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a chance to heal

 

One Body Workshop: A Benefit for A Chance to Heal at Dhyana Yoga

There are limited spaces available for this fundraising workshop. Reserve your spot today!

February 22, 2009 1:30-4:00pm Dhyana Yoga – 68 North 2nd Street, Philadelphia PA

 

Suggested Donation: $40 Register at achancetoheal.org or call 215-885-2420 – spaces are limited!

Fundraiser, Body Image Workshop, and Yoga Class in One!

Join Harin Feibish, LCSW and Stephanie Haefner for a relaxing yoga and body image workshop. Workshop attendees will explore how our body image and self-esteem are affected by our culture’s definition and interpretations of beauty in an interactive workshop. Empowered with this knowledge, attendees will discover how to be in your one body and heighten body awareness through a series of yoga asanas and meditation led by Stephanie Haefner.

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BodyTalk II

 A Chance to Heal  is holding a seminar for educators in the Philly area concentrating on supporting healthy Body-Self Image issues and there is still time to register:

A professional educational opportunity for those who influence 5th-12th grade girls and boys.

Students are bombarded with negative messages influencing their resilience and self-image. Media forces encourage critical inner voices that predispose students to problems with drugs, alcohol and/or body image. This symposium will empower you to support positive thinking and confront these messages head-on.

 Thursday, February 5, 2009 (Snow Date: February 19th) 3:30-5:30pm

Yarnall Auditorium: Germantown Friends School 31 W. Coulter Street, Philadelphia PA Registration: $10 – Register Now, Seating is Limited! Professional CE Credit Available for Educators  and Registered Dietitians.

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*

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.

Apako ashirwad mile Ganesh se-Blessings from Lord Ganesh
Vidya mile Saraswati se-Knowledge from Goddes Saraswati
Daulat mile Lakshmi se-Wealth from Goddess Lakshmi
Khushiyan mile Rab se-Happiness from the Divine
Pyaar mile Sab se-Love from everyone
Rahe yahi dua dil se dil ko-Let this be the wish from heart to heart!
‘HAPPY DIWALI’

-epicself

 

Well I haven’t been blogging to an idealized expectation… but there is good reason– SPRING!  

This time of year is definitely infectious for us.  Things are blooming, the soil is deep, dark, rich and inviting (which reminds me, the compost needs turning)  and I simply can’t resist when the weather beckons and stays as wonderful as it has.  We spend most of our time outdoors when spring and summer arrive so I can only apologize for posting infrequently and sporadically.  And this summer we’ll be either vacationing in India, the Rocky Mountains, or beachin’ it on Big Sur– so even more intermittent rambles, c’est ca!

This weekend is also Chicago’s Green Festival and we’ll be heading out for the party.  Personally I can’t think of a better way of treating the family with some fun, gorgeous weather, great food and extended community company!

Wishing all of you a very Bountiful, Healthy and Happy Summer!

-shanti

                                                    Being an artist

                                     means, not reckoning and counting,

                                             but ripening like the tree

                                          which does not force its sap

                                               and stands confident

                                             in the storms of spring

                                       without the fear that after them

                                              may come no summer

                                             -RAINER MARIA RILKE-

 

All Women in this World are forms of the Goddess

 -Devi Mahatmya 11.6

Wishes for a Very Happy Mother’s Day!

 

Most of us realize that we need “fat” not only in our diet, but within our bodies– I say most since when you have an eating disorder, know someone with an ED, or care for someone suffering with this illness, specifically anorexia nervosa, which is hallmarked by the intense fear of gaining weight, this is a very difficult truth to swallow as well as visually accept within ones’ physical body.  

There are also some studies that suggest for some this “fear” can be a precusor to eating disorders  among the array of environmental, behavioral influences as well as genetic and/or biochemical predeterminers that scientists are still compiling and discovering that can leave some individuals much more susceptible than others to either severe eating disordered behavior, EDNOS, or a severe diagnosed eating disorder that requires serious and comprehensive treatment. 

What’s also intriguing is the work by researchers continuing to unfold in evolutionary biology, genetic imprinting, and epigenetic inheritance which I’m certain there are correlations within these findings and eating disorders that have yet to be fully available and utilized, but may be able to provide us with a much more inclusive picture behind the illness and how to improve prevention and treatment.

There was a recent study highlighting the benefits (mostly catching everyone’s eye with the glorification of our ever evolving rump, or as writer Debra Dikerson slammed in Salon.com last year about mainstreaming “Gi-normous butts”) of subcutaneous fat, which produces hormones known as adipokines found to boost metabolism (of course, I’m assuming this study will also fuel the weight-loss industry and war-on-obesity too) found in the booty area as well as belly and showing to be protective against type2 diabetes, but also reaffirming the adage that “diets don’t work” and briefly explains why this is part of the reason it’s difficult to keep that weight off once lost; and that our fat cells are set during adolescence and don’t decrease, but do actually expand in size.   

And while I don’t embrace the the good/bad dichotomous thinking and categorization of really anything when it comes to our daily living and Life– you tend to find things more in shades of gray or muted with other colors vs just a pigment of one– the study is looking at two types of fat: subcutaneous and visceral , and where they are found within the body.  Subcutaneous tends to be in the booty and stomach area, and has more benefits vs visceral, which tends to be the gunk blocking arteries, causing damage to organs– sorry to say you’re bad visceral, or maybe scientists just haven’t fully found out what you’re doing and why you are getting such a bad wrap. 

Another study that continues in similar dialogue and highlights the complications of metabolic syndrome and that this can be triggered by overeating, which is correlated with weight gain, especially if done consecutively over a sustained period of time, and makes me wonder about endocannabinoids and their role cause/effect in obesity  and how this, if at all correlates.  The study also points to our fat cells being set during adolescence,  but Dr Stephen O’Rahilly of Cambridge remains unconvinced, and isn’t prescribing to this determination just yet.

Maybe another more basic message to keep at forefront is that it’s not nice to fool with Mother Nature– she rises up with a vengeance.  Our bodies have evolved over time and there is inherit wisdom to what we carry around with us everyday.

-Love Thyself

 

While I’m playing with WP Themes -my creative side itches- I’ve been curious what other parents and those who have found their path towards healing, recovery and well being from their eating disorder find gives them greatest support and sustains them throughout? At your most difficult times, what has buoyed and held you steady, lifted you up and got you through (like my friend Ganesha up there)? 

Do you wish some things could have been done better in hindsight, wished clinicians, treatment providers, community resources, insurance, etc. could have known perhaps more than you, practicing with up-to-date, evidenced-based research and data vs rehashing false and painful stereotypes that can keep a family from getting the best care possible? And that  everyone worked more as a cohesive whole vs fragmented, inconsistent, and leaving too many gaps for uncertainty and misunderstanding– or worse barely any informative communication or basic follow up to keep focus on the best methods towards recovery and support?

And if you were/are a parent(s), caregivers, extended-family, siblings do you wish there would have been services that encompassed and included the entire family, and not just for weekly family therapy sessions, the once a month “Family & Friends” events held at treatment centers.  But further additional healing and supportive measures like what is comprised in most respite centers/facilities and typically standard for family members when a child has cancer, or any other major life-threatening illness. 

All of us know that ED’s are potentially life-threatening if proper treatment and nutritional support are not addressed, and the sooner diagnosis is made and intelligent, comprehensive action taken, the better the chances recovery can be, and less relapsing and monumental expenses for the revolving door of IP, OP, residential, IOP, etc. care.

Being a parent of an adolescent with an ED, there are unique aspects to what parents and family members need, your life and “time” seem to come to complete stops and starts depending on where the progression of the illness may be, how many extra hands there are to pitch in when you need time to take care of yourself, take care of other siblings, reconnect with spouses, get some perspective, and to keep centered and strong. 

If I were to draw a graph of how our family has progressed through our daughter’s illness, it would have some deep dips and high escalations, and many dotted straight lines– but not always clearly defined and consistent (thinking about this makes me want to create just such a map/graph!)  Sometimes things seem to just “click” and things move forward without much ado; but there are other times when it seems the cyclone of ED can just demolish the very health and Life of an entire household, leaving pulverized rubble and ruin that needs the utmost and gentlest of care and compassion– those are the moments when all your resources get pulled together and you roll up your sleeves and get down to business– you take action and you may find setbacks galore, but you also find incredible inner resilience, Hope, courage and more Love than you ever realized was always there. 

Moments like these can also be some of the most magnificent and humbling of points within our human experience …

 I feel a deep human need to collectively share these experiences, swap stories- like sharing a recipe!- connect with others who “get it” and aren’t going to be dismissive, discourteous, judgmental or even worse, think I’m a bit over-the-top… off my rocker… box ‘o crack ‘o jack, etc. 

And I think if it weren’t for the Internet of collective voices, fellow parental-comraderie and individuals such as an incredible Mom who hosts a forum for parents to find one another, along with so many of you whom I’ve met virtual-via email, your websites/blogs, etc. and found such amazing insight and resolve into this illness– I do feel I would have felt much more isolated and possibly a bit more despairing (I say a bit since my Finnish ancestry is laced with “SISU” = strength… so this would not have lasted long) but it also points to the reality of the importance to support and encourage one another through the recovery and healing process within eating disorders.  To make certain adequate treatment is delivered, proper support and resources are available in all demographics. 

Change is still quite snail-paced within ED’s, so I think our collective voices and efforts however big or small DO matter and make a difference.

Now if only I could get some of the ladoos (Indian sweet) that Ganesha is holding… my rant would be complete.

-shanti

 

 

 

I love how the birth of International No Diet Day began “from a picnic in Mary’s living room” in the early ’90’s and fertilized it’s magnitude world-wide.  Ms Evans-Young is herself a recovered anorexic and wrote the book Diet Breaking: Having it all Without Having to Diet and it couldn’t be a better time than now to let the message sink in– deep and with reflection.

Largesse gives the background on the term: size esteem  which was initially coined by Richard Stimson, husband to a contributing director/writer at the site, Karen Stimson who explains it perfectly:

– Feeling acceptance of, respect for, and pride in one’s body, whatever its size or shape

But I like this analogy even more highlighted by Cheri Erdman EdD who wrote the book Live Large! and thought about it as a simple yet poignant equation:  Size Acceptance + Self Esteem = SIZE ESTEEM

Either way you think about it, the insanity of dieting, wanting to force our bodies to be a size/shape it was not genetically determined to be– and thankfully so for the beautiful variety of shapes, sizes, colors, we all add to the collage of life, is quite dubious. 

It’s even further magnified when you or a loved one suffer from an eating disorder and are trying to regain your health and follow through with recovery and maintaining wellness in a seemingly endless fat-phobic, diet-crazed, fashion-consumed environment.  Our daughter at times can take on this incessant self-doubt and accusational inquiries about why she has to eat what she has to when others, her classmates, etc. eat less than she does and are constantly discussing “fat” laden topics— it’s enough to make anyone go a little bonkers.  Advertisers, marketing, the health ins field, even health care (hey, let’s face it– those mega-million dollar hospitals that now look more like shopping malls want  to treat the ill business) and the all time winner: the diet industry.

Stuffed and Starved is a title from researcher Raj Patel more about food prices, the global-glut, etc. but I had to think about this a little bit more this morning how it really ties into so many other layers of Life– and will be worth dissecting and playing off the similar as well as dissimilar dualities we can only pretend don’t exist, or just think is someone else’s “problem” to fix, get over, medicate– like the cliched remark I’ve heard countless times since our daughter was diagnosed with anorexia- “why doesn’t she just eat?!”, then the instant turn against parents when our children don’t eat = it’s your fault, you did something “wrong”, etc.

Yes, INDD is a day we find relative and meaningful in our family.  And with the weather reaching low 70’s, sun shining– I think a picnic is just what we’ll do to celebrate this day!

-shanti

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