In the early years of my eating disorder recovery work the emotional pain I experienced was intolerable. Yet I had to tolerate it to heal. I was in therapy three times a week. I went to 12 step meetings every day and sometimes three times a day if the days were bad. I did physical, emotional and psychological exercises that people told me had helped them. I was on the phone with outreach calls - both calling and being called. I worked every avenue of recovery I learned about, some more helpful than others.
One of the ways that assured me and helped me build a base from which to recover I want to share with you on a regular basis via this blog. I hope you follow along and participate as much and as often as you like.
I'm coming up out of an emotional hole I fell into a few weeks ago. Yes, it still happens, but I don't plunge into eating disorder behavior when it does. I've learned that as I gain strength and wisdom through personal growth and healthy development, something guarded within my unconscious pays attention. When I am resilient and aware enough to tolerate that hidden knowledge, up it comes into my awareness.
This can be shocking, painful and send me to reliable soothing activities that no longer "work." I have to bear the feelings and the knowledge that is flowing in. Often I have to go over memories and experiences that have been intact in my memory as whole and add this new information. The new information can change the entire tapestry. It's like saying, "Oh my gosh, I thought I lived in a lovely forest with a zoo on the outskirts. Now I discover that I lived in a lovely forest, but the lions, tigers and bears were not nicely cared for in secure zoo cages. They were prowling the forest, and I was more vulnerable than I knew until now."
In those early days of recovery I used many of little AA meditation books with titles like, "Just for Today" and "A Thought for Today." I thought I would go through some of those thoughts again during this "new recovery" time and share them with you. In looking on my bookshelves for them this morning I found instead, a little book called, The Art of Worldly Wisdom, by Baltasar Gracian, translated by Christopher Maurer.
Baltasar Gracian, a Spanish Jesuit scholar who lived from 1601 till 1658.
He wrote The Oracle, a Manual of the Art of Discretion, translated in English as The Art of Worldly Wisdom, composed of approximately three hundred maxims each of which he discusses.
Despite its being written over three hundred years ago, in 1992 the Christopher Maurer's translation of this book was on the Washington Post's list of Nonfiction General Best Sellers for 18 weeks. It was number one for two weeks.
It has sold nearly 200,000 copies.I've owned this book for many years but hadn't gotten around to really looking at. As I turned pages I felt a pull toward these writings and then thought that I might be able to journey with you through the insightful teachings of this great Spanish writer who lived more than 300 years ago. I did a quick check on Amazon.com and found that this is a highly respected and valued little volume.
So, instead of using a meditation book I've already gone through, let's go together through some of the teachings of Baltasar Gracian. Let's see what he evokes for eating disorder recovery and progress toward becoming a more healthy, resilient and effective person in this world. I am so ready for this. Are you?