Looking at your issues around overeating and your body takes guts, tremendous courage, and compassion (for yourself). One of the (many) reasons diet books and articles and shows (Does Dr. Oz even talk about anything other than weight loss these days?!) are STILL so incredibly popular is not just because people are struggling with overeating or excess weight.
I believe the real reason is that the alternative path, for most, is much more frightening.
What it takes to heal hunger, and the compulsion that drives emotional eating or any kind of eating that haunts so many women and girls, is a much different kind of journey.
It can be helpful to have an appreciation of some of the forces at work.. the hidden more unseen realms. I’ve been fascinated by the archetypal themes- illustrated beautifully in Jung’s work, in the beautiful books by Clarissa Pinkola Estes “Women Who Run With The Wolves” and Marion Woodman’s “Addiction to Perfection”. And of course my studies with Caroline Myss (article is bolded) and her book “Sacred Contracts”.
Our hungers and compulsions are understood beautifully in the archetypal and symbolic realms. We have created entire lives around how we see ourselves as related to hunger… it colors most everything in our world, our identity, relationships..it’s not about what’s being eaten but what we’re feeling about it.. telling ourselves about it.
Confronting the Saboteur who knows just how to trip you up as you move forward…negotiating with the Victim who soothes you with reasoning around why you “deserve” this or that…things we all are familiar with. The Thief…the part of us that eats as if we are stealing and about to be caught.
Most of us unfortunately haven’t got a sense of our inner Wise Woman or good Mother to soothe us through the moments that we need to manage the journey.We’re lost.. at the mercy of a culture that can’t teach us what it doesn’t know.
And we usually lack a solid anchor in the spiritual realms that will fill our hearts and souls with true nourishment that no addiction to food or drink or shopping or fame and fortune can replace. Without places to connect with what is truly sacred, we start to attach sacred status to material objects, or to a number on a scale.
Then there is the perfectionism. The striving to make order and organization and get everyone and everything (including of course your self) to be ENOUGH.. once and for all so you can finally breathe and relax…Well, that’s a big one.
It’s an inside job.. finding the threads and pieces that are intuitively yours and understanding them in ways that soothe the harsh standards, the drive to keep everything predictable and controlled in ways you can manage. Learning ways to soothe yourself without the old compulsions and to fill up with true nourishment.. to create new archetypal voices and imagery that speaks to the part of you that wants to move into genuine wholeness.
I also love what Marianne Williamson says and what many other metaphysics teachers promote.. “Focus on the light brings us into the light” (from “Return To Love”). Learning to separate from what we believe we are.. that we are not our fears, our flaws, our anger or selfishness. Finding our way out of the pain in these ways becomes sacred and beautiful.
This can be a courageous and fascinating journey. And there is no playbook. And certainly no diet or fitness book that can begin to touch the places that will help you with this. I have long referred to this as your sacred Firewalk.. I believe most people have something that will call on them to evolve beyond where they are.. something that is painful enough that they will have to examine themselves and their life in a new way.
For women in pain around body hatred or addictive patterns of eating, that can be an invitation to go deeper and look at everything in a brand new way.. the food piece is just the invitation to your firewalk.
And of course I believe this is best done with loving expert guidance. If you would like to talk about how I might be able to help you, and see if you are a good fit for this work, please email me at Lisa at IntuitiveBody dot com..
I want that for you..
Love and blessings..
Jacqueline Fairbrass says
Ahh…the inner Saboteur, I know you well. Great article Lisa. I love the quote ‘focus on the light brings us into the light’. I find I can get heavy (pardon the pun) on myself and it leads to that downward spiral. Will reframe and focus on the ‘light’ this holiday season. xox
Hi Jacqueline.. yes.. we all have one and being conscious of what each of our Saboteurs sounds like is really helpful.. And yes, it’s so true that shame and guilt create that kind of spiral..more love, more compassion, more coming into present-time is what helps.. always. Love to you, Lisa
What you said about perfectionism really speaks right to me — I’m always aiming for order, clarity, enough-ness. Strong enough, patient enough, smart enough, perceptive enough — these are all things I chase every day and never, ever catch. Thank you for making the call to look deeper and find the evolution. xoxo
Jessica…We never “catch” those things.. they chase us and prevent peace… perfectionism is a miserable form of addiction that I have known well and seen with most of my clients.. it goes with the territory. Focusing on coming into present time, and always allowing ourselves to begin again. is helpful and shifts us out of the other patterns. Much love to you.. Lisa
Leah Shapiro says
The Thief…I’m familiar with that one. I used to sneak sweets when no one was around, fearful of getting caught.
I like the idea of “your own personal firewalk” Lisa!! Have you ever hosted one for your clients?
Leah.. I love your honesty.. The Thief is big.. I used to sneak too and it was part of the syndrome around the eating…painful. Regarding the firewalk.. no.. for me it’s an inside walk..But love your creative “defy the box” input, always. Love to you, Lisa
Rachel Du Croz says
Am also a thief when no one is about or when there backs are turned I strike. I have attempted the “you don’t need it” attitude but ultimately it fails because my perfectionist takes over “well You already failed So… If you are gonna fail anyway…”
A very true article thank you Lisa
Hi Rachel.. happy to connect with you.. yes, the Thief and the perfectionism are connected.. they exist together because there’s such a sense of not deserving, not allowing natural appetites and giving ourselves permission to trust ourselves in many ways.. Also figuring out what works for us in an intuitive way, creates some safety, because there often IS a chemical piece that makes certain foods hard to handle (like I can not eat gluten.. am super sensitive to it and everything calms down when it’s not in my system, for example)..
The all or nothing perfectionism is so painful.. just beginnning to notice it will help so you can soften it when you hear it come up. Let me know if I can help. Love, Lisa
Amanda Krill says
Oh, Lisa. You always strike right at the heart of it all. I’ve not heard of the Women Who Run With The Wolves book, but I am highly intrigued. Just reading the author’s intro to it on GoodReads makes me know I must read it.
The Thief is a familiar one for me too… 🙁
Amanda.. thank you always.. The book is powerful, and it’s something you can read a bit at a time.. you might like it as a mother of a daughter too. The Thief is a popular one around here!! Love to you … Lisa