“There is only one journey. Going inside yourself.” - Rainer Maria Rilke
I am a firm believer in people come into your life for a reason. I spent this past weekend with 17 remarkable women, each one of them beautiful souls who are now forever linked to my chain of existence. They were all ages, sizes, backgrounds and had different reasons for being there, but we were all there...together...sitting on the floor...surrounded by blue-green walls...clinging to hope.
The greatest lesson I have learned is that the key to recovery - from an eating disorder, from negative body image, from addiction, from abuse, from life - is hope. Hope is the gentle voice of kindness that sticks up for you when the negativity of your struggles are loud and clear. Hope is the motivator to hold on one more day and see what tomorrow brings. Hope frees us.
“Hope is that beautiful place between the way things were and the way things are yet to be.” - author unknown
Planning this event with my soul sister and best friend, Laura Granado of Abi Yoga, has been a whirlwind. It has been fun and exciting and busy and sometimes overwhelming. It has been exhilarating and anxiety ridden and ridiculously crazy and blissful. In the past, days filled with so much activity and emotion would have sent me straight into the comforting arms of my eating disorder. The eating disorder would have convinced me that self-sabotaging behaviors were the only way to deal with the stress. It would have said that a binge (or 2 or 3) would have numbed my feelings of being overwhelmed and helped me get through this. The difference these last few months has been the voice of hope. Hope telling me that the binge would only be temporary and I would feel worse than I do now if I went through with it. Hope saying, “why don’t we try this my way and see how it goes.” So instead of the frenzy of guilt and shame associated with the eating disorder behaviors, I had kindness and self-care and rest and priorities and love. And that is where I found the peace...right in the middle of the love. Hope equals love. Having hope means loving myself enough to believe in the possibility of healing, of a life without anguish, but of one filled with joy and contentment.
Hope is the answer.
"Those who have hope have everything." - Margaret Boyd
So as I sat through this weekend intensive, hungry for knowledge, a funny thing happened. I realized that not only did I already know a lot of what Chelsea was teaching us, but that these were the behaviors I had actively been using to get through the stress of the past few months. I had the opportunity to tell Chelsea this Saturday night, standing in my kitchen, her washing dishes and me drying. She smiled, looked me straight in the eye, and said, "You made it!" Oh, how I want to wrap that moment up in a box and tuck it away for safekeeping. People come into our lives for a reason.
Now I see that I spent last weekend with 18 remarkable women, because I was one of them. I am part of something bigger now. I am part of the solution and I am ready to spread hope like wildfire with every step I take. So, watch out world! I am getting ready to start using these newfound wings for some serious flying.