Understanding the Communication from Our Unconscious Mind

Understanding the Communication from Our Unconscious Mind
Hello, Dr. Anita Johnston here. I'm in Palau, Nikko Bay and I'm about ready to go diving into an underwater garden and I'm taking you with me. One of the rock islands stands alone but there's a whole cluster of them surrounded by coral reefs, which are amazing. This one is called Rembrandt's Cove.

Diving underwater feels so much to me like descending into a dream. The laws of the universe don't seem to apply here. Gravity is different. Time gets altered. Sounds have another frequency and words show up as internal dialogues in my own mind. Actually, beneath the water is a fantastic and beautiful world depending entirely on an unusual complex web of interrelationships between plants and animals.

This entire reef has been formed very slowly over thousands and thousands of years through an interesting partnership between huge colonies of diverse coral animals that come in all shapes and sizes and they partner with the green algae, a tiny plant that lives in the tissues of the coral animal. The algae uses photosynthesis to provide nutrients and oxygen for the coral and the coral provides a protective environment for the algae and the carbon dioxide it needs to consume. It is the algae that gives the corals the brilliant colors that we see.

While in normal conditions the coral and the algae coexist in a mutually beneficial relationship but when the coral is stressed by the water becoming too warm or excessively low tides, for example, it dispels the algae cells and turns white. If the disruption of the coral/algae symbiosis occurs for too long a period of time it can be disastrous and even lead to the death […]

The Love Food PodCast With Julie Duffy Dillon

The Love Food PodCast With Julie Duffy Dillon
I was recently interviewed by Julie Duffy Dillon on the  Love Food Podcast episode 68. 

Do you consider food to be your enemy or a waste of time? Are you tired of struggling with body image, yo-yo dieting, and food hate? Do you desperately want to embrace intuitive eating, but are too afraid of leaving behind the safety of an eating disorder? Listen now for a breakdown of how to confront these common food peace dilemmas.

Key Points of the Podcast:

We live in a world of PARADOX… it’s about food, but it’s also not about food at the same time!!
So how are our food issues not about food? This struggle is a messenger to let us know that there are other issues going on in our lives… what other hungers are we starving for??
What is the symbolic nature of our food struggle? If we struggle with food restriction, it’s important to look at other areas in our lives where we are restricting. If we struggle with binge eating, it’s important to ask where else we feel scarcity in our lives.
How do we create a peace-keeping force in our lives? We explore compassionate curiosity, rather than judgment.
The foundation to food peace is compassionate curiosity!!
How do we discern our symbolic hungers??
First we need to change our patterns in our lives… then we can tackle the patterns in our relationship with food.
So how do we crack the code on our food behaviors??
Sugary foods usually indicate that we are needing sweetness in our lives, either from ourselves or others.
Salty and crunchy foods generally indicate repressed anger and frustration.
Warm foods mean we are yearning for […]

Balance in Recovery

Balance in Recovery
Hello. Dr. Anita Johnston here, and I am at Nikko Bay in Palau, in the backyard of my very, very dear friend, Cliff, who goes paddleboarding in probably the most beautiful, pristine water in the world. The key, clearly, to paddleboarding, is

The key, clearly, to paddleboarding, is balance.

But here's the thing.
It's not simply about balance.
It's about pleasure.
It's about the joy of living your dreams.

Cliff is living his dreams, and this is what he does every day, right outside his back porch, in his backyard. Now, not all of us get to live this kind of dream, and nor should we, because we all have different kinds of dreams. Each of our dreams is unique unto ourselves, but the key for all of them is to find the balance. The balance in your life between what it is you need to do in order to achieve your dreams, and, then, how to enjoy the process.

You see, that's the case for recovery as well.

Because in order to recover, it does require a certain kind of balance between doing what you need to do (that may not feel really great in the moment) and making sure that you’re also focused on what brings you joy.

Because you know how you want your life to be, because you have a dream for things being better, you do what needs to be done, and (here’s where the balance comes in) you also do what brings you joy.

So, the process then becomes one of saying Yes.
Saying yes to your future dreams and also allowing time in the present moment to enjoy what life has to bring.

It's a bit of a paradox. A paradox that requires balance, because […]

The extraordinary changes that mark the change from girlhood to womanhood.

The extraordinary changes that mark the change from girlhood to womanhood.
Hello. Doctor Anita Johnston here and I am in Palau right now.

Wait, where is Palau? Well, Palau is south of Guam. Where is Guam? Well, both Guam and Palau, are part of the Micronesian islands. Polynesia, which most people know about, includes Hawaii and Tahiti. Then there's Melanesia, which is near where New Guinea is, and then there's Micronesia which means little islands — and there are lots of them. Palau is about 7 degrees north of the equator. Guam is about 14 degrees north of the equator and Hawaii about 22. To get to Palau, you go to Hawaii and then to Guam and then you turn left and go south and you get to Palau.

Now, the thing about Palau is I think it's the most beautiful place on the planet. The islands are pristine. The water! The water feels like silk on your skin and is crystal clear. And the corals are brilliant and amazing. Culturally, however, Palau is a really interesting place. One of the things I find most compelling is that they still have rituals for girls when they have their first menstrual cycle. And they celebrate many of the phases that women typically go through.

One of the things I find most compelling is that they still have rituals for girls when they have their first menstrual cycle. And they celebrate many of the phases that women typically go through.

When a woman gives birth for the first time, it's extraordinary what they do. They cover her body in oil and turmeric so that her skin shimmers. There's dancing and celebration. And, when a girl goes into menarche, which is the […]

There’s meaning to what you eat!

There’s meaning to what you eat
Hello Dr. Anita Johnston here.

I’m at the Little Theater in Epidaurus and I’m going to tell you the story about Demeter & Persephone.

There were once these two goddesses.
Demeter was the mother goddess, and her daughter’s name was Persephone.

The story goes that they were very, very close. They did everything together; they went everywhere together. One day, they were out in a meadow and they were picking some flowers. As Demeter turned her back to reach for some flowers, Persephone was reaching for a (get this), narcissist flower. Just in that very moment, the earth ripped open and up came Hades with a chariot being pulled by four black horses. He snatched Persephone and took her into the Underworld. Demeter turned around and said, “Where’s my daughter? Where’s Persephone? She’s gone!” She was frantic.

She went to all the gods and goddesses and said, “Have you seen Persephone? Persephone’s gone!” The gods and goddesses said, “We don’t know.” She went to Zeus, who was the king of the gods. Zeus said, “I don’t know where she is. I don’t know!”, which really wasn’t true because Zeus had had a part in all of this. He knew that she was in the Underworld with Hades.

Demeter fell into a huge depression. She was so upset; she could not get over the loss of her daughter. Demeter (whose name in Roman times was Ceres), was the goddess of the grain and the harvest (which is where we get our word for cereal). She was so full of despair, that as a result, the trees stopped producing fruits. The olive trees were no longer bringing forth any olives. The grasses were not producing any grains. […]

Healing by telling your story

Healing by telling your story
Hello Dr. Anita Johnston here.

I am at the theater in Epidaurus, the great healing center. This amphitheater could seat 14,000 people. From the very top of this amphitheater, you can see how vast it is. The acoustics are such that all the way down in the center, they say you can hear a penny drop.

You can imagine what it would be like to be there and find your voice at the very center of the amphitheater, where the orators would stand – where you could come to find your voice, to speak the truth (the truth that lies deep inside of you).

The Greeks understood that healing begins with the truth, and having a sacred place where you could stand and find the truth that lay deep inside of you.

They would gather in the circle.

They understood that the archetype of the circle provided a container – a container that would give safety, and where you could speak your truth surrounded by those who were willing to listen, by those who were willing to hold what you had to say as sacred.

This is where healing would begin – by being able to find your voice. Being able to be heard. Being able to speak your truth, and tell your story, so that all aspects of your being could come together in the wholeness that was symbolized by the circle.

Allow yourself to imagine. Imagine finding your voice and speaking your truth. So that you can become healed and whole.

So thank you for joining us at the Light of the Moon Cafe at the Epidaurus Theatre, in Epidaurus, Greece. We hope to see you next time!

I would love to hear […]

Your Unconscious Mind

Your Unconscious Mind
Hello, Dr. Anita Johnston here.

I am here in Greece at the Sunken City. Somewhere beneath that water is a city, and I am going to take you with me as I go looking for it. Somewhere out there is a 5,000 year old city that was sunk by an earthquake many years ago.

I am going down in search of the Sunken City.

Amazing! The Sunken City is right here — close to shore. Strangely enough, the search I am on is not unlike the search for recovery from eating difficulties. To get lasting recovery, you have to be willing to dive deep down into the depths of your psyche, not sure what you will find, but somehow knowing there is something important there for you to see, that will bring you a greater depth and breadth of understanding. Not just about why you struggle with food and eating, but also who you are, and where you come from, and most importantly, about where you are headed in this journey through life.

Look at this ancient city that was submerged 5,000 years ago! You can see the remnants of rooms and walls that were inhabited long, long ago. This is not unlike our psyches, and our symptomology. They have a history. We have ancestors whose DNA we carry. We have layers and layers of memories of past experiences from our childhoods that have been revised over time, just as this city now has walls that have become floors that sea urchins attach to and fish swim around. This happens in our psyche whether we know it or not.

We all have an unconscious mind. An unconscious mind is that aspect of ourselves that we are not […]

Stay Connected to Your True Values

Stay Connected to Your True Values
Hello, Dr. Anita Johnston here.

I am at the Acropolis in Athens, Greece where the columns of statues of six women remind me of the story of Lysistrata. For thousands of years there have been many performances at this theater of Dionysis. And Lysistrata would have been one of them.

Imagine you are an Athenian woman in 403BC and you are about to watch a comedy here by the famous playwright, Aristophenes called Lysistrata.

The story is about a woman named Lysistrada who took it upon herself to come up with a creative plan to end the 25 year long war which had pitted the Pelopennesian cities of Greece against each other.

Her plan? To convince the women of Spartus, of Thebes, and the other cities to withhold sex from the men until they ended their fighting. While resistant initially, they eventually agreed – and while they were offering a bowl of wine to the Goddess of Reconcilliation they heard the sounds of the older women who had joined them in this plan who were capturing the Acropolis.

The Acropolis was the fortress that housed the financial treasury of Athens. With this take-over – there would be no funds available to continue the war. There is a scene where the decrepit, misogynistic old men start fires and try to smoke out the old women – but they just laugh and pour water on their fires – eventually defeating them and dousing them with icy water.

Through-out the play there were 2 choruses – the voices of the older men and the older women that sang back and forth, and there were funny sexual antics on stage between the men and the women – where the […]

A tale of healing

A Tale of Healing
Hello, Dr. Anita Johnston here.

I am at the theater of Epidaurus, the epic healing center of the world.

Imagine it is the year 400 BC, and you are an Athenian woman in Ancient Greece seeking healing. In your lifetime, you have witnessed some amazing things – the ascension of the Athenian empire, the establishment of democracy, the medicine of Hippocrates, the production of Oedipus Rex, the call to know thyself by a philosopher named Socrates, the building of the Parthenon.

But, you have also seen this golden age collapse in the horrors of war that pitted Peloponnesian cities against each other. You have experienced the agony of a plague that has killed too many family and friends. You have grown weary of your values being disregarded, your truth being silenced, dismissed, or ridiculed. You long for a place where your battered body, frantic mind, and tortured soul can heal from the onslaught of the chaos all around you and the turmoil inside of you – a place where you can find peace and restore your health.

You decide to go on a journey towards recovery. You make the pilgrimage to the Aesclepian, the great healing center of Epidaurus, to turn a corner on your reality; to experience your life in a new way. It’s amazing that we can still retrace the steps of the Ancient Greeks who were seeking treatment, and see what they believed was essential for healing.

We can imagine what it must have been like to ache for healing and wholeness, and make a pilgrimage like that, because we know what it feels like to long for recovery, to turn a corner on our reality, to experience life in a new way. […]

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 […]