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What’s Eating You?

Demurely she said, “I gained several pounds and now feel physically unattractive. Lately, when my partner is feeling sexual, I immediately shut down and become afraid that he is thinking all the negative thoughts about me that I’m thinking about myself.” This weight issue is everywhere.

Even though we are a country obsessed with the issues of weight, most therapists agree that few pounds here or there are probably not going to interfere with ecstasy or orgasm. How you feel about yourself and those pounds will most certainly have an impact!

Our society, unfortunately, spends billions of dollars in advertising each year convincing us that thin is in and fat is out. However, recent studies indicate the majority of American men and women are slightly overweight (by totally unreasonable fashion industry criteria) and much more healthy than the Thin-as-Twiggy models. This tidbit of information may not liberate you enough to purchase the pants or skirt with the elastic waist (an item which even the finest designers have recently discovered sell better), but it may help you feel a bit less alone.

Next, it is important for you to check with your doctor and confirm there are no physical reasons for the weight gain. You can be fighting a very depressing battle if the weight gain is due to a change in metabolism or digestive malfunction of which you are not aware. This is not uncommon after coming off drugs or alcohol. If you get a clean bill of health, then it’s time to look deeper. The issue is really something else that is eating at you and making you eat!

Given that you can no doubt sexually function as well post-pounds as pre-pounds, let’s suppose the problem is not a sexual one, but rather, an emotional one. Bottom line, the only thing that matters in reference to your weight is how you feel about it!

Even if you are grossly over weight and using the weight to take yourself off the planet, if that is what you choose to do and you are happy with that decision, it’s your right to do so. The rest of us will continue killing ourselves with beliefs in aging, cancer, cigarette smoke or pollution and you certainly get to choose your weapon of choice. It might be beneficial however to ask yourself if what you are doing feels good and if not maybe there’s a better way.

Depending upon how long you’ve been clean and sober, it could be that unconsciously you’ve simply traded one addiction for another. You may not be dealing with the underlying emotional reasons for the addictions in the first place. For instance:

  • Are you feeling a lack of safety and could the weight be a way of staying protected either from your own feelings or from others?
  • Are you having trouble dealing with the lack of chaos or difficulty in your life and could you be creating yet another challenge because it’s familiar?
  • Could it be that you are putting on weight as a defense mechanism against experiencing deeper intimacy in your relationship?
  • Could you be afraid that really good sex will make you more dependent on your partner? It’s frightening when you start to deeply connect to another person without new tools or the alcohol or drugs that used to be between you and your partner as a buffer.
  • Could there be childhood abuse issues trying to surface and resolve? This often happens in good relationships and we can use food as a means of pushing the feelings back down because they are uncomfortable.
  • Are you starting to feel unsure of your lovability or performance without the all the substances that kept you “on” and “desirable.”
  • Are you feeling intimidated or frightened because your partner wants to give to you sexually which means you have to let go of some of the control that comes with being the one who does all the giving?
  • Do you feel like you are starting in sexuality class 101 because you never made love sober before and aren’t sure how to do it successfully?
  • Are you falling more deeply in love with your partner and are you using sex as a “hold out” to avoid feeling too connected?

The bottom line in the majority of these issues is a lack of trust in yourself or your partner and those extra pounds are a symptom and not the real problem. So, the good news is that by resolving these issues you will, at the same time, be creating more trust in yourself and your relationship. And as the majority of my patients will attest, the more issues you resolve, the more the pounds just seem to mysteriously fall off.

While you are resolving these issues, however, lets put things back into perspective and bring some safety, fantasy and friction back into the bedroom.

You know that lovely, willowy, blond person who is thin as rail, does great leaning-over chest shots on screen or in that magazine fold out and holds your partner’s attention a bit longer than you find comfortable? Well, her agent will not give out her home phone even if your partner were to ask. She probably won’t leave endearing messages on the phone machine or sweet notes propped up against the toaster like you do. She doesn’t have the months or years of history with your partner that have finally allowed him or her to relax into feeling safe and together.

Your partner can’t reach out and adjust the hair that falls across her face or brush away the crumbs that remain on her cheek. Nor can your partner unconscious reach out for her in the middle of the night knowing she will always be there, warm and waiting, no matter what she weighs. And if you asked your partner, no doubt she or he would not trade the sweet and funny things you say and do in for even a single night out on the town with someone you think “looks better.”

For the human being who is conscious, history and memories count for more than body shapes!

© Dr. Dina Bachelor Evan 2013

All rights reserved. No part of the intellectual property of Dr. Dina Evan may be reproduced, placed on mechanical retrieval system, transmitted in any form by electronic, video, laser, mechanical photocopy, recording means or otherwise in part or in whole, without written permission of the author. Contents are fully copyrighted and may not be owned by any other individual or organization.

Heated up!

“I have a right to express my anger,” he says. “But you are hurting me with your words and rage,” she responds. Who is right and who’s wrong?

Both are right. However, what we are talking about is a much bigger question that is – what is the ethical way to express feelings of anger? No one should force feelings into denial, because they will come up again, often at inappropriate times, and create more separation between you and those you love. You lose energy, closeness and connection when you begin to hold any of your feelings down by not accepting them and expressing them fully. Your ability to stay healthy, both physically and mentally, and your ability to keep your relationship healthy, depends upon your ability to allow feelings to release through you freely so that they do not create dis-ease. However, the exercise of free will, or free release of feelings, also comes with an element of responsibility. That is, you cannot dump what you are holding inside in a way that feels abusive to another. I get to dump, all I want in fact, but I don’t get to dump on or at you!

I once had a roommate whose father was verbally and emotionally abusive. I had no idea how badly she had been hurt by him until we went to a weekend seminar together. We were about to leave the parking garage when the attendant stopped us, insisting he be paid. We had been informed parking was pre-paid so I began to launch into my fathers arrogance and give the attendant a piece of my mind. By the time I was finished, my friend was curled up in the seat and had flattened herself against the passenger door looking caught – like a deer in headlights! I immediately got that something was very wrong and for the next hour, we discussed what had happened to her as a child and how my outburst had affected her.

Apparently, when she was a child, her father would create a disturbance every place they went by berating the service people, demanding special attention, criticizing the food or service and in general humiliating my friend tremendously. She really got in touch with how terrifying that had been for her. My father was similar. He too raged about everything, and I had the opportunity to clearly see how his rage was still very much a part of how I dealt with my own perceived inequities and injustices in life. She internalized her father’s rage and made a decision to never take exception to anything. I internalized my father’s rage and was unfortunately able to see I still dealt with some issues, just as he did.

We made an agreement. Whenever I felt I just had to take a stand about an issue, I would let her know in advance and she could exercise the option of leaving the space and making herself safe. By keeping her in mind, I also gave myself the opportunity to slow down and ask myself if the injustice I was experiencing was first of all real, justified, worth making a scene over. In addition, slowing down gave me the time to ask myself if I was complaining to the right person. Very often a letter to management is much more effective than being upset at an attendant who has little or no control. Encountering this issue in my life helped me to heal the ways in which I vented misplaced anger.

In order to avoid making your partners, family or friends feel abused as we release strong feelings; we have to take responsibility for first discharging or dumping the intense energy behind those feelings in a safe way. After we release some of the intensity, we can then talk about the problem or the feelings together in a non-abusive manner. Much of that initial work should probably be done alone, or if it does not feel safe to be alone, with a therapist or a person who has good boundaries, and who does not come from an abusive environment. It is not OK to overpower anyone else with your feelings. If you do that, then you are perpetuating abuse.

Very often feelings, such as rage, just get triggered. In that instant, you may find that you do not have the control you would want to have and are unable to stop the response, or limit the expression. That’s why I recommend safe rooms in which one can yell, hit pillows, tear up phone books, scream, rant and rave – all of which are perfectly acceptable and healthy. Agreements must be kept that neither person will yell at, use abusive language to or about the other. Most of the time, the intense feelings that are triggered in the moment are really about the past and need to be released safely before it is possible to deal effectively with what is going on in the present situation anyway.

If you who are still into your sense of entitlement, you may be yelling now, “I should get to have my feelings exactly as they are and not have to limit myself.” That’s an interesting perception. Could it come from having been abused as a child by someone who felt exactly that same way? Did someone vent their feelings directly at you and is that the role model and scenario you are now repeating! It won’t work to your benefit and you’ll only end up wishing you had done it better, and in a more respectful way when the venting is over. One of the ways we diminish our own self-esteem is by continuing to behave in a manner that makes us feel disappointed in ourselves. The bottom line is that you both have a right to vent. And, you both have a right to feel safe and not have intense hostile feelings directed at you. With a little simple negotiation about safety and a willingness to learn on both your parts, you can have your cake and eat it too.

© Dr. Dina Bachelor Evan 2013

All rights reserved. No part of the intellectual property of Dr. Dina Evan may be reproduced, placed on mechanical retrieval system, transmitted in any form by electronic, video, laser, mechanical photocopy, recording means or otherwise in part or in whole, without written permission of the author. Contents are fully copyrighted and may not be owned by any other individual or organization.

Begin with Me

I have listened to the news, followed the flood of emails from my lists, read the newspaper and am most disturbed by what is missing. Something that I believe is primary is missing in most of them. Being a woman of faith, I believe that each person who lost human life continues to exist and will forever exist in the hearts and minds of their loved ones. I know that when love is real it is never lost and in the center of this devastation, the truth of forever will ultimately be found. That in no way diminishes the human pain, and I hold a sacred space of compassion for those who are called upon to find their way to this truth now, all who have lost loved ones in a senseless war or disease.

I am more disturbed by the fact that we all have first hand knowledge, to one degree or another, about the end result of hated, division, fear and separation. I have felt it. Someone recently backed into my car at a local restaurant, did $4000.00 worth of damage and then left with no note. But I am certainly not alone. We have all felt it. Someone keys your car or breaks into your home. Someone cuts you off recklessly in traffic. Someone in the family starts a hate trail of malicious comments or criticisms. Someone in your community starts a rumor that causes friends to leave you. It’s men against women. It’s old against the young. It’s straight against gay. It’s petite against large. It’s us against the government or the government against another country. But the truth is, that it’s all actually us against our selves. Dr. Davis Hawkins, who wrote Power VS Force, says that approximately 2% of the people in our world are causing 98% of the problems. So what are the rest of us doing about that?

People who are not yet awake project or embody low frequency emotions and actions like despising, misery, shame, humiliation, vindictive, guilt, blame, destruction, punitive, frightening, fearful, denying, withdrawal, vengeful, antagonistic, angry, aggressive, indifferent, demanding, prideful, scornful, inflated or egotistical. If you take a look at this list it’s easy to see that every one of these emotions is fear based. People who act in unloving ways are always motivated by fear. Big bullies are always little people who feel insecure inside. That’s why they feel the need to puff up in the first place.

How is it that many of us still do not yet see that the lesson for us individually is to get the hated, fear, division and separation out of our own hearts? How can we hold hatred and yet oppose it? How can we separate and cry out for unity? How can we oppress while asking to be free? How is it possible that we do not yet know that if we are so much as thinking a single violent thought, we have added to the violence and the potential for further violence in our universe? It’s time to wake up and stop blaming them and start being personally accountable for what we put into the consciousness of this planet, into our community, into our relationships and into our own bodies and minds.

Want to see the powerful truth in all of this? Ask a friend to work with you. Hold your arm straight out away from the side of your body as if you are making a turn signal. Now ask your friend to see how much strength you have by attempting to push your arm down as you push up. No doubt you’ll be pretty solid. Then ask your friend to do the same test as you hold a hateful thought in mind. You will find that your whole body is weakened and you cannot hold your arm out from your side. Now ask your friend to do this same test while you hold a loving thought that is unifying. Your strength returns. Fear weakens and love strengthens. It’s very simple. Imagine what your body is contending with if you are holding fear and hated most of the time.

A world event takes place when any one of us becomes willing to do our own soul work. Let that begin with me. Let that begin with you. Now.

© Dr. Dina Bachelor Evan 2013

All rights reserved. No part of the intellectual property of Dr. Dina Evan may be reproduced, placed on mechanical retrieval system, transmitted in any form by electronic, video, laser, mechanical photocopy, recording means or otherwise in part or in whole, without written permission of the author. Contents are fully copyrighted and may not be owned by any other individual or organization.

On the Edge Yet?

Are you on the edge yet? Living on the edge of your potential, that is. Every moment of your life is an opportunity to push the edge out, define your purpose, reach down into the depth of your character and enter into that Divine contract for greatness that you set up for yourself.  When you are willing to step across the edge, nudge it outward a bit, what rises before you is the reflection of the person you were meant to be. And when you step into that… and you get there, all those times of wondering if you are enough, soften into the profound reality that you always have been.

Most of us hang back. We hang back in love for fear of loving someone more than they love us, or fear of being left.  Yet, the lesson love offers us is to break open your own heart and see how much YOU are able to love another. It’s not about the person you love. It’s about you.

Some of us hang back in our career, as if failure meant something other than the need for a change in direction.  We are so intent on being perfect we leave no room for the journey, which always includes corrections in our course.

We also hang back spiritually, and are afraid to reach our full level of consciousness for fear we will be dancing out there on the limb by ourselves.

Being on the edge of everything today is nearly mandatory because we are actually creating life as we go.  What most of us don’t yet understand is that we have to get to the edge of where we are, in order to take the next step to where we want to be.  We go from somewhere to nowhere and then to somewhere again and being in nowhere is a normal, fertile and incredibly exciting place where the next piece of your life gets created.

Even if you feel stuck where you are right now, that’s only where you are right now. You will instantly begin to change where you are right now, the moment you take that first step to the edge and decide where you would rather be…and then act on it. The energy of your intention draws to you new energy and before you know it your circumstances have changed and so have you. It’s just a process of showing up in your own life and taking the control.  Michael Bernard Beckwith says, “ You attract to you the predominant thoughts that you’re holding in your awareness, whether these thoughts are conscious or unconscious. That’s the rub.”  So the point is wake up and create your life consciously!  He also said, “ We live in a Universe in which there are laws, just as the law of gravity. If you fall off a building it doesn’t matter if you are a good person or a bad person, you’re going to hit the ground.” The law of attraction in the Universe doesn’t decide for you what you want. What you concentrate on is simply what you get.

So what does it look like to live on the edge?

  1. Say I love you when you feel it.
  2. Stand up for what is right when no one else is.
  3. Set your intention and be clear about it
  4. Believe that you can do it.
  5. Take absolute responsibility for everything you do and get out of the blame game. At some level we all know exactly what we are doing when we are acting out of alignment with ourselves.  It’s time to grow up and own our mistakes.
  6. Face everything and avoid nothing!
  7. Take nothing personally. Life happens. The Universe just works the way it works – no rewards, no punishment – only the consequences of your own choices.
  8. Commit to staying conscious and acting in ways that support your community, your partner, your family and friends. Make sure your motives and intentions are pure.  What you send out there inevitably returns to you.

It’s time for courage. Lot’s of things in our world are going wrong at the moment, wars, famine, AIDS, other illnesses and we live in a world of separation and judgment. The place we begin to get out of this situation is right inside each of us.  And, if you need company on that limb, just call.

© Dr. Dina Bachelor Evan 2013

All rights reserved. No part of the intellectual property of Dr. Dina Evan may be reproduced, placed on mechanical retrieval system, transmitted in any form by electronic, video, laser, mechanical photocopy, recording means or otherwise in part or in whole, without written permission of the author. Contents are fully copyrighted and may not be owned by any other individual or organization.

When the Universe Kicks You Out

Many years ago I was an administrator for a major motion picture association. When I took the position, I made an agreement with the Board members that during hiatus I would be free to do community service work . They agreed, so long as I was available by pager whenever I was away from my office. Six years went by and Board members changed as did my staff. Upon loosing one of my secretaries, I hired a woman who was very fundamentalist in family beliefs and religion. When she discovered that part of my “community service work” included visiting persons who had AIDS she immediately reported this to her family who in turn convinced her that I could give her AIDS. In a panic she went over my head to the Chair of the Board of Directors who also responded in an uneducated, fearful manner and instantly fired me. Since I had an impeccable service record, I was in shock. I had never been fired (or requested to resign) by any company and I was in no position financially to be out of work. After going through the normal responses of denial, shock, anger, sadness, etc., I found this experience to be an incredible teacher.

To begin with, I had to look at how much my identity and sense of self-worth were attached to my job. I instantly felt like a failure even though I had not lost a single ability or skill. I lost faith in myself and my ability to see people clearly. I even began to feel others were also judging me or perceiving me as failure or less valuable.

In today’s society we become over-identified with externals and forget who we really are. We become over-identified with our role in the home as mate or parent, with our position at work or we can even become too identified with being a survivor of abuse, a co-dependent, an alcoholic or an addict. We forget we are also multi-dimensional, multi-talented human beings who are a great deal more than any title, life experience, label. or job we are performing. It is not true that we are somebody when we are working and nobody when we are not. despite the fact that we may have spent a great portion of our life trying to be that somebody.

Sometimes, we have a tendancy to drag our feet with reference to changing careers, leaving negative job situations, or taking that step up the career ladder. When we do that, the universe decides to kick us out. of our present position in order to help us take the next step. At the moment this takes places, we may have a tendency to feel victimized by this event. However, a closer look might reveal that this is really a new opportunity. For instance in my case, I had been seeing clients for many years on week-ends doing counseling. But, I had been so attached to the security of a full time job that I never gave this endeavor my full attention or energy. So, after the dust and terror had settled, a friend said, “Maybe this is happening because it’s time for you to go back to school and do what you really what for a change.” So at forty-something years old that’s exactly what I did.

In addition, loosing my job gave me an opportunity to check in with some deeper issues. I had raised four children by myself and one of the ways I did that was to come home from my executive job in the daytime, take off my business suit, put on my waitress uniform and wait tables at night. I had to examine my level of false pride and ask myself if I would be willing to do that again if it became necessary. It was good to know I was willing and would have had fun doing it again.

When things get stressful financially, it’s important to sit down together and make a list of everything that you feel rich in such as love, compassion, understanding, friends, etc.. Even if bill collectors are doing a great job of being as tacky as they are supposed to be, you can remind yourself that you are a person of integrity who will and does pay their bills as soon as it is possible. Just as your value is not diminished by whether you have a job, neither is it diminished by whether you are late paying your bills during trying times.

The most important way to support a partner who is out of work is to constantly restate that you do not see him or her as any less valuable or successful because of this temporary status. Remind your partner that s/he has not lost his or her talent, ability or skills. Keep emphasizing that an attitude of confidence is critical to finding that next position or perhaps beginning that new career or even that new company of your own.

Being out of a job gives you an opportunity to do some things you may not take the time to do while you are working. You can evaluate your level of satisfaction with the kind of work you are doing. You can network and explore new ideas with others in different fields that you may have been curious about. You can do research on starting your own company, or finding the opportunities for training in a new field. You can get those creative juices flowing again and take a look at how you can put your talents and abilities into a new position that is more satisfying. If you like what you are doing, you can set a plan of action for yourself that includes making so many phone calls, personal visits to companies with your resume or job interviews per week. When you are busy creating what you want, there is less time to be depressed about not having what you need. Make sure you celebrate your accomplishments together when you meet the goals you set up for yourself even if they don’t result in an immediate offer of employment. Ultimately they will!

© Dr. Dina Bachelor Evan 2013

All rights reserved. No part of the intellectual property of Dr. Dina Evan may be reproduced, placed on mechanical retrieval system, transmitted in any form by electronic, video, laser, mechanical photocopy, recording means or otherwise in part or in whole, without written permission of the author. Contents are fully copyrighted and may not be owned by any other individual or organization.

Tuck Me Tuck Me

As a nation we are in such denial it amazes me. We have invented a way to make the things we fear more palatable – we just give them cute names. Friendly fire. Theater of War., Downsizing, Free Elections (two parties and the one with the most money wins) and now we have those all familiar Tummy Tucks, Breast Jobs, Penile Enhancements …all sound like so much fun don’t they? Oh those folks know exactly what they are doing because the brain interprets these words and sounds and responses are evoked that are either positive or negative. Well darlings, the response to cosmetic surgery is a fantastic 8.5 billion a year or to the sweet tune of more than $9.4 billion dollars. From 1997 this is a mere 304% increase in what is often major surgery. 87% or 7.2 million of these surgeries are on women and 13% or 1.1 million are on men, a number that is rapidly rising.

OK, I admit it. I have thought about de-enhancing my double chin. It is a bit worrisome that I look 10 or 15 years older than I feel inside. I understand this is disparity in how we look, compared to how we feel, is a common phenomenon. So I thought about it, then realized if I did the chin, I would probably want to do the eyelids and those bothersome wrinkles around my mouth, so a full face lift would be in order. After that, it hit me. If I was in a relationship, clearly at some point I would take off my clothes so then I’d need the lyposuction, the breast implants, the buttock lift, the whole lower body life, the upper arm lift … oh dear the only thing I wouldn’t need is rhinoplasty. In ten years, when all my little parts looked old again would I start all over? Even if I got all of that done, damn, I’d still have my mothers hands and they look my age. So with a resigned sigh, I decided to forgo the surgery all together. My true beloved will have to love me as I am. Too bad we can’t love ourselves in the same way.

Over the last thirty or forty years, women and men in America have become more and more obsessed with how their body is seen. This need to have the “perfect body” comes from a number of messages that society sends both directly and indirectly in many different ways, but specifically by advertising in the media. Manhattan socialite Olivia Goldsmith, who wrote the novel “The First Wives Club” and once mocked those who would go to such lengths to look young, died in January from anesthesia complications at one of New York’s most respected cosmetic surgery clinics.

We are so driven to look young, feel young, appear fit, and we have become willing to do virtually anything and risk virtually anything to achieve that end. As a result, some doctors are switching their practices to focus on the lucrative specialty–even if they have little or no education in it. Because most state laws do not apply to the private offices where plastic surgeries increasingly are being performed, and because there are no federal regulations governing which doctors can perform plastic surgery, oral surgeons are doing face-lifts, dermatologists are doing tummy tucks and allergists are giving clients nose jobs. Essentially, a doctor is a doctor under federal law. “In America, you can call yourself a plastic surgeon, hang a shingle outside your door and do these surgeries in your private office operating room with no regulation at all,” said Dr. Rod Rohrich, president of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons and chairman of the department of plastic surgery at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas. “Most patients don’t know the difference between someone who is certified and someone who’s not.” The reason no one knows the extent of the problem is that no one is keeping a national tally of the deaths stemming from plastic surgery. A few states–among them Florida and California–have begun to, but there are few other states with which to compare the results.

Ahh heck, what’s a girl and guy to do. Spend time getting to know each others’ spirit. Unlock and talk about the dreams you left behind that you might want to re-ignite. Tell each other how precious every gesture, every thoughtful act and every hair on your partners head is. Stop the comparisons. Stop the fight against time. Stop the break-neck race for perfection and realize there is no such thing. In every community we have abandoned our appreciation of age, for wisdom, for sage-ness. We are desperately holding on to the past and missing the present moment. In every moment, every era and every age there is an opportunity for rich awareness and an abundance of experience that is new to us. Nothing is permanent. Everything changes. Embracing change with grace bring with it such immeasurable joy. Take a breath. Honor your years and every experience that brought you to this place. You deserve the celebration. A life well lived may be the only badge of honor we need.

© Dr. Dina Bachelor Evan 2013

All rights reserved. No part of the intellectual property of Dr. Dina Evan may be reproduced, placed on mechanical retrieval system, transmitted in any form by electronic, video, laser, mechanical photocopy, recording means or otherwise in part or in whole, without written permission of the author. Contents are fully copyrighted and may not be owned by any other individual or organization.