A poem for you

Please come home. Please come home.
Find the place where your feet know where to walk
And follow your own trail home.

Please come home. Please come home into your own body,
Your own vessel, your own earth.
Please come home into each and every cell,
And fully into the space that surrounds you.

Please come home. Please come home to trusting yourself,
And your instincts and your ways and your knowings,
And even the particular quirks of your personality.
Please come home. Please come home and once you are
firmly there,
Please stay awhile and come to a deep rest within.
Please treasure your home. Please love and embrace your home.
Please get a deep, deep sense of what it’s like to be truly home.

Please come home. Please come home.
And when you’re really, really ready,
And there’s a detectable urge on the outbreath, then please
come out.
Please come home and please come forward.
Please express who you are to us, and please trust us
To see you and hear you and touch you
And recognize you as best we can.

Please come home. Please come home and let us know
All the nooks and crannies that are calling to be seen.
Please come home, and let us know the More
That is there that wants to come out.

Please come home. Please come home.
For you belong here now. You belong among us.
Please inhabit your place fully so we can learn from you,
From your voice and your ways and your presence.

Please come home. Please come home.
And when you feel yourself home, please welcome us too,
For we too forget that we belong and are welcome,
And that we are called to express fully who we are.

Please come home. Please come home.
You and you and you and me.

Please come home. Please come home.
Thank you, Earth, for welcoming us.
And thank you touch of eyes and ears and skin,
Touch of love for welcoming us.

May we wake up and remember who we truly are.

Please come home.
Please come home.
Please come home.
by Jane Hooper, printed in The Wisdom Way of Knowing, by Cynthia Bourgeault

(check out my NEW book, releasing Mother’s Day 2013: Mom in the Mirror: Body Image, Beauty and Life After Pregnancy, co-written with Dr. Dena Cabrera, HERE.)

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real beauty: you are not fat (guest post by Rachel Haas)

i have a formspring. you know, one of those places where people you know and people you don’t can ask you any number of questions about any topic they wish.
and today there was a question sitting there in my inbox from that coward, anonymous. innocent words strung together to form something so much more painful.
so you’ve used pregnancy as an excuse to let yourself go, then?
 
and my blood ran cold. because in my mind’s eye, i saw fifteen-year-old me crying in the dressing room because i felt so fat every time i tried on anything. and my sister could fit into clothes that i never could, because i was curvy. 
 
and then i saw another little girl.
 
a little girl whose face i couldn’t see clearly, but that i knew better than my own all the same. and she sat there in the mall food court picking at the pile of lettuce with the dressing on the side that she called lunch and sipped at her water while she smelled the burgers and watched the other girls drinking their smoothies.
i saw my daughter’s face.
and the blood turned to ice in my veins, and some strange mother-bear anger stirred in my stomach right next to the little rolling flutters that mark my daughter’s current home.
this anger was not for me. i’m growing stronger now. words, yes, they still hurt. but this anger was not for me.
with hand on stomach and face curved toward the sky, my soul screamed
don’t you dare call my beautiful little girl fat. 
 
don’t teach my little one to count calories instead of the stars. because she has my genes, the curvy genes with rounder hips and fuller breasts. the ones that might not fit into the teenage carrot stick world into which she is being born.
{via pinterest}
and maybe there will come a day when you come to me with big eyes and slender limbs and say words like carbs and calories…too soon, too young, too early.
and i will pray for grace and i will pray to not break down until i am behind a closed door where i can weep for this world where little girls starve themselves and big girls stare in mirrors and whisper i hate you. 
and this is the letter i will read to her even before she understands the world, in which i have promised to not call myself fat anymore, and i pray that she will see her mama living in truth and not on the scale.
beauty is not size 2 defined.
beauty is health, not break-ability. beauty is dressing on your salad and chocolate for desert. beauty is forgiving eyes and kind smiles and a soft heart, and chins lifted with so much peace and warrioress pride.
because there is a Lion in Heaven that roars with rage when people talk bad about His daughters, and when people whisper lies into little girl ears that are too innocent to know better. there are millstones for people like that, and He has them in a line and waiting with rope for tying.
don’t you dare call My little girl fat.
(By Rachel Haas at Dramatic Elegance)

forgiveness versus moving on (guest post by tarah tubbs)

tarah

1 John 1:9 says
If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

It’s that simple. It’s that straight-forward. If we are sorry for our sins, repent and confess to God, it is erased. He has forgiven you, and what you did is no longer in existence.

In the past I have made several bad decisions involving this young woman pictured with me above. Throughout the entirety of our togetherness, I felt guilty. I knew what I was doing was wrong. As a christian I knew the choices I made were sins. Yet I chose them anyway.

Finally, after months of feeling guilty and realizing life would never get better until I let go of the thing, the person that had me in chains, I confessed to God. I knew He already knew, but laying prostrate in my guilt, confessing every detail of my sin to Him began my road to moving on. Immediately I felt His forgiveness. I then had to learn to forgive myself.

It’s been a long road. Understanding that with His forgiveness comes erasing of the sin is hard. If HE can forget, so should I. But for a long, long time I carried the guilt and shame of this time of my life with me. Carrying this guilt brought about physical manifestations. I’ve struggled with eating disorders since I was 14, but my eating disorder thrived during this time. I also participated in forms of self harm. I hurt myself because I felt I deserved it. I thrived on the feelings it created. In some small way, I wanted to die. A slow, painful, death.

But here I am. I can’t say it’s suddenly very easy. It’s not. I’m still recovering from the eating disorder that certainly could have taken my life. I saw that forgiving myself wasn’t the only step I needed to take.
I needed to forgive her for her part in things, too.

Matthew 6:14-15
For if you forgive others for their transgressions, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others, then your Father will not forgive your transgressions.

It’s not enough to ask God to forgive YOU, to heal YOU, to save YOU–Before we even consider ourselves, we should approach God with a mind for others. As much as I blamed her for all the negative outcomes in my life, I knew that to move on I had to forgive her. So I did. I was surprised at how easy it was. God loves her, and so should I. If she asks for forgiveness, He has forgiven her. And so should I. So I did.

This has made all the difference. The things we did I can’t even speak of, I am just surprised either of us made it out alive. But I know that God watched out for us, because he promises to watch over His children. And now that I have forgiven her, it makes forgiving myself that much easier.

That part of my life is over. It is finished. According to God, it never happened. I am free. I can’t describe the overwhelming freedom this puts in my soul. This doesn’t mean the thought of her never crosses my mind–it does. But my soul is free from the past. I can think of her and smile, because I know she is alive, I know she is a christian, and I know I never have to deal with her again.

(Guest Post by Tarah Tubbs at Evolutions of Self)

Holidays tough for those with eating disorders

(article by Shawn Loughlin, The Citizen)

The holidays can be a time of excess. For many there are a large number of gifts under the tree and many are welcomed into countless feasts featuring dozens of different options.

For someone with an eating disorder, however, the holidays can be the most challenging time of the year.

Emily Wierenga, author of several books and daughter of Blyth’s Ernest Dow, pastor at Living Water Christian Fellowship, has had her struggles with eating disorders (anorexia nervosa) and she confirms that the holidays were a tough time for her, but there are ways to handle the temptation and not give in to symptoms of an eating disorder.

Wierenga says the reason the holidays are such a hard time for those with eating disorders is simple. It is a very emotional time of year, coupled with the fact that there is always plenty of food around during the holidays.

“There is always a lot of food combined with a lot of emotion,” Wierenga said in an interview with The Citizen from her Alberta home. “The holidays can be joyous times, but they can also be very lonely times for some people.”

With large feasts around every corner during the holidays, Wierenga says, someone who has struggled with food before has many pitfalls they have to be aware of. She says that portion control can be a particular concern to some people, while others can go the complete other way and binge eat and purge later.

“Portion size is easy for most people to figure out,” Wierenga said, “I still struggle with it, so in buffet lines I don’t know what to put on my plate so I’ll often copy the person in front of me.”

Wierenga says that someone with an eating disorder approaches food differently, and therefore their concept of food is warped.

She says that while most people look at food as something to enjoy, those with eating disorders approach food as something that needs to be controlled.

“You’re constantly evaluating how what you eat is going to affect your body,” Wierenga said. “That’s something you need to combat and remember that food is something to enjoy.”

She says that it’s a constant mental battle that is ongoing for those with eating disorders.

She says it’s also important to remember the social aspect of eating, especially during the holidays.

She said that often meals are served with family members and friends as a way to connect and communicate with one another, so not running from the table as soon as the meal is done is important for someone who has struggled with food in the past to remember as well.

“You need to remember to stay at the table after the main course,” she said. “Meals are about conversation, they’re not about food.

“Food is a vessel for celebration and for community. You have to remember and allow yourself to enjoy the time, remember that it’s not a threat and that it helps you to build relationships.”

Wierenga says that often those struggling with eating disorders use food as a means of self-abuse. She said the way to combat those thoughts, that can come naturally to some people, is to remember that you’re valuable and that you deserve happiness.

“You need to keep telling yourself that you’re worth eating for,” she said.

When approaching the holidays, Wierenga says the best thing for someone struggling with food to do is to be aware of their own personal triggers. She said you have to go into meals having a game plan and keep your positivity high.

She says one way to stay positive and to not sink into an emotional hole is to think positive thoughts, listen to some positive music and, if you’re spiritual, to pray.

Wierenga’s recently released book Chasing Silhouettes deals with helping a loved on through an eating disorder. It includes several personal stories of her struggle, interviews with members of her family and friends and a guide to help those through the dangerous world of eating disorders. It can be found on http://www.amazon.ca.

Her new book The Mom in the Mirror: Body Image, Beauty, and Life After Pregnancy will be released on Mother’s Day (Sunday, May 12, 2013). It deals with, among many other things, struggling with body image and eating disorders during and after pregnancy.

Wierenga has four children and currently in Alberta lives with her husband and family.

Here are 12 ideas to help people with eating disorders negotiate the holidays – courtesy of The Centre for Change compiled by Michael E. Berrett, PhD.

• Eat regularly and in some kind of reasonable pattern. Avoid “preparing for the last supper.” Don’t skip meals and starve in attempt to make up for what you recently ate or are about to eat. Keep a regular and moderate pattern.
Worry more about the size of your heart than the size of your hips! It is the holiday season, a great time to reflect, enjoy relationships with loved ones and most importantly a time to feel gratitude for blessings received and a time to give back through loving service to others.
• Discuss your anticipations of the holidays with your therapist, physician, dietitian or other members of your treatment team so that they can help you predict, prepare for and get through any uncomfortable family interactions without self-destructive coping attempts.
• Have a well-thought-out game plan before you go home or invite others into your home. Know “where the exits are,” where your support persons are and how you’ll know when it’s time to make a brief exit and get connected with needed support.
• Talk with loved ones about important issues: decisions, victories, challenges, fears, concerns, dreams, goals, special moments, spirituality, relationships and your feelings about them. Allow important themes to be present and allow yourself to have fun rather than rigidly focusing on food or body concerns.
• Choose, ahead of time, someone to call if you are struggling with addictive behaviours, or with negative thoughts, or difficult emotions. Call them ahead of time and let them know of your concerns, needs and the possibility of them receiving a call from you.
• If it would be a support or help to you, consider choosing one loved one to be your “reality check” with food, to either help plate up food for you or to give you a reality check on the food portions which you dish up for yourself.
• Write down your vision of where you would like your mind and heart to be during this holiday time with loved ones. Take time, several times per day, to find a quiet place to become in tune again with your vision, to remember, to nurture, and to centre yourself into those thoughts, feelings, and actions which are congruent with your vision for yourself.
• If you have personal goals for your time with loved ones during the holidays, focus the goals around what you would like to do. Make your goals about “doing something” rather than about trying to prevent something. If you have food goals, then make sure you also add personal emotional, spiritual, and relationship goals as well.
• Work on being flexible in your thoughts. Learn to be flexible in guidelines for yourself, and in expectations of yourself and others. Strive to be flexible in what you can eat during the holidays. Take a holiday from self imposed criticism, rigidity, and perfectionism.
• Stay active in your support group, or begin activity if you are currently not involved. Many support groups can be helpful. 12-step group, co-dependency group, eating disorder therapy group, neighborhood “Bunco” game group, and religious or spiritually oriented groups are examples of groups which may give real support. Isolation and withdrawal from positive support is not the right answer for getting through trying times.
• Avoid “overstressing” and “overbooking” yourself and avoid the temptation and pattern of becoming “too busy.” A lower sense of stress can decrease a felt need to go to eating disorder behaviors or other unhelpful coping strategies. Cut down on unnecessary events and obligations and leave time for relaxation, contemplation, reflection, spiritual renewal, simple service, and enjoying the small yet most important things in life. This will help you experience and enjoy a sense of gratitude and peace.

Chasing Silhouettes Webinar with mental health expert Gregory Jantz, Ph.D., and the founder of FINDINGbalance, Constance Rhodes

Video

In this webinar, Chasing Silhouettes author Emily Wierenga is joined by bestselling author and mental health expert Gregory Jantz, Ph.D., along with author and founder of FindingBalance.com, Constance Rhodes, as they discuss how you can help a loved one struggling with an eating disorder. From simple steps that help identify if someone you know has an eating disorder to ways to intervene to tips on how to help someone begin the road to recovery, this webinar is full of practical information for those who want to help a friend or loved one.

To learn more, visit Emily’s website at www.emilywierenga.com.

Other Web Resources:
http://www.FindingBalance.com
http://www.APlaceOfHope.com

To purchase a copy of Chasing Silhouettes, click HERE.

in which i boast of my weakness (guest post by anita mathias)

I have steadily gained weight since I left school which means I am now 115 pounds heavier than I was then! I have been tempted to consider my tendency to gain weight as a thorn in my (literal) flesh, a weakness. You know, bad metabolism, low thyroid, la-di-da.

Well, all somewhat true, and I could accept it as a thorn in the flesh to live with, as people accept ME or CFS—except that, in my case, there is sin involved, and sin is never, never to be accepted, but to be striven against, and conquered (I believe!).

I recently admitted the part sin had played in my weight gain and repented deeply. For me, eating chocolate or sweet treats is sin because my body simply does not need it. So I am abusing a body which is already slowed down with extra weight. Similarly, eating for pleasure when not hungry, or to medicate low spirits, stress or boredom–especially eating things not super-nutritious for my body–is abusing the body and “temple” God gave me.

Or to put it another way, it’s the sin of seeking comfort in anything except other than the Comforter. Idolatry: “My people have committed two sins: They have forsaken me, the spring of living water, and have dug their own cisterns, broken cisterns that cannot hold water. (Jer. 2:13).

(And since that deep repentance in mid-October, I have not bought chocolate or sugary treats, save for a magnificent Pere Noel Stollen in Luxembourg, shaped like a huge Santa Claus that ogled me!!)

Believe it or not, I only acknowledged that comfort eating or emotional eating was a weakness of mine earlier this year. I am not yet wholly free of it–it was a habit of decades after all–but do substitute raisins or popcorn for chocolate or crisps (potato chips for Indian and American readers!)

And perhaps the next step will be not to eat at all if I am not hungry, but do something else. Run, perhaps, which also gives a high and a healthy one. Garden. Pray!

* * *

This is how I am now training myself to think about food: Is what I am planning to eat a blessing or a curse to my body?

What’s a curse to my body? Sugar, chocolate, white flour, white rice, high-fat foods, or, indeed, anything eaten when I am not hungry (since I am overweight). What is a blessing to my body? Fruit, vegetables, beans, legumes, and seeds, in particular

I’ve been largely vegan for 3 weeks, following Dr. Furhman’s brilliant diet (which is fruit, vegetables, beans, soups, and salads as a main meal) but not entirely so.
* * *

Peter in Acts 10 sees a great sheet lowered from heaven with clean and unclean animals. He refuses to eat.
“Then a voice told him, “Get up, Peter. Kill and eat.”
14 “Surely not, Lord!” Peter replied. “I have never eaten anything impure or unclean.”
15 The voice spoke to him a second time, “Do not call anything impure that God has made clean.”
For everything God created is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving. 1 Tim 4:4.

No food God made is “bad.” On the other hand, many foods man has made are not good for us. Sugar and high-fructose corn syrup, which is smuggled into pretty much every processed or fast food, are deeply addictive, and according to the New York Times, toxic, and so our family is cutting out sugar and as many processed foods as possible, even making our own hummus and dressings. Yeah, hard-core!!
* * *

Alcoholics Anonymous is a brilliant organization, and much of their wisdom can be applied to self-medication with food. Realize that you cannot break this habit on your own, and that you need help.

They have an acronym HALT for times when alcoholics might be most tempted to have a drink—when they are hungry, angry, lonely or tired. These are also times when those who seek comfort in food might be tempted to a massive food blowout.

My struggle for health is now becoming so entwined with my spiritual life that they are becoming almost one and the same. It’s like a conversion experience—being transformed by the renewal of the mind. Cultivating new responses. Practicing a new way of living. Tuning in to how I am really feeling instead of numbing my emotions with a bar of chocolate, or a high carb numbing feast.
* * *

You know how David prayed seven times a day. Well, I have an inbuilt call to prayer now that I have given up sugar and chocolate and white carbs and am trying to stop all “comfort eating”. Cravings become a reminder to pray.

Feel the need to eat when sad or bored or stressed or angry—but not hungry? Well, I try to slow down and take the time to “eat Jesus”. Eat his flesh, drink his blood. Ask his Holy Spirit the Comforter to fill me.

And so my weakness provides a reminder and pathway for me to seek God and experience his power. And so, when I am weak, I will be strong.

(Post by Anita Mathias; read more of Anita’s work HERE)

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Friends,

As you might know, I have pledged to help raise support for FINDINGbalance this month. Fb is a Christian non-profit that helps people eat well and live free from eating and body image issues. I have personally benefited from the work of Fb over the years and am committed this month to help give back.

I need your help to meet my goal.

I have pledged to raise $1000 this month and if I’m able to raise this amount, it will not only be a huge blessing to Fb, but I will also receive a scholarship to their Hungry for Hope conference next May here in Nashville, which would be a huge blessing to me personally.

Will you consider giving $15, $25, $50 or any other amount of your choice TODAY to help me meet my goal?

You can do it in just a few clicks HERE.

Thank you so much for your consideration.

Emily

the edited edition of myself (a poem by Starla)

Have the faith to love simply in your heart; do what needs doing in a loving way; notice one’s own folly; smile at the human situation. We are all weak. we are all human. If we were not, love would be unnecessary. In effect, we change when we realize our weakness without losing sight of the love that enfolds us.
by David Brazier

 

oh yes ..my folly

my weaknesses

part of being human

a love of sweets

and potatoes

the downfall of my belly guts

gaining me pounds

that no one sees but me

because “Oh your so tiny!”

and yet this insecurity a pot belly can give you is real

I have an aversion to exercise

and a love of all reading material

magazines

books

blogs

and eye candy like pinterest

This aversion doesn’t help my “so tiny feel”

But this isn’t only about frame and pounds

more about weak moments that creep

like worry and fear

of being useless

and invaluable

and generally overlooked

its more about shifted perspectives

to meet people pleasing

and then anger at those people

and then realizing they aren’t the one who moved

So I go to my center place of balance again

to the loving GOD  and seeing the me he  created 

and sharing that instead of the “ME” I think you want me to be

the edited edition of myself

Here’s to walking the rest of today in my own shoes !

(Starla blogs regularly here at Poet’s Prose)
*to purchase a copy of Emily’s new book, Chasing Silhouettes: How to help a loved one battling an eating disorder, please click here.