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Archive for April, 2007

It’s Springtime!

There is something magical about the spring where I live.  Days get longer and the sun begins to shine more and more each day.  Flowers pop out of the ground and off the branches of trees giving the whole village the appearance of one big blossoming garden.

The snap that has been present in the air has been replaced by a freshness tinged with warmth and the promise of summer days that are perfectly long and baking.  Ahhhhhh, spring.  I love it.

At one time in my life, when I used food to cope, I used to languish over the change of the seasons: “Another year gone and I’m still at this unacceptable weight;”  “I promised myself that I would be in shape enough to feel comfortable wearing shorts this year. A bathing suit is absolutely out of the question.  How could I do this to myself? What is wrong with me? Am I ever going to stop eating!?”

It was excruciating for me to feel that warmth stealing in to the air and see the blossoms bursting forth.  It meant…..(insert scary organ music here!)  SHORT WEATHER!  I feared it. I loathed it. I loathed myself.  I began to avoid going out unless it was cool enough to keep on wearing my full armor of long pants and baggy sweater.  But at some point every year I had to give in and wear something less sweltering.  And at those points in time I always began to berate myself and to focus with razor sharp intensity on certain aspects of my body that were not as they “should be”.

And I was absolutely certain that everyone around me was zeroing in on those very same aspects and thinking exactly the same thoughts: “Who does she think she is wearing shorts in public?”  “Why did she even leave the house?” “My god, look at that cellulite!”

Agony!  It was sheer agony being in my body at that time in my life.  Year after year I would swear it would be different but it never was.  Spring would arrive, as it always did, and I would be pretty much the same degree of overweight and under-fit that I had always been.  I would feel that same self-loathing and helplessness that I had the year before – only now I felt one year more intense and hopeless.

No amount of inner Drill Sgt. pressure and criticism could create the motivation to change my relationship with food and exercise.  After a few days – usually by Tuesday! – I always reverted to my old patterns.  And at the height of my use of food to cope I was lucky if I could stick to any sort of diet for two hours (until the next coffee or lunch break).

What ultimately made all the difference for me, and what has led me now to almost 14 years of freedom from food and body image stress, was to come to a full understanding what lay beneath my use of food to cope.

Now, I mean no disrespect.  This is coming from the greatest respect and regard for you and your process, and, if you just read that and said: “I know what it is that makes me use food to cope I just can’t do anything about it,” you are lying to yourself – consciously or unconsciously, it doesn’t matter.  If you truly know and understand what it is that leads you to use food to cope you would not continue to do so.

You might “know” what it is – in the sense that you recall Mom’s diet mentality and modeling of that to you, or the abuse experience you had when you were 10, but, trust me, if you’re still using food to cope you haven’t truly come to know and understand the full impact of those events on your life.

Some part of you is still harbouring judgement, shame, fear and anger towards yourself for those events that really doesn’t belong there; it didn’t then and it doesn’t now.  And, until you come to see that fully and completely for yourself it will be impossible for you to shift out of the fear based and self-doubting mindset that leads you to use food to cope.

It is impossible to develop true respect and regard for yourself when you are constantly berating yourself for past life experiences.  And it is only through respecting and regarding yourself that you will find the strength and true desire to change your relationship with food and to begin to move your body in a way that focuses on health and wellness and not calories and fat.  Lasting change comes through self-love and compassion and that requires empathy – a true knowing and understanding of who you are and why you do what you do.

So, let it be okay to acknowledge that perhaps, while you “know” what happened to trigger you to use food to cope, you might not fully understand how that impacted you and how it continues to have ramifications on your day to day existence.

Every day is such a blessing really. Each day we are given can be lived in a state of joy and pleasure when we allow ourselves to release old painful stories and step fully into ourselves in this moment.

Spring is a time of rebirth.  You deserve to look forward to the lightness and freedom of warmer weather. So rather than letting this year be like any other and kicking in to self-judgement or some new exercise or diet plan, let yourself seek support and information; true understanding, of why you do what you do.

Begin to change those underlying patterns today so that next year, instead of lamenting about what you didn’t do, you’ll be able to celebrate the change that you have made and know it is a lasting one.

Love Michelle

Posted in: Relationship with Self

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Ready? Or not.

Ready or Not it will definitely come true, loving and caring for someone. Not so long ago I had the blissful experience of falling fully, deeply, soulfully in love with someone. It was truly unlike any experience I have had before.  I had recently completed a 5 day workshop called “Opening to Heart Consciousness” and had learned many things about loving and opening my heart.  The biggest learnings from that workshop were:

  1. How closed my heart had been; I could actually feel the walls around it, deep and solid that kept me from truly loving anyone and thus from feeling truly connected and intimate with a single soul.
  2. How incredibly wonderful and safe it felt to open my heart and love another being; to invite myself to truly love all beings. I felt so much more connected to everyone I came across and so much safer just crossing the street than ever before in my life.

Naturally I was drawn to want less of the walls and more of the open and safe experience.  I therefore began to focus consciously on keeping my heart open and those walls down.  My experience of life was so much happier and lighter.  I felt so free and so safe to be in the world in a way I had never felt before.

And the amazing thing is, the world responded by sending me lots of safe and loving, healthy, mature human beings. It was like they all started popping out of the woodwork and into my life.

So, back to this man.  A few months after the course, with my heart open and feeling truly light and free I met a man who was just wonderful. If I had had all of the things that I ever wanted in a partner written down on a list he had every single possible quality that I had ever hoped for, except one: He wasn’t available.

And I don’t mean that he was married, or even dating someone else, he really just wasn’t open to a deep and committed relationship.

It took me a while to cotton on because I was so full of love and so open to the experience I completely ignored/missed the signs that he was not as engaged and invested as I was.  It was only a few months before things became abundantly clear and the relationship came to an end.  Of course in the twilight of that fading romance I could see all of the signs and signals that had been present, pretty much since day one, that the relationship was not meant to be.

I have since read something that was written by Dr. Neil Warren, the founder of E-harmony (an on-line dating service) and author of a great book: “Falling in love for all the right reasons,” that I wish I had read before meeting this man as it would have absolutely made things crystal clear much earlier and spared me a few months of turmoil.  So, I share it with you in the hopes that any of you men and women out there who are in relationships that aren’t quite feeling secure will be able to more readily determine whether it’s a piece of work that you need to do on trust and opening your heart, or whether the person responsible for the other half of the relationship just isn’t there!

Ready or Not, To Commit

The phrases that Dr. Warren suggests you be on the look out for as an indication that someone is absolutely not ready to make any sort of relationship commitment are as follows:

“I’m so confused.”

“It’s not you—it’s me.”

“I just don’t know what I want right now.”

“I love you, I don’t think I’m in love with you.”

“I’m kind of going through some changes right now.”

“I don’t know what’s the best for us right now.”

“Why do we have to get so serious? Let’s just have fun.”

Each one of those phrases is an indicator that the individual uttering them is not ready, and equally as important, not able, to commit to the relationship in any long term fashion.

Two other key indicators of someone’s readiness for connection and true availability are their level of consideration of your needs and their demonstration of gestures of love and affection.

If you have been direct in asking for a need to be met and your partner is not respecting that request that is a red flag issue.   Now it’s one thing if your request is something that the other finds too challenging or outside their value system. And if that’s the case, a keeper is someone who openly tells you that: “I understand that this is an important need for you and I am just not comfortable with that particular thing but I would be willing to do ….. instead.”  That’s what you need to hear in order to know that your partner is capable of hearing and honoring your requests even if he/she can’t meet them.  We can’t expect our significant others’ to meet all our needs and respond affirmatively to all of our requests but we absolutely have the right to have our requests acknowledged and validated.  And if our partner can’t meet them then together we brainstorm ways of getting them met.

Gestures of love and affection are different for each of us.  Many of you have likely read the book “The Five Love Languages” by Gary Chapman.  It’s a beautifully simple and clear explanation of the different ways people like to be loved and the mayhem that can ensue when you’ve got two people in a relationship with different love languages: both are doing their best to love completely and demonstrate their love and commitment and the other is feeling completely unloved and unseen because they are not being loved in the way they need to be.  I invite you to visit Gary’s web site or pick up one of his books on the subject of love languages: www.fivelovelanguages.com

And, you know, even though my love experience ended rather abruptly I regret nothing about it. I learned some valuable lessons. The most significant……?  It is safe to love. You will not die, the world will not come to an end if you love someone completely and they do not reciprocate. It is safe to completely open your heart to someone, even if they don’t or can’t love you back. In fact in my lived experience it is more harmful and hurtful to ourselves to restrict our love and to try and stifle our feelings of love and appreciation and respect for others. It is not only safe to love, it is imperative to a full and passionate life experience.

As don Miguel Ruiz (author of “The Four Agreements” and “The Mastery of Love”) says “Your heart is most full when you are giving love.”  It is so true.  It feels so good to keep my heart open and to love others.  It truly feels bad to close my heart and “protect” myself from potential harm, rejection, ridicule etc. that may or may not ever come. So, I choose to keep my heart open and to love, regardless of whether I am loved back equally or even, at all.  And I feel so full of love as a result.

Don Miguel Ruiz also says, “Your heart is like a magical kitchen.” He means you can manufacture, in your heart, enough love for the entire world and then some. You don’t need anyone else’s love in order to feel loved and fulfilled.  And when you get to that place, even for moments a day, of feeling and knowing that you can completely meet your own needs for love, you are capable of creating a truly loving and blissful partnership with another human being.

There is so much to discuss about relationships that I can not possibly hope to cover it all here, and hopefully I have given you some things to think about and explore in your own relationship past or present.

If you would like to discuss these pieces further as they pertain to your own healing and life experience please arrange for an individual session by calling 250-383-0797 or e-mailing mmorand@islandnet.com.

Have a wonderful day and may you open your heart a little more each day to yourself first and foremost.

Love Michelle

Posted in: Tips for Natural Eating

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