Wednesday, May 28, 2008

New roots

Shortly after I began reading Eckart Tolle's book "A New Earth" I began feeling this weird desire to shave off my hair. I came up with several rational excuses for the idea and a dozen others for why I shouldn't just go ahead and do it. A couple of weeks later, I told my NLP therapist at our session and she commented it probably had to do with my wanting to start anew. After all, when we turn upside down our hair becomes... our roots. That made a lot of sense to me.
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She also said some people here in Quebec shaved their heads to raise money for cancer research and I thought it would be good to do something like that. When I got home I searched the web and found some links to "shave-to-save" events and other related activities nearby, but all were over and there was nothing upcoming. I thought of other ways I could use this seemingly crazy idea to help people, but in the end I just did it for myself.
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It was pretty scary at first. In fact, it's like food - when you start shedding the extra pounds there is no longer that cushioning or protective shield betwen yourself and the world. For a couple of days I was irritable and fed up with everything and everyone around me and even did some uncharacteristic things I would rarely have done (also scary, but it actually felt good).
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Shaving my head was not the only issue involved. During that NLP session, my therapist did a very intriguing exercise in which, in a nutshell, I was able to "look" at two sides of myself and why each of them wants to go a different way. In other words, why does part of me want to binge and anesthesize myself with food, while the other wants optimal physical and emotional health?
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The results were quite surprising. It was like half of me was this pampered two-year-old who wanted all she could get, while the other side was some sort of serene, patient being waiting around to see what happened. Yet I was able to recognize that this "two-year-old" had also got me a long way, as her willpower made me do things my other, mellower side, would have perhaps let go. Both had good intentions, but were not in harmony.
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However, I realized that all that time the "little girl" was screaming for me to do what I should and I was mostly ignoring her and stuffing her with food to keep her quiet - she had grown a long time ago and I was still treating her like a stubborn baby. Thus, at the same time I realized I was being governed by a two-year-old, I realized she wasn't there at all.
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The end of the exercise was to thank each side for what they had done for me, to forgive them for whatever harm they had brought (and vice-versa), and to finally merge them into a harmonious, new (and grown) me.
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At that moment I wondered how that would translate into my eating patterns. A few days later a new "click" came. Perhaps I needed to thank and forgive... my food?
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Whoever has gone through repeated dieting and other food related disorders knows that the phrase "this will be the last time" is often only the beginning. Farewells aren't needed when you're sure of what you want. It's like sleeping with your ex. If you were really over him, chances are that would never happen again. Yet, on the other hand, a relationship cannot be over if you do not throughouly acknowledge and resolve several things first.
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So I thought, maybe that is what is missing between myself and the foods I still eat for reasons other than nourishment and well being. Nevertheless, the moment I realized that I also saw something that is not easy to admit even to myself: I don't know exactly why, but I am still not ready to let go.
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As I said, it's not an easily acceptable fact, but I'm trying not to be too hard with myself. Once it took several months to actually stop seeing a guy I had been with during several years, but then everything had been resolved and it was really final. I never felt like seeing him again. Could it be that way with food too? How long will it take me to let go of a relationship that has been going on for almost 30 years?
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Regardless of being ready to let go or not, I decided to write a letter to my food. I copied it below. "Kit" represents all the food I have eaten and/or still eat for emotional reasons. Let's see what happens after this...
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Dear Kit,
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I would like to start thanking you for all you have done for me during these years: the times you soothed me when I felt anxious, numbed me when I felt fear, filled me when I felt emotionally empty. You were there when the world was too much for me and I needed a protective barrier to insulate me from all of its problems. You were also there when I wasn't able to be myself fully and needed to escape. The sad moments you were there to comfort me are countless. And it wasn't all about bad times. It would be impossible to count all of the joyful times you were by my side: festivities, family reunions, meetings with friends, dates...
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As much as you have been helpful, our relationship must come to an end. I have learned a lot from you - and I'm also thankful for that - but now I must move on. Yet before that I must say that I forgive you for all the harm you unadvertedly brought me: the emotional instability, the headaches, the muddled thoughts, the leg pains, the extra pounds, and all of the other little things. I fully forgive you for that now.
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I also ask that you forgive me for having used you unappropriately and excessively and for the many times I blamed you for all my problems when I was really the one responsable. I am truly sorry.
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In case our paths do cross again in the future, let's take the pledge to respect each other.
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All the best,
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Andrea

1 comment:

Angela said...

WOW! I stumbled across your blog tonight and I am floored by your post! Thank you for your candid words and the inspiring message you are sending out. Bravo!