JEFF FOSTER, FROM DEEP ACCEPTANCE
This Key goes beyond food, beyond risk factors, beyond feeling your feelings and challenging your thoughts. It is about healing on a deeper level, and is an aspect of true healing that is often left out of conventional treatment plans. This Key is about the essence of your being, your spiritual nature, and how developing that connection can help you become fully recovered and stay that way. Spirituality and soul are words that have so many interpretations they are surrounded by misunderstanding and confusion. When referring to spirituality, we arenâ€™t talking about religion. Religion can be a bridge to spirituality, but people often get stuck on the bridge. Spirituality is simply about transcending the limited view of oneâ€™s self; recognizing you are more than an individual ego or the voice inside your head. During your life you have seen different thoughts, emotions, and the world pass before you. Being spiritual means understanding that you are the witnessing presence or consciousness that is aware of those thoughts, emotions, and events. Your true home is in the center of this consciousness. From that center you are aware of things but more importantly you have meta-awareness, meaning you are aware of being aware. This is what being in the seat of your soul means. We hope to give you an easy and practical way of understanding, accepting, and enhancing your inherent spiritual nature, thus providing deeper meaning, purpose and re-enchantment to your everyday life.
Regardless of days spent or progress made, when clients discharge from Monte Nido Treatment Center, they are given a graduation ceremony. All staff and clients sit together in circle to honor the graduateâ€™s progress in the healing journey, however big or small. Every graduate writes and reads out loud an â€œEaterâ€™s Agreement,â€ which is a personal vow about their recovery and going forward in life. What clients write in their â€œEaterâ€™s Agreementâ€ provides a glimpse into what we want to share in this Key, an aspect of healing that goes beyond making peace with food and â€œevidenced-basedâ€ protocols to matters of spirituality and soul. Consider this recent example:
My Eaterâ€™s Agreement:
There are numerous unknowns as I venture out into my new life, but I am not afraid. I say to fear â€˜BRING ITâ€™ because with my new awareness and sense of self, fear doesn â€™t stand a chance. I am preparedfor the challenges I will face and I am confident in the overall outcome.
I refuse to conform any longer to the expectations society has deemed as ideal because as of this very day the only ideal I must conform to is that which resonates with my soul, and my soul no longer resonates with the pursuit of perfection.
Today, my pursuit is for authenticity, and in this authenticity I will celebrate the beautiful imperfections of others and myself. The renowned psychiatrist Carl Jung once said, â€˜He who
looks outside, dreams; he who looks inside, awakes. â€™ By looking within the shadows of my soul, I will discover my unclaimed talents and treasures and claim them for myself. These delightful finds, my precious gems, the essence of my being, will unlock me from my self-induced imprisonment.
I will take in each morsel with mindfulness, not merely morsels of food, but each morsel of every day. I will feed my soulâ€™s desire to have a taste of LIFE. My soul has been starved of memories and relationships (with myself and others), and that is precisely what I will fill the hunger of my heart with from this point forward.
I will satisfy my soul by being alive in every sense of the word andfilling up on lifeâ€™s every opportunity, whether that means trying new things, being outlandish, going with the flow, or being REAL. I agree to listen to my needs and honor them instead of turning to substitute fillers that will never suffice. Sometimes I will need laughter, and other times tears. Sometimes I will need space, and other times connection. Sometimes I will need movement and other times rest.
Whatever the occasion calls for, I will respect my needs, and the most pertinent is my needfor affection and intimacy. Without fostering that my soul will perish our souls were all made for connection, and we are all inherently connected.
To Myself and All Others Who Suffer:
If you must count something, count your blessings instead of calories eaten and calories burned.
If you must binge, binge on every experience life offers. Devour the sensations of the present moment andfill yourself with delicious dreams and magical moments.
If you must purge, purge with tears, with laughter, with love . allow all the emotions to flow through you and be released into the energy of the universe.
If you must restrict, restrict the negative self-talk and detrimental influences so that they don â€™t impact the quality of your life or suffocate your soul.
Personal Reflection: CAROLYN
I have sat in hundreds of graduation ceremonies and read well over 1,500 Eaterâ€™s Agreements and am personally blown away every time. This young womanâ€™s vow to herself, like most of them, acknowledges a kind of healing and way to live that brings a deeper meaning and purpose to recovery and to life. Please look at what she wrote again, focusing on the parts highlighted in bold, which all relate to things we will cover in this Key.