With everything that I had going on up until the last minute of my stay at my grandparents‘ house, I suddenly arrived in Landskrona, Sweden, realizing that I hadn’t spent a single thought on the Lemurian Crystal Healing seminar. The one that I was going to participate in. Like, the next day. Usually I spend money on things (including knowledge offered in seminars) I feel I am lacking. So naturally, there is anticipation, there is hope (that this one might be The Thing That Finally Makes Me Happy or The Answer), and therefore also hesitation (what if this is not The Thing That Finally Makes Me Happy or The Answer?).
When I signed up for the Crystal Healer training with Dauri last year, I didn’t know much about crystals or crystal healing, wasn’t even particularly interested in the subject. I signed up simply because I felt it was important (The Path Into Light had shown it as part of my path). Therefore, I had expectations – that it would help me grow, that it was an important part of my journey towards myself, towards becoming the person I wanted to be. (My expectations were fulfilled in ways I could not have imagined, by the way.)
If you think that choice was based on very little, this time I had even less: the Lemurian Crystal Seminar was not something I had foreseen at any point as an important piece of the puzzle of my life. I just had the feeling I should go. When I arrived, I realized something rare: I felt complete. I have been content with myself for a while now, and the periods of me truly feeling at peace with myself and my life keep getting longer and longer. Don’t get me wrong, I am not saying I am perfect – but I feel happy with who I am and where I am headed, and underneath everything I do I feel a certainty that my life is flowing in the right direction on its own accord right now.
This raised some questions that I can’t say I have ever asked myself before: What is the point of healing when you feel whole already? What is there to gain when you feel like nothing is missing? What could possibly be added? The answer is: so much more.
The reason these questions surfaced was that during the seminar we, the participants, gave each other treatments to practice our own techniques. When it was my turn to receive healing, I kept finding myself not knowing what to ask for. And time and time again my healers treated me to incredible gifts.
One of the most significant insights for me this weekend was that the more I allowed myself to accept my state of wholeness, and (I have to admit this one still feels a little difficult to say out loud) my greatness, the easier it got for me to perceive the others‘ wholeness, their greatness, and what incredible healers they were.
We seem to talk about the importance of loving ourselves a lot. I know I have. But we don’t seem to know what we are talking about. Well, I should speak for myself: I had no idea what I was talking about. This past weekend helped me I understand at the deepest level that self-love has nothing to do with narcissism or egotism. On the contrary, as long as we don’t love ourselves, we are constantly burdening others with our craving their approval (or rejection, depends on how you’re wired).
I know what I am talking about: the list of things I have done in my life just because I wanted someone’s respect/attention/praise is long. And it’s not that I never got others‘ approval. I have the grades from high school and university to prove it. Interestingly, all the praise I ever got was never enough. When I was 18, I entered the competition of an acclaimed German paper with an essay. I was among the ten finalists. Wanna know what conclusion I drew from this? I was convinced that I was no good at writing because, you know, I didn’t win. (They even quoted from my essay during the award ceremony. Nope, not good enough …)
This past weekend showed me what self-love does to our relationship with others: It turns out that when we are in that state where we are at peace with ourselves, when we can see what beautiful and powerful beings we are, we suddenly don’t need others to give us what we are denying ourselves. Thus others are suddenly free to be more than a supporting role in the drama that is our life. We are free to see them as the beautiful and powerful beings they are. We are free to interact and communicate on a much deeper level. Our interaction stops being a negotiation, there is no agenda tied to what we have to offer each other. Instead there is light and lightheartedness to our interaction, and ironically it is exactly our not depending on the others‘ acknowledgement that allows us to feel truly seen for who we are. What greater gift could we possibly have for one another?
Yours truly. Photo credit: Sejana
Thank you Dauri, Sejana and Tshira for sharing your light with me – and thank you for making me feel seen at the deepest level.
Yesterday was one of those rare occasions where Peter and I went in to town together. We had an appointment at the homeopath we’ve been seeing for little over a year now. I always feel hopeful after these visits, despite the fact that Peter’s health – for various reasons – so far hasn’t improved since we first started going. Not one bit. What makes me optimistic is that we personally know people with the same issues (electromagnetic sensitivity) who are completely symptom-free today, thanks to this doctor.
We try to make these outings pleasant by doing something „normal“ like eating out, which used to be something we’d enjoy doing (like most couples, I guess). I know that it’s hard for Peter sitting through a meal when the environment is far from ideal with fluorescent lights, wi-fi and people talking and surfing on their cell phones all around. I appreciate that he does it anyway, largely for my benefit.
Yesterday, when we sat there, I thought about what the doctor had said: that he had discovered a mal-function he hadn’t been able to spot before, and that the new treatment should make a difference. That, if he was right, Peter should be able to notice that difference right away. Our next apointment for check-up is in March.
Thinking about the possibility of Peter, if not of being back to „completely healthy“ at least to being better, it made me realized how used I’ve gotten to the craziness we’ve been living with. The concept of us being able to do „regular stuff“ we never used to think about twice (going to the movies! going out for dinner! meeting freinds in town!) seems so out of this world now. It feels unreal that we might get back to that type of normal at all, let alone in the near future.
Peter, as always, managed to point out the most important issue at hand: „What if all this expensive equipment I’m buying today will be completely useless because I’ve gotten well?!“
Yeah, because if you really are going to be well again by March, our biggest priority will be regretting how much money went down the drain on 19 January …
I guess it’s like the doctor said: When we’re ill, we prioritize our health, are willing to put time, effort and money into regaining it. When we’re well, things are just supposed to run smoothely on their own accord.
Here’s to hoping, and to Peter regaining his health. And to remembering the things we do have that are good. Right here, right now.
It has been quiet around here, I know. I think our slow internet connection at home is the main reason, but also I went through a rough patch where I didn’t feel like I had anything to share here. Things have turned around faster than I could have imagined, and I am feeling inspired and determined to breathe some life back into this blog.
We finally finished building our greenhouse last week (no pix yet), and sowed a bunch of vegetables on the patch of land Peter has been preparing – with more help from his family than from me, ehem. I blame the long office days due to the commute … so, thanks Birgitta, Stefan and Felix! The patch shrank somewhat from our original megalomaniac outline when we had to face the reality of the hard physical labor involved when preparing the soil … Pix soon to come.
Also, I seem to have found the holy grail (yup, once again) when it comes to health/nutrition. It comes in the form of two books (by the same genius authors, Dr. Mary Enig and Sally Fallon), namely Nourishing Traditions and Eat Fat, Lose Fat. I know, the latter sounds like it’s just another dieting book but it is really more about health in general than (just) weight loss. Hopefully I can keep the momentum, and write an entry just about those (which is the least they deserve).
In this last part of my little „Feng Shui 101“ it is time for the big reveal. At least it’s big for me. However, I am going to begin with a summary of what I find to be the most important points. So, be patient – or scroll to the end of this article.
With all these personal Kua numbers, lucky and unlucky directions, and houses with back doors things can get pretty complicated: you and your partner/family members/room-mates very likely have different personal Kua numbers, plus the house has lucky and unlucky areas, which in turn might not match your personal areas of benefit/disadvantage.
And that’s not even considering that you might be living in a western house that was not built according to these Feng Shui principles, the toilet might be located in the wealth area, or the only physically possible way to have your bed facing is death … And how could knowing this be of any help?! Isn’t it just making you aware of that you’re doomed? Maybe ignorance is bliss …
Well, that’s not how I read it. From what I understand, it is important to remember that these „lucky“ and „unlucky“ areas/directions by no means equal „destiny“. With the knowledge about these directions, and the knowledge of the Feng Shui teachings, you can optimize the benefit from the „lucky“ areas – and there always seems to be a way to minimize the harm in the „unlucky“ areas.
If your personal beneficial and detrimental directions do not match the ones of your house, the personal ones seem to be more important.
And, maybe most importantly for the „worrier“ in you (that includes me, too): if your place of residence is constructed in a very un-Feng Shui manner, do not get hung up on the fact that your toilet happens to be in the wealth area. Focus on the things that you can do and let the rest go. Again, this is not determining your fate.
Now for the big reveal (for real now): Not only do Peter and I have the same Kua number (7), no – the lucky and unlucky directions of this number are also identical with those of the house (Tui)!!! Once again, I feel like the universe is waving it’s big foamy pointed finger …
At first I didn’t even realize the match between us and the house, I was too busy drawing the floor plan. Then, when I did see it, I thought that it had to be one of those math problems where it turns out that no matter which numbers you fill in, you always end up with the same result. Then I realized that, nope, if the house had been facing a different direction, we would indeed have a different result. So much for not questioning luck.
And just for fun (I really don’t know if this is interesting to anyone but me but anyway): here’s a list of the different rooms and their areas/directions in „our“ house (can’t wait for the day when i can drop the „“):
Entry hall – death: Better than it sounds, since you don’t really use this room for anything, I’ll just put in a bunch of plants, that seems to be a good remedy for most things unlucky. As are toilets, by the way, but I putting in a toilet in each of the four respective unlucky areas doesn’t seem very practical to me …
Staircase/closet – loss & scandal: Also cool with that, for the same reasons. We’ll just keep the closet shut.
Medium bedroom – obstacles, health, harmony: One of our office/guest rooms. Looking good, face desk away from obstacles, towards harmony. Too bad that the window is facing obstacles, I always want my desk by a window, not facing a wall. We’ll see.
Bathroom – harmony: Some might say that’s a waste but, hey.
Living room – harmony, wealth, misfortune, long life (and maybe some death): I think we can work with that.
Front porch (don’t know if it counts) – loss & scandal, death, long life: plants, plants, plants
Staircase – loss & scandal: see above
Hall – death: see above
Master bedroom – obstacles, health, harmony. We should be able to have the head of the bed towards harmony, so I think we’ll be good.
Kitchen – (a little bit of) death, long life, misfortune; with a pantry towards wealth: Well, let’s keep the glass half-full and focus on the pantry in the wealth corner. Long life is where the dining table is placed, so I guess that’s pretty good, too.
Mini-bedroom – harmony: Our second office/guest room. I guess deciding who’s going to want which room will be tough – the harmonious but tiny one or the big one with the obstacle area?
Before I go into the different kinds of houses and their respective beneficial and detrimental areas (according to the compass tradition of Feng Shui), here’s a brief overview over those lucky and unlucky directions/areas:
Lucky directions – and their main benefits
Sheng Chi (Breath Of Life) – wealth/prosperity
Tien Yi (Heavenly Doctor) – health
Nien Yen – long life, also in the sense of many descendants
Fu Wei – complete harmony
Unlucky directions – and their main problems
Ho Hai – bad luck and misfortune
Wu Kwei (Five Ghosts) – obstacles
Lui Sha (Six Killings) – loss and scandal
Chueh Ming (Disaster) – death
Here’s an article, that’s great for a brief overview, if you want to know a little more about these directions: Eight Mansions in Feng Shui.
This page about the Kua number has charts for each of the nine numbers with the respective lucky and unlucky compass points, and how to optimize the benefits and how to do „damage control“ in the harmful areas.
Now for the houses and their lucky and unlucky areas. According to the compass school of Feng Shui, there are eight different types of houses, depending on which compass point the back door is facing. (It doesn’t seem to matter, whether your house actually has a back door, it’s automatically the side opposite the side with the front door.)
The eight kinds of houses and their beneficial/detrimental directions are:
Kan (back door facing north)
most important direction/direction for harmony – north
direction for health – east
direction for long life – south
direction for wealth – south-east
direction for difficulties – west
direction for loss and scandal – north-west
direction for obstacles – north-east
direction for death – south-west
Ken (back: north-east)
most important direction/direction for harmony – north-east
direction for health – north-west
direction for long life – west
direction for wealth – south-west
direction for difficulties – south
direction for loss and scandal – east
direction for obstacles – north
direction for death – south-east
Chen (back: east)
most important direction/direction for harmony – east
direction for health – north
direction for long life – south-east
direction for wealth – south
direction for difficulties – south-west
direction for loss and scandal – north-east
direction for obstacles – north-west
direction for death – west
Sun (back: south-east)
most important direction/direction for harmony – south-east
direction for health – south
direction for long life – east
direction for wealth – north
direction for difficulties – north-west
direction for loss and scandal – west
direction for obstacles – south-west
direction for death – north-east
Li (back: south)
most important direction/direction for harmony – south
direction for health – south-east
direction for long life – north
direction for wealth – east
direction for difficulties – north-east
direction for loss and scandal – south-west
direction for obstacles – west
direction for death – north-west
Kun (back: south-west)
most important direction/direction for harmony – south-west
direction for health – west
direction for long life – north-west
direction for wealth – north-east
direction for difficulties – east
direction for loss and scandal – south
direction for obstacles – south-east
direction for death – north
Tui (back: west)
most important direction/direction for harmony – west
direction for health – south-west
direction for long life – north-east
direction for wealth – north-west
direction for difficulties – north
direction for loss and scandal – south-east
direction for obstacles – south
direction for death – east
Chien (back: north-west)
most important direction/direction for harmony – north-west
While we were up in Sundsvall, Peter found this Feng Shui book at one of the second-hand places. The discoveries we’ve made about „our“ house (and ourselves) are just uncanny. In a good way!
OK, I don’t know all that much about Feng Shui, and from what I gather so far it’s a rather complex teaching of energy flows, going way beyond the home decorating stuff that „we Westerners“ associate it with. So I am going to worm my way out of explaining it to you by recommending you do some research of your own, if you’re interested in the details.
I am just going to touch on the things related to our discoveries about us and the house, hoping I will get some of it right. So, here goes nothing. Oh yeah, the book is Feng Shui (totally makes the search for it easy … not) by Lillian Too. It’s from the 1990ies, so the pictures and illustrations don’t always appeal to me (weird, I grew up in the nineties!?) but anyway.
According to the Pa Kua and Lo Shu tradition of Feng Shui, there is this thing called Kua number. This number is determined by your sex and your birth year, and it gives you information about the which of the compass points are beneficial respectively detrimental for you.
Ok, here it comes: I am pretty sure that we found our little corner of the world, our little farm in the prairie, the place where the heart is – you know: home.
I’ve actually felt that way ever since we saw it, which is how it’s supposed to start, right? By „saw it“ I mean the real thing, not the pictures, those gave me very mixed vibes: kitchen on the second floor? Weird, completely out of context wild west type front porch? What’s up with that? But apple trees, and a creek running through the yard! Plus, the price was right, too!
I am not the type to hold back on making (premature) announcements for fear of jinxing anything, I just say it how it is: that I think this is what’s going on but that it’s not a done deal yet. So, although everything isn’t settled yet, here is the story of our dream house and some pix thus far. It’s been quite a ride already …
It started with Peter’s mom, who obviously knew about our quest for a different place to live. One day in May we received an e-mail from her, saying that one of her colleagues wanted to sell a house. I already mentioned the pictures attached to that e-mail, and like I said, I was not sold right away. And anyways, moving back up north wasn’t really what we had had in mind, either. We wanted to stay at a distance from Gothenburg that would allow us to come visit regularly, and keep our circle(s) of friends! Also, when looking on the phone provider’s map of cell phone towers in the area, it wasn’t looking too hot, either … (no, not too few – too many, but that’s a story for another time). On top of it, we were supposed to make a fast call, since the owner had been trying to seel the house for a year, and was about to hand it over to a real estate agent, meaning a higher starting price plus a possible bidding war … So, yeah, we were doubtful.
At this point, I feel like I should insert a short lesson on Swedish geography, which makes the pickle we found ourselves in understandable:
Sweden is a long country. A very long country.
The drive from Gothenburg (which is where we live right now) to Sundsvall (where Peter’s family lives, and where the house is) takes nine hours.
The place in Dalarna, where the family reunion for summer solstice was held, is a six-hour drive from Gothenburg, and a three-hour drive from Sundsvall.
We decided to take the „real estate agency risk“, and stick with our original plan to go check out the house after the family reunion. If the house was truly supposed to be ours, it would wait for us. If it suddenly, after being up for sale for a year, would find new owners, it just wasn’t meant to be. And like I said: we had had our doubts anyway, so we were mainly going to look at it so that we wouldn’t end up asking ourselves „What if …?“
Well, since I already spoiled it for you, the question at this point obviously isn’t whether this house turned out to be a „yay“ or a „nay“. I suppose you are more interested in how it went from „Hm“ to „Home!“.
Since it was on the way in to Sundsvall (the house is actually located in a village about 40 minutes outside), and Peter had spotted it’s location on the map, we decided to stop and sneak a peek from the outside. In all fairness: I wasn’t all that willing to make another stop, there had been so many delays and pit-stops on the way, and it was getting late. But we did, and my instant feeling was „This is where I want to live, we have to buy this house!“. It just felt right.
Just the area we drove through to get there was really beautiful: very rural, hills/small mountains with lakes in between, forest and fields, beautiful „old school“ farms and houses. The last bit of the way to the house is a dirt road, giving it that remote feel that I have been longing for.
We almost missed the house, there are bushes ans trees surrounding its property, which is also perfect. We recognized it by it’s „trademark“ – that funky front porch.
What I was iffy about when i saw the pictures suddenly came through – this place was really charming! The little creek (coming from a pond where apparently you can go fishing) was running through the land behind the house. A small bridge was leading across it, and on the other side stood the barn – also part of the property. In front of the barn was even a little decking, so I immediately saw myself sitting there, having dinners in the evening sun, enjoying the beautiful view over the field of the neighboring farm.
All curtains were closed, so we couldn’t get a look at the inside but that didn’t change me feeling that we’d come to a good place was. What followed was a major fight, what else. I guess my all out exhilaration and unreserved euphoria brought out the opposite in Peter. In an attempt to get my head out of the clouds (not a deliberate one, I would say, it felt more like an instinctive, compulsive pessimism at the time …), he went right to the opposite end of the scale. Well, if his intentions had been to prevent me from getting my hopes up too high, he certainly succeeded. It seemed like the life I had been picturing was never going to be possible with „Mr. Monday“ …
The ride into Sundsvall started out fast and furious (I was driving, still completely pissed) but despite all the „You always …“ and „You will never …“ we somehow managed to smoothe things over, and make it home in one piece. At night, I started having second thoughts of my own. Was this really it? The property did seem awfully small in retrospect, and half the point of moving to the country-side was to grow our own vegetables, possibly have hens and goats and whatnot! Yet I was also a bit worried about the fact that a real estate agency actually had become involved. We had seen an ad for the house in the local paper – already at a slightly higher asking price!
The next day, Peter’s mom arranged for us three to meet her colleague/friend at the house so we could get a look at the inside. No disappointments here. Sure, it was going to be work but we had wanted a project – nothing too advanced but still something we would make our own. Again, it seemed like we had come to the right place.
Regardless of what we want to do with this one (a summer cottage is my vision …) or when, we’re going to have to start out by doing damage control and take out the flooring
The best part was, that there was still a lot of old, charming details left:
The owner (rather, the daughter of the owners who’s managing the sale) was kind enough to let Peter and me borrow the key so that we could stay the night.
Why did we want to do that? Well, there is one issue that has made this quest for a place to live more than a life dream, and which overrules all our opinions, desires and reason: Peter is hypersensitive to electromagnetic fields. That can mean all kinds of things, in his case (and I am simplifying here), any sort of wireless signals (cell phones and cell phone towers, wireless internet, cordless phones, etc.) cause him physical pain. That obviously makes everyday life, uhm, a challenge. It gets even more confusing when you add to that that it takes his body a while to adjust to different environments. Meaning, while it obviously is worst when he is exposed to a lot of electro-magnetic signals, his body does get used to that situation, the pain becomes kind of a background noise. When he’s in an environment where there are very few emitters of electromagnetic signals, he feels a lot better – but just one device suddenly popping up can make the pain seem a lot more piercing.
He usually explains it with this metaphor: If you’re in a room full of people smoking, you stop noticing the fume after a while, and it won’t bother you (if you even can tell) when one additional cigarette is being lit. However, if you are in a place where nobody smokes, one cigarette being lit might bother you a lot, while technically, it is probably a lot less healthy for you to be in the room full of smokers.
So, perception is relative – but the health factor isn’t, which makes things very complicated. In an environment with few sources of electromagnetic signals (gosh, I am really bad with the terminology stuff, sorry to all of those who know better, feel free to correct me!), the one neighbor that is surfing the internet wireless, can pretty much make it impossible for us to live there. Let alone the cell phone towers that might be put up in the area, since that’s where we’re heading.
The house we’re interested in buying is fairly isolated, with only four neighbors at an ok distance – except for one, which is only about 25 yards away. The two times we were there for maybe an hour or so each, Peter felt good. But as hopefully has become clear, that’s not really enough. Therefore we asked to sleep there.
We drove back to Sundsvall to get our sleeping bags, and on the way back out, we saw the most amazing sun set:
We slept well that night – and we hadn’t even brought the silver net which we usually have up to shield Peter/us! Oh yeah, and it turned out that the contract with the real estate agency hadn’t been signed yet, so the owners could back out of that deal, meaning no competition for us, lower price, yet more money for the owners. Yup, the universe was definitely waving numerous of those giant foam hands, all pointing at that house.
Good things just kept coming: Peter’s sister and her husband came out to meet us the next morning. They had bought a house of their own a few years back, so they could give us advice and opinions that backed up our gut feeling (yeah, it turned out that Peter really did like this house, too, he was just more hesitant to express that in the beginning). The day after that, Peter’s aunt and uncle came to visit, and they have fixed up quite a few houses over the years, so their approval meant a lot.
We started looking up all that fun stuff that comes with these kind of endeavors – bank loans (both unemployed right now, yikes), jobs, costs and waiting time for an „official“ expert to give the house a check-up … the works.
Then the time came to return to Gothenburg, and so much had happened during that one week – we really were only gone from Thursday to Thursday!? – that it felt like months. Suddenly our outlook on the future had shifted from „What are we going to do? Where are we supposed to live? How are we ever going to figure this out?“ to „This is it!“.
And then, just as sudden, we hit a brick wall, and the whole thing came to a screeching halt: it looked like it would not be possible for us to have telephone, let alone internet there. I probably don’t need to point out that that is a terrifying prospect for someone who cannot use cell phones or wireless internet … Surely, this could not be happening??? How could the perfect house for us suddenly be brought down by (the lack of) a cable?
As absurd and unfathomable as that seemed, it looked like all the spots in the box that supplies the phone lines to the households in one area where taken up. And since the trend is towards wireless, the phone companies do not put any resources into expanding there … So, if we wanted to live there, we would apparently be „incommunicado“ indefinitely. Welcome to the absurd life of electromagnetic-hypersensitive people and their loved ones.
Anyway, don’t want to bore you with the details of this odyssey that had Peter in a loop, being sent back and forth between different companies. I’ll just skip right to the status quo: there seemed to have been a computer error, marking that box „no vacancy“ when there was just some other defect. Technical folks are heading out to the house on Tuesday, where Peter’s sister will let them in so they can check out what’s really going on. For now I am optimistic that we might be able to avoid total solitary confinement …
Without meaning to, this post somehow turned from „The house of my dreams“ into „My life with my electromagnetic-hypersensitive boyfriend“. Well, I hope you can embrace the eclecticism. Here, have another picture of the beautiful sunset:
A lot has been going on. It’s hard to put in words, I have been re-writing this sentence several times now. Part of me wants to tell the whole story, another part doesn’t think it’s relevant for anyone but me (maybe that’s true, or maybe that’s just the part talking that is reluctant to show itself for what it is).
Waking my demons
The short version is: The circumstances in my life – less than two weeks away from unemployment, a long week at work coming up involving travel, and spiritual growth – have awoken an old demon: my eating disorder (binge-eating). It hasn’t been this bad since university, in some respects it’s even worse. For several weeks now it has been a daily struggle („struggle“ seems like a euphemism since I haven’t had much fight in me it seems), I have even gone and bought stuff I craved, which I never ever have done before.
Practical remedies for when you feel weak
I think I know what the underlying issue is here: and old karmic trauma, the memory of which I recently conjured when I made a wish. I do want to get into that at some point but right now I want to focus on the symptoms. For while I believe that my best chances of overcoming this self-destructive habit is by dealing with the issues I am trying to distract myself from with it, I also feel a need for something more hands-on, a lower obstacle. Because honestly: sometimes the advice „Well then just don’t give into these cravings, and you’ll find out what’s really the issue“ is just not practical. If it were easy, or if I felt that strong, I probably wouldn’t be in this situation in the first place.
This is the part I want to share with you not just because it helps me writing about these things but because I think that the information I came across this afternoon is helpful to anyone with an eating disorder/an unhealthy relationship to food (just out of curiosity, are there any people left who have a healthy one?).
An Ayurvedic approach to eating disorders
I remembered some of the Ayurveda books I read also mentioned eating disorders as symptoms of dosha imbalances (I wrote about Ayurveda and its terminology before, click on the category „Ayurveda“ or scroll down to the relevant links if you want to know more). So I tried to find books with an Ayurvedic perspective on eating disorders. Once again I am grateful for the internet, and people sharing their work there so generously. I found a very informative article (please note that all facts I’ll be stating are from that article, unless otherwise marked):
It uses a lot of Ayurveda terminology, so I am trying to make this a sort of easy to understand summary. I encourage you however to read the original article in any case. There are lots of cases to illustrate the technicalities, and also because I will (for obvious, selfish) reasons mostly be going into the things that pertain to my situation, since those caught my eye.
Some basic insights
Let’s start from the beginning:
Eating disorders (anorexia nervosa, bulimia, overeating) are related to stress and/or food allergies.
How we react to stress in our eating habits depends on our individual constitution (dosha – Vata, Pitta or Kapha).
Bad choices regarding food may stem from lack of education (meaning: we just don’t know any better than to eat they way we were taught as children), and for some (especially Pitta) they are a way to cope with trauma.
I am a Pitta-Kapha (right now with a severe Kapha imbalance, I’d say). For me, just recognizing myself in a lot of the symptoms stated in this article helps. Heck, just reading that
Vata types are prone to anorexia/bulimia and tend to forget to eat,
Pitta cannot skip meals and has a tendency to sugar addiction,
Kapha easily puts on weight and is inclined to overeating
is huge! It takes away the feeling of personal guilt, and shifts the perspective to „This is how I as a Vata/Pitta/Kapha person react to stress, now let’s see what can be done about that“.
There is no „one size fits all“ solution
I have been praising Ayurveda for its individualistic approach in probably every article I wrote, and I find myself wanting to stress this crucial point once again: what is great about Ayurveda is that it does not claim to offer a universal solution. What is good for you always depends on who you are, therefore any „‚one size fits all‘ approach“, as Alakanda Devi puts it, is bound to set you up for failure. Unless, of course, you just happen to be the right person for the method but I’d prefer finding the right method for me …
Like increases like
Although there are no universal remedies, Ayurveda knows of certain universal principles. One of them is: like increases like. Often times like is also attracted to like, which is highly relevant when it comes to eating disorders. For according to Devis article, some eating disorders are the result of food allergies, and once recognized as such can be (relatively) easily cured.
For example, Kapha types are often (or more often than other types) allergic to wheat, gluten, and cow dairy. The „like increases like“ and „like is attracted to like“ explains why someone can be craving food that is actually bad for them. Various readings and nutrition experiments have led me – time and time again – to the conclusion that I am better off skipping sugar, dairy, and carbs (mainly wheat/gluten). Yet when I have cravings, I want ice-cream, cereal with lots of milk, and bread with cheese. Now I know why. (I kind of want to put sugar in a separate category because it seems like it works more like drug. Some say that refined sugar isn’t good for anyone, especially not the amounts we are used to consuming nowadays, others say that only certain people are more sensitive to its negative effects – either way, I’m it, I guess.) I know that cutting out the foods that are bad for me does not help with the psychological aspect of my eating disorder – but I imagine that for someone whose problems with eating are the result of an (undetected) food allergy, this information is really a big piece of the puzzle.
I think my Kapha is out of balance …
Even before I read this article I had been observing myself and recognizing certain tendencies which just seemed to have „excess Kapha“ written all over them:
I have been feeling very tired, pushing my getting-up time gradually to way into the Kapha or even Pitta phase of the day.
I have been feeling heavy, and at the same time craving foods with that exact quality (peanut butter with honey turned out to be my no. 1 poison, not to give you any ideas …), which made me feel even heavier – both principles, „like is attracted to like“, and „like increases like“ working at their utmost here.
My cravings and the binges have been at their worst at night, between 6 pm and 10 pm, which is the second Kapha cycle of the day (despite the knowledge of the different dosha cycles, I had not been able to connect the dots previous to reading Devi’s article, so thanks for that!).
I have been lazy, not exercising at all, basically the thought of physical labor could make me feel exhausted.
There is a lot more in that article but this seems like a good place to stop for now.
Now that I have realized all this, what am I to do with this?
First of all, like I mentioned in the beginning, just having this information and recognizing myself in the symptoms/cases described makes me feel like a weight has been lifted off me. Apart from dealing with the underlying issue, which may seem daunting and hard to grasp at times, there are „hard facts“. There are factors that contribute to me going on binges, and factors that can make it easier to withstand them. Those seem more tangible, easier to change, even when I don’t feel strong enough to deal with the big picture.
Once again, it’s the little things – baby steps.
Like being aware of the fact that it’s not necessarily just a question of willpower and discipline whether I can withstand cravings at night but that the Kapha dominance during these hours is a contributing factor. So I prepare myself for the risk, and find something to do to take my mind off of food – like writing this post.
I am reminded of the impact that sugar, wheat, and dairy have on me – not only on my physical well-being but also emotionally. This makes me feel motivated to try and make more deliberate choices about what I eat. I try to focus on what is good for me, and what I enjoy eating instead of thinking of it as „All the things I’m not allowed“. This is a tricky one since I am never oblivious as to whether what I eat is good for me or not …
Exercising helps reduce Kapha – as with everything, I am going to try and set the bar as low as possible, and raise it gradually (I tend to set my goals to high, get frustrated by failure, and respond by giving up completely). Going for an hour long walk every day seems do-able.
I want to try and see my cravings as something positive: after all, they are undeniable hints of something being awry. In my quest to find out my what my issues are, what it is that I am so afraid of to surface that I need to stuff it down with vast amounts of food, there is one fail-proof way of finding out: not giving in to the cravings, and seeing where that leads me. Like I said before, this is the hardest part.
I want to get better at asking for help. Both friends and the universe in my morning meditation.
Going to see to it that I get back to getting up early again.
More practical advice
Here’s another site with a few more hands-on things to do, e. g. different yogi techniques, which I want to try:
5 Healthy Weight Loss Tips from Ayurveda – More weight loss stuff. I am actually proud of myself for not even having tried hard to not make this the focus of this post (gee, that was a lot of negatives). And the fact that I am finally at a point where weight loss isn’t my main concern anymore (although claiming that it isn’t a concern at all would be a lie, sadly).
6 Safe & Natural Weight Los Solutions – again, dumb title, not so sure about some of the advice (drinking hot water with honey? From what I understand honey has the same effect as sugar, so probably a red flag for me) but most of it sounds pretty good to me, especially the meditations and yoga exercises.
11 Guidelines for eating healthy | Guide on how to eat right – This is straight up Ayurveda, you can probably find this in every book on the subject. I should print these out and put them up somewhere to remind myself. Very basic, very true – often times hard to abide by because we’ve overwritten this common sense (for that is really what this, or anything Ayurveda, is) with other rules.