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 […]

Finding Meaning within the Eating Disorder

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.

“Finding Meaning within the Eating Disorder”

What I’ve come to really understand about eating disorders is that there’s such deep profound meaning in what a person struggles with and how it relates to their struggle of food.

Once you discover that disordered eating behaviors, whatever they may be, whether its restricting your food, or binging and purging or even exercise addiction or exercise resistance. Or whatever form it takes for somebody, the behaviors are speaking, but they are speaking in a language that is coded.

Once you can see these behaviors as a code, it really gets to be a lot of fun as you decipher the code. Through the language of metaphor, you can crack the code.

Metaphor is the language of our stories, the language of our art, songs and poetry. It is the language of our dreams. And I believe it’s the language of disordered eating.

So for example, if I’m working with somebody and they are telling me about a dream.

They say, oh, well, “I was driving down a freeway”.
I say, “wait, you were what?”
“ I was driving down the freeway.”
“ The freeway? “

If you’re driving down a freeway, it would be a good idea to look at where you were coming from and where you were headed.

Because you see, in dreams, freeway doesn’t just mean freeway.

It means the freeway.

To get from our unconscious mind into our little pea brain consciousness, it’s sort of like taking all this information from a vast ocean, and compacting it so tight that it can get in. The way it’s […]

Ancient Wisdom meets Modern Neuroscience

Hello. Dr. Anita Johnston here. And I am at the MEDA conference. Which stands for Multi Service Eating Disorder Association. I am in Boston, Massachusetts for the conference. I gave a talk here entitled Ancient Wisdom meets Modern Neuroscience and I want to share a little bit with you about some of what I talked about.

It’s so exciting for me when the ancient stories come together with what we’ve discovered with modern neuroscience especially because they have now found the neuro-correlate of metaphor in the brain. It’s right over your right ear. And it’s called the anterior superior temporal gyrus.

What the neuroscientists have discovered is this is where something happens when you get an insight: when you get an understanding of the deeper meaning of what’s really going on with your eating or with your thoughts about eating.

When you get an insight, and an awareness pops in your mind, you go, oh, I got it! I had no idea about this before, but now I can see, there’s a connection between what I’m doing with eating and food and my relationship with my husband. Or my career. Or memories. Or thoughts that I have.

They’ve now been able to measure the brain during those moments when you “get it.” There’s a part of your brain, the anterior superior temporal gyrus, in your right hemisphere. And it sends out a burst of gamma waves. Now, gamma waves are the highest electrical frequency that the brain can generate. They can now measure and see that that’s what’s happening. And they know, before that even happens in your right hemisphere, there’s a hum of alpha waves going on.

Alpha waves are what we experience when we are taking a […]

>