Let me keep surrendering myself until I am utterly transparent.
No matter where you live in the world right now you’re probably experiencing shifts inside and out. No doubt you’re witnessing and feeling things beyond logic.
There’s simply no dodging the shifts -for some subtle, some cataclysmic.
So much change.
So many opportunities for awakening.
A month ago, Andrew and I watched the resignation of Gladys as Premier of NSW unfolding and I found myself crying. Not because I’m attached to politics or any politicians in general but because she is a reminder of all of the strength we’ve cultivated as a state over the past few years and all that we’ve been through. Together. The Human Spirit.
She guided us through natural disasters and a world wide pandemic. Yes we’ve looked at her in disdain sometimes these past few months wondering when it will all end, but I’m fond of her and appreciate all the ballsy decisions she’s had to make for us but I’m also overwhelmed by human strength and what we’ve all been through together. Her resignation was a reminder of that for me more than anything.
With all of the earth shattering shifts and changes that bring every shade of emotion to the surface, I feel myself cracking open in parts I didn’t know I had – even parts that I didn’t think cared about like politics.
And there’s no mistake that this ‘cracking open’ is a result of having been called to take responsibility for something that has etched its patterning into my psyche for over half my life leaving me at many times asleep; dormant; unconscious.
What I’m about to say may not come as a huge surprise to some of you but it’s something I need to express regardless. I need to write out loud.
Many of you know that I struggled with an eating disorder earlier in life. Many of you don’t know, and what I haven’t always been honest with, is that it has continued to entrap me. All through my teaching career. The whole time we’ve had Flow Athletic. The whole time I was writing a book abut how to cope with stress and anxiety. And although the techniques in my book and weaved into my classes have always kept me from full blown meltdowns, the eating disorder was running the show the whole time. Restricting heavily as an anorexic in my teens and then restricting and binge/purging up until two months ago.
I’ve had bouts of freedom, sure. But for more than half of my life I’ve harboured this secret and I’ve been afraid of getting big – in so many aspects of life. In fact, when I really think about it, although the fear of putting on weight at times has been frightening, it’s really just the physical manifestation of a fear that lies much deeper. As crazy as it seems, I’ve been fearful of expanding professionally, within relationships and taking risks in general. My eating disorder kept me small and silent in so many ways.
So if you have children – girls or boys as eating disorders so not discriminate – or if you don’t have a friendly relationship with your body – please read on. For me. For you.
It was one morning just a fews weeks into this most recent lock down when I could feel that lid tightening right up, wanting to restrict, wanting to control and if I couldn’t control them, “Could I purge?”, when I looked at my daughter, Alice, who is three years old, and thought,
“What am I modelling for her?”
I might hide my restricting from her, she may not see me body checking, but how could she not sense it? How can she not feel my anxiety around meal times? And most shameful of all, I could feel my own phobias around weight project onto her. This was the clincher for me. How could I let the insanity of my own relationship to food and my body spill onto her. I saw my unhealed life projected into our future relationship as Mother and Daughter and it wasn’t pretty.
That awakening was like a rude, but very much needed, slap in the face.
I made a decision to explore this thing called SURRENDER and TRUST and do it once and for all.
After all, my way had been failing me for 27 years. I may as well try the will of Divine Consciousness.
I can’t say I’m totally ‘unbound’ yet. I’ve had this illness for 27 years and it’s going to take time. And I don’t suppose it’s going to be a straight line, but I’m getting stronger. I’m doubling down on my practices – less movement and more breath work, meditation and mantra (I’m going deep with them all!) as well as sharing my experience within a group setting of other people struggling with the same thing,
And I can start feeling myself ‘sober up’.
It’s challenging. It’s frightening. It’s exciting. It’s heart opening. It’s unfamiliar. I feel heavy. I don’t feel like myself and my clothes feel tight but to be honest….I don’t even know who I am without an eating disorder. I can’t remember that fourteen year old girl pre-eating disorder, nor the innocent little girl before her. But…
I feel her coming back. Day by day. Meal by meal.
For the first time since my teens, I got to the bottom of a bowl of pasta last week (a food I’ve avoided since my eating disorder began) and remembered that enjoyment of scooping out the last few morsels of a tasty meal and feeling satisfied. Not afraid. But satisfied. Joy even.
During the past few months, I’ve kept quiet. I haven’t reached out to you as often, I haven’t posted that much and I’ve been taking the time to go deep into stillness as well as share my story, shame, sadness and hopelessness with others with eating disorders. This has helped immensely. Such potent medicine. To be witnessed without judgement. We all deserve this.
Every day it feels like the newspaper reports more on eating disorders on the rise and others sharing their stories. And that’s both saddened me and given me the courage to share mine. So that I can heal. So that others can heal.
Because it’s been what I haven’t said that’s kept me small. And in many ways I’ve hidden my eating disorder behind my profession.
Eating disorders are so misunderstood in the public eye and research still goes into unpacking the best ways to heal them. Ive tried many a healing modality; energetic work, talk therapy, plant medicines, EFT, NLP…you name it it. And in their own ways they’ve all brought me to this point of clarity – the only way out of this is to SURRENDER.
There’s no magic pill.
No helper nor healer who can take this sickness away from me. No role model who will inspire me to give up the insanity of my ways. They may motivate me from time totem but on my dark night of the soul, when I’m feeling like I want to pack it all in and skip a meal it comes down to me.I have to do the work. I have to surrender. Am I willing to give everything over to a higher power?
We need to continue to be brave and talk about eating disorders. For us. And for our children.
So thanks for still reading this. Although you may not be able to relate to a full blown eating disorder, perhaps you have a warped relationship with food and/or your body. Or maybe you know in some way that the need to control is actually controlling you.
So for you – and for anyone with children, this podcast with
is incredible. My friends Jo sent it to me and it brought me to my knees and had me in tears many times. Yes I’m a hot mess at the moment (crying over politics and podcasts) but I suspect that’s essential in my healing. Eating disorders have a pretty powerful way at numbing emotions and keeping them controlled. Anyway, I think many of you will also relate to the podcast.
You see – it’s not about the food. Never has been. It’s about CONTROL.
So besides sharing that piece of my heart and encouraging you to listen to the above, I’ll leave you with this self-enquiry and a request to please forward this email to someone who may need to read this.
What are you resisting? What are you controlling? Where could you surrender and trust more?