Using Your Imagination as Part of the Recovery Process

Here’s a part of a talk that I gave in Kamuela on the Big Island of Hawaii for the launching of our new treatment program, ‘Ai Pono Kamuela. I thought you might enjoy it.
Using Your Imagination as Part of the Recovery Process
When somebody can get an understanding of the meaning behind their eating behaviors, I see the lights go on in their eyes. I used to call it that, I actually would see it, a little spark. Now because neuroscientists can now map the brain, they know what is going on. There’s a part of your brain, and its right above your right ear called the anterior superior temporal gyrus. What the neuroscientists have discovered, is when somebody gets an insight, when they “get” a metaphor, this part of your brain sends out a burst of gamma waves — 30 milliseconds before you even are conscious of “getting it.”  And Gamma waves are the highest frequency that the brain emits.

I’ve been doing this for years and years, and now the scientists are mapping and able to say yeah, that’s really what’s going on. So the light that I’m seeing is the electrical charge that comes from the anterior superior temporal gyrus. That’s so exciting for me!

I use metaphor because often when somebody is struggling, they have developed the left side of their brain profoundly/ They are so smart and rational and analytical. So, the part of themselves that is hanging onto this eating disorder like nobody’s business has got a gazillion defenses all ready. But if I come in with a story, if I come in with imagery, I’m coming into the right side of the brain. And this is the side of the brain […]

Eating Disorders Fate or Destiny?

There’s a saying that says, don’t get stuck looking at the finger pointing to the moon. Keep your gaze going. Look at the moon.

I love dogs. But dogs don’t typically understand symbolic language. So they’ll look at the finger. Is there a treat? What’s on that finger? They don’t know that this means something. It has meaning. It’s pointing you towards something. We understand that the disorder eating behaviors, they are the finger. And of course, you have to look at it. But, you don’t stop your gaze there, you just keep on going, keep on going, keep on going.

It’s pointing you towards something.
We understand that the disorder eating behaviors, they are the finger.
And of course, you have to look at it.
But, you don’t stop your gaze there, you just keep on going, keep on going, keep on going.

So that you can find out what it’s really pointing you towards. I have discovered after all these years working with folks who struggle, what their eating disorder is truly pointing them towards is their destiny. But, as all the ancient stories and myths tell us, in order to reach your destiny, you first have to face your fate.

Fate is all those things that life gives you that you didn’t ask for: These are your parents. This is your ethnicity; this is your socio-economic group. This is the car accident you had. This is the disease you caught. This is the eating disorder. All these things, that’s your fate.

If you don’t face your fate, you can’t live your destiny. You face your fate, like when somebody goes into recovery for eating disorders, they are raising their hand and saying, I’m facing my fate.

All this stuff […]

The difference between belonging and fitting in.

Here’s part of a talk I gave on the Big Island of Hawaii for the opening of our new ‘Ai Pono treatment program in Kamuela. I hope you enjoy it.

When I first started working with eating disorders, in 1982 in Honolulu, I was supervising a psychology intern who was doing research on the incidence of eating disorders in Hawaii. The two of us would get together, and we would talk about what we were seeing. And a third woman joined us, and she was a social worker who had her own recovery, but she had to figure it out herself. There was nobody to help her. So the three of us would get together and talk about what we were seeing. And every time we got together, we’d say, there is a real problem here. There should be a center for this.

After we had said it for about the fifth time, we looked at each other and laughed — okay, here we are. It was one of those; you build it and they come. And they came. Girls and women of all ages, all sizes, all ethnicities, all different kinds of struggles with eating and their bodies. No guys back in those days. Now, that is starting to change. But back then, no guys showed up.

I was intrigued as we were just trying to figure this out … Now, remember, bulimia didn’t even get diagnosed until 1980. So the field was really quite new.

What I wanted to know was, first of all, why is it females showing up?

Second, of all, why is it these girls and women?

And third, why is there a struggle around food, eating and their bodies?

I’m a storyteller; […]

When no one can understand

Here’s part of a talk I gave on the Big Island of Hawaii for the opening of our new Ai Pono treatment program in Kamuela. I hope you enjoy it.
“Invisible Forces” When no one can understand your eating disorder.
There was once this man, who had black and white cattle. And he loved his cattle so much that he treated them like his own children. Every morning he would go out and he would milk his black and white cattle, and they would give him white frothy milk.

Well, one day, he went out to milk his black and white cattle, and there was no milk. He thought, well that’s weird. The next morning, he went out to milk his black and white cattle again.

Still no milk. So he moved the cattle to a place where the grass is greener, thinking this will solve the problem. Third morning, he goes out to milk his black and white cattle. No milk.

So he says to himself, you know, something is wrong here. I’m going to stay up all night until I can see what it is. And that’s what he did. In the wee hours of the morning, he saw the most amazing site: The heavens opened! And down from the heavens came this huge rope. And climbing down the rope were the most amazing women he’d ever seen. They were carrying calabashes and they took the calabashes and went over to his black and white cattle where they milked the white frothy milk.

Well, the man didn’t care about the milk. These women were the most amazing women he’d ever seen. So he ran towards them and he grabbed one. She shrieked. Calabashes and milk went flying all over […]