spoke I hung on every word. I was so moved by Geneen's offerings that I promptly went out that very evening and purchased a copy of, "Women, Food and God". It was the best $16.48 I ever spent. I devoured the book in a day and a half and actually felt sad when I reached the final page. Every single word in that book rang true as if it was written upon my heart. Every word on each page could have been spoken from my own lips.

This was one of those books that came to me at the perfect time in my life. Much of the information contained in its pages had begun to formulate in my mind over the past few months. For this reason, I found it an extremely validating read. I also gained some incredible insights about myself. Things that had flown under my radar and escaped my knowing but were such a pivotal part of my recovery process.

I attend weekly ANAD (Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders) meetings. I call, "Women, Food and God" my portable support group because much of the information was familiar to me. We work with a lot of the techniques Geneen covers in my ANAD group. As a result, this book has been a tremendous source of support for me.

I also think that Geneen addresses a lot of topics that frequently come up on any intuitively-based path. I feel this is an extremely important read for everyone struggling with food and body image issues, no matter your history. I also think it contains a wealth of information for those who have never had to contend with such issues. There is wisdom in this book for everyone.

"Through Thick and Thin", our sister community, has decided to launch a, "Women, Food and God" support group. Beginning in June 2010, this group will meet weekly at the, "Through Thick and Thin" community forum...

The intention is to work, as a group, chapter by chapter through Geneen's book. Each week will feature a chapter and focus discussion. There will also be opportunity for individuals to discuss challenges they may be facing with this approach so they can gain the support they need. Questions will also be welcomed... encouraged even. Additionally, each week will have a group exercise that can be done in between meetings in order to embody the path in each of our lives, making it more real.

This group is open to anyone who is interested. Don't let the title of the book fool you. Men are more than welcomed to participate. This book has a lot to offer the fellas too. Meetings will take place every Thursday throughout the day beginning June 3rd. There is no need to check in at any specific time. The discussion will be on-going throughout the day. Pop in as your schedule allows and contribute to the conversation. We look forward to sharing this experience with each and every one of you.

You can obtain a copy of Geneen Roth's, "Women, Food and God" by following this link...

Women Food and God: An Unexpected Path to Almost Everything

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

"Project Me" Update


Remember how I promised to share my experience with this project honestly? Well, here I am, coming clean. My decluttering efforts have been coming along slowly and this is mostly because I have been distracted. Since starting this project, I have experienced a subsequent upswing in my eating disorder behavior.

Last Saturday in ANAD (Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders) group I shared the recent eating disorder challenges I have been wading through. I noticed that ED's acting up coincided with the start of this project I created for myself. Barbara, the therapist who leads the ANAD group, gave me some valuable guidance. While she supported my intention to enjoy more homemade meals, she felt I needed to give myself some breathing room with this and back off from making it such an absolute condition of having to cook all my meals at home for 30 days straight. She believes this delves into an area of rigidity that can lead me back into patterns of restriction, deprivation, and starvation, fueling the eating disorder.

I heard her loud and clear. I have been cooking the majority of my meals at home. Some aspects of this have felt very supportive. My home-cooked meals feel more nurturing to my body. However, I have decided to lighten up around this because I think Barbara makes a valid point. After all, I cannot deny the correlation between the launch of, "Project Me" and subsequent rise in my eating disorder behavior.

I did share in group that I noticed the way I create back door scenarios that let my ED behavior creep in. I have been doing a lot of heavy emotional work. For the first time in my life, I am being fully present with my feelings. It has been a lot for me to deal with emotionally. There have been moments I have felt wrung out and drained. The thought, "I wish I could just make this stop" has danced through my head. Only problem is, I haven't been able to stop the flow of feeling. It just keeps coming... like a floodgate has been opened. It's OK. I understand all of this needs to be cleared in order for me to move forward. At the same time, understanding the necessity of this emotional work doesn't make it any easier to deal with the intolerable feelings that can arise. Throughout my life, I have used eating disorder as a way to disconnect and disassociate from my intolerable emotions. As you can see, the increased volume of my painful feelings has created a scenario akin to a dog chasing its own tail.

Quite conveniently, as the difficult emotions continued to surface, I decided to launch, "Project Me". During this period of deep emotional upheaval I set out on a challenge to cook all of my meals at home for the next 30 days. ED is a sneaky bastard and is very clever at finding alternate routes to gain control, especially when everything feels so emotionally messy. I totally set myself up by stocking my cupboards full of foods that require an inordinate amount of preparation... dry beans, rice, whole grains, lentil pilafs... you get the picture. While these may be wholesome foods my decision to load my kitchen full of ingredients that would require lengthy preparation is a bit like going from 0-60 MPH overnight. This is all or nothing mentality in full swing. Keep in mind that prior to making this switch I was almost exclusively dining out for all of my meals. I created an impossible scenario and what I want to make clear is that this was not coincidence. It was cunning.

ED is what drove me to set up my environment this way. Essentially, I put out the welcome mat and said, "Come on in ED. Feel free to take over." This gave me a brilliant excuse to fall into eating disorder behavior. My end aim was achieved. I could disconnect from the difficult feelings that have been surfacing within me. ED effectively achieved this desired result. With ED acting up, I have been completely distracted from the emotional work. Instead, my eating disorder challenges have consumed every bit of my attention. It is such a clever form of distraction from the difficult feelings! These past couple of weeks have shown me just how effectively ED helps me turn off the emotions. No wonder I have yet to find full recovery. ED continues to serve me well. I have yet to develop new coping skills to replace ED's role in my life. Until I do, I will remain stuck.

I believe that in the back of my mind I knew I was setting myself up. I created a very high-pressure scenario that made the proposition of cooking, and therefore eating, absolutely inconvenient, if not improbable. I was alerted to this obvious fact when looking around the circle of members at ANAD group on Saturday. Each person knowingly laughed and nodded their heads in recognition, having played out similar scenarios in their own lives. It became pretty damn clear what was going on.

In the interest of my recovery, I have decided to back off from the cooking portion of this challenge. It is too much of a leap for me at this time. Pairing this with the decluttering process is sending me into overdrive. It is causing my feelings of overwhelm to escalate and I believe this is why my eating disorder issues have become exacerbated in the past couple of weeks. It always comes back to this. When the intolerable feelings go up, I want to come in, tamp it down, control the food, and manipulate my body in order to gain a sense of containment for what feels completely unmanageable in my life.

I now understand why my eating disorder issues have been aggravated. In the past month or so, I have placed the focus back on food and my body size the deeper I travel into the emotional healing work. There has additionally been outside triggers fueling the eating disorder. Medical professionals have put me under a lot of pressure to address my health and when they say 'health', what they really mean, in no uncertain terms, is address my body size. This fuels my fear, pits me against my body, and throws me back into the disorder. I may start out with the best of intentions, but any manipulation around eating experiences to achieve a desired physical result, even one medically advised, triggers my eating disorder. No matter how well-meaning doctors believe their admonishments to reduce body size are, they must understand how harmful this focus is for those who struggle with eating disorder.

This experience has made it abundantly clear that I need to secure better support for myself as I go through this deep period of emotional release work. Knowing that I already feed myself in a very balanced, nourishing way, and that I enjoy this, I should view any desire to manipulate my eating experiences in the name of 'health' as a red flag. After all, I eat nutritiously. Treats make up a very reasonable part of my lifestyle. I know exactly what foods fuel my body and make me feel my best. I don't need to make any changes in this regard. The ED mentality found a clever way to manipulate my food experiences with this challenge in order to contain and control the painful emotions that have been surfacing in me. This is how ED serves me. This is the role eating disorder is playing in my life. 

Do I need to cook more of my meals at home? Yes. Would this help improve my health? Absolutely. Will it also save me money? Most certainly. Can I only guarantee true food quality when preparing meals with my own two hands? Sure. Do I need to be so controlled with it that I never let myself eat out? Not by a long shot!

I agree with Barbara. She is a smart cookie. I'm glad I was willing to open myself up to the group and share the challenges I have been struggling with. Barbara helped me own the scenario I was creating... a situation where it would be easy to fall back into ED patterns.

I'm done focusing on food. I eat in a very balanced way when I am eating and that is the key. Simply because my body has yet to physically reflect this balanced relationship with food in a way that doctors or the world at large view as an indication of success doesn't mean squat. Maybe my body will never fit within the confines of society's view of what a 'healthy' body looks like. In our culture, thinness has been equated with health. This is a gross distortion of fact. All I do know for certain is that eating disorder breeds so much suffering in my life. If being out of the disorder means I need to be a thick mama... then so be it. I will not let doctors, or anyone else for that matter, continue to pressure me to look a certain way so they can be more comfortable with me. What is important is that I am comfortable with myself. It is time for me to stand up and be a personal advocate for my recovery.

I can allow room for flexibility in my approach. I am choosing to view eating out as a treat. As Barbara advised me, I should be able to look forward to going out to eat once or twice a week. Dining out cannot provide the foundation of a solid practice of self-care, but it does give me pleasure and enjoyment. I shouldn't have to go without.

I swear, I am always learning new things on this path. At least now when I hit snags, the duration I stay stuck lessens each go around. I'm also able to see what is blocking my path to recovery and switch things up so I feel better supported. For the time being, my focus with, "Project Me" will be on cooking at home more often, rather than making homemade meals an absolute condition. I will also continue in my decluttering efforts and give room for understanding that it is a process. I do not need to overhaul my entire life in one fell swoop. Lesson learned! 

Monday, May 3, 2010

"The Big Fat Lie" May 2010 Community Focus


This month our community focus is about clearing the clutter to allow more room for personal fulfillment. Clutter comes in many forms and it's not just about the extra stuff filling up your home. It is also about all the unnecessary things we cling to that are taking up residence in our minds, bodies and spirits, preventing us from moving forward. This month, take out the trash. Toss all that junk that is getting in between you and the life you deserve to live.


Sometimes our minds can become so full of clutter. We find it hard to let go of our thoughts about all the things still needing to be crossed off our to-do lists. Stress is created when we flood our minds with concern about what tomorrow will bring, or continually mentally go over events that happened to us earlier in the day. In the stillness, we find peace and relief.

Begin a nightly practice of emptying your mind of cares and concerns by starting a, "Take Out The Trash" journal. Let this journal become the space where you deposit all the garbage at the end of the day. Let it all go. Whatever worries, concerns, or stresses are occupying your thoughts can be emptied in the journal. It's easy to become entangled in the stress to the extent that it almost feels like a part of you. It can become difficult to hear your own voice above all the noise of mental chatter. It helps to get it out of your system and onto paper. It allows a fresh perspective to come in.

Write in your journal in a free-form style. This isn't about composing a compelling writing piece. It is literally about allowing your stream of thought to be emptied so you can find some solace at the end of the day. Gripe, bitch, moan and groan all you want. No one is going to judge you. Let it come out raw and uncensored. This is your private space to clear out the trash so you can let it go and get back in touch with you. Make a deal with yourself that once you have finished writing in your journal you are done stressing for the day. Signal this to your subconscious with a symbolic act. After you've had a chance to take out all the mental trash and have read your entry, rip the page out of your journal, crumple it up or tear it to shreds and throw it in the garbage bin. You'll be amazed at the en-lightening effect this has.


What is getting in the way of providing yourself with consistent self-care? When we notice imbalanced behaviors developing it is time to engage in the most basic self-care. This is particularly relevant for those in recovery from eating disorder. What is basic self-care? What does this look like?

Basic Self-Care Is...

  • Making sure you get enough quality sleep.
  • Feeding yourself a variety of nourishing foods, consistently.
  • Tending to personal hygiene and grooming, i.e., bathing, combing hair, brushing teeth, etc.
  • Managing stress with meditation, yoga, time spent outdoors in the fresh air, therapy sessions, listening to music that soothes you, connecting with a friend for a walk, journaling, etc.
  • Getting daily exercise that you enjoy.
  • Making sure you have support from others and in your environment through, support groups, social connection, and spirituality.
How do we recognize that we are dancing close to the edge, about to lose our balance? By paying attention to the warning signs and clearing the way to engage in a practice of the most basic self-care. What signs show up when we are letting our needs slip?

Red Flags...

  • Staying up into the wee hours of the night. Inevitably, this causes the quality and quantity of sleep to decline.
  • Depression: Feelings of hopelessness or despair. Can't even muster the energy or desire to provide yourself with the most basic self-care.
  • Popping Pills: Sleeping pills, laxatives, diuretics, weight-loss supplements, excessive intake of stimulants like caffeine from coffee and soda, abusing alcohol or drugs, taking meal replacement shakes instead of providing yourself with a real meal.
  • Feeling resentful because all of your energy is going out and nothing is coming back in. The surfacing of issues such as, co-dependency and caretaking of others to the extent that your own needs go unmet.
  • Irritability, moodiness, and hostility.
  • Isolation and withdrawal from social interaction.
Take an honest look at the physical state your life and health are in. Do you feel supported? Do you have a solid practice of self-care in place? If not, what's getting in the way and what do you need to do to better support yourself? Maybe there is so much chaos in your home that it acts as a distraction and prevents you from focusing on what needs to be addressed in your life. Perhaps you are over-extended with obligations and are so exhausted at the end of the day that you feel there is no time left for you to take care of yourself. Then again, if you are dealing with an issue like eating disorder, depression, or anxiety, you may be lacking the help you need from therapy or support groups. Be truthful with yourself. Acknowledge where you are stuck so you can begin to move forward. Take the steps you need to take to declutter your life so your basic self-care is non-negotiable. Immediately get back to addressing your needs so the imbalance does not take on a life of its own. Show up and act on your own behalf.


Work with the, "When One Door Closes, Another Opens" exercise to clear the emotional clutter that is blocking you from living your authentic life.

Feel Your Connection to Nature:

With all of this clearing work, it is important to refill your cup. Nature, nurtures. The natural world is such a powerful healer. Allow yourself to receive the healing, grounding energy of the natural world that is all around you. This month, make it a daily practice to spend some time outdoors in contemplation. Perhaps you could go to a private spot and watch the sunset or sunrise each day. Commune with nature. Think about your life and the issues before you. Ask from your heart for nature to renew you... to give you clarity, guidance, healing energy, direction... whatever you feel you are in most need of at this time. Then sit and allow yourself to receive. Be open to the experience and honor whatever comes forward. Allow yourself to feel the healing power of nature.

When we were children, we weren't so questioning. We didn't require so many explanations. See if you can let go of the reasoning mind for this moment in time. Allow your wild, intuitive nature to take over when you come into contact with the natural world. Keep your judgments in check and give yourself the opportunity to receive whatever gift nature has to offer you. It can be a deeply enriching experience.

When One Door Closes, Another Opens... An Exercise to Manifest Your Authentic Life


The following exercise is a result of a collaborative effort between Joe and myself. Considering that you are all familiar with me, I thought I'd introduce you to Joe. Joe is a member of our community. He is actively involved both here at, "The Big Fat Lie" and at, "Through Thick and Thin". Through an awakening, Joe has been called to be of service and to bring his healing contribution forward in the world. He has started a wonderful blog to chronicle his experiences...

A few days ago, Joe posted an intriguing exercise on the, "Through Thick and Thin" community forum. I will share Joe's post with you now...

"I have come up with something that has really helped me not just with eating but with many areas of life. See, the subconscious mind really likes stories and metaphor. It will really start to feel like what you are telling it is the truth. So much so, that as you continue to tell yourself the same story over and over again it literally becomes fused into your mind. There is also a metaphysical and scientific idea that whatever you think about and focus on becomes your life. Basically, that we are creating our own reality. So, what's the point of telling you all of this?

Well, I have an idea for you to try to help keep your mind focused on what you want to create. Simply write a story about you. Write it in the 3rd person. Write it as though you are telling some one else your story. The key is to not focus on the dramas of the past. You have to let go of all of the crap you have been living with thus far when you are writing this story. It should be about exactly who you want to be and how you see your life.

It doesn't have to be overly long. It can be a couple of pages. Just be as descriptive and simple as possible. Describe how you see yourself in all aspects, (mentally, physically, emotionally, spiritually). Talk about what kind of job you are doing. How you are dealing with others and how they are dealing with you. Describe what type of financial or love life etc. that you want. Have fun with it and write it from your heart and spirit. Try to keep your rational mind out of it as much as possible.

Then the task is to read the story every morning. When you wake up read the story to yourself as a ritual. Every time you feel depressed, feel like binging etc, read the story. You can also edit it as circumstances change or as you wish to add more detail to it. I think that you will be surprised at how things start changing around you. At first it will be subtle but as time goes on you may find that your life is more like the story than you thought possible.

Trust me it really works!"

I loved this exercise Joe presented and was eager to implement this practice in my life. I have done plenty of affirmation and intention work for many years. I have seen some benefit from this practice, but always felt a little blocked. It's something I haven't really been able to put my finger on. I thought perhaps writing out the story of the life I wish to create as if it already were, may have a more convincing effect on my subconscious. This sparked an interesting conversation between me and a dear friend. We talked about Joe's exercise and then elaborated on the original concept. What we arrived at is a way to heal the past, while holding the vision for the future. I will now share what I posted in response to Joe on the forum...

"Hi Joe,

I wanted to add something to this discussion. I was talking to a good friend of mine this morning and sharing your exercise with her. It sparked an interesting dialogue between the two of us and we thought of a way to take this exercise a step further that I wanted to share with you and the community.

I think feeding the vision of the life we want to live is essential when it comes to healing and most certainly for those in recovery from ED. In fact, in eating disorder therapy, this is something that is really emphasized... the need to create a vision for the life you want to live. Eating disorder therapy also involves the necessary healing work of clearing the past, and finding a path to forgiveness of self and others.

As my friend and I were discussing your exercise this morning and talking about what an empowering practice we thought it would be, she said, "Now, what if you combine this exercise with a practice of rewriting stories from your past? With the past energy cleared, the new story will more readily take root." That made a lot of sense to me.

She's in human services and shared something she learned in her training where you draw up a timeline of your life, dividing it into 10 year increments beginning from birth, to the age you are presently. For each decade, you mark on the timeline significant life events, both positive and negative/traumatic in nature. Once your timeline is completed, you are able to spot certain patterns... the ways that our history/herstory intertwines with our present. Many patterns are repeated through a lifetime and can relate to past negative experiences and traumas that were not fully grieved, mourned, shed, and released.

She then suggested going through your timeline and picking several very significant events... things that really changed you as a person, or molded your life view. The focus would be on events that are negative/traumatic in nature. She then said, "What if you rewrote those story lines and took a difficult situation but revised it in such a way that would allow you to find peace with the experience so you can release it and let it go?"

I'll give you an example that we discussed. Let's say that you had a falling out with a parent and this created a rift between the two of you that remains unhealed to this day. Surely, there are things that both of you could have handled differently. However, when we feel wounded, often all we can see is our pain... our point of view. Let's say the rift was caused by an argument where the two of you both saw things very differently and you haven't spoken since. In fact, it has been years since the two of you have had a conversation. This has greatly impacted you and created a limiting energy that prevents you from moving forward in certain areas of your life.

I think this happens a lot. I believe that intention is powerful. I believe that it is important to hold a clear vision of the life you want to create. I also believe it is important to clear the clutter of the past so there is room for that new vision to become a reality. Otherwise, our perceptions, beliefs, and deeply ingrained expectations can cloud the waters and make for murky manifestation. It is important to be present and sometimes, being present involves addressing the past in the now so you can be free and clear to move forward unobstructed.

What if you rewrote the story of this argument with your parent that created the rift and really came from the heart and your soul as you described? Describe the situation from a higher vantage point. In this retelling, say the things you wished you had said and hear the things from your parent you wished you had heard. What if in the retelling you wrote a story where you both could come to understand the situation through the other's eyes and came to a place of peace and acceptance with each other? If you read this story to yourself daily, how would that shift your life experience? Would it have a healing effect on this situation that has troubled you for so long, even if it was a sense of peace awakening within your own heart?

Now, after doing this healing work, how much more potent would your exercise to call in your highest life vision be? I have a feeling it would be immensely powerful!

My friend and I were talking about how you could take this one past situation at a time, working with the issues that have greatly impacted you, while simultaneously working with the exercise you created Joe. How cool is that?! We thought it was pretty cool and felt it could have a very life-enhancing effect. I think I am going to combine this rewriting of a past story with your approach and see what happens. I already have a few issues in mind that I would like to do some release work around.

I just wanted to share this with you. It would be quite a potent community challenge to combine these two processes together. As you said Joe, our minds respond to story and metaphor. Why would this not have the same effect in rewriting the stories of the past? I would love to hear your thoughts on this. It sparked a really interesting conversation between me and my friend... took us to some wild places. My curiosity is peaked, so I definitely want to explore this."

From the marrying of these two concepts has come a comprehensive healing practice to find peace and closure with the past so space can be freed to allow the new vision of the life you want to live to enter. Sometimes people avoid healing the past and taking steps toward forgiveness. They would rather wipe their hands clean of yesterday and be done with it. I can certainly understand the desire to never look back and keep on, keepin' on. I have spent a lifetime doing just that, figuring that nothing can erase what has been done, so why bother addressing those issues? However, I have come to be aware of what a defense mechanism this has been for me.

We always hear the concept of the present being our point of power. I agree that this holds true. We are either here now, or we are nowhere. However, making peace with the past can be a necessary step in fostering presence. Doing healing work on past situations does not imply that you are stuck, living in yesteryear. Many misunderstand what true presence is really about. It is not about living in denial and putting on blinders. Sometimes, to be present you have to own your past and take steps to heal former issues in the now.

I'm actually excited to work with both aspects of this exercise. In my personal experience with affirmation work I have found marginal success in focusing on the future with positive intention. However, I stress marginal because there always seems to come a point in the process where I hit a brick wall. I believe this wall is built brick by brick with deep-held beliefs, conditioning, and expectations about what we are able to receive out of life based on past experiences. I agree that when it comes to the past, what's done is done. However, you can't just drop the past like a bad habit and think that it has no effect on who you are today. Those past experiences color your present life and indeed, your future. For example, let's say you wanted to create an abundant life, particularly in the area of your career and finances. If you grew up in poverty, how effectively do you think you would be able to call in this abundance? Surely, growing up poor has given you some powerful life experiences that have formulated your view of abundance and your ability to receive. These conditioned beliefs about abundance will act as a limiting factor that does not allow intention work to be completely effective. In order to manifest the life you envision for your future, you have to clear and resolve the energy of the past. The past after all, is foundational in who you are as a person.

The person you are today springs from the past and the experiences you have been through. This includes both positive and limiting aspects of yourself. A great book to read on this topic is, "You Can Heal Your Life", By, Louise L. Hay....

You Can Heal Your Life

Louise was diagnosed with cancer. She was told that she didn't have much time to live and that she would be required to go through extensive chemotherapy if she hoped to have any chance at survival. Something awoke in Louise when she received this dismal diagnoses. She got a solid intuitive hit that the reason she developed cancer was because she was holding onto resentment related to her past. It is interesting to note that many cancer patients have made this connection... that something is eating away at them emotionally and needs to be addressed before the cancer can be healed. This may sound like a rather airy-fairy concept to some, but there has been extensive research into the area of the mind-body connection. What has been established is that there appears to be a link between what the mind believes and how the body responds physically. You can find quite a few powerful stories out there about this.

Louise L. Hay began to work with affirmation, positive intention, and visualization. She went without traditional medical treatment because she firmly believed if she could release the resentment that she was carrying from the past, come to a place of forgiveness, and hold positive intentions of her future self, healed and whole, she would be able to release her condition of cancer. That is exactly what she did. She was considered a medical miracle. However, she remains adamant that her recovery was the direct result of releasing the power the past had over her by making peace with it, while simultaneously holding a firm vision of the life she wanted to live.

I have unresolved issues from my past. It's true that I can't go back and change what happened, but I can reclaim my power by giving myself a voice. I think it's important that our voice is heard. We all need that validation. We all deserve to say our peace.

Sometimes, we encounter experiences that we feel unable to address. We lack the emotional readiness to delve into certain areas, especially when pain is involved in order to work through the difficulty and find resolution. I personally have encountered situations that were too painful for me to deal with at the time. In reactiveness, I shut down, disconnected, and turned to eating disorder in order to survive and keep going. Above all, in times of crisis we will move toward self-preservation, even if those means of coping are not balanced or truly supportive. Those unresolved issues are like open wounds. I carry them with me to do this day. Those past issues affect me in the now. When past memories surface of times I have been tested to my core I can feel the intensity of the emotion as if it just happened. All the years that have passed do not create distance in terms of my feelings. Emotionally, I'm transported to that still frame in time. Nothing has been released or resolved. Those past experiences continue to play a role in my life to this day.

My past will always be a part of me. It cannot be erased or blotted from my soul. However, I do not need to fall into victimization by playing the blame game and clinging to anger, bitterness, and resentment. I know everything that happened in my past is exactly as it was meant to be. Yes... even the painful moments. My past is the culmination of the woman I am today. However, I believe I will not fully step into my power and reclaim my life until I find a path to peace with yesterday's experiences. I may not have been able to deal with those traumas then, but I am strong enough to face them now. This, in its purest essence, is presence. Presence is when you have the willingness to show up, feel, and consciously engage in your life experience... all of it... past, present, and future.

The forgiveness and release work I am currently doing around my past is a gift I give to myself. It sets me free. It allows me to shed the shackles of the past, redefining my beliefs and expectations about receiving. I believe that as I continue to clear the past, much like Louise L. Hay, I will be able to call in my future because I have created the emotional space to let it in. The way will no longer be blocked and barred by the self-imposed limitations of the beliefs I developed through my past experiences.

For this reason, I am eager to write both the stories of my past and future. Personally, I feel that releasing the past, and coming to a space within of peace and forgiveness will be absolutely key if I hope to create a life that fulfills me. I also know it will be essential in my recovery from eating disorder.

I believe rewriting the story of the past in tandem with creating our story for the future may be the missing link. I have never used these concepts in tandem so I have no idea what the end result will be. I am curious to explore this exercise though and see what comes up.

This month, I encourage you to do the same. As Joe suggested, write up the story of your future life. Set your intention for where you want to go. It is always helpful to have a destination in mind when setting out on any journey. The story of your future self can act as a road map. As Joe said, there is always room for detours too. Often when we begin shifting and evolving, our desires change. Where you are looking to be in this moment may turn into an entirely different arriving point as you go through your healing process. Keep your options open and know that nothing is written in stone. You always have the power to revise your story. Use this story of the future you to reinforce your vision at times in your life when you are struggling, feel insecure, or a dealing with eating disorder issues. This will have an empowering influence and remind you that challenges are temporary. You always have the power to direct your course away from what isn't working for you, toward a future that will fulfill you.

Simultaneously, drawn up your life line and pinpoint those significant life experiences that led you to where you are currently. Notice if you see any patterns. Do certain scenarios seem to crop up consistently throughout your life? This is not a coincidence. This is the direct result of your past conditioning and likely relates to issues where you may need resolution and closure. This doesn't make you a failure or a victim. We all have our stuff and we also have the power to create healing for ourselves. When we are willing to go there, own our lives, and show up on our behalf to do the deeper work, we are present. We reclaim our power and shed the limitations of the past like an old skin.

Pick one story from your past to rewrite. Let your voice be heard. You deserve to have your say in this matter. As a daily ritual, begin first by reading the retelling of your past story. Honor whatever feelings surface through this process. Hold space for the emotions to come. Then read your future story. This is a powerful statement... an extremely affirming act. Quite literally, you are saying, "I am willing to heal the past and let it go so I can welcome in the new and all the good seeking to find me."

I will share my experience with this exercise and the effect it has on my life. I also look forward to connecting with others who take up this challenge. I would love to hear about your experiences working with this exercise. Feel free to share with the community the way this practice creates openings in your life and heart.