Archive for Uncategorized

The Stages of Grieving

The following is a tale of a recent experience of grief in my life. It centres around a relationship but truly, the stages of grieving apply to any big change or loss. Even happy changes trigger a natural grieving process because as we are moving into something new (marriage, new home, new career) there are always people, places and things that are being left behind. Being aware of the stages of grief can help us to more gracefully and lovingly let go and move on in the constant process of change that is life. My story centres around my sweetheart and his decision to end our relationship due to a fairly major misunderstanding and some mutual, however unintended, button pushing.  His decision came as a total shock and in the following days I observed myself moving naturally through the stages of the grieving process. When I say naturally, I don’t mean it felt free and easy like natural eating does (eating when you’re hungry and stopping when you’re full is a total breeze compared to the grieving process!), what I mean is that I wasn’t choosing to move from step to step. It was as though there was some natural, inner guidance system saying “Okay, you’ve had enough of that now, you’re ready to move on.” At which point the next stage would naturally arise. In essense whatever stage of grief we’re at at any moment is a representation of how much consciousness we can handle at that time and how safe it feels to open our heart fully to ourselves, to the other person and to the experience at hand. We start out completely disconnected – in the stage of shock and move from stage to stage until we find ourselves in the open-hearted stage of acceptance. As you read my experience below consider a time, in the distant or recent past when you’ve experienced a loss or big change in your life and notice how you went through the same stages to come to a place of acceptance.  Also, consider how the act of forever changing your relationship with food from a harmful coping strategy to a peaceful and natural flow is a big change that, however positive, has the potential to move us through each of the key stages of grieving until we not only come to a complete and total acceptance of ourselves but of how the use of food to cope has impacted our lives.  From this place of acceptance we are truly free to detach with love from our old buddy and move on to more healthy and honoring ways of being. It’s all good! When I heard that my love wanted to end things I immediately went into a state of shock which lasted about 2 days. I was in disbelief – complete and total disbelief. I kept expecting him to change his mind and at the same time, some deeper part of me believed he wouldn’t and that even if he did the trust and security of our relationship was deeply shaken, likely beyond repair. No matter how hard I tried to imagine ways that it could be different I had to accept that the relationship we had had was over. I noticed my mind coming up with scenario after scenario of how I might have done things differently; how I might wrap my head and heart around a reconciliation should he be open to that; how I will navigate the future when the plans I had for who I was spending it with have abruptly and forever changed. None of these musings made me feel any better. They answered no questions and changed nothing. They just preoccupied me and made me feel sad and anxious and down right crappy. It was / is morbidly interesting to watch myself going through the stages of grieving, knowing what they are and what’s next and challenging myself to keep my heart open to myself and to the love I felt/feel for this man. Like watching a car crash in slo-mo – you know exactly what’s going to happen, you know it! But you keep hoping that somehow, some miracle will occur and the car won’t hit the wall, everyone will escape without a scratch and live to see another day. So, any way….did I mention my mind has a tendency to wander these days!? As I was saying, I started with Shock – that is the first stage of the grieving process.  Where you’re just in a state of disbelief – expecting the person to say “just kidding” or come waltzing through the door at any minute or that there’s some thing you could say or do that would make everything okay. That’s the stage of Shock. And that’s where I spent the first 2 days or so.  Yes, I felt sad but mostly I just couldn’t believe it and was fairly disconnected from my feelings – all but the feeling of anxiety – the “what if it’s really real?” feeling. Well after day 2 the shock started to wear off and the next stage of recovery appeared – lucky moi!  Anger arrived with a vengeance.  I was still in my head, playing scenes over and over and over only this time I wasn’t calmly and rationally trying to explain why we should be together. I was yelling (in my head at least!) I was speaking in “the tone.” You know the tone! The one that lets everyone know that you mean business and they’d better listen up! I played scenes in my head where I was picking apart his letter about why we weren’t a fit. I was picking him apart and naming, one by one, all the things I had been willing to just accept as part of the package that prove that I was the better person; better for loving him through all those things and seeing the big picture.  Better for not walking away; Better for holding fast to my commitment and being willing to commit my life to our growth together. (Yes, the anger stage can make us a tad victimy and self-righteous – not the most pleasant mix. Lucky for my friends I kept this mostly to myself!) All the things I never said, the many times I held my tongue about his little idiosyncrasies;  I could feel the anger repeatedly rise in me and my almost overwhelming eagerness to call or email or write or ……..or……..or….something! I urgently wanted to release this pain and frustration and impotence. What is there to do? I kept coming back to this. What is there to do?  I can be as hurt and angry as I like but it’s not my style for starters, and it’s not going to change anything. If I have the choice to feel happy in every moment and to be coming from a place of love every moment do I really want to spend time in anger?  Do I really want to pick apart the man I love(d) and find fault with all the things that just a short while ago I was happy to love as part of the package? No, not really. And so enters the next stage of grief – Depression – This is when you’re all pooped out from the anger and the reality of the loss is setting in and you’re just flat.  Tired and flat. Yup, that how I felt. Blah, grey, dull, yada, yada, yada. Somewhere, some part of me knew there was a light at the end of the tunnel and that I would not feel this way for ever but frankly, when you’re depressed, as many of you know, it doesn’t matter what might happen tomorrow or next year. You feel like crap now! You’re depressed and dark and blah now, as though a dark cloud is over your head or as though every where you go you’re wading through chest high water. It’s a labour just to be. One day during the depression stage (short lived I am grateful to say) I thought I was going to lose it in the grocery store. The clerk at the deli took forever to slice the turkey and then forgot the roast beef altogether. These things wouldn’t have made me bat an eye or feel anything on a regular day but that day of depression they just about sent me into hysterics. I just couldn’t be out in society, carrying on as if everything was okay when it wasn’t and it wasn’t ever going to be okay again. Tears were so near the surface I swear if the check out girl dared to ask how my day was going, it was all over! Voila, I had arrived at the next stage! Grief, sadness, what have you. This is where the tears really flow and you just let it out. The loss has finally hit home. I was blessed to be with some dear friends who just held me as I cried and encouraged me to just let it out. They didn’t try to tell me it would all be all right or that things would work out etc. They just let me be where I was, in my sadness, with my loss.  My heart felt as though it was cracking right open and again, through it all, there was this inner sense that all is as it should be and that the greatest gift I could give myself was to just be with whatever I was feeling at that time. Throughout these stages those stories kept popping up of what I could have done differently, what might happen in the future to change the situation etc. and each time I noticed I was in one of those stories I noticed that I was feeling very sad and anxious and I just invited myself to let it go.  My article on Hopelessness shares a bit about how I went about being here now even when here and now wasn’t the most happenin’ place to be ( ).  Works like a hot damn – when you remember to do it! Ah, then comes acceptance; Where you see that it’s all for the best. You see the gift in the pain; The good old silver lining and so on. To be truthful – I haven’t made it here just yet. I’m still cycling around in the shock, anger, depression, sadness stuff; Which again, is a very normal part of the grieving process. But it’s getting lighter and easier and it is very early days. I know acceptance is just a week or two away – maybe sooner!  Meditation helps. Time with great friends talking about things other than my pain helps. Time with my son helps. And, you poor souls! Time writing blog articles helps – being creative, sharing helps. My higher self asks: How does it help me to hang on and want things to be different?  It doesn’t really. So, can I just allow myself to let go? Can I allow myself to let go of wanting to change the way things are as much as I do? Yes.  Can I allow myself to celebrate the gift of loving as much as I was blessed to do with this man? Yes.  Can I allow for the possibility that this loss is actually a blessing in disguise?  That, as with all previous traumas and losses something amazing in the way of growth and perspective and new people arrive in my life and things are better than I ever imagined? Yes. And can I allow myself to just be here now, grieving this loss as much as I am? Yes. Feeling the fullness of my heart, my gratitude for the gift of loving this person, even for a short while? Yes. Perhaps I am a little more in the acceptance than I thought? Wahooo!

Posted in: Uncategorized

Leave a Comment (1) →


Hopelessness against the present moment. According to Buddhist thought it is hope that creates suffering for us all. Hope creates fear which is suffering.  Think about it for a moment. If you weren’t telling yourself that something in the future was going to change or that someone was going to change and therefore things in the future would be better what would you be feeling right now? Truly. Buddhist Nun, Pema Chodron writes, in her book “When Things Fall Apart:” “Hope and fear come from the feeling that we lack something; they come from a sense of poverty. We can’t simply relax with ourselves. We hold on to hope, and hope robs us of the present moment. We feel that someone else knows what’s going on, but that there’s something missing in us, and therefore something is lacking in our world.  We can know the nature of dislike, shame, and embarrassment and not believe there is something wrong with that.  We can drop the fundamental hope that there is a better “me” who will one day emerge.  We can’t just jump over ourselves as if we were not there. It’s better to take a straight look at all our hopes and fears. Then some kind of confidence in our sanity arises.  If hope and fear are two sides of one coin, so are hopelessness and confidence.  If we’re willing to give up hope that insecurity and pain can be exterminated, then we can have the courage to relax with the groundlessness of our situation.  This is the first step on the path.” If I’m truthful with myself, when I am hoping for someone or something in the future that is not the way I want it now, or not in my life at all now, I feel anxious.  Perhaps I might define that anxiety as excitement, anticipation or hope but it all boils down to me feeling unsettled.  This means that as long as I am still “hoping” for something in the future to be different from what is now I need to find ways to deal with my anxiety, excitement, anticipation etc. This is where my use of food and my negative body focus used to come in.  I would be thinking about what’s wrong with my life now and what I hoped would change and I’d feel naturally unhappy and unsettled and I’d want to distance myself from that discomfort. My coping strategies (my ways of distancing) of choice were food, negative self-talk, judgement and blaming of others, relationship addiction, co-dependency, all or nothing thinking and anger (irritation, resentment, annoyance etc.). In my early 20’s I first stumbled upon the concept of “letting go.”  The premise that in accepting what is in this moment we free ourselves from the pain of wanting…longing and we create a genuine sense of happiness and peace at our core.  When we’re loathing what is it’s a pretty big challenge. How can we authentically say to anyone we love our body or we love ourselves when we’re filled with judgement about what we’re not? Ahhhhhh, but that’s the answer. When we stop hoping for things to be different and we just see what is and accept what is right here and now we have immediately released the loathing and disgust and disappointment and shame and replaced it with love and compassion. When we allow that we feel emotional pain when we want things to be different, and only then, it makes pretty good sense to let go of wanting things to be different.  That doesn’t mean nothing will ever change.  In fact, it opens the door for the greatest success. How successful have you been so far with the Drill Sgt. motiviation through criticism approach? How effective has withholding love and acceptance from yourself until you’re “good enough” been for you?  Not so good I think – and it certainly has never ever worked for me. Now, this concept of letting go of expectation, that interests me and resonates deeply.  When I let go of expectation I am not giving up on myself. I am instead, for the first time ever, making a loud and clear vote of confidence in myself. I can handle what comes. I don’t need to orchestrate every facet of the future. In truth I have no control anyway. I’m far better off to spend my time here, now, appreciating the gifts in my life now even if they are sometimes hard to see through the many things that aren’t the way I want them to be. Over the years of my growth I’ve gone from not being able to see anything good in myself and feeling entirely fraudulent and insecure to having many authentic experiences of confidence and security and seeing many good qualities and skills in me.  Still though I get caught up in wanting…..wanting something or someone (often me) to be different  or to feel or behave differently. The story is that if that happens I’ll finally be safe, I’ll finally find that elusive security.  Well, I’ve had enough relationship and life experience to know that security is elusive because the way I’ve been trying to make it manifest in my life doesn’t work. Security doesn’t come from what you look like, who is in your life, how successful you are or how much money you have. It doesn’t come from where you live or where you vacation or what other people think of you. In other words, the things that I had always thought would bring me peace and that final big sigh of having arrived are just coping strategies. They’re just filler. They’re just things I’ve been doing or focussing on to take my mind off the fact that there is no “there.” Peace and happiness are truly not contingent on what I look like, what I eat, whether I have a partner or not, whether I have professional success or not, etc.  Those things change, they are not stable or secure.  And the more I try to manipulate any of those facets of life to feel more secure and safe in my world the more anxious I become and the less happy and accepting I am in my life this moment. Just stop for a moment and ask yourself has your happiness level increased or decreased the more you’ve tried to find happiness through manipulating your food or weight? There were many times in my son’s early life that I was so very sad that his father and I weren’t able to make our relationship work that for a period of a few months I hardly really was present with my little guy. I mean I was there feeding him, bathing him, putting him to bed but I was so sad about what wasn’t there (ie. Dad) that I felt resentful at times rather than grateful to have Ben and just couldn’t really engage and celebrate him.  This to me is a perfect example of being so attached to hope that I couldn’t be here now, feeling the sadness and seeing it as part of the healthy process of life; the inherent insecurity in all things.  I was so caught up in wanting Ben’s dad and I to work out or wanting someone to complete my family that I couldn’t see that I had a family, it looked different from how I imagined it but it was a family and it was mine.  My attachment to how it had to look prevented me from seeing the gift of what was there. I felt regret and some guilt when I started to realize how unavailable I had been for Ben during that time and I acknowledged that to him and to myself. And I committed myself to, from that day forth, being present with him and with whomever I’m with, wherever we are. How often are you so focussed on what you weigh, how you look, what you’ve just eaten or what you’re wanting to eat that you don’t even celebrate who you’re with, what you’re doing, the health you have, the food you have access to etc. etc.? How much happier and more peaceful and loving to yourself and others would you be if you just invited yourself to notice when you’re focussed on food and body image and acknowledged that you’re using a coping strategy because you’re telling yourself that there’s something wrong because you feel anxious.  What if you then said something like: “there’s nothing ‘wrong’ with me feeling anxious – I’m only anxious because I’m telling myself there’s something wrong with me or with my life. If I let go of that thought I’d lose the anxiety! Could I let go of the belief that I need to be any different or that anything in my life needs to be any different in order for me to be happy?” Each time you pose that concept to yourself you are giving yourself a great gift. A gift of returning to the present. A gift of seeing what truly does create security in life: love and compassion for yourself. Let us all commit to letting go of our attachment to the future and things being different or better there and instead allow ourselves to see what is working in this moment and know that in being here, now, we are setting the stage for things to unfold in the most peaceful and rewarding way possible and we’re awake and present for the whole journey!! Have a lovely day and thanks for reading. Love M

Posted in: Uncategorized

Leave a Comment (0) →

Feedback Please

Your Feedback is Welcome and Important to Us

Please Send Me Your Feedback. With all the new plans for CEDRIC (Web Program, new books and new web site) it’s imperative to me that I know what is working for you and what isn’t in terms of the support I offer you as a client and/or reader of the blog and newsletter. I would greatly appreciate any feedback or suggestions you might have about how I could do what I do better. What do I do well? What do I do poorly? What do you think I should change? I ask you to ensure that your feedback is kind and constructive. I cannot guarantee that I will implement all of your suggestions but I can assure you that I will welcome positive and constructive feedback as equal blessings. Please send any thoughts, feedback, invitations for change to: Thank you in advance for any thing you share. Love M.

Posted in: Uncategorized

Leave a Comment (1) →

Speaking Your Truth

Speak the Truth Out of Love – A True Relationship

I think that what often happens when we begin to speak our truth is that the truth of the relationship we have with that person is revealed. We see three key pieces clearly for the first time:   1. How much co-dependency there is in our relationship with that person (ie. how much we feel responsible for their feelings and needs or vice versa); 2. How that person offers and receives feedback, ie. How they deal with respectful honest communication; 3. And what, overall, their ability and desire to be in a healthy interdependent relationship is at that time. We also see what is still alive in us in the way of co-dependency, caretaking, lack of self-esteem and self-trust and self-care etc. etc. by how we do or don’t take on the other person’s reaction and by whether their reaction leads us to back down on our boundary (ie. to meet their needs at cost to ourselves – a co-dependent pattern) or to hold our ground in a way that is open to hearing the other person’s needs and perspective without immediately doubting and abandoning our own.I say, if you’re being respectfully (with your words, tone and body language) truthful about where you’re at and what you need and someone is reacting as though you’re rejecting them or doing something wrong it is simply an indicator that your truth doesn’t meet needs for them.   This is not necessarily a sign that the relationship can’t meet your needs for respect and intimacy in the long run or even in the next few minutes/hours/days.  That is up to the other person in terms of how they deal with their own feelings and needs and whether they are able to, with some time and space, see your point and work with you to a solution that meets your needs and theirs.  It is exceptionally rare that we are unable to find a way for us to get both of our needs met in a relationship. It may look different from how we initially thought (eg. I might not get my night to myself until Friday when I was hoping for Wednesday but if my need is for some time to myself without kids and partner and cats etc. I will get my need met.) This is how we discover whether the overall need of the other person is simply to control us or the relationship or if their need overall is to have a loving, respectful, mutually rewarding life-long connection. If you share a need with someone in a respectful way and get a strong resistant or critical reaction back it is for you to determine:   1. Whether you think this person is just surprised at your request and needs some time to see you setting boundaries in a healthy way and still being present and loving them and then they will ultimately feel safe to come around and join you in your new, more direct and open relationship;   2. Or whether you think the relationship has been one of the other person needing to control and have things their way, and now that you’re not into being controlled or at least, not into giving them their way at cost to you, they’re not interested in the relationship. If it’s ‘2’ I say – good information for you to have now rather than later and time to step back. If the other person has a change of heart later on and comes around to a more mutual way of relating you can re-evaluate and decide if you want to give it another go. Otherwise, you’re wise to place your relationship focus on people who are willing to consider your needs as well as their own. If it’s ‘1’ I say – yipee! Now your relationship with that person can begin in truth, in reality – the two of you can now connect with who the other person really is, what they really feel and what they really like and don’t like etc. and love all of that person. How beautiful and how freeing. If you are challenging yourself to be more honest and direct with others either with the support of others or because you feel, in your heart, the rightness of speaking your truth, keep the following in mind:You deserve to be acknowledged for doing your very very best to be healthy and balanced and respectful to yourself and others in a world with many people who received the same confusing co-dependent training you did. I encourage you to trust your gut and know that someone’s discomfort or downright dissatisfaction with your behaviour is in no way an indicator that you’re doing anything wrong.  It’s simply that they believe that their needs will not get met if yours do. And their own all or nothing thinking makes it a contest for whose needs will get met rather than an interdependent, open, mutual meeting of everyone’s needs.   As long as you keep in mind that you’re not responsible for meeting someone else’s needs, it’s okay if they feel frustrated and resistant (you don’t have to stay in their presence while they’re exhibiting that resentment and frustration by the way, you can take some space and wait until they’re more grounded to return to the discussion) and it’s okay for you to have your needs met. It’s not all or nothing; it’s not either or. It’s your needs and their needs.   Love M.            

Posted in: Uncategorized

Leave a Comment (0) →

Asking For Our Needs to be Met in Sensitive Situations

Hi All! Below is a great question I received last week about how to address a sensitive issue in romantic relationship.  My response can be adapted to any issue that comes up between two people so even if the issue of physical intimacy doesn’t resonate you can apply this concept to other issues easily. Question:   Hi Michelle, I have been doing a lot of work with needs this week and got stuck on something that I was hoping you can shed some light on…if that is OK.I was very brave and went to my partner and expressed my need for him to be more present during sex because fun adventurous sex is important to me and I felt that need was not being met. He responded by saying his job is stressful and he is tired all the time…which is an ongoing problem. I said that it was his responsibility to learn how to deal with that and to his credit he is trying to change jobs to something he feels more fulfilled by. That likely won’t happen until next spring and even then he will be in more courses and situations which will be stressful. So I am not sure if I really see an end in sight for this issue unless he learns how to manage his stress and dissatisfaction with work better. So right now I feel like my need for fun intimate sex with the man I love has been “shelved” until he learns how to deal with his stress and dissatisfaction in his job. Now, I understand that if after a certain amount of time with no action form his end to address his issues then I will need to reconsider the whole relationship but in the interim how do I meet this need in another way that doesn’t involve cheating or leaving him (neither of which I want to do)? My Answer: I agree it was very brave of you to speak with your man about this – and so important that you did articulate your needs. It’s very distressing when we do our best to be clear about what we need and meet a wall.  This happens for a few reasons: 1. Our partner doesn’t share the same need and just doesn’t value and have the willingness to meet ours. 2. Our partner doesn’t understand what we were asking for specifically, how important it is to us and what the consequences of that need going unmet will be to the relationship as a whole. 3. Our partner understands # 2 but has his own insecurities/blocks/needs that are taking precedence and making it impossible for them to move on meeting our need. It is important to ask questions to get clear on which scenario is at play in an unsatisfactory situation.   If it is # 1 – there’s not much you can do except reiterate the importance of the needs and the consequence of them not being met and ask if your partner would be willing to reevaluate his perspective. If it is #2 we need to write out and speak to him clearly and briefly what our needs are, how specifically he could meet them and the consequences of them remaining unmet for any length of time.  If we do have this conversation we want to make the space to hear how our partner feels about our request and what barriers might exist to them following through on our request – and what they are willing to do to overcome those barriers. In this way you’ll be able to get clear on what’s been going on for your partner and what has prevented him from meeting your needs (ie. you’ll find out if it’s just “how he is” or if he just hasn’t understood your need and how to meet it). If it is #3 we talk about the barriers to follow through (as spoken about above for # 2) and with our partner come up with a plan for moving through those barriers and a general time line by which you’ll see some action and some change. Again, the consequence or natural outcome for a lack of follow through needs to be clearly articulated so you both know where the boundaries are and so you can both assess growth and change.

Understand Your Partners Feelings and Needs

You will find that once you’ve had a conversation in which you feel understood and you feel you understand your partners thoughts, feelings and needs, and the boundaries or natural consequences are clearly stated, you’ll feel peaceful regardless of the outcome. You will know you’ve done your best and that you’ve honored your needs and your relationship to the best of your ability. You’ll also have reinforced to yourself your ability to have courageous conversations and your right to ask for a get what you need.I would ask your partner if he is truly happy with the current level of sexual play and intimacy – would he be willing to have this be the situation for the remainder of your relationship.I might also ask how he would feel in a relationship where his needs for intimacy and play weren’t being met and where they may not be met for years if ever.These questions would help you to gain deeper understanding on where he’s at and what the possibilities are. I think gathering as much info as you can about his level of satisfaction and what he is willing to do differently now (if he’s not completely satisfied) is an important step to determining whether there is hope for this pattern to change. Without that information you can’t make a clear decision about whether to stay or leave.I would invite you to let him know (to whatever extent you haven’t made it abundantly clear) that you can’t commit to a life partnership with him when your key needs for fun, play, intimacy and sex aren’t being met. Again, once you’ve had this conversation you’ll feel more peaceful regardless of the outcome.  Should he agree to make some changes or to seek outside help to explore his barriers you’ll need to find a way to meet your own needs for physical intimacy and play for the interim. I appreciate that’s not the same as meeting those needs with your partner – but there’s no reason why you can’t have some fun and play on your own. In fact it will probably be more fun when you know that either way it’s temporary as an only means of meeting those needs.Let me know if that helps.

Posted in: Uncategorized

Leave a Comment (0) →

Two Core Issues in Relationships

In my practice and in my personal life there are two core issues in relationship with others that I see coming up time and time again. In fact they are so common and so disastrous that if each of us could wipe these patterns from our behaviour I am certain our self-esteem, our relationships with others and our world on the whole would be a vastly different and more peaceful and loving place to exist. The two core issues are as follows: 1. Not asking directly, clearly, and respectfully for what you need. 2. Not saying “I’m sorry” when we know we have hurt someone. These issues are flip sides of the same coin. On one side the person is not taking responsibility for asking directly for what they need, on the other side the person is not willing to take responsibility for acknowledging unmet needs that their actions have triggered in the other, even when they see the validity of that need. This vicious cycle of not asking and not giving comes from the same place – fear – and regardless of which side we’re on most in any specific relationship it amounts to the same thing, a lack of safety, trust and respect that will ultimately lead to the end of the relationship. Let’s take a look at #1 first and then see how it intertwines with #2. Not asking directly, clearly and respectfully for what you need is a disaster waiting to happen.  At best you feel apathetic; as though life just happens to you and you have to take what you can get and hope for the best.  At worst you feel resentful, angry and judgemental of the people in your life or in the world at large who seem to get what they want and need while you are “doomed to suffer” or play the martyr. Why don’t we just ask for what we need?  There are many reasons but they all really boil down to one thing: Not feeling “good enough” ie. We believe we are not as deserving as others and that we will be rejected if we ask for something that we need. Somewhere deep down in each of us who don’t ask respectfully and clearly for what we need is the belief that we are not good enough and therefore we don’t deserve what we want. This, we believe, is particularly true if getting what we want might in any way cause judgement from others or cause them to not get exactly what they want. The truth is there is always a way for us to both get what we want, maybe not from each other, but it is not true that if I get what I want the other person can’t get what they want. That is all or nothing thinking in its finest and most devastating form. As long as we continue to believe the “I’m not deserving because I’m not good enough” story we continue to strengthen our allegiance to it,  unconsciously assessing everyone and ourselves through the lens of our undeservedness leads us to interact with others from a place of being less than and therefore not as worthy. This often means that even when we have a partner or dear friend who has healthy self-esteem and would be happy and willing to hear us ask for a need to be met, we assume, because we feel undeserving, that they will reject us, get angry at us, or think we think we are better than they are, and so, we don’t ask for our need to be met. Instead we bend over backwards to meet their needs, biting our tongues about our own needs, and feel resentful and angry when they accept our offer of support. We who carry the belief that we are undeserving and not good enough never get to see the truth of who we are and who we can be when we believe that we deserve to be happy and peaceful and to be the best that we can be. Instead we live half-lives, not fully engaging in anything and not ever getting to see the trust and safety and intimacy that can exist between two people when we really show our true selves to them.  Inevitably, if we are holding back something of our selves in relationship for fear of judgement or rejection, the other person, regardless of their health and self-esteem is going to hold something of themselves back too. Not necessarily to the same extent but they will not feel safe and received in sharing themselves fully based on the modeling we are offering or even the energy we give off when they ask for what they need. Resentment is palpable – even if we’re not naming it, the people around us will feel it and it will create distance. Now let’s look at #2: Not saying “I’m sorry” when we know we have hurt someone.  Just as not taking responsibility for asking for our needs to be met directly impacts the health of our relationships and the behaviour of the other person as well, not taking responsibility for how our behaviour impacts others is a double whammy too. The truth in any relationship is this: You are not responsible for meeting another person’s needs, unless you’ve openly agreed to and even then you ultimately have the right to change your mind.     That’s a key point in life that many of us never fully understand – re-read the above statement and see what your inner reaction is to it.  Does it seem like a no-brainer or does it seem like some radical concept bordering on anarchy? So, someone around you can be having a rough moment because they have needs for closeness, or acknowledgement or play for example that are not being met.  It’s not up to you to meet those needs for that person – it is up to them, they are their needs!  However, if for example you’ve committed to meeting this person’s need for play (you agreed to hang out for the afternoon let’s say) and you choose not to follow through you are responsible for acknowledging that you are breaking a commitment and that you appreciate that your friend may have feelings about that and needs that aren’t met by you changing your plans.  That is the honoring thing to do, for you and for them. Step up, acknowledge the needs of the other person and that you’re aware that they aren’t being met by you in that moment.  The only way to be able to do this from a place of self-respect and strength is to know that you also have the right to have your needs met and that if your needs wouldn’t be met by spending the afternoon with this person on that day your first priority is to yourself.You see, when you know that you and your friend both have a right to have your needs met, and you know that you are not responsible for the other person’s needs you can acknowledge their need, agree or not agree to meet it, you can let them have their feelings about whether or not you are meeting their needs and you can still do what you need to do for you.  In a healthy, interdependent connection there is appreciation on both sides that the other is not there for the sole purpose of serving them.  There is appreciation that as long as both parties are respectful in their communication and acknowledge each other’s needs and are clearly willing to meet them when they can, that is the most any of us can ask of the other.Any time we have a connection where the person sees us as the sole provider of a particular need (barring dependent children of course) there are going to be issues of dependency and expectancy. If the needs of that person don’t jive with your needs there is going to be strife. We see this often in romantic partnerships where one party has a higher sex drive than the other and therefore one will often feel unfulfilled while the other feels resentful that they “have” to meet the other persons need.As long as we are stuck in our all or nothing thinking that there is only one way to meet our need (whatever it is) and only one person who can do it we immediately begin to feel fearful of not getting that need met.  This leads us to feel angry and resentful (a mask for fear) before we’ve even asked for our need to be met.  Because of the story we’re telling ourselves that our need won’t get met, we do a lot of judging and blaming of the other person (even if just in our head).  We feel fearful and angry, and by the time we actually ask for the need to be met it often comes out with a force and a tone that imply fault towards the other person and leads them to step back into their own defensive posture. This makes it hard for them to hear you and to respond respectfully and to agree to meet your request.  So they don’t. Nobody likes to be told what to do, or to be criticized or judged before they’ve even done anything! The unfortunate thing of course is that because of the underlying story that you are not deserving and worthy of what you need, you are less likely to get your needs met both because you don’t ask and because when you finally do ask, you ask in such a way that is unclear or accusatory and doesn’t lead to open, receptive dialogue and understanding on the part of the other person.  It seems like a self-fulfilling prophecy:  “See, I knew I wasn’t worthy!” When in reality it is simply an example of harmful old core beliefs at work and likely a lack of communication skills which are easily come by if we allow ourselves to look for them. At worst, when we ask for a need to be met and someone says no or doesn’t follow through it’s simply an indicator that it didn’t work for them to meet our need.  It is not in any way an indicator of the validity or “okay-ness” of our need. It is about the other person, not us. If you find that in your primary relationship you’re hearing no a lot when you ask for needs to be met, first check in with yourself about how clearly, directly and respectfully you’ve communicated.  If you’ve done your part and the answer is frequently no – it could be time to reevaluate the health of that relationship.  In most cases however, partners are only too happy to meet a clear request.  People want other people to be happy as a rule, they just need us to tell them what we need rather than make them guess! And as for taking responsibility for not meeting another’s needs. It’s simply a matter of acknowledging that their needs haven’t been met and (if you care to) asking what you can do now to meet their need.  It is still their need and they need to let you know if, when and how you can meet it. It is then up to you to see how that feels to you and to agree or not. Consider the asking for and meeting of needs an ongoing dialogue as opposed to a hard and fast agreement that must be made as soon as one or the other of you raises an issue. Take time to get clear on what you need and on what specifically someone can do to meet that need and then put that out there. Give the other person time to think – sometimes  5 minutes, an hour, a day, week etc. depending on the need.  Then chat again and see what they think and feel about it. What needs do they have that will or won’t be met in meeting yours? If you value your self and you value the other person you will never want to rush a discussion or force the other person to agree or give you an answer before they are ready. From the all or nothing mind set of those who use food to cope this is a radical concept.  That’s a good thing. If we stay in the comfort zone and only do what we’ve always done – we’ll only ever get better at feeling overwhelmed, anxious and using food to cope!  Not such a great idea I say. XO M  

Posted in: Uncategorized

Leave a Comment (0) →

Some Thoughts on Relationship

The other day I received an email from a dear friend who has been actively doing his own personal growth work.  He was sharing about some insights he has been having about how his ego creates distress and distance in his relationships with others.  He then reminded me of something I “learned” a while back and that life keeps giving me the chance to learn again. Namely this: When the ego is running the show things don’t go so well – we feel anxious and desperate and feel the need to control others to gain their approval and the elusive security we believe that their approval will bring.  When we can step outside the ego, to our higher self and let go of wanting control of the situation or of the other person we immediately feel released, relaxed, peaceful and can truly relate to the other person from a place of love and acceptance and not desperation and neediness. This prompted me to think about my relationships and some of the big life lessons they have given me.
  1. As Clarissa Pinkola Estes writes in “Women Who Run With The Wolves” there is a natural cycle in relationships of life/death/life and in order for a relationship to deepen and grow and become mature love we need to be willing to stay present for each other during the “death” phase and trust that new life will come to the connection in time.  In our society we seem to have (myself included) forgotten about the second “life” phase. We get fixated on the initial life phase of relationships (often termed “romantic love” or the honeymoon phase) and we believe that there is something we can to do stay there – to keep our relationship in that perfect, everything is wonderful phase of love.  We can’t. There is a natural flow in relationship where once we have enough security and time with someone our “shadow” side begins to surface. Those thoughts, feelings and behaviours that we held aside in an effort to reveal only our best selves start to emerge. Likewise, the deepening of intimacy in the relationship begins to push our security button and we begin to feel very fearful and threatened, both of the loss of the relationship and of the loss of our individuality.  This is the “death” phase of the connection. Where the relationship begins to reveal its full self – the good, the bad and the ugly.  This is the stage where most people bail. Thoughts of “you’re not who I thought you were” or “I didn’t sign up for this” abound and we begin to blame the other person for where the relationship is not working.  “They are changing” we think and we feel duped and angry.  Really, we are feeling scared because it’s time to jump off the cliff into mature adult love and a commitment to truly loving the other person come what may.  Many of us don’t realize that this “death” phase of the relationship is just the middle phase and not the end.  And because we don’t realize that we believe that the relationship has died and cannot be resurrected and so we leave to start again with someone who, we tell ourselves, will be more real or more healthy, or more right for us; someone who won’t kill the romance with their “stuff.”  It doesn’t work like that – hence we find ourselves in 6 months or a year or even the next week, back in a new relationship which will ultimately find its way to the death stage of the cycle. The solution to the relationship revolving door is to realize that the death stage precedes the life stage – new life is coming. Hang in there!  As we see ourselves holding on and staying present in the relationship through the revelation of each other’s shadow sides and through our own vulnerability we are blessed with a blossoming of intimacy, connection, commitment and love unlike anything we have ever known in romantic/honeymoon love. The romance is there, the love is there, but there is something else that’s there now and that is a deep sense of trust in the presence and continued love of your partner.  You’re there for each other and you know it.  This is true love. This is deep love. This is the connection we all truly desire but which so few of us ever attain because we turn back too soon. We turn away when things get tough and the shadow appears instead of holding fast and keeping our hearts open to our love.
Certainly there are circumstances where you should consider turning back – if your partner is abusive (verbally, emotionally or physically) or violates your core values (ie. has affairs or lies to you).  If your partner isn’t willing to take responsibility for their role in the relationship and do their work to be the best they can be and to grow beyond any harmful behaviour it is best to leave the relationship and establish a relationship with someone who will share the load with you and who is committed to emotional health and wellness first and foremost.   And, I do believe that in any other circumstance, leaving the scene before the relationship has had a chance at rebirth – or the second life phase of the life/death/life cycle is only perpetuating your stay in relationship purgatory. We all want depth and security and commitment and true love and that only comes with the second phase of life. We must pass through the death of the initial connection to find the real jewel within.

The right relationship or the right partner?

A few other things stood out for me as I reviewed my relationship past – recent or otherwise – that I’d like to share with you.  
  1. I am more interested in having my partner in my life than I am interested in being “right”.
  2. If I’m not careful I can easily lose my balance and put all my eggs in my relationship basket.  This means I can find myself losing my connection with friends or not following through on my self-care (exercise, yoga, meditation, journaling, hobbies etc.) which creates a greater dependence/urgency around the relationship than is necessary or healthy.
  3. I have had a hard time letting people, particularly my significant other see my mistakes/imperfections.  This stems from an old story that we all carry that I have to be perfect/good enough in order to be loved.  Not only did this need for perfection lead to some inauthenticity (which means it made it hard for me to be truly intimate with others) but it also left my partner feeling like he had to be perfect to keep up.  This is so ironic really because I so admired his ability to be real and vulnerable and imperfect and strove to be able to do that myself.  It also led my partner to initially put me on a pedestal which I promptly fell from and that stung a lot for both of us.
  4. I discovered that I had a piece of work to do on expressing genuine love and affection when I’m angry or hurt – I would go into my ego and get into some all or nothing thinking where I couldn’t give my partner a real warm hug for example when I was feeling hurt or angry.  It would take me a while to warm up to him after there had been some discord between. I don’t think that has to be the case, nor do I think it’s a very strong demonstration of the depth of my love for this person.  I want to be a person who has a heart that is more open than that – I’d like to be a person who doesn’t  play games, however unconsciously with my love and trust myself to not withhold my love from my partner when we’re having a problem.
  5. Further to that point – I realized that I had a hard time identifying the feeling or experience of true, deep, mature love – I seemed only to be able to identify sensations of happiness or approval and sensations of hurt/sadness/anger or disapproval – so if I wasn’t feeling the happy/approval thoughts I would assume that perhaps I’m not loving this person anymore and so I would feel inauthentic hugging him or expressing my love as openly and freely as I would have a moment before the disagreement.  As I became aware of this pattern I also became aware that I was doing what Pinkola-Estes spoke of: Namely, I was seeing the death stage of my relationship and judging it as bad or wrong and then withdrawing and protecting myself from the “inevitable” end of the relationship. I didn’t know about the next life phase because it had never been modeled to me and I hadn’t experienced it myself.  I really didn’t have a clue what deep, true, committed love was so there was naturally a difficulty in me feeling open and connected and loving through tough times.  As I recognized this I knew that I wanted to have a sensation or thought of solid, mature, deep, love that was present for my lover regardless of what poopy event was taking place in him, in me or between us. This meant I had to stay tuned! I had to hang in there as openly as I could for the next phase of rebirth and life. Then the true love would be present. Then I would actually have something deeper than my romantic, on and off again love to carry me through the rough patches. It’s no wonder I didn’t have the ability to feel warm and loving towards my partner during those early times of distress.  For me there really wasn’t anything deeper to hold on to. Not because I lacked the ability to love more deeply but because I had never experienced it and hadn’t yet accessed that part of myself.
  6. I also began to recognize in myself (big ego here) that I would say or do things specifically to try and impress my love. Funnily enough it was often these things that he later brought back to me as things that he felt hurt or disappointed by or felt demonstrated a lack of integrity in my or respect for him etc.  I would do things like point out my ex-boyfriends car (fancy black thing) when we drove by his building (only did that once by the way! but I did it not for any other reason than I thought it would impress my sweetheart and make him find me more of a good catch) – yes, I admit it! I behaved like a 10 year old more often than I’d like to admit.  I’m half cringing/half laughing as I admit this but it does need to be said and most importantly, worked through and left behind. It seemed that every time I did or said something that was meant (from a very gamey/insecure place I’ll admit) to make my sweetheart love or want me more it would actually disgust or offend him. In hindsight I can absolutely understand why those things didn’t go over well, if not only because of the insecurity and lack of groundedness I was revealing to him in needing to prove my worth – let alone the silly things I was saying and doing to try and impress him.  The most interesting thing for me about that pattern was that a moment before I would say or do one of those silly things I would hear my higher self saying “um, michelle, you probably don’t want to say this” and I’d have a strange feeling in my tummy but I’d say it anyway and lo and behold we’d have a disagreement or at the very least my sweetheart would have reason to step back and wonder about the health of our connection. This of course being the exact opposite effect from what my 10 year old self was trying to achieve which was this: I wanted to be so incredibly desireable; so incredibly perfect and wonderful and fabulous and irreplaceable that he could not possibly ever consider leaving me. You see, on some unconscious level, I believed that if he would never leave then I would finally have the safety and security that I so craved since I was a little girl and my father abused and then abandoned me. That little girl was still believing on some level that it was something about her that wasn’t good enough and that she just needed to be prettier, thinner, smarter, funnier, wealthier etc. etc. and then no one would ever leave her. Well, surprise, surprise, people did leave her – leave me. And they were right to. I was confused. I was inauthentic. I was manipulative. I was desperate and needy and I placed the responsibility for my happiness on them rather than owning it myself.
For me this pattern could begin to change only when I realized that I was “good enough” already. I am perfect just as I am. I wasn’t responsible for what happened way back when; for how my father did or didn’t love me. That was his stuff, I couldn’t have done anything any differently and I couldn’t have influenced his behaviour and “make” him stay or not be harmful.  It wasn’t about me, therefore, I didn’t need to keep carrying the story that I wasn’t good enough. Therefore, I could drop the games. I could centre and ground myself in me and see myself as a person of worth a deservedness and love and beauty regardless of who was or wasn’t in my life. Only at that point did I become a healthy and safe person to have a relationship with, before then ……not so good!   All this is to say that through the experience of coming face to face, time and again with the death cycle of relationship these pieces of growth work (my unfinished business),  were revealed to me.  As I opened myself to their message and stepped up to do my work my relationships got healthier and finally had the chance to deepen into something worthwhile and lasting. I couldn’t have had a healthy, loving and lasting relationship prior to this moment because I didn’t know what was alive in me that was preventing my connections from being deep, intimate and healthy. Now that I knew I could do my work. In having these realizations, some only very recently, my authentic self could finally settle down and relax.  It could let go and trust me to handle relationships in a mature and respectful way (for me and my partner) and not in the old co-dependent way.  That in itself my friends, is well worth the price of admission! Have a great day out there and should the death cycle rear its head in your romantic partnership – don’t run the other way – embrace it, love it, revel in it, thank it, for it is the doorway to something beautiful. Love M.        

Posted in: Uncategorized

Leave a Comment (0) →

Tips for Natural Eating V: Resolving the Guilt Factor

Hello out there! I hope you’re having a lovely week so far! In beautiful Victoria, BC the sun is shining, it’s warm and the blossoms are out on the trees. I love it! This week I want share with you a little tool I discovered to deal with the guilt I felt about eating….well….pretty much anything. But first, I must digress. Have you ever had the experience of having a friend or significant other who says one thing and does another? You know, they tell you they’re going to call you at 8 but you don’t hear from them until 9 or maybe even until the next day? Or they say they’re going to do the dishes for you but then they don’t? Or even, unrelated to you, they say they’re going to call someone else, or start an exercise plan or have that confrontation with that person at work and they don’t? Have you ever had someone in your life like that? Well if you have then you know that each time that person commits to doing something and then doesn’t follow through, your relationship with that person weakens because, regardless of whether it’s dishes or a phone call or an exercise plan that person is showing you, with each breach of commitment, that they can not be trusted.We are inclined to ask ourselves to overlook such “small” things and not to be “too sensitive” or “needy” or “demanding” etc. We work hard to talk ourselves out of the feeling of disease in our tummys when a commitment gets broken by someone close to us. And in so doing we force ourselves to detach from our own authentic self and his or her appropriate feelings. We align more with the untrustworthy person than we do with ourselves.  

What message do you think this sends us about our perception of our worth and about our perception of the validity or “okay-ness” of our feelings? Well, it simply reinforces that old old story about you not being good enough or deserving enough of honesty and integrity in your relationships on all levels. It sets you up to expect relationships to lack follow through and to force yourself to accept less than you deserve and need in the way of trustworthiness.

As I’m writing I realize that I could spend weeks on this issue of integrity and the impact of broken commitments and why we settle for them. And I will – but not today. Today, I only mentioned it because I wanted to bring you to conscious awareness of the feeling you get when someone breaks a commitment, regardless of how small, and how those large and small breaches of trust undermine the whole relationship unless they are acknowledged by that person and rectified responsibly and respectfully. Why did I want you to be aware of this, you ask? Well, because, each time you tell yourself that you are going to eat a certain thing or not eat a certain thing, or that you are going to eat only a certain amount or only at a certain time etc. etc. etc. and you don’t follow through on that commitment, you are breaching your own trust in yourself, undermining your own self-esteem and sense of safety within you and setting yourself up for a real tongue lashing from the Drill Sgt. His modus operandi? Wait until you’ve done the deed and then belittle and berate you for hours maybe even days until he believes you’ve worked those extra calories off. Kind of like you might do to someone who breaks a commitment to you or what someone might do to you if they feel you have broken their trust in you. I’m not saying that it’s okay to berate someone for not following through – nor is it okay for anyone to berate you for the same – there are many effective and relationship enhancing ways to speak to voilations of trust and to set about the process of restoring the faith. But, since many of us haven’t been shown these life enhancing ways of communicating, we are left with the old standards of anger, guilt and withdrawal. Either we rage at the other openly or passively; or we guilt trip; or we withdraw ourselves emotionally to make the point that we are wounded and feel unsafe. Again, neither is truly effective in resolving the underlying issue of trust with someone else or with ourselves.To bring the focus back to food – if you’re going to commit to something around what you’re eating, when, how much and where, make sure it’s a commitment that you can keep. Make sure that it’s not coming from the diet mentality and that it’s not all or nothing nor should it be about losing weight. If your intention around changing your food habits is primarily geared towards losing weight you’ve missed the point. The focus needs to be not on what you weigh but how you came to weigh what you do and what life enhancing, balanced and self-respecting measures you are going to incorporate into your day to day existence to attend to the underlying cause of your current weight and body image concerns. With that foucs the weight takes care of itself. With the diet mentality focus your body can’t find it’s own natural rhythm because you’re not trusting it to know what it needs and you’re not listening to cues about hunger and fullness. If you were you wouldn’t need a “diet” you would only need to listen and respond to sensations of hunger and fullness. A.K.A. Natural Eating.

Tips for Natural Eating – Guilt Factor

So, back to the guilt factor. If you’re feeling guilty about what you’ve eaten or what you’re going to eat it’s only because you perceive yourself as breaking a commitment to yourself and you’ve just diminished your trust in your self. The solution is simple, and it’s exactly the same solution you would ideally bring to bear if someone in your life were demonstrating a lack of respect and trustworthiness:


First and foremost, you only make commitments that you’re certain you can keep. In other words if you’ve been promising yourself every Monday for a year that “this week will be different” and it hasn’t been so, you may want to make a commitment this Monday to find out what’s preventing you from following through, rather than committing yet again to a pattern of behaviour that you’ve proven is too challenging right now.


Second, you prioritize your life in such a way that you are creating the greatest likelihood and ease of following through. ie. If you want to take a healthy lunch to work you need to decide whether you’re going to lounge in bed those extra 10 minutes or get up and prepare something for you to take for lunch.


Third, if you see yourself not following through one day, stop and ask yourself what experience or thought has led you to set aside your commitment.


Fourth, remind yourself of the cost of these broken commitments to yourself: they keep you stuck in low self-esteem and mistrusting yourself in all areas, not just in the one area that you’ve compromised yourself.


Fifth, once you know what undermined your commitment ask yourself: “Is it appropriate for me to expect this of myself at this time given that I am having a hard time following through? Might I need to relax my expectations a bit so that I can begin to see some consistent follow through and build trust in myself?”


Sixth, make a new commitment that is truly realistic. ie. rather than “every day for the next month I will…” how about “two times this week I will…” Then at the end of that week when you see that you followed through you will also be able to determine how much time that commitment took and if you really do have time to do it a third day the next week or perhaps need to just keep it at twice for now.

You’ll feel much better making commitments you can keep rather than commitments you’d like to keep but can’t right now.Take the time over the next while to discover what is truly reasonable and realistic to expect of yourself rather than what is ideal but not likely to succeed right now.Allow yourself to take a long term approach to resolving this issue, whatever it may be, and reassure yourself that as long as you see consistent movement forward you are far far better off than the all or nothing approach and the Drill Sgt. guilt and criticism that the diet mentality brings.Tune in next time for a little chat on integrity in relationships and how to respectfully and successfully address your own lapses as well as those of the key people in your life.Have a lovely week! M      

Posted in: Uncategorized

Leave a Comment (2) →

Welcome to the Cedric Centre Blog

The Cedric Centre Blog as of January 15, 07 is officially up and running.  The blog will provide you with tools and sharing on healing your relationship with food. Whether you overeat, restrict or purge the underlying triggers are the same and that is what we attend to in our work with our clients and on this blog: the underlying triggers. Once you have understood and healed the underlying pieces that trigger you to use food to cope two things will happen: 1. You will naturally cease to choose to focus on food and body image in a harmful way. 2. Your life will become more peaceful and you will feel as though finally it is in your control. We know this to be true because we’ve lived it ourselves and now enjoy complete and longstanding freedom from any negative food and body focus.  We also know this to be true because since The CEDRIC Centre opened in 1999 we have supported hundred’s of men and women throughout North America and Europe to experience the same freedom and true control in their lives as we do. That is our purpose in being and our most fervent wish for you: Freedom from food and body focus. You deserve a life that isn’t riddled with guilt, judgement and shame.  You deserve to experience success that lasts. And that’s what we’re here for. We trust you’ll enjoy reading The Cedric Centre Blog and perhpas even sharing a bit yourself. Welcome to a new and lasting approach to food and body image. From all of us at Cedric.

Posted in: Uncategorized

Leave a Comment (2) →
Page 5 of 5 12345