Thursday, May 21, 2009

Advice from a Tree

Advice from a Tree

by Ilan Shamir

"Dear Friend,

Stand Tall and Proud
Sink your roots deeply into the Earth
Reflect the light of a greater source
Think long term
Go out on a limb
Remember your place among all living beings
Embrace with joy the changing seasons
For each yields its own abundance
The Energy and Birth of Spring
The Growth and Contentment of Summer
The Wisdom to let go of leaves in the Fall
The Rest and Quiet Renewal of Winter

Feel the wind and the sun
And delight in their presence
Look up at the moon that shines down upon you
And the mystery of the stars at night.
Seek nourishment from the good things in life
Simple pleasures
Earth, fresh air, light

Be content with your natural beauty
Drink plenty of water
Let your limbs sway and dance in the breezes
Be flexible
Remember your roots

Enjoy the view!"

I soaked up this prayer when I read it this week. So many good things. I bolded the mantras that I needed to hear today.

Starting with, "Embrace with joy the changing seasons." Ehh, I'm not a big fan of change, spontaneity, or unpredictability. I'm learning, but most of my life I've been stunted and challenged by the idea of change. So I picked up quickly that if I could control my environment, people, or my situation, life would be easier. Anorexics and bulimics are not addicted to food, they are addicted to control. I'm a perfectionist in recovery. It hasn't served me well yet and never will. There is joy in the changing seasons and intend on finding it.

Second, "Seek nourishment from the good things in life." Ahh, how I've sought nourishment from every where else. I've sought nourishment from toxic relationships, striving for perfection, making a complete fool of myself, and hurting others. I've sought nourishment from pretending to be someone I'm not and trying to impress other people instead of speaking my own truth. I'm learning to seek nourishment in good things.

Yesterday I met with my dietician/counselor who continues to set me straight and help me through this. She walked me through the ABC's of recovery. First we made a list of all of the Antecedents or triggers that regularly slip me up. Such as: comparing myself to others, negative self-talk, being around a large group of people I don't know very well, being lonely, or overwhelmed, to name a few. After the A of Antecedents, the B or Behavior that I usually engage in to try unsucessfully to solve the problem is binging and purging or restricting the food I eat. Obviously, this is not working, but for the C in Consequences we made a list of positive and negative consequences associated with my destructive behaviors. The positives of ED behavior: temporary distraction and avoidance or numbing the feeling. The negatives of ED behavior: disappearing and existing in my own life, beating myself up, abusing my body, feeling sick and tired of hating myself this way.

I dare you to identify the Antecedents, Behaviors, and Consequences of whatever your addiction is. We all have 'em, so if we can all stop pretending that'd be swell. Now get to work.

Lastly, from Advice from a Tree, "Be content with your natural beauty." Ah yes. If only I could accept myself as I am right now, at this second at 12:01 pm on a Thursday afternoon. The thought hit me a week ago, What if I am at my absolute best right now? What if I will never be thinner, prettier, stronger, more organized, or peaceful than I am at this moment? What if I will only get fatter, uglier, weaker, more dysfunctional, and chaotic for the rest of my life? If that is true, I want to be happy and gracious with what I have in front of me.

Already I look at pictures of myself and think, Dangit girl you should've been happy with what you had! Because honestly I thought I was fat when I was anorexic. There's something horribly wrong here. As Jane Wagner said, "A sobering thought: what if, at this very moment, I am living to my full potential?" While it may come as no surprise to most everyone who reads this blog (that's you Mom!), the media, beauty industry, and our culture's treatment of women, frustrates me to no end. I could spend the rest of my life fighting our destructive, manipulative, perfectionist, and deadly culture until the day I die and be totally and completely fulfilled.

Advice from a Tree. Thanks Mr. Shamir. You've done me world of good, because I believe it's the one-on-one, daily interactions and lessons we share that will change our world.


Anonymous said...

great poem i think i am going to yonk it......