I used to be a workaholic and an over-scheduler My life was busy & overfull of things to accomplish.
As a people pleaser, I took care of everything & everyone before I took care of myself. During this time, my body was tired. Yet my mind was so focused on productivity that I ignored my body signals and kept pushing on. Once I got into my 30’s, I started to have little things that bothered me — my skin went from flawless to dry & peeling, I started to feel really tired and had brain fog. My digestion got worse and worse.
At the same time, I was being who I thought I “should” be, instead of looking into my heart to see who I really was. I was on autopilot until I started to burnout. My life was meaningless and lacking true inner joy. In essence, my mind was leading my body around. My body was rebelling and my spirit was suppressed inside an exterior image of myself. Maintaining an image of perfection was a driving force in my life.
Out of Alignment
Like a child… if I was tiredSo you can see that I was completely out of alignment in body, mind and spirit. In my journey to recovery, I started working on my body & mind. I focused on bringing my body back to health and learning to release negative thoughts about life. I started to accept where I was and become more present in every moment. What I realized in this journey, is that my mind was leading me because it didn’t know how to listen to my body. My coach would ask me how I felt — and I couldn’t find the feeling. I couldn’t find places in my body that felt anything. I was numb. I shut off everything human in my body in my quest for perfection.
After paying attention to my body more, I realized I was burned out. I needed to rest — I even gave myself several months to have no goals and to rest more often than ever. I underscheduled my day, getting rid of all my classes, extra work and obligations. I started “cocooning” and spending more time reading & getting to know myself. During this time, I kept looking to my inner body to guide me. Like a child, if I was tired, I slept. If I wanted to play, I played. If I was hungry, I ate. And gradually, I started to get to know myself. This inner body focus took me about a year. During the year, I started to feel again. I started to get to know myself and trust my “gut feelings.” I started to think of what self-care I needed, before doing things for others.
Taking Care of Your Body, Takes Care of Your Mind
Interestingly, my mind got healthier — more alert, more joyful, more peaceful and calm. My mind and body started to feel in synch — sharing an understanding I’d never experienced before. My intuition grew, which I took to be my spirit. I became open to all the possibilities life had to offer and started to sense my place in the world. I realized that it’s the spirit that facilitates communication between body & mind.
Since body & mind don’t speak the same language, spirit (or intuition or power of possibility) allows mind and body to speak. Spirit just knows what is innately right for each.
Spirit Manifests Your Dreams
The body hates when the mind tries to control it — after all, it has a brain too, right (see my post on Second Brain)? Who Knew? There is innate intelligence in body, just as there is in mind. The body hates to be suppressed and told what to do, when it knows what’s right for it. So it will rebel against the mind (pain, illness, migraines, eating habits amiss, lack of energy, etc.). The mind’s job is to solve problems & communicate with the world. The body’s job is to lead us through life. The spirit’s job is to be completely present — to notice what’s happening to mind — and to body — and let them communicate. The spirit’s job is to manifest your dreams — the spirit is suppressed when mind & body are at war.
Recovery – Worth The Commitment
An eating disorder is mind and body at war — and spirit suppressed. Healing involves the collective action of mind, body and spirit. This is why I believe recovery is so challenging. What skills were we ever taught to bring these into alignment? How do we learn, when we are so used to having our minds lead our bodies?
How do we trust, when our minds feel like they need to be in control?
Please see the exercise on learning to trust your body. It’ s a great place to start. If eating disorders could ever be considered a gift — I consider mine to have awakened me to a life more precious than I may ever have known otherwise. It was hitting the bottom that made me so committed to living a life of joy. To learning how to just feel good. I really believe that even just one day of this feeling is worth a commitment to recovery.
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