NONATTACHMENT AND YOUR BODY
One of the most profound uses of not being attached is perhaps one of the hardest areas to apply it: the relationship you have with your body.
If you are having a difficult time with your body, it means you are attached to it being a different way. Your body is not really the problem; it is your resistance to your body and the emotional reaction created by that resistance that causes pain. Although you will get sick of hearing us say it, you are more in control of your happiness and unhappiness in this area than you want to believe. Hopefully this entire 8th Key has given you a glimpse into the reality that true happiness is rarely (if ever) achieved by simply changing something external. We repeatedly see clients lose weight, get liposuction, breast surgeries, and tummy tucks and still hate their bodies, because the real problem is an inside job, not an outside job. Your inner states of consciousness are far more influential than your outer circumstances. The way you experience life is created by the state of mind with which you meet it.
1. How would you feel about and treat your body if you truly practiced acceptance versus resistance?
2. What your life would be like if you woke up one morning and were in total acceptance your body’s natural size and shape?
3. Write about a day in your life living with acceptance rather than resistance to your body.
THE GOOD NEWS AND THE BAD NEWS ABOUT BODY IMAGE
We understand that accepting your body might sound like an impossible task right now, but as you learn, practice, and get healthier, it does get a lot easier. The good news about body image is that you do not have to resolve all your body image issues to recover. In fact, it is very likely that you will continue to encounter some body image issues throughout life. Welcome to living in this culture! You will continue to be exposed to toxic messages about body and weight, and as a sensitive being, it would be hard for you not ever to be affected by it. People without eating disorders have body image issues. The difference between them and you is that when they talk about having body image issues, they do not starve or harm themselves to solve or manage these feelings, nor do they measure their self-worth only by this one aspect of themselves. Learning to accept and respect your body could be one of your biggest challenges and may require ongoing work and attention from you. Being recovered and maintaining a healthy weight will lessen your body image distress and distortion, because it is easier to cope with anything when you have mood stability, emotional regulation, and resiliency. Having a negative body image does not feel good, but just like any other difficult feeling you can get through it without having to act on it.
1. Write down other examples of things you have become attached to.
2. Write down things you can do or say that might help you let go of attachment to the things you listed above.
3. Make a list of the advantages and disadvantages of letting go and not being attached. Carefully go over the list and see if you can now get rid of what at first seemed like disadvantages of letting go.
Practicing all the principles for living: showing up, paying attention, telling the truth without judgment, and not being attached to the results, can be life-altering, and the essence of what we would call being a spiritual person. Being guided by these spiritual principles will not only help you get over your eating disorder, it will also lead you to a more free and soulful life.
ASSIGNMENTS TO HELP YOU REMEMBER AND PRACTICE THE FOUR PRINCIPLES
Create an altar. Drop any old or negative connotations you have for this word, and see what we mean by it. You need only to find a special place in your home where you can put special objects that will serve to remind you on a daily basis of each one of the four principles. Try to find a place that is out of the public way but in an area you wouldfrequent often so you get several reminders. (Tip: Directions for making an altar are described in the 8 Keys secrets but are also easy to look up.)
Write out the four principles on a small piece of paper and carry it in your wallet so you can look at it as a reminder.
Blow up a beautiful photograph that might represent the principles, label it with the principles and find a special place to hang the picture where you see it every day.
Write in your journal about how you are practicing the principles in your life and how doing so is making a difference.
Teach the principles to other people and see how it helps them.
OUR FINAL THOUGHTS
Taking the time to practice mindfulness skills, participate in soul lessons, see things with a beginner’s mind, and bring reverence and sacredness to yourself and those around you will help you create a more spiritual and soulful life. You cannot control everything that happens to you, but you can control how you react to what happens. Living in acceptance helps you decrease needless suffering and let go of unnecessary attachments you may have. This does not mean you have to just sit by and accept everything that happens without ever trying to make changes. It means you first have to pay attention, accept things for what they are, and then determine what you can do. You can live your life in resistance to things or learn when to accept and move on. Letting go of your eating disorder will help you live a more meaningful life and, on the other hand, living a more meaningful life will help you let go of your eating disorder. Both are true and up to you.
After reading through the Keys to recovery, and taking some steps on your own, hopefully you have a better idea of what it might be like for you when, like us, you can look back and see your eating disorder as a thing of the past. When that time comes, you will be recovered. You will no longer have an Eating Disorder Self, but instead will be living your life as a fully whole, integrated person. You will understand your issues, but no longer use eating disorder behaviors to cope. You will feel your feelings and know how to challenge your thoughts. You will eat freely but consciously. You will have no need for scales or diets. You will continue to be aware of and work on any problematic behaviors that need to change. You will get your needs met from your relationships rather than your eating disorder, and live a soul-led life that brings you meaning and purpose.
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