Ever find yourself feeling left out, forgotten, falling behind in life? I’ve noticed these feelings often accompany “The FAT Experience.” Here’s some inspiration to bring you back around to the Truth of the matter.
Ever find yourself feeling left out, forgotten, falling behind in life? I’ve noticed these feelings often accompany “The FAT Experience.” Here’s some inspiration to bring you back around to the Truth of the matter.
“I haven’t had chocolate in 3 years!” she stated proudly as I did her nutrition assessment. “Why not?” I asked. The woman across from me looked perplexed. She had expected, I don’t know, a gold star sticker, a pat on the back perhaps. Her face turned from confused to disappointed. She now had the expression, ironically, of a kid who’s candy had been taken away. I sat in silence with her for a moment waiting for a reply to my question. She grew angry. “Do YOU eat chocolate?!” “Yep.” I said. “Well what kind of a dietitian are you? That’s not healthy. And how much do YOU weigh exactly? Where did you even go to school?” Yikes…
This is just one of several similar conversations I’ve had over the years with clients. Many mistakingly think health and body peace requires paying some sort of penance. That they have to suffer for it. It’s an inner dialogue I know all too well from my eating disordered days and occasionally still struggle with in other areas of my life. For example, with being happy, having more love in my life, financial abundance and so on. I don’t think I’m alone in this. For various reasons, I’ve discovered many women have a hard time just allowing themselves to experience the fullness of life. Body image and eating issues are simply a symptom of this. A dis-ease driven by the core samskara (entrenched thought or belief) of worthlessness.
Feelings of unworthiness stem from heartbreak which we all experience at some point in our lives, often more than a few times. It’s just part of the journey. This hurt is what drives this type of belief system and the associated self-destructive behaviors. Because we still live in a culture of emotional suppression, most heartbreaks aren’t healed through fully at the time they occur. We are pushed to get over it, move on, keep a stiff upper lip and so on. Pain then goes underground creating the kind of control dynamics around our bodies and food illustrated above. We constantly try to restrict and “get rid of” what we ate or the bulge at our bellies, but inside we’re hanging on to heavy feelings and rigid beliefs about what we should do and how we should be. The suffering soul above ended up weeping in my office when her illusions were shattered. Skinny thighs were never going to bring her peace. Surrendering her rules and to what she felt inside did. It can for you too.
Remember…you are enough.
Namaste, JulieFollow Us
Do you have someone in your life that can crawl right under your skin? You know, that co-worker or ex-husband/boyfriend/business partner/etc. that you ramble on about with friends over wine/beer/coffee/tea/cheesecake? A person you are convinced needs to change their ways? They likely trigger “The FAT Experience” for you. That icky feeling of heaviness, body discomfort, unsettledness, etc.
In particular these last few months I’ve been met by with a negative force like no other. A person who’s attacked every aspect of my Being from my body, to my cloths, my career, my child, my integrity, my friends, my community, my past and my future. They even threatened my life.
Sure we all love to listen to Oprah and post flowery affirmations on Facebook, but what really sets us free is embodying what doesn’t feel so hot. That being the Fear, Anxiety and Tension which precedes each leap of spiritual growth we take. Every person we meet is a sacred mirror. They’re either reflecting our light (Atman-our True Self: Spark of The Divine) or our darkness (ego). They can awaken what lives deep within us that’s been forgotten or denied in order to fit in, to survive. We are relational animals. Interacting with others helps us become more conscious of ourselves.
Take being inspired for example. In a recent workshop a client shared she was there because she loved me. That I was changing her life. Sure that’s nice to hear, but truth is all I’m really doing is illuminating the love of herself she is reconnecting with through our work together. It’s what the word NAMASTE is all about. The Hindu salutation that acknowledges the innate Divinity within ourselves and others. Often translated as, “The light in me, sees (or honors) the light in you,” my BKH interpretation is this:
Now bring to mind that “enemy” of yours. What feelings do they illicit? What names do you want to call them and how do you think they should change? Sit with the sensations created when you focus on them. This is what yoga’s really all about: reality and responsibility. My clients cringe when I say this, but they know it’s true and come to realize the gift of the practice with, well…practice.
Learning to sit (which is what the word asana means) with exactly what is, to be with your full experience is essential to healing and self-empowerment. Yes, it’s uncomfortable. Mostly you’ll notice the mind struggling to stay with what you feel, to stay IN your body. It wants to think, problem solve, judge or play out the story line around it all to distract from what’s being felt. This is called “vritti” mind and is the result of repressing our soul experience. This is often why we eat and exercise out of alignment. Both are attempts to stop the flow of emotions through the body by stuffing, starving, or trying to “burn off” FAT. That’s because our mind is mostly ego, The False Self we create to psychically survive. This fear-based side of you is trying to avoid pain. Pain that is simply a natural part of the human experience and it’s mostly caused by Forgetting Atman Temporarily.
When I first recieved these vicious attacks my ego came out BIG time! I went from loving kindness to cut a bitch, pardon my french, real quick. I tried to escape the moment by ranting to everyone around me and blaming others for the actions of the perpetrator. Then I tried to talk myself into enlightenment, to rising above it all. HA! I can only giggle now looking back on my reactions. Eventually I realized all I had to do was what I teach, my BKH technique The PHAT Practice which you can learn in-depth with me through private coaching or the Foundation Series Workshop. In short, I had to ground into the present affirming I was safe, surrender my mind (my ego) and allow what I felt. I had to nurture myself exquisitely. I had to be alone with it all. Below the anger and agitation was sadness which once released opened my heart to see the situation for what it was and authentically come to compassion.
Hurt people hurt people. Our greatest teachers are often someone struggling to own their pain and therefore unconsciously create more in the world. This is karma and we heal it by tending to our souls fully. By making ourselves the focus of our awareness. My favorite affirmation for when I find myself “working” on other people in my mind, through gossip, aggressive (or passive aggressive) behavior, or any of the other uniquely human defense tactics is this:
When we completely embrace our experience we’re practicing self-love at it’s highest level. Immersing in the energy of love reveals our ego, our repressed pain so it can surface and be laid to rest in the light of day and leave you feeling, well…lighter! That’s why it’s so hard to stay present when things are most intense. This is when we are doing BIG work! I find I get rubbed most when I am daring to allow more love, joy and abundance in my life. These trials remind me I am on the right track and as I stay committed to the path of yoga I just keep rising higher and higher.
This person continues their tirades but I’m affected by them less and less. In fact, they’re helping me by illuminating deeply rooted samskras (imprints left on the mind) I thought I was over. HA! I have to laugh at myself here again because as long as we’re alive we will dance between the False and the True Self. We’ll have to live out our darkness and our light, each one just as important as the other. We can however, learn to suffer less by coming back to Feeling All Truth more quickly. What’s really cool is this process can help the other person out. People can only fight if they have someone to fight with. By standing in your truth you set a beautiful boundary that offers others the chance to become more aware of themselves. Now, what they do with that is their business, not yours. And no taking credit for another’s evolution. Practice “apparigraha,” non-attachement to the outcome to enhance your inner peace. Pause here again and reflect on an enemy. Here’s a poem I wrote in the heat of an attack from this great teacher. Use it for inspiration to free yourself and others. Be sure to share how this blog resonates with you.
Thanks for your presence here. Namaste!
Hurting One Crossing my path Meeting to awaken each other Much in common Fearing man Unsettled with our mothers Psychic ties Run deep and strong In my ear you speak They very words Often heard From my own inner freak The one who’s scared To just let go Trust the Divine in me Created in pain To simply sustain Afraid to live fully And so you’ve come To illuminate What I try to hide Thank you friend Through bitter ends You reveal my strength inside Follow Us
‘Tis the season for body image and eating issues to ramp up into overdrive. Every year I watch even the most “enlightened” folks succumb to a little Diet Drama. More than Christmas carols I’m hearing women berate themselves for enjoying some homemade cookies or not getting to the gym. Weight is no doubt a hot topic at holiday gatherings.
While weight gain is common for many at the end of the year, so is eating disorder onset and relapse. The season is not the reason however. This is simply a time America’s typical body and food obsessions intensify to wreck more havoc than usual on our physicality.
Read on to learn 3 BIG ways we self-sabotage body balance and inner peace during the holidays and beyond. I offer yoga-based perspective and tips to support harmony with your body and food year round so your vital energy is free to manifest BIG dreams and help heal our world.
FAT Talk describes any statement that reinforces the thin-ideal standard of beauty and health and contributes to body dissatisfaction and distortions. Examples include:
Most people don’t realize that body image, the perspective we hold about our body, sets the stage for how we eat and move. Engaging in FAT Talk is a form of violence. The path of yoga teaches “ahimsa,” non-violence, as it’s first and foremost practice with an emphasis on self-compassion.
When we attack our very own flesh and blood with judgment, the first form of violence, we place ourselves in the vibration of fear. Rather than helping us Eat and exercise in Alignment, FAT Talk exacerbates imbalance because of this tension. Overeating and restriction are attempts to feel safe and sound. They are soothing in the moment but self-destructive in the long term.
To keep from falling into this common trap, commit to being FAT Talk Free. Watch this fabulous video to inspire peaceful speech and enhance healthy living habits without body bashing:
The Diet Mentality is a way of thinking about our bodies and food based in duality, or what’s more commonly called black and white thinking. Things are labeled either “good” or “bad.” There are many ways this attitude negatively impacts us which I go into further during workshops and private coaching. At the most basic level, it creates a disconnect between body, mind and soul. Food intake then becomes controlled (or lack there of) by conditioned thoughts and behaviors instead of our innate wisdom.
Get out of your head and back to your body through this mindfulness meditation:
Painful body image and imbalanced eating, in my opinion and experience, are simply symptoms of soul starvation. If the heart energy is depleted by giving more than receiving we become energetically imbalanced in all other energy centers and turn to addictive activities in attempts to feel better. Self-care practices such as hobbies, exercise routines, meditation, journaling, adequate sleep, time with friends, etc., keep us connected and grounded and therefore less vulnerable to our auto-pilot habits.
Push pause. Nobody else will stop the insanity and slow it all down for you. Stop right now, sit still and simply breathe for 3 minutes. Afterwards choose 1 thing you’ll let go of right now to make space for something (besides food) that nurtures you. Go do that or just continue Being right here breathing fully in and out until you feel at ease.
I hope this blog sheds some light into your life today. As always, feel free to connect with your comments and questions. If you’re looking to make BIG changes to your body image and life in 2015 Click HERE to join in a Body Karma Healing Foundation Series Workshop for a special holiday discount. Local and distance options available!
Peace. Love. Namaste.
I’ve had several new “Likes” on the BKH page this past week. In the social media world I’ve a long way to go with a mere 365 at the moment. As I showered on Thanksgiving morning I was feeling a powerful sense of gratitude for the obvious things; family, friends, my health, etc., and of course my work. As the warm water poured over me I started crying about, of all things, my BKH Facebook page! I was overwhelmed with appreciation for every single person on my page which sent me reflecting on a meeting I was in a few years back.
I had joined a women’s business group when I created Body Karma Healing. I had never marketed before as a nutrition therapist with a conventional practice. I never had to because I had a steady referral base with my mainstream work. Developing and transitioning to a yoga-based, out-of-the-box venture required me to open up to whole new worlds.
The group I joined was great in many ways though one of the best things it did was help me stay true to myself, not always by encouraging me to do so directly, but often by reflecting the opposite. In a meeting we had about social media some of the women, and our leader, were encouraging the use of certain tactics to get more “Likes” on our Facebook business pages. Several of the members had even bought “Likes” so they could get to the 500 or 1000 milestones.
This didn’t sit well with me. I decided against doing so. That was almost 3 years ago now and I still don’t have 500 “Likes” and I’m OK with that. This work is so much more to me than a means to an income. It’s my heart and soul. I do it because from a place deep within I’m compelled to. It often doesn’t make sense and at least once a week I am filled with fear and doubt and want to give up because it’s too hard. All it takes in those moments is to think of one client, one set of eyes, one voice that has shared their darkest moments and their greatest dreams with me. One person who shares that something I’ve said or taught them helped shift them to a kinder place in the relationship with their body.
To know that I’ve come by every “Like” honestly is just one tiny example of living yoga. Silly as it seems this really moved me on Thanksgiving Day and made me want to share even more. I want to be sure that every person who’s liked my page thus far has my video download Yoga for the Journey to Peaceful Body Image. If you’re reading this and would like the download, simply send me an e-mail with a few words about why you decided to “Like” my page and I’ll send you the file. Already have the video? Shoot me an e-mail too, I have a different gift for you.
I hope your Thanksgiving was wonderful and I wish you deep peace, ecstatic joy and vibrant health moving into the rest of the holiday season and New Year.
Every August my sister, daughter and I venture to one of our favorite National Parks to immerse in nature and play to our hearts’ content. One of the things I love most about vacation is having extra time to meditate. Of all the yogic practices meditation, or dhyana in Sanskrit, is in my opinion the most powerful. Nothing has enhanced my personal healing more and I’m continually amazed by the shifts it creates for my clients in not only body image and eating but in all aspects of their lives.
Heading into this trip I was a bit overwhelmed. It only took moments sitting atop this giant dune on Lake Michigan for peace to emerge. This only grew deeper with each conscious breath until I felt no difference between myself, the sand, air, water and sun. Once more I was freed from that prison we often make for ourselves by thinking we’re sooooo darned important that the whole world will surely fall apart if we stop our doing to just be. A belief that makes us feel overwhelmed, stressed, and often FAT. Simultaneously the same mind will tell us that we (and the things we do) don’t matter all that much. This dichotomy is the ego in full swing and the very thing meditation mends so we don’t stay stuck in the mire of manas (Sanskrit for the ego mind).
This is the magic of the full path of yoga. It helps us reconcile this polarity in the human experience. To find balance between our importance and our limits. Both believing we are larger than life and feeling worthless are ineffective postures. We must keep it all in perspective by doing the best we can to be who we truly are and take care of ourselves, others and the planet while acknowledging we can’t do it all and we’re a constant work in progress. This graceful acceptance oddly enough empowers us to create more peace, health, joy and abundance both in ourselves and the world.
This is the message in jnana mudra, the most popular hand posture for meditation. It represents that we as individual souls (jivatmas) bow to supreme consciousness (whatever that is for you…aka God) acknowledging its unsurpassed power. At the same time it illustrates that we are one with, even the same as, the Divine. Dancing with this duality free of attachment to either is key to PEACE. In remembering we are both BIG and small we are free.
While the most beneficial, meditation is often the most difficult limb of yoga for people to practice. Nothing triggers our ego like sitting still doing no thing. It’s this action (karma) though that brings us back into balance. Here’s a BIG guided meditation to get you started with this powerful PEACE Practice. Know there’s no right or wrong way to do it. Just sit, breathe and be with me.
If your local to Northeast OH join me and many others on Oct. 1st for a community meditation to kick off Akron Peace Week! Click the image below for details.
“May all beings everywhere be happy and free, and may the thoughts, words, and actions of my own life contribute in some way to that happiness and to that freedom for all.”
Create a calm space for yourself to be alone for a half hour before bedtime. Bring a journal, pen and candle with you. Settle into “sukhasana,” a comfy seated posture, and light your candle stating, “I Am Atman, spark of the Divine.” Take 10 “dirgha” breaths (deep conscious breaths) and chant an OM if you like. In your journal write down all that you wish to release from your mind and your life that you feel holds you back from living your dreams. Don’t think too much about it, simply write what you feel, get it out of you. On a separate page write out your wildest dreams. All you wish to invite into your life. All your desires. Leave both out in the moonlight overnight with any altar items you use in your sadhana practice. In the morning burn the first page and place the second one on your altar until the next full moon. Repeat this process each lunar cycle to empower PEACE.
Art by L.M.
On March 21-23, 2014 the 2nd BIG Body Karma Healing Retreat was held in our beloved Cuyahoga Valley National Park here in Peninsula, OH.
A great group of women gathered to simply hold space for one another in their current experience of this journey through life. To slow down and move mindfully into a soulful sanctuary. Anytime this happens, whether it’s during this yearly event, a BKH Basics Workshop or a general weekly yoga class, I’m always blown away by the common threads weaving through our shared sojourn. The above points are just a glimpse of what I was reminded of being present to this process.
I blog about the retreat with the intention to keep those there connected to the magic of our moments together, and to welcome the rest of the world into the vibration of what transpired. I find the image above painted by a dear friend, colleague and BKH Soul Sister, to go beyond words for us and express the grace in it all. To illustrate both the pain and beauty of embodiment in one lovely image. To remind us to embrace our Selves with compassion, feel our depths and remember we have wings.
The poems below were written during the retreat. The first by me and the other by a guest who so bravely shares her heart wide open here. Ms. Wendy read these words that Sunday morning causing the best spontaneous group hug I’ve ever been in!
Music is always a big part of this PEACE party. From gentle yoga flows with Wade Morisette on the I-pod, to dancing at the closing ceremony to MC Yogi. This year we had special guest Zach Friedhoff play a dinner concert and lead our kirtan around the sacred fire. Click HERE for a link to Zach’s site for more on his music and community projects.
We were blessed again to have Kathleen Pichola’s delightful creations grace our space. Visit her website to experience this inspirational art for yourself: Light Works Wonders-Click HERE.
Thanks to all who helped make this event happen and continue to support Body Karma Healing in so many ways. My joy runs deep just knowing you.
Peace & Namaste
Heard From HerI heard from her That little girl Who not long ago Still felt lost in the world She whispered You’re doing well My heart grew heavy Tears swelled Oh how I’d yearned To hear those words To feel real To feel returned No one else Could fill the void I’d searched and scoured Faked my joy Still Until I gave me time Slowed it down Allowed the cries Laughed out loud Swore and tore Through layers of lies I’d lived and wore Not till then Till I went within Loved the dark Drank it in Followed my heart Broke the rules Lost face Unschooled Only then Could I receive Amazing Grace Now I Believe
You’re here, on this Earth, at this time for a reason and it’s NOT to spend your days obsessing about body and food. Harmless as it seems, Painful Body Image is the final frontier of women’s disempowerment. Diet Drama a distraction that keeps you shrinking away from your unique life.
Women have fought for so much: the right to vote, hold public office, receive equal pay, yet most women deny themselves the right to feel good about their very own bodies. To nurture them, love them, listen to them. Why?
Problem is, you’ve learned to fear this energy convinced it’s wrong, dangerous, even shameful. Taught to distrust your inner experience you hide the most magnificent parts of you; the passion, the creativity, the Universal intelligence. Denying your soul, your need for full self-expression inevitably shows up as body warfare.
“The feminine has deep understanding of the power of matter. Women carry the instinctual knowing of the divine substance in matter and of how to bring this substance into life, because this knowledge is fundamental in the process of giving birth, in bringing a soul into human form. Now this wisdom is needed for the regeneration of the Earth, for the our reawakening.”
~Awakening the World: A Global Dimension to Spiritual Practice, Llewellyn Vaughan-Lee
It’s the year to shake it up and it starts with the brave step of reconnecting with and truly honoring your body. The body is married to the soul. It’s not out to get you. Erratic eating and feeling fat comes from the suffocation of the True Self. From containing the Divine Feminine. This energy lives in your flesh hungry to wildly create!
That’s right. Let it go. Throw it out. Burn it in the fire. Every step up on a scale powers you down. You know this. It affirms inherited distrust in your very essence. Simply reflect on your own experience. Has worshiping the scale sustainably freed you from food, weight and body image issues?
If this scares you, seems impossible or even irrational, join me at the upcoming BKH Retreat on the Spring Equinox (March 21-23 2014) in the Cuyahoga Valley National Park.
To your freedom,
Do you hear what I hear? Fat talk, body bashing, food and exercise obsession abound. The holidays ignite diet drama like wildfire. Perhaps you’ve noticed yourself and/or others making comments such as:
Tis’ the season when our culture’s food and body pathology hits overdrive. To prepare you for the ride most wellness professionals offer up tasty tips to help keep your hunger (and weight) in check from Thanksgiving to New Year’s. That’s lovely and logical. In my experience however, tidings of discomfort and pain are the real cause of imbalanced eating and body image woes, not a lack of willpower, nutrition info or low leptin levels.
A psychiatrist I know likes to offer this holiday advice to his clients with eating disorders, “Never spend more that 3 consecutive hours at a time with family. That will help you control behaviors because family is so triggering.” I once thought these were wise words until I deepened into my own yoga practice and healing path the last few years. I’ve learned that when I’m triggered by someone, i.e. something they say, do, or don’t do, upsets me, it’s simply a growth opportunity. Especially if that someone is family. Why?
Triggered?! You’re welcome. Hear me out here.
Recently a dear friend and family member by choice (as well as someone who used to push my buttons BIG TIME) decided the word triggering needs traded out for awakening because sensation awakens. What do I mean by sensation? Embodied emotion. You know, the heat you feel when mom asks if you’ve lost/gained weight? The anger that bubbles up when someone passes judgement on your passion or fashion. The jealous burn in your belly when the conversation turns to your sibling’s accomplishments over yours. It can take almost any form but we often find ourselves feeling uncomfortable around family because our own deep seeded beliefs about ourselves and who we should be become illuminated in reflection of those who’ve experienced the same conditioning.
Our ego, or false self, is created in reflection of those around us. Many of us learned from our families to become what the world expects us to be rather than our true selves. This wasn’t intentional of course, it’s just part of the path for humans right now and something we’re all working through. The only way to get back to our Atman nature is to let those ego layers die off. This is what we’re shown when we hang out with our kin.
Unaware of what’s going on, and conditioned to escape unwanted experiences, we tend to turn all our attention to food and weight obsession. Emotions are kept at bay by both restriction and overeating. Compulsive exercise and staying sedentary also accomplishes this. Depending somewhat on your biological disposition, and a lot on certain energy imbalances, you may sway either way. None the less making food the focus is a fabulous distraction from the soul work of feeling life through to evolve you.
So what do you do? Be present. Be you.
That’s it. Now that you understand this dynamic you can work to stay grounded in the moment and live from the center of your Self. Sit with any sensations that arise watching them like an outside observer. Breathe into them instead of distracting away. Connect to your heart and your body to let your mind rest. Thinking about the way you feel stops the flow of emotional energy and only draws out the dis-ease. Just let it be. Living this love and compassion towards yourself allows you to also be in that space for others.
From here food becomes a non-issue. Body cues are clear and easy to honor when food is not used to escape the moment. You are whole and perfect here and now. Align with your awesomeness and enjoy gathering with others who’s true nature is the same as yours!
Peace & Namaste,