Modern Day MercyShe didn’t think mercy was a very modern word. Or even a word that belonged to her or her world. It was a word that belonged back in the ‘olden’ days.
Mercy- a blessing that is an act of divine favour or compassion-kind, gentle, or compassionate treatment especially towards someone who is undeserving of it -compassion or forgiveness shown towards someone whom it is within one's power to punish or harm. And even if mercy was a ‘modern’ day word, it didn’t belong in her world as she thought she had done too much wrong. She was not deserving of it. Her life was a mess. And the voice of eating and restriction made sure it stayed that way.
Mercy belonged to people that had been good and done the right things.
And the right things included not being in a love / hate relationship with an eating disorder.
And staying in that relationship for a very long time.
She thought mercy was only for someone who was genuinely sorry for something they had done. Like the person who accidentally bumps into you in the supermarket and spills your coffee. That person who apologies and offers to do what they can to help clean up the mess. Or the person that cuts you off when driving, and when they realize they wave and mouth an apology to you. They didn’t realize what they had done, it was just a mistake.
Mercy is for people that are happy to clean up the mess they have created and take responsibility for it.
This was not the case for her. Out of her pain and unresolved heart issues she chose to keep friends with the bad choices and obsessions.
There was no mercy for someone like her.
She had to clean up her own mess with no help from others. This was what she deserved. It was her truth.
What she didn’t realize, was that mercy IS available to her and she didn’t have to be so hard on herself.
She WAS allowed to offer mercy to herself for her mistakes or bad choices even when she chose them on purpose, knowing they would not be a good call. The voice of love was able to break the cycle of pain and unwise decisions.
The voice of mercy was able to clean up the mess of life.
The voices of love and mercy together were enough to start the healing process that drove the bad decisions.
She realised as she showed herself mercy one time, she was then strengthened to show herself mercy one more time.
One more time then grew to another time.
Over time, she was able to practice mercy towards herself.
She was even able to start to like herself.
Or even love herself.
Right where she was.
Mercy is a verb. A doing word. An action to practice on yourself and then others. The opposite of mercy is hard hearted. She found out that showing mercy to herself and others made her a better person.
She grew to like herself. And liking herself, allowed her to make better decisions. To spend less time with the eating and obsession habits.
To gain strength to break up with eating and restriction behaviours.
Mercy to herself allowed her to break the cycle of addiction.
And replace it with a cycle of love.
She realised when mercy kissed her, her world view was changed.
Hope became her reality.
The cycle of love became engaged.
She discovered that MERCY was far from an ‘olden’ day word.
It was her word for today, in modern times.And mercy was for EVERY day.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: AMANDA LONGAmanda Long resides in Cairns, QLD, Australia. Amanda known as Mandy, is a Coach/ Advocate who works with people to help them overcome anxiety, disordered eating, depression & losses in life. At Project HEAL, Mandy is dedicated to sharing her lived experience to get the word out that recovery is available and HOPE is not elusive. Mandy can often be found taking early morning strolls with coffee in hand, enjoying a good film and spending time with family & friends. Mandy’s favourite ice cream flavour is peanut butter chocolate.
The word called out to her in the distance.
She started to see elephants everywhere.
On peoples clothing.
On display in shops.
In people’s gardens as ornaments.
On TV programs.
On facebook feeds.
On necklaces around people’s necks.
On wrapping paper.
Elephants just kept turning up. Everywhere.
What was the sign she was supposed to be receiving?
FAT. GREY. WRINKLY.
That was the only definition that came to her mind. And the only definition full stop.
And those words were not helpful for someone who had endured a 25 year eating disorder.FAT – not a word allowed to be used. A despicable word. The unrelenting voice screaming about what to eat or not to eat, and how that would affect your body shape did not need any help or reminders.
GREY – hair that had the colour grey growing through, was unacceptable. It was not perfect. So it doesn’t count. It showed lack of discipline.
WRINKLY – indicates old skin when the age doesn’t match. If you are not ‘old’ enough to have wrinkly skin, then you don’t. Not perfect. Not suitable at all.
Fat. Grey. Wrinkly. Words best left for the description of an elephant.
A very large plant eating mammal with a prehensile trunk, long curved ivory tusks and large ears, native to Africa and southern Asia. It is the largest living land animal.
The elephant in the room
A major problem or controversial issue which is obviously present but is avoided as a subject for discussion. They’ve steadfastly ignored the elephant in the room,
Still nothing to do with her at all. But yet elephants kept appearing EVERYWHERE.
It was just a word. Elephant
A single unit of language that has meaning and can be spoken or written and functions as a principal carrier of meaning. Words are usually separated by spaces in writing, and are distinguished by phonics, and accent in many languages
And we can speak and hear anywhere between 7,000 and 20,000 words in a single day!
So if there are so many words in a single day, why did this one word have so much power?
She realised that words can leave a wound – like an arrow shot - and then pulled out. The arrow has been removed but the wound is still there. And many words can wound.
She also realised words can bring healing. Healing to those wounds. There must have been a wound to be affected.Fat.
Her perception of an elephant.
They are just words in themselves, but attach them to a wound and an incorrect perception of yourself – this can be very damaging. Perfect ground for ED to grow and flourish.
The wound was the pain of how she saw life and the things that had been done to her. The parents that separated. The feeling of not being safe. The words of you must do better. You must be thin to be powerful. You must succeed. You must. Must. Must. Always lifting the bar.
She realised it was never too late to start changing how she saw herself. Her perception of things. She could change the words she heard about herself. The words she used about herself.Guarding her heart and watching what is spoken over it. What she allowed to be spoken over it, either by others or the unrelenting voice of ED. Guarding her heart at all times.
She learned to speak new words over her heart and life. I am: -
Free to be me! At any size!
And a new perception of the word elephant.
Not easily offended
And an elephant is the only animal that has the capability to feel empathy. And that right there is a wonderful reason to love the sound of the word elephant. Empathetic – her heart for others in the same position that she had been in for so many years, bound to the suffocating lies of ED. Now she could keep encouraging others to stay the path. Choose life words. Hope. Persistence. Peace. Confidence. Courage.
Empathetic - A far cry from Fat. Grey. Wrinkly.Perception is everything. She was learning to see herself and the world from a place of healing simply by changing what words she allowed to affect her. Little by little she started to believe encouraging and uplifting words about her. Even if she had to speak them over herself. She was beautiful right where she was at. Today. Not having to wait for tomorrow. Or for someone else to speak them to her. All words are relevant to something, positive or negative.
She was allowed to choose what words described her.What words she listened to.She engraved this on her heart.
“If any word cost her peace, it was too expensive.”
And Elephant was well within her budget.
So she was able to liberally spread life words.
Hope is NOT elusive.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: AMANDA LONGAmanda Long resides in Cairns, QLD, Australia. Amanda known as Mandy, is a Coach/ Advocate who works with people to help them overcome anxiety, disordered eating, depression & losses in life. At Project HEAL, Mandy is dedicated to sharing her lived experience to get the word out that recovery is available and HOPE is not elusive. Mandy can often be found taking early morning strolls with coffee in hand, enjoying a good film and spending time with family & friends. Mandy’s favourite ice cream flavour is peanut butter chocolate. You can find more here: www.theexchangewoman.com.au
THE UMBRELLA STRAP (as published by "Project Heal" theprojectheal.org)
February 19, 2018 | #GUESTBLOGGER
FacebookTwitterGoogle+EmailPinterestTumblrShare7By: Amanda Long
She walked her usual morning path, for the most part unaware of her surroundings except for the pouring rain. The important thing right now was to stay some type of dry. This current thought overruled any thoughts of food intake or outtake. An occasional change of focus. As the wind blew the rain towards her, she held her umbrella handle close, almost using it as a shield. The handle became damp and started to twist in her hand and as it did the ‘umbrella strap’ (the velcro piece that fasteners it in the closed position) flapped right before her face. It was so annoying and even though she would twist the handle to make the strap move to the side, almost straight away it would be back right in front of her face.
It was SO irritating. Couldn’t she even walk in peace? She just wanted to get some scissors or a knife and ‘cut’ the strap off and get it out of the way. That would fix everything and then not, because the umbrella needed the strap to hold it together for storage. Not that she carried scissors or a knife on her walk but then again the blades of either were not needed when she had the blades of her thoughts cutting & slicing her heart continually. It crossed her mind that it was possible it would have been even more annoying if the umbrella had no fastening strap when it needed to be closed.
As the rain continued and the umbrella twisting happened a few times she realized this was like her long standing life of addiction recovery. Many times she just wanted to ‘cut’ things off. People. Places. Work. Feelings. Emotions. Food. Herself. Breath. She was reminded that seemed to be the easy way out. Just withdraw. No one really cared anyway.
During those long years of binging/purging/repeat life, she had little regard for her feelings unless they were feelings that went hand in hand with her self- hatred. Anger. Unforgiveness. Bitterness. Victim mentality. Otherwise feelings just got in the way. Peace or recovery seemed to be an elusive concept reserved for others, but never ‘her.’ People like ‘her.’ Who were people like ‘her’ anyhow? The ones who were looked down on because they couldn’t function in daily life without depression, food comfort, numbers ruling every decision and a lifestyle of counseling and intervention. Society had pretended it cared and offered programs but ‘her’ truth was they didn’t really care, let alone understand. No one understood so it was better to just keep to yourself.
Occasionally someone would cross her path who may have had some understanding but it often turned out to be a competition. This was no help at all. She didn’t need anyone else to compare herself to, the unrelentless voice of self-hatred did an excellent job of that.
As she wandered through puddles, she thought about the nature of umbrellas – they kept to themselves. They came out only when necessary. When it rained or was particularly hot. Otherwise they lived a withdrawn lifestyle, tossed to the side but often readily accessible if the need arose. She often felt like this. Withdrawn. Not needed except in emergency. Or unless she could be of use to someone. To their benefit. And the voices in her head confirmed this. Every time. Every dam time.
An umbrella acted like a shield. She needed a shield. A shield from her thoughts. From the screaming of the self-hatred. From others unhelpful words & stares. They thought she didn’t notice but nothing much in that department escaped her. She would spot those glares, mutterings and quick turns from a mile away. An umbrella didn’t have a heart and that suited her fine – her heart had broken many years before.
An umbrella was designed to open quickly and be pushed into shape, to be shaken backwards and forwards to rid excess water and to be pulled down when its job was done. She had so many things in common with this device called an umbrella – people and voices wanted her pushed into shape, to let her be shaken as much as they liked, her tears as raindrops, then put away quickly, ready to be used again as soon as necessary. Put away – her mind felt like that – shut away in the dark.
She stepped aside and found cover from the downpour of rain. She wondered what someone else thought of an Umbrella – perhaps she needed a different perspective.
An Umbrella-(cr. Vocabulary.com)
An umbrella is the gizmo used to protect yourself from rain or sun.
An umbrella can also be something that groups similar things, like an umbrella organization that protects and serves many smaller organizations.
An umbrella is that lightweight, collapsible cover that’s handy on a rainy day.
This part of the definition caught her attention….something that groups similar things… could such a place exist that could group people like ‘her?’ No – her meaning of umbrella – just cut the ‘strap’ of people and stay away. But the inquisitive thoughts persisted. An umbrella? Was there more to it?
And then she realized…protects and serves many smaller organizations. She was like a smaller organization and maybe there were places that could serve as an umbrella organization to her. Somewhere she could find protection. Somewhere that would shield her.
She started a very slow journey of reaching out. She was unsure and untrusting. She listened to the voices of others in similar situations, others that didn’t judge her. Over time she slowly started to open her heart. Over more time she shared her heart. Time again listening to her heart in place of the relentless voice of self-hatred. She realized she had never really given these places a chance before, she had pre-judged them the way she had judged herself. With disdain and hatred.
She found much freedom in being grouped as part of this ‘umbrella’ family. This larger organization acted as her shield until she grew stronger.
She had not been able to see this before. She had to shake the mist and rain drops from her eyes and take cover. Change perspective. Her healing story wasn’t to be found in the ‘cutting off’ of the umbrella strap, but started with the ‘changing position’ of the strap which symbolized her heart and mind. For the umbrella to be completely functional it needed the strap to be in place when required, and so it was for her to be functional, she needed to belong to an organization bigger than herself. Part of an organization that would become her other family or even her whole family.
Her story of heart peace was long but continued as ‘she’, someone like ‘her’ brushed the tears and the mist from her eyes and pursued healing and inner strength. She found her hope in the everyday things – like a walk in the rain with ‘her’ umbrella and the ‘strap’ that belonged on it. She too belonged.
About the Author: Amanda Long resides in Cairns, QLD, Australia. Amanda known as Mandy, is a Coach/ Advocate who works with people to help them overcome anxiety, disordered eating, depression & losses in life. At Project HEAL, Mandy is dedicated to sharing her lived experience to get the word out that recovery is available and HOPE is not elusive. Mandy can often be found taking early morning strolls with coffee in hand, enjoying a good film and spending time with family & friends. Mandy’s favorite ice cream flavor is peanut butter chocolate.
There is always something to be learnt. Things are not as they seem.
Even at the supermarket.
Especially at the supermarket.
I walked through the turnstile and passed a Manager who I know well enough to say a more than average Good Morning to. As I went to say speak, ‘she’ looked the other way.
I started to presume the whole scenario in my head. You know how it goes…some manager she is, great example for the staff, why am I spending my money here, what side of the bed did she get out of….and so forth .
As I got to the check out, ‘she’ served me. And ‘she’ couldn’t have been nicer. Plenty of interactive small talk. Even called me ‘love’. Sent me off with best wishes for the day.
Now the same incident could have happened on another day and my thoughts would have been completely different.
I walked through the turnstile and passed a Manager who I know well enough to say a more than average Good Morning to. As I went to say speak, ‘she’ looked the other way........
"Oh perhaps she didn’t see me, maybe she is having a bad day, she is the manager she has a lot on her plate, maybe someone in her family is ill"
"Why does everyone ignore me? How rude are people are these days ? Are good manners a thing of the past…out of fashion? My grandmother would turn in her grave !"
And there it is. How easily I am swayed by circumstances. By what I see. By what I feel.
Perhaps ‘she’ genuinely didn’t see me.
Perhaps 'she' had family issues on her mind.
Perhaps 'she' was unwell and still had to come to work.
And the fact that it was one second after opening time and ‘she’ may have been concentrating on controlling the remotes to open the roller doors is completely irrelevant.........
The supermarket trip served to remind me once again how little I actually do know.
And how fickle my feelings really are.
This is what I do know - I am responsible for my response - whatever the circumstances !
Love well even when difficult –
the Exchange is Real xoxo
Does it really matter if you have to drink your coffee from a paper cup?
Not at all to me !
But Yes it’s a deal breaker for my husband, many years ago anyhow.
I had spent plenty of outings complaining about why we couldn’t just get takeaway and wander around with our coffee like ‘normal’ people.
HE couldn’t do it. He wouldn’t do it.
It spoils the taste.
It’s too cold.
And a fairly decent collection of other reasons which fortunately I forget.
My complaining wasn’t working. My manipulation and sulking only served to drive the paper cup wedge deeper. Such a big problem all over coffee in paper cups?
I devised a brilliant plan and started carrying ceramic cups in the car, my handbag and if I forgot I would buy one from a discount shop. And that seemed to be working. I still thought his take on it was immature and selfish but my gesture bought peace.
He felt valued.
He felt heard.
And for a few extra grams in my bag, I felt I got what I wanted.
To wander together with coffee.
We can so often get stuck on the ME in small things. To me drinking coffee from paper cups is nothing. To him it is important. And I need to realise that if it’s important to him, it needs to be important to me, no matter how ridiculous I may think it is. And while I am stuck on ME , I actually think I don’t have any annoying idiosyncrasies or habits.
How blindsided I really am.
You may think I will never be doing that, carrying ceramic cups or the like – but we have to be open to hear, loving well and valuing relationship over our opinions.
I will reap what I sow. For years I sowed ceramic cups in love, and today I reap as we both drink coffee in paper cups, arms in arm, wandering through shops and markets like ‘normal people’.
And put into all perspective, he is such a good guy, it was such a small thing. He LOVES his coffee in a ‘real’ cup – good on him. I will celebrate that !! I will sit in coffee shops. I will carry ceramic cups if need be. And he will wander with paper cups. It has come full circle and was well worth my pride !!
Love well – even when difficult.
The Exchange is real xo