My dear friend, Julie S., a beautiful, vibrant, and humorous woman with an envious figure struggles with a life-long binge eating disorder. When I first met her many months ago, she was in recovery. Since, she revealed to me a relapse and 20 pound weight gain. After an overnight visit with her, she spent several days deeply emerged in a spiritual yoga retreat.
Those of us with a dysfunctional relationship to food know that we bury ourselves in the ecstasy of food, the vehicle that takes us from our sense of unworthiness on a ride to nirvana, where our mundane and painful daily existence disappears for a short little while in sinful pleasure. We use food as a punishment for being ‘less than’ – and a reward on good days. Julie found the doorway in her eating disorder that took her to real heaven – an exit door from her suffering to her authentic self, that which is deeply rooted intrinsic goodness and innate beauty that pulses within. This energetic presence pulses as a luminous, shimmering, effervescent Light that brightly exposes our inner beauty.
Here’s the first of four entries that envelop you into her journey.
“Recently I saw a magazine quote where a well-known chef simply stated, “Food is love.” I felt an immediate reaction within my body. It wasn’t like I’d never heard that before, matter of fact I’ve heard it hundreds of times, but this time I heard it.
So if food is love, I’ve either been hoarding it, bingeing on it, sneaking it, feeling guilty over it or restricting it for about 30 years now. It’s actually quite logical if you really think about it. My entire life I have been attempting to receive and give love. And it wasn’t as if my parents didn’t love me while I was growing up (when my food issues started), they did. It just wasn’t the way I needed it. I needed to feel it, witness it, hear it and even taste it. I had all the “basics” as a child but what I lacked was the sense of unconditional love. The environment was ladened with judgment and appearances were very important (ourselves and that of our family).
My reality was that I felt I had to perform in order to be accepted. Whatever you were wasn’t enough. That notion was palpable. Get good grades, take ballet lessons, play softball, take music lessons, etc. The message was “be something, anything but who you are.” And by the way, who are you? I hadn’t a clue who I was; I was too busy trying to live up to the impossibly high standards. So in response to the stress, confusion and fear, I found the substitute for love and acceptance in a sleeve of cookies.
I’ve come to realize is that food isn’t love. Yes it is a one way in which we show those we love that we love them but it can’t replace love. The epiphany I’ve recently had is that God is Love. Pure, authentic, unconditional, accepting, wonderful love! I found that the love I feel from God nourishes me fully, doesn’t leave me looking for more, doesn’t make me sick or bloated and is always available. All I need to do is keep my heart open so it can flow in. That’s a condition I can live with!”