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‘Jiggsaw Reflection Series 020’

Just don’t stay stuck – find your fluidity…

I have often liked to think of myself as a bit of a nomad. When I was 18, I backpacked around the world for a year, and have always been a reluctant conformist. I guess I just don’t feel the need to do what is expected or what is deemed the ‘norm.’ But the older I have gotten I have also found comfort in having a base – a place to rest my head with my belongings around me. I have grown fonder of having my own space and a sanctuary of safety. With this though, often comes routine and less fluidity.

When you have an eating disorder you are so stuck and so rigid, that there is no possibility of flow in your life – NONE at all! Recovery has taught me that there will undoubtedly be incidences and circumstances out of my control, but instead of fighting against them, I can choose to just let them be. I have the choice.

There is a magic in accepting life on life’s terms. Have you ever sat at the edge of the ocean and watched the waves ebb in and out? The ocean is always moving, ebbing and flowing. It is never the same ever again. It is perhaps why many people fear the ocean and its uncertainty. Uncertainty affects our emotions – and it can be hard to know what to do with them at times. This is when we look for distractions or coping mechanisms to pin our emotions to. This is not accepting life on life’s terms – this is fighting it. Things, people, places are constantly changing, so why are we so keen to shy away from change and the unfamiliar?

Life in recovery is completely fluid, as opposed to life in my eating disorder, where I was completely stuck. But this doesn’t mean that there I don’t continue to experience discomfort. Quite the opposite in fact, but discomfort is just part of life, and if I choose to be part of life (which I do) then there is no way of getting through it without earning some scars along the way. I could not have predicted what life was going to show me, and actually I would never have wanted to, because each chapter, has taught me how to cope with the next one. I have no desire to know what my map looks like – it is not my business. I don’t wish to busy my head with unnecessary worry and wasted energy.

An eating disorder tends to keep you fixated on certain scenarios – I have spent countless hours, days and weeks fixating about what may or may not happen. It is like living in a parallel world – one that is happening right around me, and one that is full of ‘maybe’s’.

There are two places where I manage to escape the conflicting scenarios in my head; one is riding free with my horse in the English countryside and the other is by the ocean in California. When I feel out of control, anxious or low, I transport myself to one of these places and I feel a freedom and inner peace. They are both bigger than me and the fixations in my mind. I am granted with the space to gain perspective. Nature has an ability to centre and ground you. Things around us are always in flux and each time something shifts we get the choice to use it as an opportunity for acceptance and growth or to stay stuck.

When you are feeling panicky, out of control and full of uncertainty – take a moment to sit on the edge of the shore. Imagine you are looking out at the ocean and you can hear the waves move in and out. Sometimes they will be crashing, and other times they will be calm and serene. Create a sense of awareness of what is happening in that very moment. What is within your power and what is not. Just like the ocean life is forever changing. It is bigger than us, and when we take the time to just really experience what is happening right now, we are able to then let go of the what ifs.

The things that don’t work out the way you would have wanted, hoped or expected, actually worked out just the way they you needed them to. By allowing things to fall into place, I have found new opportunities and unexpected relationships have formed.

Trust the waves, trust the feelings, be present, be aware and trust you will be ok. Just whatever you do, don’t stay stuck. There is no movement, no flow, no fluidity and no progression in staying in your fears.

Accept, reflect, find meaning, learn, grow, and stay open.