Many years ago when I was struggling with my eating disorder, my existence & routines were based on control & rigidity. I felt as if I were a fragile egg, helplessly waiting for the hammer to come down. Constantly living in a state of fear, as if I were only moments away from complete destruction. Overwhelmed by insecurity, fear, unworthiness, anxiety & emotional intensity, strict routines and obsessive habits took hold as a feeble attempt to control the fragile emotional landscape within as well as to control the unknown dangers of the outside world. The more fearful or out of control I felt, the stricter the routines or obsessive eating behaviors became. A sense of calm would temporarily overcome me when I was allowed to be consumed with what, if, how or when I was going to eat.... this zone of comfort was short lived & extraordinarily narrow. My eating disorder eventually consumed me, my false sense of control shattered, releasing the chaos within my soul. Ultimately ravaging my body, mind & anything or anyone I came into contact with.
Healing slowly began, taking years, but underneath it all there was always a lingering fear of structure. Wondering if the switch would flip and I once again would become prisoner to my distorted perceptions, fixated on perfection & rigidity in the name of control. For many years a deep sense of mistrust of my mind would linger... it had lead me so astray, causing so much pain and destruction. I remained on high alert, constantly second guessing myself. Opting to trust other's opinions rather than my own. Leaving me feeling depleted, deeply ungrounded and never truly fully living.
It wasn't until having children that my entire existence was uprooted and caused a mandatory reevaluation of who I was and how I chose to show up in the world. A gift that I will forever be grateful for, it rocked my world and has been both the most deeply beautiful & challenging experience of my life. Teaching me to trust my body, my intuition, and truly appreciate the value of rhythm & creating a nurturing container. Slowly I began trusting in the rhythm of nature, rather than the false sense of safety of a rigid structure that does not allow for variation. Rather than obsessing on what the latest parenting book said, I tried to shift my focus on the child in front of me & the unique situation at hand. Allowing my children to be seen & accepted rather than "fixed" allowed a deep sense of compassion and empathy, eventually spilling over to the way that I handled myself as well. Learning (and teaching them) to build a container that allows a sense of safety and encourages developing a grounding place within to come home to whenever life feels out of control or just too much is invaluable. In early childhood, the days can seem to blur together...exhaustion lends itself to pure survival mode, but even in the fog, slivers of lucid awareness, joy, connection & nurturance can prevail. A gentle daily ebb & flow of energy allowing not only expansion (or time of activity & connection) but equally as important, a time of contraction (or quiet & introspection) to allow both a dynamic & deeply replenishing daily rhythm. Children automatically introduce this into our lives... deeply immersive play time partnered with a rejuvenating nap time makes for a happy child & Mom. Remembering the value of this rhythm has allowed me to be mindful of how I expend energy and how I restore myself. Selectively choosing what I allow in my life, frequently reassessing what truly serves me, letting go of what depletes me, choosing again daily and allowing a sense of flow & ease.
Deep healing began, as I learned to navigate my emotions, appreciate my sensitivities and channel the ebb & flow of daily life. Learning to trust my mind & body as a knowledgable guide and following my intuition. Allowing the chaos & the mundane to wash through my life... examining the gifts that it brings. Like a beautiful shell washed up onto the beach, I accept the gifts that bring a glimmer to my eye & throw back what does not. Ironically allowing a sense of fluidity in my life is what keeps me deeply grounded. I have found freedom and ease within rhythm and structure. Ever learning how to skillfully ride the waves, trying not to cling, resist or fight against what life brings. Holding on to my daily habits of meditation, movement, nourishing foods & connection, knowing it is was keeps me afloat. Trusting in the steady rhythm of my days, I have found a deep sense of calm knowing that I have the tools to navigate the challenges that life inevitably brings.