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 […]

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