Mindfulness is a practice individuals and groups can do on a day-to-day basis. It can enable people to change the way they think and feel about their experiences, especially stressful experiences. As a mind-body approach, it can increase one’s ability to manage difficult situations and make wise choices.
A growing body of evidence has found that when people intentionally practice being mindful they feel less stressed, anxious and depressed. Research also shows positive effects on several aspects of whole-person health, including the mind, the brain, the body, and behavior, as well as a person’s relationships with others.
A young woman in her 20s found me through an Internet search for a disordered eating specialist. She called me in distress about her over-eating and the resulting health implications. After an in-depth phone consultation, our connection was immediate and she knew she was ready to get to work and tackle her issues head on. To protect her privacy, I’ll refer to this young woman as “Mary”. I have found Mary to be responsible, hard-working, committed and willing to do the work. She is a total delight, and her transformation has been profound.
For Mary to reconnect with her inner self, and her innate wisdom to find peace in her personal life and relationships, she chose to turn to the healing practice of mindfulness. Somehow, Mary had lost her way, no longer remembering that she was capable of experiencing healing, tranquility and wholeness on her own.
The Intervention: The Healing Power of Mindfulness
Already a yoga practitioner, Mary and I went to work right away on revisiting and reviewing the principles of living mindfully. Mary participated in a 30-day yoga challenge, coinciding with the work we were doing, which enriched her overall experiences and learning.
As we worked on deepening skills such as mindfulness meditation and eating mindfully guidelines, she began to trust her own inner wisdom, little by little. Mary eagerly participated in expanding her knowledge, finding resources including books and online talks on her own. As a result of our work together, as well as her deep personal exploration, the more aware she became of her feelings, needs and values. This awareness brought about a profound shift in her self-worth, greatly contributing to her healing.
As we continued our work, it became clear that a dysfunctional relationship with a significant person in her life has undermined her self worth for many years. As it became evident Mary’s core issue was not her disordered eating, rather, that was a symptom of something much deeper, going all the way back childhood.
Mary has been working diligently to rebuild her self image and in turn, her self confidence, which were fragile at best. Embracing the importance of mindfulness practices, Mary has been able to shift her perspective on life and relationships, understanding they do not define who she is or control her self worth.
Rebuilding her core beliefs and defining her values and needs have provided a level of understanding that was previously out of Mary’s reach. The complexities of being in dysfunctional relationships means there is a lot hard work ahead of her. Mary’s willingness to dig deep and courageously face her demons, continues to be her most powerful ally.
Through our work together, Mary has begun to know herself in a respectful and an honoring way. Although she successfully healed her disordered eating habits, there remains a tremendous amount of work to be done. Mary remains steadfast in her commitment to growth and healing, courageously facing the most painful work to come: imagining a life free of dysfunctional relationships, including the one with herself.
“I am truly honored to be writing this testimonial for Lorrie, who has touched my life in many ways. When I began my work with her I was avoiding every and all unwanted emotions and feelings through addiction. I was unaware that with compassion, kindness, understanding, and patience everything could change. Lorrie has become my biggest supporter and someone I admire very much. I have found freedom through our work together and cherish that every day.
As a person and as a therapist she is compassionate, gentle, genuine, and inspiring. I have always said that if I could gift everyone in the world a gift, I would give each person their own Lorrie. I am thankful everyday for the day I reached out for help. Each day since then has been about living a richer life. A life of being aware and checked in versus constantly fighting to check out through addiction. Finding freedom and the room to grow is priceless. It is my honor to have Lorrie by my side.”