Here I am at the Decatur Book Festival . I didn't know that speaking and book signing would have such an impact on my equilibrium and sense of purpose.
A woman recently wrote that the concept of committing to reality, which I write about in Healing Your Hungry Heart: recovering from your eating disorder, came as a revelation to her.
She is now rethinking her commitment to eating disorder practices, eating disorder recovery and daily life choices. This is wonderful and essential for healing and building a more healthy and meaningful life.
But what is reality? Philosophers, teachers of religions and spiritual practices, great novelists and poets and certainly physicists, ask and explore this question. My reality is changing. My hunch is that actual reality is beyond the capacity of the human mind to grasp. That may be what makes life a continual disaster or adventure, depending on our ability to stay present for what is.
At the Festival I met men and women asking questions:
- How can I help my anorexic girlfriend eat more and be healthy?
- What do I think of Jane Fonda's story and about her first exercise programs?
- Why do you (meaning me) appear younger than we thought you were?
- Why is the word "fat" such a loaded word in our culture, especially to women - increasingly, little girls too?
- What was your experience when you told your daughter you were bulimic?
My reality got bigger. My mind is there for these questions. My emotions need to catch up. Yes, I'm recovering from jetlag. Two thousand miles of U.S. lay between Los Angeles and Georgia. Yes, I'm recovering from a Los Angeles heat wave with a now, and finaly, fully repaired A/C system.
But more is going on besides physical fatigue. I need to step up to a more public platform and reveal more of my experience, thoughts and memories. As a psychotherapist and writer I've been living a quiet, introspective life seeking out and embracing truth of actual experience. Much of that seeking and finding is in Healing Your Hungry Heart.
Now I see I need to carry Healing Your Hungry Heart in my hand and participate in the questions and answers my book stirs in the every day experience of people right now.
In my audience, one woman did not ask a question. She sat alone in the empty back row of the Decatur Hotel auditorium, off to the side. She scrunched low in her chair, close to the wall. I saw her face contorted in quiet anguish.
As I read and spoke it seemed my words penetrated a wall around her. Her exposed inner experience brought her intense sorrow and pain. She did not speak. She did not relate to me with eye contact. She did not leave. She stayed present for the entire talk including questions and answers. She cried the whole time.
She is my most vivid memory of a rich and full experience at the Book Festival. I know I need to come out more myself to meet her and women like her who are lost in their eating disorders and want to be found.
I have to speak more. I have to leave my lovely healing garden, sacred office space where I see clients and the creative and supportive space of my home much more often. I have a message to carry in person as people find and read Healing Your Hungry Heart. I need to adjust and create a new system of balance and energy conservation to meet this more expanded sense of purpose.
I am rethinking my commitment to reality and what it takes to be fully present for my more expanded here and now.
You meet this challenge continually throughout eating disorder recovery as you develop, heal and are able to see and experience more of life. The challenge continues after recovery, and I'm not immune.
What challenges are you facing as your here and now expands? What do you need to rethink as you continue your commitment to reality, the sure way to eating disorder recovery?