Time and connection with simple, good things is often what is needed to realize the goodness living within our own heart.
For many years I loathed myself.
I mean - I hated everything about "me". Just a glimpse of my reflection on the pavement could give rise to shame.
I was also convinced that everyone else felt the same way about me that I did. Oddly enough, they didn't.
This I found especially frustrating. When someone would try to connect with me, I would wonder what was wrong with them. Couldn't they see? Didn't they know? So if someone said they loved me, I assumed they were as flawed as I was and I refused to give them any time or attention in return.
This went on for years. And years. And years.
Then one day, a shift began. I made a genuine connection with a single person - my first mentor - and I shared my flaws with her, and then she shared her flaws with me, and then I realized that having things to improve in myself gave me something in common with every other person on the planet.
I also, much more slowly, began to realize that having good things I liked about myself - such as the ability to play and write music, my love for animals (and birds in particular), my desire to serve others - connected to me to every other person I saw as well.
My awareness of myself as someone worth knowing grew out of meeting my mentor, and understanding from her that my very desire to improve myself, to be a likable person, to not let loved ones down or cause them worry, was proof that I had a good heart.
Only a good hearted person would long for those things, and resolve to do whatever it took to attain them.
Only a good hearted person could experience disappointment in themselves, because in that very disappointment the realization of inner goodness and the potential for self-evolution had already been born.
Regardless of where you currently stand on this path that I too am continuing to travel, and no matter what you think of yourself right at this particular moment, you have SUCH a good heart.
Rest in this. Trust in this.
With great respect and love,
This month in Good News:
▪ Inspiration for Beating Ana (and Mia, and Ed)
▪ Meet Shannon in the Spring!
▪ Bring "Beauty Undressed" to Your Campus
▪ Book Must-Read of the Month: "Life With Ben"
▪ RSVP now for a FREE teleconference with Jenni Schaefer
▪ Q&A with Shannon: YOUR recovery questions answered!
▪ Love & Feathers: "The Loud Silver Hawk"
▪ Mentoring & Recovery Blog: "Retaining a Sense of Wonder"
▪ Participate in Vital Eating Disorders Research
▪ Shop for Support in the Key to Life Store
▪ Take Good News & Pass it On
But now, you notice. Your eyes are opened . . . your mind is opened. You have high intelligence. You want to do good.
You care about others (and are learning to care about yourself). You have tons of energy, drive, and passion that are even now collectively wriggling free from beneath the weight of the eating disorder’s demands.
And right where your eating disorder attacked you is also the place where you have full power to get strong, by building up your healthy emotional coping skills and strengthening your sense of self-identity and self-worth.
QUOTE from Beating Ana: How to Outsmart Your Eating Disorder and Take Your Life Back
Meet Shannon in the Spring!
3/13/13: Mary Baldwin College, "Beauty Undressed" and Staff Training, Staunton, VA
3/18/13: Pensacola State University-Pensacola Campus, "Beauty Undressed", 12pm, Pensacola, FL
3/19/13: Pensacola State University-Warrington Campus, "Beauty Undressed", 12pm, Pensacola, FL
3/20/13: Pensacola State University-Milton Campus, "Beauty Undressed", 12pm, Milton, FL
*To inquire about scheduling Shannon's visit to your group, please click HERE
"Beauty Undressed" is not your ordinary eating disorders event.
In fact, it is not really about eating disorders at all, but about how we as individuals and as a culture view and express beauty in the course of our everyday lives.
Eating disorders are serious bio-psycho-social illnesses that are estimated to affect up to 10% of the population. However, nearly 100% of the population (that is, us) struggles with unhealthy eating habits, body shame, and insecurity whenever we look in a mirror.
This is why "Beauty Undressed" is a program for all of us.
With "Beauty Undressed", teens and adults, women and men, students and staff come together around one of the centralizing issues of our culture today:
Beauty. What is it? Who has it? Who decides?
To learn more about "Beauty Undressed" and Shannon's other campus programs, click HERE
Book Must-Read of the Month: "Life With Ben"
Sometimes I wish I was a dog owner instead of a bird owner.
Reason being? Dog owners have SO many more great books to read about the animal they love most. But we bird lovers - well, we have to hunt around to get our fix.
Which is exactly what led me to an utterly charming book called "Life With Ben: A Story of Friendship and Feathers". The author, a courageous and talented young woman named Jessica Hagedorn, penned and published this masterpiece herself. In it, she shares a tale so like my own that a) I couldn't help but love it and b) I couldn't put it down.
How many of us have hung on by our toenails through the college years, not-so-secretly hoping we aren't absolutely the ONLY ones who can barely wait for the torture to end? And how many of us eventually cope by turning to that most unconditionally loving of sources for support - our animal companions?
Jessica and I, for starters. And I suspect there are many, many more. Jessica met Ben in a pet store - I met Pearl in a pet store. For both of us, our birds chose us as much as we chose them....and in each of our cases, it seems like the birds knew first.
Many authors with big publishing contracts don't write as well as this young woman, and her story will both inspire and educate in a way so innocent and uncontrived that you won't even know it is happening.
And if that isn't enough, best of all, there are lots of cute BIRD pictures to enjoy throughout!
Learn more about "Life With Ben" HERE
Date: Wed, December 5, 2012
Event: MentorCONNECT Teleconference
Topic: "Goodbye Ed, Hello Me® - Jenni's Holiday Recovery Wishes for You!"
Open to: all - general audience
Presenter: Jenni Schaefer
Time: 8-9:15pm central time
Event Description: In this special holiday teleconference, best-selling author and beloved speaker and teacher Jenni Schaefer shares her insights about how she survived tough holiday seasons during her own recovery battle. She will also read from her books, "Goodbye Ed, Hello Me" and "Life Without Ed", and answer your questions LIVE! Jenni wants each participant in this event to know that full recovery IS possible! As Jenni says:
This year, spend your precious energy focusing on all the positive steps you've taken to choose recovery over the past year. And remember, if I can be RECOVERED., then you can too!
PRESENTER BIO: Newly appointed as Chair of the Ambassadors’ Council of the National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA), Jenni Schaefer is a singer/songwriter, speaker, and author of Life Without Ed and Goodbye Ed, Hello Me: Recover from Your Eating Disorder and Fall in Love with Life (McGraw-Hill). She is a contributor to mainstream magazines and collections like the "Chicken Soup” series and is currently writing a book in collaboration with Harvard Medical School. Residing in Austin, Texas, Jenni speaks regularly about eating disorders and recovery on national radio and television, including appearances on "Dr. Phil." She is a consultant with the Center for Change. www.jennischaefer.com
*MentorCONNECT is a non-profit organization and all programs and services are offered on a no-fee basis. To make a tax-deductible donation to support great free events like these, click HERE
This month's questions include:
* Why does ED always have to seduce me into the darkness that is anorexia?
* What if I suck at recovery?
* How can I accept being so far behind in "getting on with my life"?
CLICK HERE for Shannon's responses
Pearl. Air drying au naturel.
The Loud Silver Hawk
My feathery companion does enjoy a good spring (or summer or fall or winter) shower.
The first time I noticed the distinctive avian body language – wings trembling and held slightly away from her body, eyes wide and entreating, body crouched and neck extended forward – I thought she must be begging for something else. Food, a neck scratch, surely not…..a shower?
Yup. My tiny tropical lady ducked under the stream of water like it was an Amazonian waterfall.
What she is not quite as fond of – despite numerous attempts – is the loud silver hawk…aka the hair dryer.
While the obvious discomfort in the pathetic, shivering, wet feathery mess that inevitably emerges after an avian shower seems worth it to Pearl, Mommy has a very hard time watching her go through it.
Hence – the offer of a blow dry.
Pearl shrieks and backs up the moment she sees it come out of the cabinet. The warm draft of air she likes – the mechanism in which it is delivered, not so much.
Not only is there confusion about why the menacing-looking shiny silver thing with the strange call is holding back from finishing off its prey, but the warm drafts of air trigger her innate instinct to take off in flight .... to read the full post click HERE
==> To follow Love & Feathers click HERE
If we are concerned that our sense of wonder has gone missing, all that is needed to test it is a trip to the Grand Canyon. If our mouth falls open in amazement, our sense of wonder is still intact.
Retaining a Sense of Wonder
The older I get, the younger I feel.
And I’m not talking about in my body.
When I was young, I was always teased for being “a little adult”. I was so serious! I didn’t smile much, and I used big words. I’m not sure why I was like this – I just remember feeling very aware of the weight of the world beginning at a very young age. Perhaps I was depressed. Doctors today might be able to figure something like that out, but 35 years ago or so, pediatric medicine wasn’t yet thinking along those lines.
When I was almost 11, I developed anorexia, and then I became serious in earnest. It wasn’t until I reached about age 35 that I started to really lighten up. I guess I just got tired of being such a serious person. One day I discovered how much I loved to laugh, and that it made me feel good when I laughed with others. Suddenly friends (also a commodity in precious short supply until around that time – no real mystery why) started telling me I was funny.
I started to realize they might be right.
Today, I see so clearly how I am like Benjamin Button on the inside. I started out old and serious and as I progress into my 40′s I am year by year becoming younger and more whimsical. These days, I have a deep and delightful dedication to what might be called “retaining a sense of wonder” – or, more accurately, retaining my right to feel and use my long dormant yet still innate sense of wonder.
We all have one – or at least I believe this is true for each human being ..... to read the full blog post, click HERE
==> To follow Mentoring & Recovery click HERE
Help Others Heal by Participating in Life Saving Eating Disorders Research!
MentorCONNECT is proud to be collaborating with one of the world's pre-eminent eating disorder researchers, Dr. Walter Kaye, and his research team at the University of California-San Diego (UCSD).
Dr. Kaye and his team are interested in studying the positive traits of eating disorder recovery and learning from recovered persons how eating disorders develop and what recovering people need in order to heal!
Do You Want to Help Others Heal? Then Read This!
p.s. all expenses are paid and additional compensation is provided for accepted research participants
The Key to Life Store is Designed with YOU in Mind
From "Beating Ana", the first book about connecting and mentoring for recovery, to the "Circle of Hope" pendant that is a constant reminder that none of us have to face hard times all alone, the Key to Life shop has something for all of us. Enjoy beautiful original music written by Shannon, write down your thoughts in the "Beating Ana Journal", and much more!
*Browse the Key to Life Shop now*
Good News is meant to be shared.
Do you know someone who could benefit from an ezine like Good News or a recovery community like MentorCONNECT?
Is your organization looking for a powerful speaker who can empower whole audiences to get excited about tackling personal limitations as opportunities for growth?
Then take one helping of Good News...and pass it on!
Shannon Cutts is the author of Beating Ana: How to Outsmart Your Eating Disorder and Take Your Life Back the first book to address the importance of adding a recovered person, or mentor, to the treatment team. She writes extensively for Bulimia.com, Psych Central, the Huffington Post, and others. Her work has most recently been profiled in Glamour and Woman's Day.
She is also a college circuit speaker who has traveled the country presenting her popular campus program, Beauty Undressed.
Currently Shannon serves as Executive Director for MentorCONNECT: Where Relationships Replace Eating Disorders. MentorCONNECT is the first global eating disorders mentoring community and a registered 501 c-3 nonprofit organization: www.mentorconnect-ed.org. She is widely recognized as the leading national advocate for the value peer mentoring adds to the eating disorders recovery process.
In her free time, Shannon continues to rewrite her own recovery story by enjoying all of the gifts recovery brings, including spending time with family and friends, taking chirping lessons from her pet bird Pearl, soaking up the beauty of nature, listening to STING (and trying to find a way to meet him), and taking extra-special care of her body, mind, heart, and spirit.
For more information about Shannon, please visit her at www.key-to-life.com
For more information about Pearl, please visit her at loveandfeathers.wordpress.com
Until next time...remember this:
There is always a reason to have hope! If I could beat my eating disorder, then YOU CAN TOO.
See you next month with more Good News!
REPRINTS: Would you like to use any portion of Good News in your newsletter, blog or website? You’re welcome to share, but when you do, you must include full copyright permission as stated below:
©2012 Shannon Cutts & Key to Life
Thank you! :-)
ABOUT GOOD NEWS: Good News for Eating Disorders Recovery is a free subscription-only support service of MentorCONNECT, the first global nonprofit eating disorders mentoring community.
NOTE TO SUBSCRIBERS: Information contained in Good News is NOT meant to replace the supervision and care of a qualified medical professional, and should never be construed as such. Shannon Cutts, the MentorCONNECT Leadership Team and Key to Life can NOT be held liable for any activities undertaken as a part or result of receiving or participating in these online communities.
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The hardest challenge is to be yourself in a world where everyone is trying to make you be somebody else. -E.E. Cummings