The spiritual path of discipline isn’t about force or willpower. It is a path of surrendering to the “Divine action” within us. As Merton puts it, they free us from the need to prove ourselves so we can be more open to the power that wants to work through us, without our taking the credit.
Deep inside you, beneath all the rules and rebellion is your body’s natural wisdom. It takes support, practice, courage and willingness to forge that path until the new path becomes habitual.
These two consecutive sessions revealed to her that, as convincing as it can seem that changing her body will surely be her key to happiness, it is not so. Of course treating our bodies with love and kindness will certainly help us feel better overall, but changing our size will not magically change our life; changing our thinking will.
Our thoughts and actions surrounding the nourishment of our bodies is often reflected in how we nourish the rest of the self. If we rush through every meal and feel guilty after eating foods that aren’t “clean” or otherwise virtuous, chances are that our lives are sprinkled with unwarranted shame in areas that we may not even be aware of.
Becoming willing to tolerate and cope with painful emotions until they pass naturally will help you release the need for dieting and/or overeating. And just like learning any new skill, you will get stronger and better at it over time. As challenging as emotional pain is, the lovely parting gift of welcoming feelings is that you will experience firsthand that all feelings and cravings will eventually pass. You will also get to reap the many benefits of an eating disorder-free life!
When you take self-berating, calorie burning and body sculpting out of the equation, you will be able to honor your body’s natural desires to move and rest.