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OM

 

Men say the world is full of fear and hate,

 And all life’s ripening harvest-fields await

 The restless sickle of relentless fate.

 

But I, sweet Soul, rejoice that I was born,

When from the climbing terraces of corn

I watch the golden orioles of Thy morn.

 

What care I for the world’s desire and pride,

Who know the silver wings that gleam and glide,

The homing pigeons of Thine eventide?

 

What care I for the world’s loud weariness,

Who dream in twilight granaries

Thou dost bless

With delicate sheaves of mellow silences?

 

Say, shall I heed dull presages of doom,

Or dread the rumoured loneliness and gloom,

The mute and mythic terror of the tomb?

 

For my glad heart is drunk and drenched with Thee,

O inmost wind of living ecstasy!

O intimate essence of eternity!

-Sarojini Naidu
 

~~ Summer is in full-swing and we are finally escaping for a long overdue respite. Destined long nights, mythical and ancient sites… meditating on cliffs, dusting off the lens and capturing images that provoke and provide aesthetic sustenance. Lingering and contemplative hikes up temple steps that have been etched by devotees feet countless times before– who are we but humble and gracious guests- not the arrogant and time-constrained forceful tourist.

Foraging in sacred forests with gamelons playing in the distance, and dancing deities battling the age-old epic between black&white-good&evil ending with the balance of Life, once again, restored. Then taking what was digested of the day to a lamp lit night to write, write, write. Littering my splattered journal with poetic meanderings that have waited, sometimes it seems far too long, for a time such as this.

Life has certainly been blessed and full of positive changes lately! Our daughter has courageously turned the tables on Anorexia within the past couple of months, and is enjoying a summer filled without fear, vibrant, healthy and triumphant in this very moment– we are so extremely proud of her!

Thank you so very much to all of you who are a constant source of human wisdom, compassion and many who have also lent a comforting shoulder to lean on. Along with the ever gracious comrades who work with me tirelessly towards creating our monthly “healing&creative space”– which will return once again late this fall; I really don’t have enough words to do justice in this meager post to give adequate appreciation.

I am deeply grateful for the small patch of ground we continually attempt to uncover to help support those with eating disorders and their families, partners and loved ones. I hope to continue to dig a deeper and wider-reaching network that will eventually have an even greater substantial and purposeful base of resources, along with caring, intelligent and genuine individuals to be of greater service for those who continue to suffer. Patience, time and perserverance– many of us know all too well the meaning of those words, but they truly do remain at the forefront of what long-term recovery entails well after weight-nutritional restoration has been established.

As always, many additional thanks to those who continue to be of support, who listen, read the blog and email, and have allowed me this welcoming space to share our family’s Journey to Recovery– much deep love.

 Wishing everyone a relaxing, peaceful and enjoyable summer! See all of you when the leaves begin to crinkle and the crispness of fall begins to fill the air.~~

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Happy May 2009!

 

The world’s favorite season is the spring.
All things seem possible in May.
-Edwin Way Teale
__________________

Is it really May, already?

Life has been good… definitely busy, but equally good!

The frenzy of prepping for gallery openings along with late nights doing my own work at the studio, holding support groups combined with some Yoga&Massage on the side has been quite the balancing act to say the least.

The end of the school year countdown has begun by our daughter, who has been finding recovery balances, challenges, and triumphs, mingled in with the excitement and plans for what she’ll be wearing and planning for graduation along with pre-summer preparations– Life is good!

And daily I try to make time to reflect on how grateful and blessed I am for my family, dear friends and acquaintances on this journey of Life- merci!

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

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.

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

 

With the passing of Mental Health Parity many who suffer from eating disorders will finally (albeit slowly-see how your state ranks) be able to begin receiving adequate insurance coverage and necessary treatment needed for long term recovery goals. Great progress without a doubt.

But there is a Judge by the honorable name Faith Hochberg who is rockin‘ the houses of Aetna, Horizon- Blue Cross/Blue Shield who has recently ruled:

                           __________________________________________________

– approval Tuesday to a class action settlement that requires Aetna Insurance Co. to provide about $300,000 in back payments to 119 insureds whose benefits for eating disorders were limited.

The company also promised to treat future claims more liberally and make internal reforms to resolve disputes over benefits for eating disorders.

U.S. District Judge Faith Hochberg also approved a $350,000 payment to the plaintiffs’ class counsel,
Nagel Rice in Roseland, N.J. All of the fee comes from Aetna, not out of a percentage of the class members’ recovery.

“It makes perfect sense to me,” Hochberg said after ruling that
the settlement in De Vito v. Aetna, 07-418, was fair, reasonable and adequate.

The settlement requires the company to treat some claims for anorexia and bulimia as it does claims for biologically based mental illnesses, such as schizophrenia. That makes a class of eating-disorder patients eligible for eight months of treatment, compared with 20 outpatient visits per calendar year and 30 days of inpatient benefits.

The 119 insureds who will receive checks were those who had at least one claim limited by Aetna’s practices during the past seven years. And in the future, Aetna will treat anorexia and bulimia the same way it does BBMIs.

In addition, anyone Aetna determines to have no medical necessity for enhanced eating-disorder treatment during the next four years would have the right to elect binding review by an independent eating-disorder specialist selected with input from the plaintiffs’ lawyers.

At the same time, though, the settlement affects only patients in “fully insured” plans — those funded by employers. Enrollees in self-funded plans, such as employee welfare and state worker health benefits programs, are not covered by the settlement and would not automatically benefit from the more liberal process.

Nagel estimates that about 530,000 of Aetna’s 1.2 million insureds are eligible for the new claims procedures and that the process could be worth up to $2 million in recoveries by the insureds.

Law.com

… then shouldst have it for gingerbread*.   -William Shakespeare

      * Or in my case fresh carrot cupcakes

                                  _______________________________

Summer is winding down and it’s been a fantastic couple of months.  Gracious thanks to those of you who continued to email throughout the summer (for almost a month we were too deep in another world to even want access to the internet) with a wealth of supportive and heart-filled thoughts.  I was touched beyond words that can even begin to express my endless appreciation to you all.  And though I didn’t get a chance to respond to everyone in kind as of yet, I just wanted to share, once again how much this has meant to me and our family– merci!**

On another update-note, Drs Daniel le Grange and James Lock will be conducting a one and 1/2 day FBT-Maudsley training targeted towards adolescents with eating disorders in Portland, Maine: September 23-24th.  What a wonderful opportunity to continue to utilize family-based, supportive and evidence backed treatment practices that integrate all those involved within their loved ones’ care and recovery.  Mary Orear, executive director of Mainely Girls is sponsoring this event, for further information click on the highlighted link.

Hope all of you had a restful and recuperative Summer– and looking forward to reconnecting more regularly soon!

-shanti

 

With Dr Daniel leGrange taking his sabbatical in Australia there has been a hub of conference presentations and various skills-based workshops  and training for implementing the Maudsley Method into eating disorder treatment and care as well as informing and assisting families and caregivers of utilizing this Family-Based approach to help their loved one.

The collaboration and gathering of these individuals, families and professionals probably could not have arrived at a better time since Australia has recently been highlighting an increase of younger children diagnosed with anorexia

On a positive note, one Sydney mother describes their experience using the Maudsley Method for their adolescent daughter as valuable and further stated, “It’s not a quick fix. But we’re absolutely stronger as a family. We’ve always been strong.”

Go Maudsley!

-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!

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