Use your curiosity; not your judgment

Use your curiosity; not your judgment
Hello, Dr. Anita Johnston here.

I am in Epidaurus, Greece, which seems like the perfect place to tell you this story.

Once upon a time, high up on Olympus, the gods and goddesses gathered to create a new creature for earth – a woman. “A woman! A woman!” they said excitedly. Let’s name her Pandora, which means “the gifted” and “the all-giving”.

Athena, the goddess of wisdom, breathed the life force into her, and gave her a soul, which contained the wisdom of the ages for guidance and creativity.

Aphrodite, the goddess of love, stepped forward and said, “I will give her the gift of beauty and vibrant sensuality. She will have uninhibited sensual desire, and a captivating beauty, which will allow hearts to open in her presence.”

Apollo said, “I’ll give her music. She will be able to give and receive joy through song and dance as she celebrates life itself.”

Hermes, the messenger god, said, “I’ll give her the ability to communicate. She will be able to listen without judgment, and use her words eloquently, and speak her truth clearly, kindly and honestly.”

Hephaestus, the blacksmith of the gods, began to fashion a body for her using water and earth; creating a three-dimensional container that was strong enough to serve as a vessel for her consciousness. He said, “I will give her the three dimensions of height and weight and depth.” He began to forge a dazzlingly beautiful body with gorgeous curves and rounded features, the likes of which had never been seen before – a woman’s body.

When Hephaestus had completed her body, Hera (interestingly enough, the goddess of marriage), gave her a most interesting gift, which she placed in the very core of […]

From Girlhood to Womanhood Rituals

From Girlhood to Womanhood Rituals
Hello, Dr. Anita Johnston here. I’m in Athens, Greece. Right now, I am at the sanctuary for Artemis. Artemis was the goddess of young children, and animals, and especially the maidens. In this particular sanctuary, the story goes, Athena had Agamemnon’s children steal an effigy of Artemis so that they could come here and build this sanctuary for Artemis.

Here, young girls, maidens who were ready to become women, would come here to worship Artemis and have special rituals. They had their coming of age rituals right here at this spot. We are talking about 700 BC, so a long, long time ago. What’s really special about that, is it tells us that there was a time, an ancient time, when the transition from girlhood to womanhood was sacred. There was a goddess that honored that, and there were rituals for the girls to participate in as they moved from the body of a girl into the body of a woman.

Now imagine what this would mean for us nowadays, because we don’t have rituals like that in our modern culture.

We don’t have ways of honoring, probably the most profound transition that is ever made – from girlhood to womanhood.

We are just really left to our own devices.

Nowadays, the only ritual that we have is dieting, because there is no other way of recognizing and honoring this most profound and sacred transition.

Many of us are left with body shame, because there are two kinds of secrets: those that are sacred and those that are shameful. In the absence of the sacred, we are left with shame. So many of us that grew up in this modern culture, have no way to recognize […]

Imagine telling your story – your healing story

Imagine telling your story – your healing story
Dr. Anita Johnston here, and I am in Delphi, Greece.

I am just getting ready to climb the Sacred Way, where the ancient Greeks came for eons to see the Oracle.

In those days, The Oracle was the equivalent of what we might consider a therapist. They would come to visit the Oracle, especially those for whom it was really the last ditch effort in their search for healing. Of course now, the Oracles, didn’t give the answers to the problems for healing, just as therapists don’t. They gave a riddle. The riddle then would be interpreted in terms of how you understood it. You would give it your own meaning, so that the answer, the correct answer, was inside of you. Very much like how we view recovery today.

Here the Greeks used theater for healing, because they understood that there is healing in the stories themselves. Just like today, we might use fairy tales or folk tales to take the images into the deepest part of our being. The Greeks understood this, so they told their stories, and they told their Greek myths, in service of healing the psyche.

Now check out this theater. You can see where people would come and sit. They would watch the plays; they would watch the performances; and then, find some way to make some meaning of all of that in their own lives. Just as we have to watch the play that is our lives, and see if we can come up with what the true meaning is for us.

Can you imagine the stories here? The tragedies? The comedies? All of us, it is we who get to decide what […]

Recovery Story

Recovery Story
I’m in Athens, Greece, and I have a story to tell you. I have a healing story to tell you. I am meeting with a young woman. Her name is Lise. She contacted me about a week or so ago. She lives in Germany and she said that she saw on my website that I would be doing a workshop in Greece. She was wondering if she could meet me because she wanted to tell me her story.

Her story is that, as a girl, she developed an eating disorder. My book had been published in German, and so she came across my book. It gave her so much hope for help, that she went to her parents and asked for them to help her get some treatment for her eating disorder. They weren’t willing to do that – no matter what she said, no matter what she tried. Now, I’m not recommending this, but she ran away from home. She took with her her dog-eared, underlined copy of Eating in the Light of the Moon, which was the German version of it. She did find help. Not that the book alone helped her recover, but she found help for her recovery. She is totally recovered now, and is a filmmaker. She has made some amazing films. I know, because she has sent them to me, and they’re really brilliant.

Now she wants to do a film about recovery. She had in mind the possibility that she would find her way to Hawaii, where she would meet up with me, and then she saw that I was going to be in Greece. She contacted me. She said, “Please, can we just meet? I know that […]