An Excerpt from:
Release Your Obsession with Food: Heal from the Inside Out
Compulsive eaters fully committed to their recovery understand they must engage in daily prayer and meditation as part of their healing. We human beings are spiritual. When we pray unremittingly that our addiction to certain foods will be lifted, when we meditate on daily healing, and slowly, with vigilance, eat prescribed meals, and abstain from certain foods, we can recover. Giving thanks and praise to our Divine intelligence every day continues to strengthen our recovery.
Dictionary.com defines prayer as a devout petition to God or an object of worship. It is a spiritual communion with God, whatever we happen to call that ultimate power. It is an appointed formula or sequence of words spontaneously invented on the spot to be said either in public or in private. Prayer may be heartfelt, but it can even be mechanical at first and still be effective.
The dictionary goes on to define meditation as a continued or extended thought—a reflection and/or contemplation—a devout religious contemplation or spiritual introspection. Often there is a blurring between meditation and prayer, vine wrapped around vine, reaching up toward the same place: serenity.
Meditation is performed in quiet—with no agenda. In meditation, we spend some time in the spaciousness of not knowing. Some individuals meditate by using one word to concentrate on, while others hum one note, and still others focus on something to look at, such as a cloud or flower or even a spot on the wall. Some will use a mantra, repeating it over and over again.
Meditation is the act of embracing an open and inviting clear space in the mind. It’s the discovery of a corner of the mind, a quietness within the mind, a sanctuary, a resting place—paradise in the mind, a place of peace.
Every morning, without fail—beating the alarm—I awake to a choir of birds singing that the day has begun. I stretch and give thanks for the start of a fresh new day: abstinent. After lolling in bed a while longer, enjoying the sweet smell of my husband lying next to me, I move out to the garage and open the garage door to welcome the morning breeze and witness the purple/yellow hues as the sun comes up over the palm trees against the backdrop of the Atlantic Ocean.
I smile as I breathe in the delicious scent only salt air offers and begin my morning routine seated in meditation, quietly riding each breath, thinking of nothing, and embracing everything. A little while after that, I begin my eight-minute weightlifting routine, working two areas of my body—compliments of Jorge Cruise and his 8 Minutes in the Morning. I am now connected to my breath and my body: Let the day begin.
After sipping on hot decaffeinated coffee laced with skim milk, I jump on my bike, plug into my iPhone, and absorb an inspirational podcast gifting a positive message as I pump my way up the bridge to witness a spectacular view of the ocean and Intercoastal Waterway simultaneously. I look to nature for my sustenance
As I reach the end of the beach boardwalk—riding along the ocean shoreline—I switch to my morning rosary, going into a trancelike state and praying for patience, for my family, my patients, my students and/or whatever other concerns I send for Divine guidance. By the time I pedal back, I am invigorated and ready for anything that comes my way.
I am centered.
For me, strong spirituality replaced the intoxication that came from food. A closer relationship with the Universe rather than a focus on weight loss or body image led to recovery.
Constant communication with Divine love is our serenity. Our higher source is a powerful presence that is with us ceaselessly, uninterrupted. We succumb to cravings, and then beat ourselves up for our lack of “willpower,” not realizing the problem isn’t lack of willpower but rather lack of God power!
Our energy sinks to severe lows without this higher power. Our self-worth and self-esteem soon follow. A strong spirituality is the energy that fuels us and keeps us sane. Recovery comes about through an acceptance of a power for good that works in us in unique and personal ways.
The beauty of prayer is that it’s personal. There’s no right way to pray, and there’s no wrong way—just your way. You can talk, sing, sit in silence, dance, cry, run, embrace nature, hug a baby, kiss a puppy, and/or watch a butterfly swirl around a daffodil—all in the name of prayer.
Prayer is powerful. Prayer can change your life anywhere, any time—alone in quiet or in the middle of a room full of people. You can be rich, poor, belong to a church, temple, synagogue, or mosque, or sit alone in a field that stretches out as far as the eye can see. Our higher source is everywhere—within us and around us.
Lucinda, huffing and puffing, ear buds clasped tightly in her ears—muffled sounds of Christian music escaping—came into my office drenched from pedaling her bicycle to her therapy session. Lucinda had borderline intelligence, to the point of being misdiagnosed in childhood with mental retardation. Yet, although she wasn’t book smart, this patient of mine had an understanding of phenomena that far exceeded the insight of many of those in academia. She was natively intelligent, rather than intellectual.
Lucinda knew things. Many sessions I sat dumbfounded just listening to her speak naturally from her heart, from her spirit. Yes, she went to church and knew all the traditional prayers, but something deeper was going on inside her. Lucinda lived for the moment, not for yesterday or in fear of tomorrow. She laughed heartily and had the ability to be her authentic self—no holds barred.
Lucinda didn’t have a longing for something `solid’ to believe in, because she believed knowingly. She wasn’t asking for proof or bemoaning the life she had been given. She spoke of Jesus as if he was her best friend, as if they had daily chats together. She was going home to Him soon, she would say, without any fear or sadness—though as far as I could tell Lucinda, 38 years old, was perfectly healthy and physically fit.
Lucinda lived in a small, closed-in garage made into a studio apartment. She received monthly government checks and worked a few days in a grocery store stocking shelves or carting groceries to patrons’ cars. She loved her job and the little space she lived in. She saw the good in all the people she met. Lucinda lived her life as a prayer.
Although Lucinda came to me for psychotherapy, I quickly learned by working with her that psychology without prayer was really pointless. I learned, too, that she was the teacher and I was the student. Her mind was open and uncluttered with this rule and that rule. She loved freely and wholly. She lived fully and well. And she died in her sleep just as she told me she would.
Are you connected to your spiritual side? Did you ever find your greatest teacher is someone you didn’t expect? Teachers come in all sizes, shapes, colors, genders…and yes even in animal form too. I’d love to hear from you, your thoughts matter–even if you don’t agree.
Stay tuned…you never know where my mind will wander…
Hugs to you…I care!
Speaker, writer, licensed clinical psychotherapist, PhD in addiction psychology, eating disorder professional, hypnotherapist changing the view about compulsive eating one addict at a time.