My temple has fallen. Your body is your temple. You are what you eat. These statements hold a deeper meaning. As it's usually the case, a phrase repeated ad infinitum loses it's sense. Especially when it's not strengthened by actions. It's like telling someone you love them but constantly putting them down. I haven't taken care of my Temple properly. I wasn't respectful and I was being reminded of it in unpleasant ways. The thing is you really, really become what you eat, you take on the qualities of whatever you consume. Is it cake? Well, in cake you turn. You eat healthy greens and all that goodness? You radiate and keep your head up high like all that's green seeks the presence of the Sun.
I believe that taking care of your body should be the beginning and a base of every magical training. How do you expect to make changes on alchemical level or shape the world at your Will if you can't get in the shape you will? I see people who are magicians and yet their temples look abandoned! Have they spent so much time studying they forgot the living? It is not about meeting some arbitrary standards. Its not a beauty contest. Everyone is something, has something. It doesn't matter. This cosmic spacesuit is only temporary. But so the car is temporary and yet if you take care if it it will get you far. I see many people taking better care of their cars than of their bodies. It is not only a possibility, but it is your duty to take care of that onesie. To experience life in human form is a sacrifice of a soul, a miracle. Why do we take it for granted so much? Cause we cant imagine being nothing. Or being something else. How can you be ready to fulfill your wIll if you're not ready to get up from bed and leave the house?
Its not about being a neurotic, always on the diet, counting calories and being an obsessive healthy eater. I'm guilty of all, how very guilty! It is also about freeing yourself from eating disorders, compulsive thoughts about food, bad habits and injecting poison into the miraculous system that keeps us alive for some reason.
If you treat your body with respect, it will show. They say we shouldn't judge others only on their appearance. But how powerful our appearance can be! And what's the most powerful it's not about what you put on your body or the physical attributes. It is what shines from within and it projects on all the other aspects. The real ugliness of the body is the ugliness of the soul. The ugliness of a misaligned thought and neglect. The appearance is what we communicate to the world, the subtleties of how we look send messages that other pick up on. And just like with the verbal communication, we can only go half the way. It is nevertheless something not to be overlooked.
Magic is not something to use to replace your activity on this plane. You can cast all you want, if you don't take the steps directly in your control, you wont get results. I am saying that to myself, taking another turn in my life and examining my choices. I am the most severe judge of myself, worry not.
I know a lot of people complain about different conditions, blaiming their age for it. Many of those people not being even 40. Drinking, smoking, eating fast food. I am sure it's the age. The first step on taking care of your body is being absolutely, brutally honest with yourself. You can fool everyone around you, you can even fool yourself, but you can't fool your own body.
What you put in is what you put out. In everything. As above so below. Rubbish in, rubbish out. There really isn't any way around this.
There are countless resources on how to eat healthy but this is not one of them. To be honest, like with many other cases, I am lost with the amount of contradicting information. The best solution seems to be not to get carried away with the extremes and listen to your own body. How do you learn how to listen to your own body? As with many things, the answer seem to be meditation.
I had a long and tormented relationship with food all my life. There were better and worse moments. It is probably the longest battle I've been fighting. The invisible battle. There are moments I think it's only a shadow of the past. Other days it comes back strong like a wave and brings back all the emotions I was trying to control. The anger, the guilt, the shame.
As a kid we never had any limit on how much or what I could eat. There was a magical cupboard where all the sweets lived. I think I developed a habit of going there to pray as soon as I was tall enough to reach it. Being a kid, jumping around and exploring life I didn't have to think much about my weight. Fat was something that happens to lazy people anyway. I was on the other side, with skinny wrists and pale skin. Some would think I wasn't eating enough. Grandma's usual behavior was to replace love with food and emotionally blackmail us into eating more than we probably should.
Then, things happened. I moved schools, my family was going through unpleasant time and I was becoming a teenager. What can possibly go wrong. One day someone took a picture of me. I was shocked. What the hell happened, where is my face, who is this person? I went through a quick transformation from a skinny kid to something that looked like an easter egg in its stripey sweater. What the hell. It made me really unhappy. Nobody warned me that eating tonnes of sugar in many forms might finally result in such changes. I was also completely unaware of other dangers that come with eating excess sugar, Diabetes was something that only really fat people got and I should just process all the sugar into a pure genius. I started experiencing different unpleasant symptoms that today I would identify as IBS but also just a very straightforward effects of bad diet and stress. It is a bit of a vicious circle since stress can lead to bad dietary choices, but also bad food can cause chemical reactions that result in mood swings. At some point you don't even know what started it and only radical changes can make a difference. I was walking from appointment to appointment talking to doctors about my symptoms that were not serious enough to require heavy treatment or cause some sort of sympathy. After all it looked like I was gonna live. That live seemed however quite unpleasant, painful and sucky. They didn't know what was wrong with me and test after test all came out rather normal. There were days I would rather be officially sick than have something mildly wrong with me causing enough discomfort in every day life. Not once I've been asked about sugar. I was not eating fast foods and I was very active.
After that unfortunate picture I started exercising more and challenging myself on how long I can stay without eating. I could push myself not to eat for couple of days and the thoughts of food were haunting me. I was looking at my other friends who seemingly could hoover absolutely all kinds of food and stay skinny. I had to pay attention, otherwise I would be either putting on weight or experiencing pain. I found it very unfair and I couldn't understand why my body was hating me so much. From the stress over food and repressing a lot of desires around it, my appetite would come back angry, especially in the moments of extreme stress. I would eat over the strong emotions, be it sadness, anger or pain. I would eat enormous amount of food, without tasting any of it. Sweets were especially my weakness. Then came the guilt, disgust and anger. I would try to make myself sick but for some reason my body wasn't allowing me to throw up, no matter how hard I tried. So if that didn't help, I had to try different means and when that wasn't an option, I was self harming in different ways.
I would hate every picture of me and I would think I'm fat. Of course, when I look at those pictures today, I wish I was of that weight and that youth again. I wasn't fat or ugly. I was unhappy. I remember coming back home and never wanting to leave because I felt too ugly to show my face to people. Why could't I just look normal. Why did I have to look weird. There was something strange about the way I looked that everyone seems to be pointing out as long as I could remember. I was pale, skinny, too serious, with a big nose, I put on weight, then I lost weight, someone would always take note of every little change that took place in my body like it was everybody's business. I could never keep my weight at the same level because of the periods of strict diets and overeating. My family never noticed there was anything I was genuinely struggling with. Constant criticism and comments were of course in the best of intentions.
To be a model was a dream. They were the ideal of beauty and control over their bodies. They were worshiped and admired. Always in the center of attention, surrounded by the aura of divinity. Pure perfection. Higher than that was only an acting star. I was too shy for that and no one could hear the words I spoke. Modelling could be the way to remain silent and yet still be admired. I was only a centimeter away from perfection. I've never been so close after that. Yet again not good enough. Are you a swimmer? Are you a swimmer, Alex? This question would haunt me for years to come. I can swim, does it count? It's just my body, that's what it looks like. It's just my face. It looks this way. Why did my existence need so much commentary from random people? I felt like on a constant public display.
Wanting to be a dancer I was surrounded with slender figures, feeling like a hippo. To look in the mirror just to correct my steps and posture, tensed with fear and doubt, was a torture. I was trying. I wanted to be admired too, I wanted to be pretty and slim. I wanted to finally be approved and maybe even loved. Countless classes ended up in tears. I had dreams but these were the dreams of pretty girls. Not for me. I was made to work behind the scenes. To be a writer. To work quietly, away from the spotlight, not to insult anyone with my awkward presence. Leave that to the pretty girls. You're not slim, you will have to try harder.
When I started living alone I had no experience cooking and the obvious choice was to get all the processed microwaveable food. I started going out, drinking and smoking, that didn't do my body any favors. I recovered from these years and started taking better care of myself until depression would struck one day and left me with no energy to fight for myself. I would always pick myself up until it reached the peak point and I would fall again. It was like this since forever. Periods of healthy living versus times of indulgence, shame and neglect. I could not be happy unless I liked what I saw in the mirror. There was not many moments like this. Even when I was getting ready for marathons, when I was running regularly and you wouldn't know from my shape, but my eating habits were awful. I would always turn back to sugar in the end.
I ended up in front of the camera, wearing much less than I initially intended. It allowed me to gain some confidence but sometimes I would have to look at the results, often in disgust, pick the pictures from a lot of unfaltering poses, hear the comments of the photographers, get rejected by those I admired and of course see my body change from shoot to shoot. Let's leave the whole sexual objectification of the body for another sunny afternoon. When couple of years ago I revisited my long forgotten dream of acting, one rejection after another only reminded me of my inadequacy. I don't always recognize or identify with my face. I try to remember the one that was me. The face I was happy with. I am trying to go back to the body that felt like me.
It struck me the other day. It's been 15 years since I struggle with it, riding the roller coaster of an Eating Disorder Otherwise Non Specified. They call it something else now, as written in the Holy Book of Neurodiversity. Who can keep up with these guys. 15 years. Every holiday, every party, many dinners, dates, birthdays. The pressure, the buzzing in the ears, the shaking hands. Food shopping is an obstacle race. A dance of disgust and shame and anger, round and round in circles, like a manege until you fall off and throw up only to begin a new dance just moments later.
The battle of The Temple continues.