The work worth doing (that you'll likely resist)
Last weekend I taught an edgy workshop in Grand Rapids on the shadow aspect of the psyche. The content, although fascinating, is not so flowery and sweet.
No one walked out on me, though, so a good sign :) A little humor and self-disclosure goes a long way!
Ready to get things in order?
Fall brings an often palpable tug to "get things in order," to re-commit to things that appropriately fell to the wayside during summer months. A sort of "hunker down" or "hone in" energy...
Do you experience this, too?
A couple weeks ago you read my light-hearted story about cupcakes, weight loss, and the crazy contradictions many a women find themselves in and upcoming news that I continue to deepen this work in supporting the healing process of clients.
I am delighted to share that I'm nearing the final stretch towards my professional certification training in the, now evidence-based, Internal Family Systems therapy model.
Cupcakes, weight loss, and the real healing agent
A handful of weeks ago, my beloved Michael, walked into the kitchen to warm up his morning coffee, leaned on the kitchen counter behind him, and casually said, “I think I’m gaining weight.” Looking up from my laptop from the adjoined room, I asked, “Hmm, how do you know?” “Well, my pants are tight. My shirts are getting too tight to button.” Matching his energy I followed up with, “Is there anything you notice you’ve been doing differently over the last handful of months, sweetheart?” He paused to think. “Oh yeah, the cupcakes!” (oh yes, the cupcakes...)
-----------------------Flashback to about a year ago... It’s a Friday on a warm summer evening and we’re heading out for a nice dinner in town at a restaurant we frequently visit, Woodfire Grill. It’s the one place in town where I can get some decent seafood and this great minestrone soup I like with big chunks of freshly chopped tomatoes, celery, and yellow squash. We’re early to our reservation and decide to head a few doors down to the new bakery that opened. It’s a simple place. Two walls are lined with high-top barstools tables and there are a few small clusters of low tops tables. As far as I noticed, it’s empty aside from the two cheerful baristas behind the counter at the very back of the bakery. There’s a smallish glass case of cookies, cupcakes, and pastries and a display of two elaborate mock wedding cakes just to the right. I peer into the glass case with him, happy to spot a gluten-free coconut macaroon which I order. And Michael decides on a yellow cupcake with vanilla frosting (later reporting this is one of the best cupcakes he’s ever had). So good in fact, the following day, he comes home with a half dozen of the very same frosted confections. Fast forward to the present...
-----------------------Basically, Michael has been getting half a dozen of these cupcakes nearly every week for the past year. In addition to other sweet treats he was eating on occasion. So he decided to stop eating the cupcakes...as an experiment.
And wouldn’t you know it? He started to drop the weight he had gained.That’s it! That’s the end of the story. What do you think? I’m laughing a little bit because I find this type of thing can confuse and frustrate women to no end. ...hubby stops drinking pop and loses a couple pants sizes ...cousin stops eating as much cereal and makes more “real meals” and seems to get fit as a fiddle ...best friend starts paying more attention to satiation and body changes ensue Yes, it is absolutely true that simple adjustments changes can offer big changes. Depending on how you relate to your body, you however may feel a push and pull tug on the changes you’d like to make. You want the chocolate. You don’t want the chocolate. You have oatmeal for breakfast. Should you have pasta for lunch? Too many carbohydrates? You’re hungry in the morning but have been reading about intermittent fasting. Your vegan friend seems to be pretty happy with her diet. Your pants happen to be getting tight but you’ve got other valid priorities. You want to stop caring about your body so much. You want to treat the body as the Goddess herself. Something as simple as eating can truly be a crazy-maker for women. You might feel like a walking contradiction.
The Healing AgentWhat I noticed in the examples I mentioned with Michael, the hubby, the cousin, and the best friend is a base level of curiosity and neutrality (not panic). When you can approach your body with the right dose of these, just about every dietary experiment is back on the table, without much of a heavy, burdened feeling. I once believed I could never have nearly a glimpse of this kind of neutrality. I will say, as a woman whose history involved a good deal of struggle with eating (link to my story) the neutrality doesn’t just come overnight. It happens in stages I can quite accurately track with clients. Different people enter this work at different stages. There are several stages and none can be skipped, and sometimes a stage must be revisited. The curiosity and neutrality I speak of is available to all humans. It’s an open, innocent, and accepting kind of energy. It’s the real healing agent in any sort of self development you're up to. For any woman who wants to cultivate the sort of open neutrality and curiosity that allows her to explore any and all dietary possibilities, without feeling panicked, pressured, self-critical, or resentful, this stronger, wiser Self must be cultivated. It's likely, there are a few internal burdens or patterns that are getting in the way and they must be addressed and healed. I have exciting news coming. That will address exactly how to do it. I will be connecting again shortly to share a new aspect of this work that can help you work directly with any inner processes, the "little devils," as C.G. Jung calls them, that sabotage our best efforts (in eating, relationships, and more!) With love,
Improve your tastebud IQ
When I was 17 I loved indulging my taste for unique clothing. I loved wearing my long sweaters lined with dark purple faux fur and snakeskin pants (also fake) from the tiny clothing store I worked at at the time. Sometimes I'd sift through my mom's closet to find some piece she had from the 70s and pair it with something in my own closet.
My taste for the unique is still with me today as I treasure my less duplicatable handmade jewelry from South America, a beautiful gold and citrine ring that was my great grandmother Laura Ruiz's, and beautiful objects I've acquired during travel.
A Healthy Spirit & the Will to Keep Going
The late maestra curandera, Elena Avila, stressed the importance of cultivating a strong spirit..."the envelope of the soul," she calls it.
Without a strong and resilient spirit we can feel stuck, powerless, and like victims in our lives.
These are often the times we may be unable to find a way forward or aren't able to quite see a new opening or possibility yet.
One question that builds self-care confidence
I'm just back from a beautiful and impactful long weekend in Albuquerque, NM studying indigenous healing practices of the Americas.
Here I am during one of my breaks, at Masks y Mas, one of those "must visit" places in the Knob Hill district. True to the name, they have all sorts of Mexican masks, but much, much more :)
Personal thoughts re: Instagram
Wow, so I'm not active on Instagram, but after a session with one of my beautiful clients last evening, I was prompted to "google" what's going on over there with body pictures...
Let's face it, we like looking at bodies, especially fit and toned bodies. We admire them!
A Full Spectrum Approach to Weight
The role of a healer in traditional and indigenous healing systems is to look at a problem or symptom as it relates to the whole person and community.
This is very different than the more modern approach of reducing things down to their component parts without any understanding (or care for that matter) of the connection and communication between the body, mind, soul, heart, spirit, community, environment, or the collective experiences of those who have come before us.
Still holding onto dieting? Here's 8 reasons why...
Intellectually you probably feel like you understand that dieting and the sort of stress and pressure involved doesn’t really work.
You know...the planning, the rules, even the narrowly contained "cheat days" or "cheat meals." The inner pang when one of your girlfriends starts sharing with heroic verve about how amazing she feels now that she's started this new thing with her diet.