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Eostre

 

The air is like a butterfly
With frail blue wings.
The happy earth looks at the sky
And sings.
Joyce Kilmer
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I LOVE Chicago!

 

… but we’ll happily settle.

 

When he speaks,

The air, a chartered libertine, is still.

Henry V, 1.1

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!

 

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.

Melissa Punch- Whole Living

-Melissa Punch

Blogger and writer Celina Ottaway (her blog-life is a wonderful and conscious journey!) wrote a nice piece for November’s issue of body+soul regarding an important component that is essential to all of our lives, eating disordered or not: FOOD and how mindful eating (I’m partial to the term “conscious eating”) can help reconnect and form a healthier relationship to that which sustains us.

I don’t have an eating disorder. But like many women I know, somewhere along the way, eating — what, when, how much, in front of whom, how fast — got complicated. The sensation of hunger went from a physical signal with a simple response (“eat”) to a mixed emotion that has no clear solution. Should I, shouldn’t I? I’m being bad, I’m being good. I deserve this. I will hate myself in the morning. And on and on

____________________

How did our appetites — for nourishment and pleasure — become suspect? Is it possible to listen to our bodies the way we did when we were children? The answers lie somewhere in the tangle of emotional, cultural, and neurological reactions that shapes our desire to eat. “Hunger is complicated,” says Jean Kristeller, Ph.D., professor of psychology at Indiana State University and president of The Center for Mindful Eating. Besides the actual physical sensation, “it has to do with a complexity of psychological cravings that may have very little to do with your physical need for food.”

___________________

 I love Celina’s parting thoughts:


Whether we move toward our deepest hungers or simply recognize them, we begin inhabiting ourselves more fully. And this moves us closer to feeling ourselves from the inside out, like we did once upon a time.

leaves

 

I have a group of friends, some of us have been buds since high school, that take an annual “getaway” to the Cape Cod of the Midwest and rekindle to a cabin, enjoy great food, great sights and wonderful memories. We are an eclectic bunch, love and support each other dearly, but most of us either live at opposite ends of the globe or within different states, have families, busy careers and do our best to stay in touch via email, phone and the annual escape.

When we discovered Kate Jacobs The Friday Night Knitting Club we began to loosely refer to our own “group” of eclectic Momma’s, hip-Sista’s, and cherished Friends within similar shadows cast in Jacobs endearing novel. Some of us do also knit, but my abilities at this craft (my Finnish G-Ma I know is grimacing down… all those beautiful scarves, legwarmers, mittens and sweaters to my clumsy and pathetic scraps of endlessly funny looking pot holders, both of my girls can also needle me to blushing embarrassment! What I yield with a paintbrush, quill and acrylics makes up for that I guess) are definitely comical.

Two years ago it was impossible to consider this pilgrimage with our daughter’s eating disorder diagnosis, and everything in our lives just seemed to stand still, as if one was holding in the deepest breath, waiting to exhale.

Next fall, we’ll be approaching three years in… deep exhalation; I take the moment to do something for myself, heck even have some fun!

And it was well worth it, and probably why my body is clearly present back here in the city, but my mind is still back in Door County, appreciating those gifts of friendship and remembering that caring for oneself is just as important as caring for others.

As parents, caregivers, extended family members, and partners who support and care for our loved ones recovering from an eating disorder, it doesn’t matter if you head for the woods or take a bubble-bath surrounded by candles and peaceful solitude, what does matter is that you remember to take the time to honor and care for yourself as well.

Simple yet so easy to forget… so please remember.

shanti

Sarah Stevens (center) and siblings-StarTimes

I love reading authentic stories about hard-won recovery work unadulterated by a gamut of other voices and agendas. And when it’s coupled with a genuine spirit and determined passion to make a difference in the eating disorder community you can’t help but be touched and feel gratitude toward those who have not only triumphed over an eating disorder but are determined to implement change.

So while in the midst of carving the last finishing touches upon our collected Jack-O-Lantern harvest and waiting to roast the seeds, allow Sarah Stevens’s story to inspire (you can also sponsor her ‘Walk’ scheduled in November: beautifulstars@hotmail.co.uk or sponsor by phone: (09)426-4844)and cast the goblins away this Halloween Day!

Happy Samhain to my Earth-centered friends!

       … and how I feel about eating disorders, about the current state of our economy, the political scrapping and other such quibbles. Maybe it’s the post Harvest Moon which resembled the bounty and beauty of a big, bright pumpkin in all it’s glory bringing Ursa Major back down for Autumn hibernation and seasonal change. My ancestral forefather’s and mother’s deeply rooted with Finnic-myths describing the endeared Kontio – “dweller of the land”; such ancient stories recalling and reconnecting with one another.

 

*

*

Right now,

what she said,

what

I

said

is the size of a grizzly,

nine feet

tall

with stiletto claws swiping

at

my innards.

*

But

if

I

can

just inhale

and

back

slowly away,

time,

like a sailboat,

is waiting for tomorrow’s

wind

to sweep me

safely from this shore,

where

I

can stand on the deck,

day by day,

watching that grizzly shrink

smaller

and

smaller until it’s only

a

mouse,

easily

chased away.

 

*

*

Jacqueline Jules – The Argument

 

Juoksahkka, Maadteraahka I think of you!

 

Some of the most common events become quite significant when your child has an eating disorder, and at times worry seems to be a constant irritating leach sucking your Mom-force astray even when the coast is clear.

For the past two years our daughter has missed out on class trips due to the pernicious nature of the eating disorder. And as if heading back to school doesn’t already bring with it some added stress and anxiety for a developing young middle-schooler, these trips always take place at the beginning of the year– great idea for setting the tone and building relationships for the school term, not so great idea if your child is trying to gauge the semester and transition in the first couple of weeks tacked on with the complexity of managing an eating disorder.

For the first year of middle school this trip was a no-go. Last year also didn’t happen since she was not yet able to make food-meal choices on her own, as well as eating without some additional support, and being comfortable enough to ask for help if encountering some difficulty and parents and family were not around.

Initial diagnosis of the eating disorder, immediate hospitalization, the following year inpatient and residential treatment, along with intensive outpatient treatment; days-months of missed school, family and social life seem strangely long ago, healing does take time.

This school year is markedly different though, our daughter is actually getting a bit pissy about missing out on certain aspects of teen social life and events her friends and peers seem to do “so easily”. These are things she also did easily, without second thought, prior to the eating disorder and another positive sign that she is remembering and awakening to her former Self.

This year’s “Leadership Trip” my baby is on the road for three days of fun and camaraderie. First to camp, canoeing, rope climbing and mingling while looking at the constellations, second to the State Capital, then finishing off sliding down the plastic tubes of a favored water park, who would want to miss this?

She left this morning her bags packed with extra snacks and necessities, pre-ordered her meals (all by herself- yeah!) and wasn’t embarrassed to give an extra hug.

But my ultimate moment came seeing her classic dimpled smile!

 

The road ahead is like the road behind.
The dreams achieved revise the dreams to come.
Mind shapes world, and new-shaped world shapes mind,
As what you are steps back from what you’ve done.
The deeper you resides in its own space,
Sheltered like a yolk from wind and tide,
Filled with unimaginable grace
To wander through the paradise inside.
Ambitious girl!
Become what dream you will,
And sail across each dark, forbidding sea.
Within, the fawn will graze sweet meadows still,
Untouched by all the phantoms you will be.
-Nicolas Gordon
 

 

Exams are done, the school year finished, award ceremonies to close the term ended with celebration, endless rounds of pictures, laughter, yearbooks signed and plans for “hangin’ out” in the months to come.  Another term ended, time to kick back, enjoy– relax. Summer feels close upon us! 

Our daughter has come so far since last year and continues to move ahead much stronger, healthier and so-so-so much happier– you see it in her dimpled smile, the flash and sparkle in her eyes, and the measured confidence she has steadily gained through her continued recovery, she is more herself vs the eating disorder.  As a family we are once again, becoming more whole, and definitely enjoying less visitation by the unwelcome nuisance- Anorexia.

Too many things we would all rather be doing at this time of year.  Places to go-visit, reconnecting with friends and family from another continent, more concentration on writing and my art… it’s time to take a much needed break– for all of us in our household, I think we’ve all earned it.

Will be back in the early to mid Fall– wishing all of you a very wonderful, healthy and restful Summer!

-shanti

                                        

                                          Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?

                                         Thou art more lovely and more temperate:

                                     Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May,

                                      And summer’s lease hath all too short a date.

                                                              -SHAKESPEARE-

 

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