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Solstice Holly

There is something beyond the dull brightness of mid-day, fluorescent and buzzing. Something to praise beyond the sun, triumphing over the intricacies of shadowed moonlight.

 

Bringing the old, beautiful realm of Holy Night, echoing with ancient voices, rustling with intimacy’s passion, luminous with stars.

Cradled in darkness, be restored to the embrace of mystery.
 

Glory wakes here.
Let it kindle your joy.

-Rebecca Parker

 

Wishing All a Very Blessed, Happy and Joyful Holiday!

 

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Mieluinen Koti- Armas Tytär
(Welcome Home Dear Daughter)

aries

With record snow falls today it was a just the kind of day to round up some friends and available family members to go snow-shoeing, cross-country skiing, or if neither were available, a well boot-up hike- though you hustled a bit faster to keep up.

Usually the skiing kicks in later this month, right around Christmas break and throughout the rest of the winter, whenever good snow and tracks are easy to find or make. And living in a metro-urban city hasn’t stopped this faved activity in the least, although we are fortunate to have patches of wooded areas and a major lake providing a spectacular view in any season. I think we were all captured by Winter Solstice awe, and yet conscious of a special someone who is still not with us- yet.

Gathering at the last minute, though for some was not possible with the drive, was one of those quirky “T” (moi) -things I end up being happy I did. Making vegetarian chili with eggplant subji (the eggplant… ahem, was leftovers, but no one complained) and the chili-cheese cornbread finished with barely a crumb left in the pans.

And though the dishes have been cleared, the last to linger have left safely, I’m not quite too tired as I type this.

I’m intentionally and slowly appreciating this past evening, and find an email with the day’s horoscope, equally perfect to tie into the meaning of the past day for me from a dear friend who is also, like myself, an Aries:

Feeling Earnest –
You may already be feeling your brows furrowing today as you notice your serious attitude. Because you may be looking at life from a weighty perspective, you could be feeling earnest. Life can indeed be worthy of solemn appraisal at times, and allowing ourselves to interpret situations from this standpoint may give us valuable insight to draw upon in future days when we are feeling lighter. As we follow our intuitive guidance, we will naturally shift from this mood when the time is right, so we mustn’t feel guilty about losing the edge of intensity whatever the circumstances seem to dictate. As you seek to honor your inner guidance and seek balance in your life, today gives you the opportunity to experience a perspective of depth that may serve you well in the future. Though our goal in life may be happiness, we can have times of serious contemplation of weighty subjects without it meaning that we are off the path. Life requires balance and sometimes that involves experiencing darkness in order to understand and appreciate the light. Without the contrast, life can lose its meaning. It is perhaps an unfortunate aspect of the nature of the material world and its dualities. So today don’t fight the sober mood, but instead learn all you can from it in order to allow it to infuse your happier times with a new depth of meaning and your life with a greater understanding of balance.

_______________________

In Due Time –
Today you may feel impatient with yourself and frustrated by a number of challenges in your life. Your responsibilities may require more attention than you have to give, and you could become overwhelmed by new opportunities that are presenting themselves. Sitting down and developing a plan could help you become organized and assuage some of your frustration. Prioritizing your tasks today can also make your life more manageable. It’s also important to be patient with yourself, as we all need to time adjust to new workloads. Being compassionate with yourself could help this period of transition go smoothly. You also can accomplish more tasks when you work methodically and are relaxed. Careful planning allows us to establish how and when we will face our obligations. By mapping out the items that need our attention, we give ourselves the benefit of seeing the whole picture. We are then able to figure out how to best direct our resources. When we have a plan to work with, we can relax because we know that everything will get accomplished in due time. We also are able to focus and do a good job because we don’t have to hurry or try to get several tasks done at once. Determine when and how you will attend to your obligations today, and you will be relaxed, confident, and able to meet each one.

shanti

Father Christmas

JRR Tolkien

Take, and welcome joy within you:
Showers, flowers, powers,
Hatfulls, capfulls, lapfulls,
Treasures, measures, pleasures,
All be yours to enjoy!
-Celtic Devotional
__________________

Even though both our daughter’s are well beyond the fantasies of a “real” Santa, the story of the Tomtem, mythical Finnish elves, (and these days what I would give for a Tomtem to help cook and clean!) and snuggling up to endlessly open each envelope within Tolkien’s Letters From Father Christmas, the magic and our imaginations still shine with wonder and grace for the season– no matter what.

The Spirit of the Holiday is quite powerful if you take the time to remember and reflect on what truly is important and meaningful. Such a simple and beautiful gift to give oneself, but not always easy to do.

Tis the season of gift giving and ever-expanding commercialization of Christmas
as we modern people know all too well. This busying and running here and there has robbed the “sacredness of the season” as I refer back to the wise words of John Matthews:

 

….we ask and are being asked, “What do you want this year?” There are certainly things that we would quite like, things that we hope will be brought for us, but these are not the same as our wants. True wants are not small things satisfied by prettily wrapped parcels: they are the immense needs of inner space that can be overwhelmed by all our little wants and yearnings. To consider our real needs– the things we lack in our lives – is often too frightening, opening up an abyss of need that calls our very existence into question… Our real wants eat holes in us: never resting, never loving, never greeting, never finding, never seeking, never ever being satisfied deep down. These ravenous wants define our treasures so truly. They create a Christmas list that no store could supply: time to stop and really enjoy, in a space of quietness and contentment… Space to give and receive love reciprocally. The grace to seek and find our spiritual joy. Freedom from the tyranny and burden of other’s expectations, of what others think. Acceptance of ourselves as we truly are.

This season our wish is for our youngest daughter to really begin believing, once again, within her own inner gifts, her endless possibilities to live a full and happy Life, without ED. That she can accept herself as she is, feel safe, trust herself and others, allow her body and mind the time it needs to heal; and acknowledge her own true needs.

It again, seems so simple.

I also wish for all of you to give yourselves the gift of time to listen to your own true needs, find an inner abundance of Peace and Love, and allow time and space to fully ENJOY this holiday season!

shanti

* Many Heart-Felt Thanks to all who have emailed and written with your thoughts and support! We feel very blessed to have such caring individuals in our lives– especially at this time– THANK YOU! Marielle the gift-basket was so incredibly generous and such a surprise…. words can’t begin to convey our appreciation. -XO*

Turkey

 

Yes, it’s already December and I’m still concocting a various array of T-Day leftover meals. The latest- and hopefully the last turkey creation!- curried turkey potpie was a hit, but with one plate empty at the table.

Life for our family, once again, is on temporary halt to regroup, realign, and reaffirm former, as well as new recovery priorities-goals; and up the ante a bit to get beyond the bump-in-the-road our daughter is experiencing wrestling free (though as of late, resembling more acquiescence) from the dangerous clutches of anorexia.

Leftovers…

Ironically we were in this familiar territory the same time last year. And as a parent, when you’ve seen how far your child has come through his/her ED recovery, how hard the fight gets fought, seeing and knowing they can do it; it feels like suddenly your footing on that long arduous climb is becoming loose and weak. You’ve been tossed back down, the wind has been knocked clean out — “GASP!” Some confusion sets in, frustration, even some anger– “Damn you friggin’ (I use a word with a bit more gusto and power) ED!” It’s time to take action, as most of us know, eating disorders love the waiting-game, the delay, the postponing… we’ve already been there too.

Adolescence is a time of rapid growth and development, and a body taxed with an eating disorder at this time cannot do fully what it was meant to do normally unhindered. The reports regarding bone density and calcium loss within eating disorder sufferers are not new but it is a necessary reminder of the severity of this illness and why treatment should not be delayed, since significant changes do take place before decreases in bone structure become evident, and some of these changes can be permanent after a certain age.

Leftovers in this scenario can also be remembered as requiring 100% full nutritional support and adherence- without question, without exception. This time of year brings forth both a welcoming joy towards celebration with family and friends, but as well an unwelcome increase of stressors and worries that pose some unique challenges for those with eating disorders.

There has been a wide variety of posts and informational resources in this regard which is fantastic. One incredibly busy and committed individual interviewing as of late is Dr Cynthia Bulik, who is the director of the UNC Eating Disorder Program prompting:



Keep your support team on speed dial and call them at any time during or after a party. Talking relieves the pressure. You’re not overburdening them. They will undoubtedly have stories to share, too.– Potlucks are your friends. Don’t hesitate to take a food you prepared that feels safe enough to you so that you will have at least one manageable entrée.– Lavish holiday spreads don’t have to be the enemy. If faced with one, channel your inner Boy Scout or Girl Scout skills and be prepared! Before stepping in line, and before getting a plate, evaluate the options. Mindfully consider which foods you’ll sample, portion sizes and whether you feel comfortable trying a “feared food.” Make a decision and stick with it!– If your treatment team has given you a meal plan stay on track so you aren’t starving when you get there.– Listen with your heart, not your head. Hear the happiness and caring in a person’s tone when they tell you that you look “so much better.” They are saying they care about you. Don’t let the eating disorder lead you to misinterpret those words in a way that deprives you of hearing that people really care about you.— Get Real! People too often have a fantasy about how “perfect” the holidays are going to be. When family members fail to live up to unrealistic expectations, it might be tempting to restrict or overeat in an effort to feel better temporarily. Try to anticipate some of the possible emotional traps in advance so you can cope (and maybe even laugh) when you encounter them.– The well-known HALT slogan works for any type of recovery. Don’t let yourself get too hungry, angry, lonely or tired. This is especially important over the holidays.– ‘Tis the Season to Forgive, so forgive yourself if you have an eating slip.– Try your best not to skip appointments with your treatment team. It’s an important time to stay in touch with people who can help.

 

Dr Bulik also continued with an “Eating Pressure” interview recently conducted by CNN worth viewing.

And there is an equally interesting qualitative study: “Total Control? Eating Disorders and Emotional Responses to Food” conducted by the University of Adelaide in Australia with the result podcast and interview available from CQ University’s International Program of Psych-Social Health Research Dept that looks at emotional responses to images of food presented to adults with eating disorders, and using the qualitative methodology to further measure and explore issues of self-control, food fears/responses, CBT-cognitive behavior therapy as a means to help adjust maladaptive ways of thinking and behaving. I think this could also be extremely beneficial to younger ED sufferers as well, and crucial for helping them deal more cohesively with their “fear” foods that many times get downplayed or ignored within many treatment programs by only having the patients eat the foods, or avoid them altogether in their meal plans.

And yet more leftovers, as lastly I found BBC’s-Radio4 All In The Mind Segment by Claudia Hammond insightful in regards to the variations in some residential programs and getting additional perspectives from patients who are going through the program, their personal thoughts and views. The “partnership” message from the Phoenix ED program in the UK director, Dr Thompson was also welcoming to hear in having patients play a significant role in their treatment and recovery process along with more collaborative and balanced strategies. The numbered tables that residents eat at are something quite interesting as well, with Table 1 being a level requiring most support and moving towards Table 3 with more independence, and thusly Table 2 being 50/50. I think to me what stands out is the ability to remain open to making changes and being creative in strategies, and not simply applying practices to ED care and treatment that simply don’t always work for the individual patient.

So while I’m still musing over Thanksgiving tidbits and at the same time putting up the Christmas lights and bringing out the boxes of holiday decorations, we’ll keep fighting and rallying behind our daughter to continue to move forward within her next level of recovery. Regaining some ground lost with deeper learning and strength gained (we all make mistakes and have setbacks- with or without an eating disorder!) We know we’ll get through this together and once again her place at the table will be filled when she is ready… until then leftovers may be on the menu for awhile.

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