Mercy

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Mercy.

And no I’m not goin all Uncle Jesse on you.
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🙂

And I’m not referring to various hospitals around the country, either.

I’m talking about the Year of Mercy.

It doesn’t matter if you’re Catholic, Protestant, Muslim, a “none,” or someone just searching for hope and goodness in the world…I think we can all agree: Pope Francis is a pretty strong cultural figure.

He’s kind of known as a “radical” pope, in that some of what he’s said has been picked up by the mainstream media – for being boundary pushing and a catalyst for change: aka the people’s pope.

But one thing’s for sure: he is sharing some pretty provocative messages with the world.

And in case you haven’t heard, he’s dubbed 2016 the Year of Mercy.

And I was doing a lot of reflecting about this recently.

Mercy is something that I feel like, I know what it is, but I can’t really define it. Like, I can explain it in feelings or Italian-esq hand motions, but ask me to pin down the stone cold definition, and I’m SOL.

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So I consulted my good old friend, Merriam Webster.

Mercy: “Compassion or forgiveness shown toward someone whom it is within one’s power to punish or harm; Kindness or forgiveness towards an offender.”

Forgiveness towards an offender.

Now, obviously, we all know that God is merciful. I mean, we sing it every Sunday in one way or another: “The Lord is kind and merciful.” “Lord, have mercy.” Etc. You get the drift.

And He is.

Micah 7:18 “God…who removes guilt…delights in mercy.”

That gentle image brings me to my knees every time I think about it.

And let me be clear: I’m not brushing that off, or down playing that in any way, shape, or form. In fact, mercy expresses the height of His power to do all things: to freely forgive us. And it is the most excellent work of His love. But in this Year of Mercy, I want to challenge myself to have a shift in perspective.
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Again, it’s obvious that we should show mercy to others, right? Forgive those who do wrong to you. Comfort the brokenhearted and alone. Give to the poor. Again…got it.

But I was thinking about it, and what about showing ourselves mercy?

Maybe that’s really self-absorbed of me to again bring myself into the equation. But if I’m being really honest, I myself need mercy, not only from God, but also from myself.

“Compassion, kindness, or forgiveness shown towards an offender.”

RealTalk: I am an offender.

My anorexia was an offense against my body. My soul. My spirit. Who I am, at my innermost being. This human -me- created by God. It was an attack against my personhood, that manifested itself in withholding the very basics needed for life. I was guilty of that. An offender.


But if I carry around guilt and shame about it, I’m actually denying myself mercy. The mercy already given to my by Jesus on the cross. I’m holding a grudge against myself for actions that have been completely forgiven by God. So how can I not offer that same forgiveness – that same mercy — to myself?

Maybe you haven’t struggled with an eating disorder, but we all have things in our past that haunt us. That we carry around. That we struggle(d) with: gossiping; fidelity; cheating on tests; addictions of various kinds – whether to drugs, alcohol, or online shopping – laziness, out of control anger. We all have things that make us offenders. And this isn’t some “pot calling the kettle” thing. Because the Good Lord knows I’m guilty – an offender – of a whole hell of a lot.

I don’t think it’s a coincidence that after a year of truly meaningful progress in my recovery (thanks to the Big Guy), that the Pope would come out and tout 2016 as the Year of Mercy. It’s like a subtle jab to the ribs that, “Oh hey, just in case you forget that you’ve been forgiven by God for your eating disorder/[insert-struggle-here] and all the horrendous crap that went along with it…I’m just reminding you to show that same mercy and forgiveness towards yourself…because you’re worth it.

 

The Year of Mercy.

We have been the recipients of incredible mercy. Now it’s our turn. The time to show compassion. Forgiveness. Kindness. Is now. To all the offenders in our lives. Especially ourselves.



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beautybeyondbones

BBB: Because we're all recovering from something. // For speaking/business inquiries: beautybeyondbones@yahoo.com

171 thoughts on “Mercy

    1. Thanks Israel. I appreciate your encouraging words. I am so grateful for recovery, that’s all I can say! And yes, we ALL deserve mercy and forgiveness and love. Thanks for stopping by! 🙂

  1. Mercy is a wonderful thing when it is not abused. I think the Pope has some great ideas, but it’s when mercy becomes “everything’s ok” that people begin to turn away from God and toward their sinful actions. I’ll admit, I have not read the article from Time magazine, but in my past I have given myself too much leeway on recovery saying I needed to give myself a break. It kept me in my ways more than it helped me progress forward. Now that I am in a completely different part of my life, I think mercy is a great concept because I understand it is not a pass to do whatever I choose, but forgive myself for the true mistakes I made.
    Another great post! xoxox

    1. Hi Ellie! Happy new Year! You bring up such a great point about mercy that I didn’t actually put into the post, because I thought it got too “heavy.” But one of the caveats about mercy is that we have to truly repent for our offenses. You know? So it’s not like a free pass, but the response to our repentance and turning away from those things. But you’re so right. And it is a wonderful wonderful expression of love from our Father. One that we can then turn around and show not only to others, but also ourselves. Love ya girlie, i hope you’re having a wonderful evening!! xoxo

      1. Thanks MM☺️☺️can’t own this one! It’s from a convo with my beautiful mother. She’s the smartest and most beautiful woman I know. Thanks for reading ☺️ have a great night

      2. She sounds very smart. I was very glad to read this comment because most people misunderstand mercy but you nailed it. Have a great night (sorry to copy)

  2. I’ve always been wanting to write something where i can express what i feel, like what u do, coz i also have my own inner struggles that i wanna fight with. I admire you for always thinking the brighter side despite what you’ve been going through.. im struckrd with all the messages u have here. I can relate. Continue to inspire people. Write from the heart. 🙂

    1. Thank you so much. I am so glad that my writing strikes a chord with you:) I so appreciate your kind and affirming words. If and when you do decide to share your heart, know that I would love to listen 🙂 Thanks for stopping by, friend! xx

  3. That was just beautiful! You’ll have to forgive the high blood-pressure you may be noticing, but we got tangled in a bunch of password resets and steam in whisking out of the ears. But Yes, we forgive others FAR More than we forgive ourselves. How can we? We try to remember that on an airplane, we need the oxygen before we help someone else. Bet you nobody follows that. Our instinct is to jump for others first. But we have to remember that without Oxygen, we fail. Xx much love to you. Going to have a cookie. Xx A& O

    1. Hi friend! You are SO right. Oh my goodness, what an excellent analogy. In order to be able to love others fully, we have to come from a place of love, ourselves. And the new year is such a great time to work on that. Sorry about the password craziness! computers…. Have a great night! enjoy your sweet treat! 🙂 🙂 🙂

    1. oh gosh, thank you so much! and YES! what a relief it IS! God is so good. So much to be grateful for. Especially His mercy. Thanks for stopping by and for your kind words (as usual 🙂 ), Jan! Hugs to you!!

  4. Very well said! For me, forgiving myself is the most difficult part of my recovery. Sad thing is, who am I not to forgive myself when the God of all possible worlds forgave me. This not granting mercy to ourselves (me) is truly arrogance, which I also need to recover from. Thanks for reminding me of this most essential part of recovery.

    1. Thank you so much! Such profound wisdom you share here. Thank you for that powerful insight. you’re right on the money. I am definitely guilty of that too. But thankfully God is good:) thanks for stopping by! Blessings to you in your recovery!

  5. Yes, Pope Francis, is certainly making his mark,

    The year of Mercy, I hope it is!

    There are so many who need mercy, most or all the merciless and the pitiless,

    These are those who have erstwhile and will again, fail to show mercy

    Yet we are called to be Merciful, yes O lord grant us strength

    For we do not know how to love as you have loved, nor to have mercy

    As the mercy only you can have.

    1. Thank you so much, Br. Andrew! You are so much, we are all in need of mercy. And there are so many out there who could benefit from our mercy as well. God is so good. I am just so grateful for the mercy He’s given me in my life. Yes, please Lord, grant us strength and teach us to love and show mercy and to follow Your perfect example. Thanks for your readership, Br. Andrew. It truly means a lot. Your words of wisdom are such a gift. Thank you. 🙂 God bless.

  6. Beautiful post. You are of course right on. In my experience: during my active alcoholism and the insane thinking that was a part of that and that followed it I was my own worst enemy. I was hardest on myself and kept myself from healing longer than would have happened if I had allowed help into my life.

    Thank you for the reminder to keep loving myself and not holding myself to an unobtainable standard.

    1. Thank you so much Josh. Recovery – no matter what “from” – is definitely a journey of continued self-forgiveness and self-love and claiming ones worth. At least in my experience. And hearing about the definition of mercy really gave me something to think about. I’m so glad you’ve chosen freedom! Thanks for stopping by and for your encouraging words. It means a lot 🙂 have a great night!

  7. Yes indeed!! God’s grace is surely sufficient for us, and it is only by embracing His grace for us that we’re able to see ourselves as His image, and as His beloved children, no longer condemned, accused or hated. We often tend to only know that God is gracious, but our knowledge is so limited,and the devil never fails to distort our perceptions- in that we find ourselves striving to do something by our mere men’s strength to ‘obtain’ that grace from God. but grace= unmerited, undeserved, unearned favour of God! so there’s nothing we can do more or less to receive that grace. and in fact we’ve alr received it with Jesus dying on the cross to redeem us all <3 and only when we all truly get a true revelation of this, will we be able to stand in awe of God and live the life that He truly desires for us. <3
    love u xx

    1. Amen Chryl! Wow so much wisdom in one comment! First of all, thanks for reading and your kind words. And secondly, you go girl! Preach it! ☺️☺️☺️ you’re so right- grace IS unearned and just an outpouring of love that we can’t earn or disqualify from. What a comforting thought. Thanks for that beautiful reminder. Have a great night!

      1. heh thanks for your flatter, but nah i’m far from being wise. Jesus is my wisdom:) Your posts never fail to inspire me to type something like that, so i suppose it’s the holy spirit working in me haha. you’re such an amazing angel. xx sleep well!!

    1. Thank you so much. I’m glad you enjoy the pictures. It’s a little bit of a labor of love, but I enjoy making them 🙂 have a wonderful day! Thanks for stopping by! !

  8. I just had a conversation with someone the other day about the Year of Mercy and eating disorder recovery. Your post sums it up so well. I love reading your posts. They truly motivate me and encourage me. Have a great day!

  9. AMAZING post, so so important to give mercy to ourselves and our recovery. You are such a great writer and I cannot wait to read more! <3

    1. Hi Lyss! Oh thank you so much! I really appreciate your encouraging words:) yeah, mercy is a beautiful thing – especially for recovery, when we’re breaking free from the grip of the past. Thanks again for taking the time to read ☺️❤️ sending love and hugs!

  10. Mercy: “Compassion or forgiveness shown toward someone whom it is within one’s power to punish or harm; Kindness or forgiveness towards an offender.”

    Forgiveness towards an offender

    mercy / forgiveness – the world needs a lot more of it – grest post

  11. <3!! Thank you for your honesty – such a great place to enter into this year with mercy…especially for ourselves. I've battled an eating disorder, recovered, then relapsed a bit with stress, but I can still say God delivers and heals 🙂 Thanks for sharing a bit of your story, I can't wait to go through your blog and read more!

  12. It’s a very merciless world at times.

    Yes, we definitely should acknowledge God’s mercy on us. If I had done more of this it would have saved a lot of mental anguish.

    Further to this, we must remember God’s mercy to us when dealing with others. Before we condemn another person’s lifestyle we must remember how God has been merciful on us.

    1. Hey Harry! Oh you are SO right! Whenever we interact with another person, we must always remember the grace and forgiveness, love and mercy we have received. and that we are dealing with another child of God, so we need to act accordingly! Thanks again for your continued readership. It means a lot. Hope you’re having a great week! Blessings to you!

  13. so glad that you liked my post because it brought me to your blog! How beautiful. This made me think about what my Grandma always told me about God and the relationship of Grace and Mercy. She always told me “God’s grace gets us but it’s his mercy that keeps us.” Allowing yourself the grace to make a mistake then the mercy of forgiveness is a daily challenge for all of us I am afraid.

    1. Thank you so much. Your grandma sounds like a wise woman. I love that saying. It’s so true! And it’s definitely a daily challenge. But one that leads to freedom! Thanks for stopping by! Hugs!

  14. Thank you for taking the time to write about the theme of mercy. I enjoyed reading this essay. I love the way that you place a lot of pictures and graphics in your essay. We need mercy for one another. The political tension in the U.S.A. is a nightmare. Best friends argue over the silly politics. When it all comes down to this: regardless of who gets elected; the poor and working class are still going to lose. But with mercy in our hearts, everyone wins.

    1. Hi Richard! What a beautiful response. Thank you for taking the time to share your reflection. You’re so right: everyone wins when we practice mercy. Everyone. Sounds like a great hope for 2016:) thanks for stopping by!

    1. Thank you so much Colleen! And thanks for passing along that song! I look forward to checking it out:) you’re right-we’ve already been given those gifts. It’s our job joe to claim them:) thanks for stopping by! Hugs!

  15. Thank you thank you for this post! I will be sharing it because it was beautifully said. Mercy is what the world needs, we need to forgive ourselves in order to be better and accomplish greater ❤️. You are a beautiful spirit

  16. So honest and true! It’s so hard to extend mercy to others if we don’t first extend it to ourselves. Great perspective for sure. Thanks for the reminder!

      1. Thanks Laurie. I’m sorry that that is a common history for both of us, but I’m so glad we’ve claimed the freedom of recovery! ❤️❤️❤️ thanks again for your affirmation 😘

  17. Back again 🙂 Happy 2016 and you have written another great post as usual 🙂 The year 2016 in my opinion should be the year of Mercy as you say 🙂 And you deserve Mercy as well because whenever you have written a blog post that chronicles your past (i.e. the eating disorder), you also chronicle how you have given up on that and healed with your new positive outlook on life that is always needed for any human being 🙂 As you know 2016 is also a leap year (29 instead of 28 days in February) and it is an election year. Now we all obviously have problems with our politicians and presidents are no different. However, I sometimes wonder how we ourselves would feel If we were in the big chair and getting all the insults? Make no mistake, I am not excusing their behavior, but I seemed to have noticed by comparison that the most civil of the critics seem to be the ex-presidents themselves or at least most of the time. But I don’t know. Anyway, you have written another great post as usual and keep up the great work as always 🙂

    1. Happy new year to you too, John! Thank you for your thoughtful response☺️ you’re so right: we are all in need of and deserve mercy. It brings so much healing and peace. And I didn’t realize this was a leap year! How exciting! We’ll have to use that extra day in February for something particularly special:) hope you have a wonderful evening! Thanks again for taking the time to read and for your continued support!

  18. Great post! The “Year of Mercy” sounds like something we in America need to observe, no matter our religious or cultural backgrounds. There are people in our nation and in the world who need our help, and we need to step up to the plate. I admire Pope Francis and wish more would open their ears to hear his message.

    1. Hi Jenny! Thank you so much! You are so right: we ALL need mercy. And no matter what our background, kindness, love and forgiveness are a universal themes to adopt and implement into our lives. Thanks for your reflection and for taking the time to read. Hugs!

  19. Thank you for this post and your follow. 🙂
    One of my faith goals this year is to “To forget the past and focus on the love, forgiveness, mercy and grace of God in the present and for the future” and your post affirms it. I’m also glad that I have another person I can follow and find encouragement in 🙂
    Thank you.
    – Hope

    1. Hi Hope! Thanks you so much. Oh, that is so beautiful. I absolutely love your goal. Yes, let’s focus on those things- for they bring freedom and peace! Thanks for stopping by and taking the grime to read! Hugs and love to you!

  20. Hi! Just read this post and wow! Yes! Praise God for His unending mercy! Lamentations 3:21-23, “This I recall to my mind, therefore I have hope. Through the Lord’s mercies we are not consumed, because His compassions fail not. They are new every morning; Great is Your faithfulness.” Praise God for what He is doing in your life! I’ve known a few people who have dealt with an eating disorder. You have a great testimony of God’s healing and deliverance…and of course, His mercy! Blessings in Christ, you who are beloved of the Lord. 🙂

    1. Wow thank you so much for your affirming words! What a beautiful verse. Thanks for sharing that. How comforting and hopeful that his mercies are new every morning. Love it. Thanks for stopping by! Hugs!

      1. You are welcome! Your post reminded me to give myself some grace and mercy. I’ve been going through a difficult time with some health issues and I get frustrated with my weaknesses. The health issues affect my sleep, which in turn, affect my emotional state of being. In short, I’m a blubbering mess some days…well, a lot of days. Your post reminded me that the Lord has compassion on us in our weaknesses. May the Lord continue to bless you in your recovery! He is with you!

      2. Oh gosh, I’m so sorry the healing process has been so taxing! Yes, he Lord definitely is compassionate and merciful, and in turn, we can be that to ourselves as well! Thanks again for your reflection. Blessings to you on your healing journey xx

  21. I love this. I need a lot more mercy in my mind. Have you ever read Brene Brown’s (first) book about vulnerability and shame or heard her TED Talk? Game-changing stuff.

  22. I’ve had struggles with letting go of my past mistakes more than I should and I’m thankful for the Mercy in this post. You reminded me that I’ve been forgiven and that Christ’s joy remains and is complete when His Mercy leads me beyond the dark past to walk in His Light. 2016: Mercy forward.
    Keep writing, you inspire so many and be blessed.
    Greenginger

    1. Hi friend, thank you so much for your affirming words. I like that: Mercy forward, 2016☺️ but you’re so right: God is abounding in mercy and forgiveness and love for us. What a comforting thought that is indeed:) thanks for stopping by! Hugs!

  23. Absolutely! Hooray! Yes to all that you wrote!!! When I think of mercy and forgiveness, I remember that in the Bible, God always forgives before we even ask for forgiveness. In the story of the prodigal son, the father ran out and embraced the son before the son even spoke a word. I also think that God exists outside of time, beyond time. I am already forgiven. I just need to say, “Yes!” To accept that forgiveness. To accept that God loves me THAT much. To accept that I am worthy. If I deny myself forgiveness, I am really denying God, when it comes down to it. If I can’t forgive myself, how am I to forgive others. May we all increase in love and mercy each day! Thank you for your beautiful writing! ❤️

    1. Thank you so much Lulu! You are so right. So much truth here. I absolutely love the story of prodigal son. The way the father runs and is watching and waiting for the sons return. How comforting. Yes, here’s to a 2016 full of love and mercy xx.

  24. This brought tears to my eyes. Thank you for putting it into words that touch so many regardless of their struggles. Also, thank you for the reminder that while we are called to extend mercy to others as He has extended mercy to us, we must also extend mercy to ourselves!

    1. Oh thank you so much. I’m so glad this struck a chord with you! Yes, I think showing mercy to ourselves is the hardest part! Thanks for stopping by! Love and hugs to you!

  25. What a thought-provoking post. My mind is tossing around all sorts of responses. On one hand, God forgives us and wipes the slate clean and we also need to acknowledge that and move on. Yet, we still take ourselves with us and and so we all have weaknesses in one area or another so to move forward from such areas in our lives, we also need to act and make concrete changes going forward. This is as much in what we say about ourselves as what we do.
    I live with a severe, life-threatening auto-immune disease which comes and goes in a nd out of remission. When I am well, like now, most people wouldn’t know. My kids both start new schools this year and I have to decide how much of this to share in these new communities. I am actually thinking of keeping quiet. Maybe just providing a letter to the school but leaving it at that. I have a disabled parking permit and people get a suprise at times when they see me with a walking stick but I’ve decided that its okay to step out there and leave most of that in the past. I am not healed but in a sense I am.
    I hope there will come a time in your journey where you’re know this sense of release. Perhaps, you’re already there.
    I really do believe that healing is a partnership with God. Sometimes, he might do it all but I do think we’re called on to be responsible and proactive.
    Love & God Bless,
    Rowena

    1. Hi Rowena! Thank you so much for thus beautiful reflection. You have so much wisdom my goodness! I love that idea of a partnership. So true. God will strengthen us to put in work ourselves in addition to His work. And thanks for sharing about your journey with an ai disease. I also have an ai disease: ulcerative colitis so I can definitely relate that it’s an unseen condition that comes and goes. Thanks for stopping by! Hugs!

      1. You’re welcome. I do a lot of thinking and reading…pondering!
        I’m sorry to hear you have ulcerative colitis. I know a few people with that and it can be quite nasty. My daughter has gastroparesis or delayed gastric emptying and so doesn’t feel hungry, doesn’t eat, doesn’t put on weight. I also read the anorexia can cause her disease, so I’ve been thinking that not eating makes it worse and I think I’m on the right track. I’ve also found she had troubles with some foods and has issues with texture so we are becoming better informed and she’s a much healthier weight.
        The other thing I’d like to share with you is the need for balance and a creative person and high achieving performer. My grandmother was a child prodigy pianist and I’ve pasted her obituary for you. http://www.smh.com.au/comment/obituaries/a-musical-career-honed-in-the-laundry-20090823-ev2w.html
        What no one tells you is that all those hours and hours of practice and focus, can also affect your health and you need to take a holistic view. If you go too far one direction, you need to counter-balance it the other way. I am quite conscious of this with my daughter who is going to a selective primary school class this year with all the pressure of tutoring as well as her dance and drama lessons. She still needs a childhood and that yin and yang. Both my kids do Scouts, which I think helps with that.Get out in the bush. Go camping. I have stumbled across this but I have seen a few casualties of extremes. I am naturally extreme myself in terms of my writing but since I’ve had my kids, I’ve been forced to toe the line. My husband is also very practical. Gets onto me. Extends me as well. I recently found out that Charles Dickens was writing some of his novels simultaneously and had an incredible output but he would go for exceptionally long walks which I was told was a kind of self-treatment.
        This is just me stacking up stories along the road but given what you your background, I thought I should share my observations. A friend of mine who is an artist agreed 100%
        Anyway, hope you have a great day!
        Love & God Bless,
        Rowena

      2. Thank you so much for this response! You’re right a ting and a yang is definitely definitely important. And I also had gastroparseis simultaneously with the anorexia. Apple cider vinegar is a miracle liquid. Literally improved my gastroparseis. Just take 1 Tbsp before meals of the raw ACV. Hope that helps! Thanks again for all your insight! I love reading your wisdom and insight!

      3. Thanks very much and I will try that Apple cider vinegar.
        I hope my insights help. I have been through a lot and met a lot of people on the road, as well as coming from a creative family and seen how that’s panned out. I really feel a very strong need to reach out to people where I can and it’s a big part of why I blog. I am working towards writing some motivational memoir type books but just when I thought I’d conquered my mountain, I caught pneumonia, had chemo and didn’t know if I was going to pull through. That slowed things right down but I now realise that this up and down trajectory is more real. Honest. Take care xx Rowena

      4. Thanks. I’m doing well now. In remission. Down to 7.5 mg prednisone daily, which I think you’ll know what that means. I’m stepping out into this new year with cautious confidence and faith. Thanks for your prayers and I send mine back for you too. 2016 is a new beginning! xx Rowena

      5. Oh prednisone. Yes that dirty beast. I know it all too well. Praise God that you’re in remission! Thank you for the prayers. I will definitely keep you in mine as well. I like that. Cheers to a new beginning! ❤️❤️❤️

  26. Wine, I love all of your images. I was trying to download them into my inspiration file but it didn’t work . You’ve got some really great ones here .

    I’m really impressed with this pope as well . My mother is an Episcopal priest . I didn’t know anything about this pope but I had a dream that there was a really huge conference with all sorts of bishops end lots of tables set up for eating , while the pope walked away from all his bigwigs and sat down at the edge next to my mother with his tray of food and said we are all priests . I woke up wondering what was going on , a pope that recognized an Episcopalian woman priest as his equal ? He had such humility but also strength of character , based on the dream I just really like him .

    Having to learn self compassion has been maybe the hardest struggle in my truck my recovery . It is so hard when you blame yourself for things that aren’t your fault . You didn’t have any other coping skills or resources when you became anorexic . It’s not your fault that you committed horrible acts against your body , most people do it every day with what they eat . What’s amazing is that you decided to find another way . I tell people that my only criteria for who I will have in my life is if they have problems they don’t deal with and make them my problems or if they have problems which they are healing and we can be supportive towards each other , not rescuing but being able to validate what is wholesome and help us not get caught in those self-defeating thoughts that come from shame .

    I think that to really do that sort of recovery just like to do any activism that really changes the world over an extended period of time , and I firmly believe that recovery is activism because you are changing the world by changing yourself , and the personal is political , and it is a very radical act to let go of shame , to do any of this work requires being able to turn things over to some sort of higher power because otherwise it’s too overwhelming . The longer you recover and see yourself change and find ways to make that change affect the world , I think you really start to see the divine in action and begin to have faith.

    Having self compassion or what you might call Mercy , it is a choice and for some reason it can be incredibly scary to choose to forgive yourself especially for things that at the time you didn’t really have any other option , so there isn’t even that much to forgive because it’s not your fault , we do what we can with what we have , and some of us decide that those things are too constricting and we have to do be like a hermit crab and run out of our tight little shell and trust that will find one bigger .

    Yet there is that feeling of perhaps I will be punished if I am self compassionate , that’s what I struggle with . The wasp work ethic doesn’t help . Perfectionism doesn’t help either . Meanwhile I can find all sorts of reasons to forgive and even excuse the horrible behavior of those who abused me ! They had horrible childhoods or they were addicted to something , it’s so easy to see it from their point of view , and so hard for some reason to see my own point of view and validate that and part of that is my innocence . Underneath it all we are innocent .

    My mother says the resurrection happens every time someone reclaims the fact that they are innocent . When they stop carrying these burdens around better lies about being bad . Once you can let go of that core belief that you are somehow bad in some way the resurrection happens . Aisleways thought that was a really beautiful way of interpreting the resurrection happening in every day life . There isn’t any God I know of who wants you to hate yourself . There are maybe nasty little critters who might feed on self-loathing , who knows if that’s what demons are something , but as far as anything divine , anyone who is filled with self-loathing or shame will never really be able to Amberes the divine so of course the divine doesn’t want us to be consumed with shame.

    I’m using really awful dictation on my Kindle so I know this is kind of hard to read . There’s a lot of woodsmoke making me sick right now . I just wanted to let you know that it’s nice to hear that other people struggle with this to , especially someone who has been in anorexia recovery for so long end seems to have it all together , if that makes any sense. I guess we keep revisiting different things that keep us from the divine .

    I lived in Los Angeles, I read tarot cards to quite a lot of celebrity types , and I really couldn’t tell who was anorexic and who was just naturally a size 0 . I have seen actresses who say they had eating disorders now on TV and they look freakishly bony . The girl who was on the show Reba whose first name is Scarlett , her work covered from anorexia photos look very anorexic. And the actress married to Ellen who was someone who almost died from anorexia again looks like a skeleton . But she’s better ?

    How do you handle living in Los Angeles where the norm is anorexia especially if you are an actress ? I can look at Heidi Klum and say that she actually has muscle and that is her natural body type , but that’s not very often what a human being looks like naturally . It’s really hard to be incredibly skinny and look healthy . Courtney Cox is so tiny I know people who have worked with her are almost afraid , but she’s not frail or anorexic, she just really does have arms that then .

    I was really surprised at how many very beautiful women I met in Los Angeles who hated everything about how they look . If they lived in Ohio they’d be supermodels . And these women aren’t actresses or performers, it was just the norm for living in Los Angeles to be a size 2 no matter what you do as a job !

    So I wondered about how when you’re in a culture where your agent will teach you how to vomit you are able to stay true to your recovery ? Most people I know who are actresses or dancers were taught how to be bulimic by a teacher and they took up chain-smoking and cocaine to avoid food . Everybody smokes in Los Angeles , at least if they are actresses it seemed like . The body hatred culture of Los Angeles towards women by women and men was one reason I hated living there .

    If you are in the industry, you are in the belly of the beast of body image and body loathing issues . That makes it even more remarkable what you’re doing , because it’s like a recovering alcoholic living in a bar .

    1. Hi Heather, thank you so much for your thoughtful reflection! you’re right, although I don’t live in LA, NYC is just as rough when it comes to body image. The acting industry itself is very image obsessed, and so I have to keep my focus on how God sees me: He sees my heart. Anyway, I love your thoughts about how we should just let the past and the guilt go and be free and reclaim innocence. What a beautiful sentiment. Thankfully there is abundant mercy to be found. Again, thank you for your insight and reflection. Sending love and prayers to you on your journey! hugs, my friend! xoxo

  27. As an actor, I suppose you are familiar with the idea of opposites; if what you’re doing doesn’t work, try the polar opposite. Allow me to offer you an opposite idea on mercy and forgiveness toward self. Only God can do that. We can’t do this for ourselves. The challenge is ACCEPTING God’s mercy and forgiveness, not providing it to ourselves. Try this post I wrote in 2014 and see what you think. https://jeffreyhking.wordpress.com/2014/05/22/the-memory-warehouse/

    1. Hey Jeffrey! Ooooh I’m excited to read thisssss! Seriously though, I love hearing your wisdom and perspective. Thanks for sharing my friend. Hope your Monday is off to a great start! Xoxo

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