I've been slim my whole life. After the death of my boyfriend in 1993, I wasn't able to eat or sleep. I was completely shattered. I was also confused at how I could be so devastated when the relationship, in a phrase, was pretty much mentally abusive. I would make psychic predictions and he would try to convince me that I was "paranoid." One day he came to me in tears and declared that I was right about everything. He said he would change his habits and behavior. He said he would be everything I wanted. And then he was gone.
My weight went from 125 down to 105 pounds. I was skeletal, and my doctor declared that if I lost another pound that HE would do something about it. After several years I got used to the idea that life was now different. I got involved with a man who I thought was a good person but he liked to play head games. He was covert and cruel and I couldn't make him love me for who I was. He thought I was a liar and too good to be true. For my own sanity, I was forced to end the relationship when I truly didn't want to. I began to feel that I'd never be safe in a relationship in this lifetime.
The body reflects the mind, and in response to the thoughts that supported this misperception, my body slowly started to gain weight. Silently, my tiny 5'1" frame went up to 160 pounds. All of my understanding that extra weight is "emotional padding" failed to serve me. I dieted, I exercised, I swam and did 200 crunches daily. I couldn't lose an ounce. And I couldn't change how I felt...about relationships, about myself. I couldn't change my mind, so my body stayed the same. I would look in the mirror at someone I despised. Someone who was foolish enough to think that happiness would come along. It was bad.
In February 2004, I learned that my father was ill and didn't have long. I had forgiven him years before for his mental and emotional abuse. He was a paranoid schizophrenic who loved to torment. I really thought that when I got the actual call that he'd passed away, I'd have thoughts and feelings such as "good riddance to bad rubbish" or "why didn't he love me?" "why was I not good enough?" I experienced the exact opposite. I hung up the phone with my mother, who assured me she was okay. I went to bed. And all I kept thinking was that now my Dad had the opportunity to review his life and understand why he became the man he was...why he resented his wife and children so deeply, why he was so angry. I was so excited for him that his terrible journey was over. And as I fell asleep, I whispered, "Be at Peace, Dad."
When I woke up, I was the witness to one of the greatest miracles of my life. Colors were brighter. The air was crisp. It was as if I'd fallen in love. And I discovered that the peace that I offered to my Dad was coming to me. There was this energy coming down through the top of my skull and traveling through my spine. It was tangible. It was real.
I went to a spiritual gathering that morning and listened to a lecture from my spiritual teacher, an enlightened master. Afterward, someone approached me to let me know that I was being summoned, that my beloved teacher wished to speak with me. I went to him and as he peered through my eyes and into my soul, he said, "Something's happened. You're shifting. What is it?" I replied that my father died. Peering even more deeply into my eyes, he asked how I felt. I asked if I could be truly honest without sounding cold or unfeeling. He nodded. And I said, "It feels like the first day of the rest of my life. It feels like he let ME go, not the other way around. I feel such Peace and it's actually coming from my soul. I’ve known contentment, maybe even a glimmer of happiness. But I've never felt THIS way before." My teacher smiled, proud of me.
Afterward, I went down to the lake and sat on the dock. I wanted to fully experience that tickling energy and bask in the peace that was filling me to my core. I tilted my head back to feel the sun on my face. I thanked God for the experience. And then there was an invisible hand on the back of my head...and a disembodied voice. It said, "Job well done."
In the weeks that followed, old memories of past relationships came up. I was shocked to realize how many of the men I'd dated were a lot like my father. I grew to understand the nature of those attractions, my need to punish myself and the cause of my “emotional padding.” I was protecting myself from the people who were supposed to love me. No stranger to hard work and forgiveness, I allowed each memory to rear its ugly face, and forgave every one. I cried when I needed to. I cried hard. But I let go. I forgave the past and was glad to be free of it...free to embrace my newfound clarity and peace.
And the weight melted off me as silently as it came.
In my struggle to lose weight, I gained deep respect for anyone who has ever struggled to do the same. But I will say this. There are many things you will forgive in this lifetime...many things. Forgive those who made you feel not good enough, the ones who didn't make you feel nurtured. Recognizing your self-worth and how loved you truly are by the Creator? Now that's a "job well done."
And my loving husband agrees with me.
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