Thursday, May 23, 2013

I struggled with anorexia for a decade...

I struggled with anorexia for a decade.

I really struggled with who I was for a decade.

You see, I wanted every single person I met to like me. Every single one. Now I know that is simply not possible.

So I would change who I was for the people I was around. Ahh, yes shallow. Yes. The ones who saw through that and stuck around long enough got to see the real Jensy, the authentic Jensy.

In all that confusion of who I was, I developed an eating disorder to gain some sort of control in my life. I felt so confused all the time. So uneasy. I began to slowly commit emotional suicide that manifested on the outside. I weighed eight nine pounds at anorexia's height. And I still felt confused but now scared and lonely.

I recently came upon a book called "Ask and It is Given" By Esther and Jerry Hicks. It's a book about the Law of Attraction. I can't fully teach you what it details because its lengthy but if I had to come up with a summary of the book it would be: "Choose to be Happy. Choose better feeling thoughts moment to moment." I wish I would have read this book when I battled anorexia!

According to Hicks, ANY emotion/thought is better than depression. They included an emotional scale in their book that helps you work from feeling bad to feeling better about whatever you are experiencing. Find where you are emotionally on the scale, and then try and find thoughts that feel just a tad bit better about it. You take small steps or make tiny shifts toward joy.

You can't go from the pits of hell straight into love, optimism, appreciation, joy, etc. in an instant. There is a process. Mine was a decade long process but yours doesn't have to be if your struggling with any sort of eating disorder, grief, loss, depression, breakup/divorce etc.

You start where you are and choose everyday to be better.

Their theory here is if you are at #22(Depression) as I was for so long, you can soften the depression by going up the scale toward 1. You may skip a few here and there but you can never go straight to one. So choosing a thought/emotion that is #20 Jealousy, you are doing a little better.

Let me give you my example to be more clear.

I was at #22 (Depression) when I was anorexic. I said things to myself like "I am stupid, I am ugly, no one cares about me. I hate who I am." (Just writing this makes me wanna cry and hug that Jensy.) I would jump from #21(Insecurity) to #17 (Anger) and back again never really getting above a #9. (Pessimism) I lived in the higher numbered emotions for so long, I set up shop, ate, drank and slept there.

Then I woke up. I awakened. A passage into motherhood can sometimes do that to ya!

I know now that I had to spend some time in the emotions 22-8 to get some clarity. I wanted so desperately to be at #1 (Joy/Freedom). We all want to be #1. But the only way we can get to #1 is by doing the following three things:


Everyday we have choice. It can be better than yesterday. Or not. Setbacks are inevitable but you can train yourself everyday to get back up.

The Awakening happened when I became content (#7) with my life. I started to notice all the wonderful things in my life instead of focusing on what was not so great. Then as my body slowly came back to a healthy weight I started to become more hopeful (#6). I wasn't upset with the way I looked and felt comfortable with my food choices. Yes, there were a ton of days where I felt anger(#17) or rage (#19) but after my Awakening I was able to have Hope (#6) that things would be okay. Appreciation (#1)for my life started to happen more often and Empowerment (#1) came in writing my first book a few years later.

So you see its a process. Overcoming any adversity is a process. You wake up every morning knowing that if you are patient, put in the hard work (in my case the hard work was relentless research, a lot of therapy, overcoming fears around food, overcoming the fear of being myself and surrendering) and finally, COMMITMENT to RECOVERY despite any obstacle, then you are on your way to sustainable happiness and freedom from any despair.

What are your thoughts about Hicks' emotional scale. Can this help soften anything you are struggling with right now?

I would love to hear about it! Visit my Facebook page: Your Wide Awakening and post it in the comments.

Love & Light,


Saturday, May 11, 2013

Just Beat a Pillow!

It was a calm, cool Tuesday night. We had just got home from piano practice. Tuesdays are our most hectic nights because both daughters have extra activities after school. Piano, dinner, dance, bath, story, prayers, bed. In that order, with no downtime!

During my oldest daughter's dance class, my youngest and I take a nature walk or go for a dollar store run near the studio. It is a nice time to bond with my youngest.

As we are getting ready to head out the door for dance, one of daughters proceeds to kick (hard!) not once, but twice my other daughters shin! I watched the whole thing as their backs were turned to me. I couldn't believe my eyes. What was THAT?!

I said, "No way we are going anywhere today, no nature walk, no dollar store goodies, nothing!" I am pretty sure real smoke came out of my nostrils, ears, and mouth. I felt sort of possessed! The shock was all to much to handle.

I could not fathom that this was for no reason. It was a straight up Nancy Kerrigan style assault. No one saw it coming! There is nothing worse than getting nailed in the shin. Apparently, we need to wear our soccer shin guards not just on the soccer field but in the house too.

So I dropped my daughter off in front of the studio and my other daughter and I headed back home.

I couldn't shake the anger. I didn't feel like playing or drawing or doing crafts with her. I was mad.

She definitely learned her lesson because she treasures Tuesday nights. We always come home with a smile on our faces and a yo-yo, spinning lollipop or {insert some other dollar store item here}

I got home and I was still seething. My healthy stress response skills were not working. Deep breaths, pacing the house, "everything happens for a reason" Mantras, etc.

Nope, not working.

Through my research about stress and watching others experiencing stress, especially children, I resorted to the Pillow.

Not this pillow, although I own this one myself, and love the idea. But no carrot cake cupcake with delectable cream cheese frosting could calm this Mommy.

I grabbed the Pillow from the back cushion on the couch. The pillow your kids strip off the couch and make forts out of. The pillow that is BIG and Firm. The pillow that was ready to get a beat down. FROM ME, MOMMY ON FIRE!

Now if you can imagine, It was hilarious to witness but boy, did it work.

I took it off the back of the couch, laid it on the sofa and went at it! BOOM BOOM WHACK! My daughter watched me carefully.

I knew she was feeling her own self-punishment, anger, etc. so I invited her to take a whack. She hit it harder than me. She had some serious emotion built up in her!

Then what came next was a fit of belly laughter. Both of us giggled as we fell to the floor in pure relief! The laughter proceeded a deep, emotional, CALM discussion with her about how we do not ever hit another person. There was no yelling but an effective conversation where both parties were calm and receptive to a solution. We both felt sooooooooooo much better. We moved toward a solution to prevent further outbursts of kicking.

“Focus 90% of your time on solutions and only 10% of your time on problems." - Anthony J. D'Angelo

From all the yoga I have done, I have learned, sometimes, we need the emotion to move through us. When we are in certain poses, emotional healing can occur as we physically open our chests with heart openers or balancing poses or any posture for that matter. As another example, many lift weights at the gym to get their anger/stress out as a healthy coping mechanism. Throwing heavy weights around feels great! Boxing is awesome too. I love to kickbox my stress away! Suppressed anger can lead to stress, frustration, worry, and isolation. Bottling up angry feelings has been shown to cause numerous physical complications resulting from stress. Some research has even demonstrated a link between anger and depression. You gotta feel to heal it!

Have you ever seen a toddler throw a temper tantrum? They flail around, hitting the floor, throwing things, scream, cry, run around, etc.? They are practicing a stress response to move their frustration out of their bodies. For the most part, not five minutes later, they are happy little bugs, on to something different enjoying themselves.

As they mature and learn new coping mechanisms to stress, the tantrums tend to arise less and less. I hope I taught my daughter not to use her anger on someone but to get it out through a healthier way. Pillow bashing, jumping on a trampoline, deep breaths (They like the inhale, exhale version from the American Girl Movie, "McKenna Shoots for the Stars". Her mantra is "Blue skies in" on the inhale and "Grey skies out"on the exhale when she feels stress)

Hey, YOU, don't knock it til you try it. I totally use it too!

If the "McKenna Mantra" ain't working, grab a pillow and punch away. I promise you will feel better and on your way to a perfect solution to what's bothering you.

Love & Light,