Monthly Archives: August 2008

carnival of eating disorders, august 2008 edition

welcome to the august 2008 edition of the carnival of eating disorders! there is a lot of interesting material, so i’ll do the same that i do with the buddhist carnival and present the articles in two different posts. this first post will deal with anorexia. the second will deal with body image and overeating.

exorcism for anorexia?
good news – a religious cult which was curing anorexia with exorcism is in serious trouble. here are some of the strange goings-on at mercy ministries:

“the counsellor gave me a list of different demons – demon of anger, demon of unforgiveness, demon of pride, there were lots of them and i was told to go away and circle the demons i had in me or around me,” said smith.”i was really scared… they cast demons out of me, one by one, and they became quite excited and animated during the process, and spoke in tongues.

“it was the counsellors and myself and they put their hands on me and started praying one by one for each of the demons that were on the list to be cast out of me.

“after each demon was cast out i had to say ‘i confirm the demon of x has been cast out of me in the name of jesus and is unwelcome to return.’

“the whole time i was there, all i heard was that i’m demonic.

“even after the exorcism, when i had the next anxiety attack, i was told that they had already cast the demons out, so therefore i was obviously either faking it, or i had chosen to let the demons come back, in which case i was not serious about getting better.

anorexia and bulimia on social media
this post refers to an article that appeared last year but it’s probably even more important today than 12 months ago. eating disorders are rampant on social media, it says. that’s true. but so is the opposite. here on this blog, for example, we have the anorexia recovery forum where people speak actively against “the voice of ana”. for those of you unfamiliar with the term, “ana” is a sort of pet name for anorexia, as is “mia” for bulimia).

a drug for anorexia?
medusa reports on canadian research on a drug that might help some people with anorexia

a drug used to treat schizophrenia may be a new tool to help patients with anorexia gain weight and control their obsessive thoughts about food.

new canadian research has found that when anorexia patients take olanzapine, they gain weight, feel calmer and do not have the obsessive thoughts about weight and food that characterize the debilitating condition.

recovery milestones
angel has a beautiful post where she envisions recovery from eating disorders:

we have binged, starved, purged, and obsessed in an effort to manage unwelcome emotions. the solution to an eating disorder has to do with accepting our thoughts and feelings, and finding safe and responsible ways to express them. there is no magic about recovery. recovery means rebuilding trust with ourselves and others, taking careful risks to learn what is safe and good for us. when we can take responsibility for understanding our needs, and getting them met, then we will walk free.

from overeating to anorexia
in his article paul mckenna owes courtney love an apology, joshua seth says, “yes, it is possible to lose too much weight. there is such a thing as a healthy range. and unfortunately singer courtney love seems to have taken weight loss hypnosis a bit too far.” this is interesting because it brings up a host of misconceptions about eating disorders and specifically about anorexia. this is such an important topic that i’ll talk about that in a future article, some time before the next carnival of eating disorders.

i’ll post part 2 tomorrow, september 1. in the meantime, if you have an article you’d like to see here, please let me know, using this submission form.

lazy vacation

i'm on a vacation and i'm lazy.  look at these cows relaxing in the grass!  me, too :)

friends, i’m going to do the unthinkable. i will not blog for 8 days!!!

see you on the 31st, for the carnival of eating disorders. in the meantime, please amuse yourself, look to your left, and have fun with my over 1,000 posts and pages!

(or you could also do what i do: go out, enjoy the garden, talk to the grass, listen to the moon …)

(and who came up with this great image? none other than jacob bøtter)

raising children, raising parents

spaced-out drug userlin over at telling it like it is has an article on 10 ways to raise children to use drugs. examples:

  • encourage insecurity by telling them to keep secrets from other family members or family secrets from others
  • avoid touching, hugging, and taking time to interact with your children.
  • disregard their physical needs.
  • ignore their worthwhile and constructive habits

it’s a perfect prescription for unhappiness, period – a child who grows up in an environment like this may not necessarily get into drugs but will be guaranteed to have other problems.

it again reminds me of gabor maté’s book, in the realm of hungry ghosts – close encounters with addiction. as i’ve mentioned before, this canadian doctor makes the case that many problems with addiction stem from not only an unhappy childhood but also from pregnancy, where the brain undergoes its formation.

as a counsellor, i have worked with people with very, very serious addiction problems. there was not a one among them who did not grow up in a difficult environment.

conversely, people who grew up in an environment that would score well according to lin’s list: they’re not always angels, they may experiment with drugs for a while, they may have a bit of a brush with the law – but they always seem to be able to right themselves after a while, they seem to have a buffer that prevents them from reaching a bottom that isn’t really a bottom, it’s a neverending pit.

having said all this, we need to look at the parents. parents do not want to be angry all the time, give in to ridiculous demands, ignore the consequences of their children’s behaviour, show low self worth and all the other things on lin’s list. parents who behave like that are clearly unhappy people who need just as much support, encouragement, education and love as their children do.

it takes a village to raise a good parent.

(image by murplej@ane)

just brilliant!

brillante blog awardabout 10 days ago, geert awarded me the brilliant web award. thank you, geert, especially coming from you! geert posts mostly in dutch (and i have a hilarious time trying to decipher it) but also in english once in a while.

so now my job, he says, is to nominate at least 7 more for this award. oh my. this is why it took me so long to write this post. how am i going to find 7 brilliant blogs when there are so many good blogs out there? seriously, this threw me into a tizzy. but i finally bit the bullet and culled out 15. i am still black and blue from trying to fight off the bad feeling for not including more. but here they are, at the end of the post.

awardees, when you receive this post, here is what you are invited to do:

  1. add the logo of the award to your blog
  2. add a link to the person who awarded it to you
  3. nominate at least 7 other blogs
  4. add links to those blogs on your blog
  5. leave a message for your nominees on their blogs

and here they come.  drumroll!

  • john – storied mind; an award for his brilliant insights on depression
  • evan – wellbeing and health; an award for his brilliant thoughtfulness, always looking beneath the surface
  • alex – our evolution; an award for his brilliant combination of images, news and spiritual quotes
  • jacob – job mob; an award for his brilliant posts on everything careers
  • andrew – good honest dollar; an award for his brilliant thoughts on corporate responsibility
  • william – integral options; an award for his brilliant collection of posts on buddhism and psychology
  • zee – black woman thinks; an award for her brilliant posts on being a black professional woman
  • sojourner; an award for her brilliant “slave narratives”
  • damien – riley central; an award for his brilliant, down-to-earth treatment of psychological topics
  • maddy – whitterer on autism; an award for her brilliant way of writing dialogue
  • raul – hummingbird 604; an award for this brilliant environmentalist
  • karen – countably infinite; an award for her brilliant work on making public transit more important
  • nancy; an award for her brilliant combination of money management and political astuteness
  • jeremy – PsyBlog; an award for his brilliant reporting on psychological research
  • ashok – rethink; an award for his brilliant, deep thoughts on politics, philosophy – and emily dickinson

a buddhist carnival – 9th edition, part 2

a small buddha in natureand here is part 2 of this month’s buddhist carnival. part 1 is here.

exercise as practice
unapologetic genius discusses exercise as meditative practice, something i also enjoy tremendously. being present to my body, my body who is present to me at all times, can bring an exquisite experience of reality. in fact, i think it’s a fascinating topic, and am putting it on my (admittedly rather long) list of things to blog about. at any rate, here is a little excerpt:

instead of a scattered mind, fear, and unconsciousness, i bring consciousness with me to the gym. i close my eyes, focus on my body, being in it, the movements, and my breathing (which is usually the yogic ujjayi breath. but that’s not nearly as important as simply watching the breath). i’m there, moving and feeling my body and breath, present to each breath and movement.

what are you soaking in?
my twitter friend lisa rokusek has this interesting entry:

buddha said, “what you think, you become” what we soak in really makes a difference.

i can feel something changing inside me. this week i breathe easily, relax more fully, laugh with a deeper appreciation, and am feeling less angst.

it isn’t a lack of stress, i mean i have leapt from the cliff and there is no safety net in sight. the bills have to be paid, food must be purchased, and i forgot to put the wow account on hold and paid 15 bucks for an account we aren’t using. life goes on and a lot is sitting on my shoulders. it is scary – but i am starting to defrost from the panic i felt. i have to hustle, i have to pick up the phone, i have to connect with people in a very competitive business. so i do it. but, there is a seismic shift happening deep inside me and i honestly didn’t see it coming.

find out what she was marinating in, on her blog, the rhino and the buddha.

attachment and projection
“marinating” is such a great word to use to understand the related topic of attachment, which is something that urban monk talks about. in fact, come to think of it, “marinating” might be an even better word. “attachment” conjures the image of object A connected to object B with some sort of string, or if it’s stronger, perhaps through velcro. attachment is stronger still, though. most of the time we are completely entangled in it, steeped in it. and what keeps us in this marinade is often our projections:

when we become attached to something or someone, we do not see it or them as they are. often, all we see are our projections. we see them for what we think they can provide, or more accurately, what we think we lack. through a mansion, we seek the respect we feel we lack. through wealth, we seek security. by finding a lover, or by having endless sex, we think we have love and attention.

but a mansion is just a mansion, money just money. they only have the value we give them, and very so often, we project on to them a false and disproportionate importance. this is even worse when we project our needs on human beings – no longer do we treat them as human beings, but as objects to be used.

… and what does non-attachment look like?
go here for a famous zen story.

well, friends, that’s it for this round of the buddhist carnival.

what do you think? what’s your experience with all of this – with attachment, projection, practice? let me know, let’s talk!

and please come back for the next buddhist carnival, on september 15. any articles you’d like to see? submit them here.

(image by oceandesetoiles)

a buddhist carnival – 9th edition, part 1

welcome to the 9th edition of the buddhist carnival. it’s only been nine months? it seems like a long time, and a good long time. i always look forward to putting this carnival together.

even though there are still problems with blog carnival, we have a very nice selection of articles on buddhism this month; in fact, i will give you thoughts and excerpts of all of them. as i often do in this carnival, i will to stick to the middle way and not burden you with too many links; rather, i’ll serve up the carnival in two portions. this is the first one; you can expect the second one by next monday.

let’s start.

what is zen? who teaches it?
lately, i’ve enjoyed starting this carnival with a buddhist poem. chris from martial development was kind enough to supply one, in both his and my ongoing (and probably futile) question of what is zen, really, and is there such a thing as real zen? he quotes a ch’an (chinese zen) master in his post zen habits of master hsuan hua

the dumb transmit to the dumb,
one is teaching but neither has any idea.
the sifu goes to hell.
where will the student end up?

does a teacher need to be enlightened?
if we want a teacher to be more than “dumb” – how much does she need to know? what are the requirements? tom stine discusses the difference between enlightenment and encountering the absolute:

a teacher is not lesser because he hasn’t fully awakened. there are still many, many people who need what he or she has to offer. the grave fallacy that so many run into, which probably leads to a certain amount of difficulties, is the notion that a teacher needs to be “done” to be a teacher. but it isn’t so. all that is required is honesty with yourself and those you teach and interact with. much can be learned, much can be shared.

meditating: like a cat at the mouse hole
this, for example, can be shared (and here is an interesting thought: to what degree are these blogs that talk about buddhism our teachers?)

sarah uses the disney characters tom and jerry to illustrate how our mind likes to jump around during meditation (and even more at other times but then we usually don’t pay attention)

the swami turban on tom’s head is no accident. don’t think for one minute that i don’t loooove sitting on my sage meditation mat which looks lovely against my orange curtains and green buddha, ready for instant enlightenment right here in queens. but after following no more than three glorious breaths in and out, millions of insane thoughts come tumbling down. they are as obnoxious and adorable as jerry in those little aladdin pants! how the hell am i supposed to ignore that?! in classic over-achieving, runner sarah mode, i try to attack the problem by blocking the thoughts. but no dice. jerry’s not going anywhere.

buddhism and art
from the art of walt disney to another art form: here in vancouver, we have a new exhibition by performance artist zhang huan.

a line running through zhang’s art is his enduring relationship to buddhism. in a 1998 performance, pilgrimage”wind and water in new york, he threw himself down repeatedly on gravel-covered ground, imitating the prostrations of buddhist pilgrims, to the sounds of tibetan buddhist music.

in his shanghai studio, he has produced immense self-portrait busts using ash gathered from burnt offerings and incense in buddhist temples. he has also created huge representations of the fingers and limbs broken off buddhist statuary during china’s cultural revolution. these works function as a kind of reclamation of belief and, through it, a declaration of freedom.

(image of zhang huan by designboom)