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  • What's the opposite of an eating disorder?

    A little confession for you: I have been thinking about going back to school. This is something I have said publicly that I was never, no never, not ever gonna do, so I am very slightly embarrassed about it. Or I recognize that not long ago I would have been embarrassed about this.

    Eating local is not the opposite of binge eating.

    Yes, I can see embarrassment from here. In the rear-view mirror. Whatever. Bye, embarrassment.

    Anyway, I am not thinking about school lightly, because I still might have a bit of Please Teacher psychology left, but the truth is I'm not entirely satisfied with my coaching practice. There's lots I love about it, and one of the those things is that, like most coaches, I have the opportunity to make a big difference in a very short time. Sometimes in a single session. A lot of people go their whole working life without that kind of job satisfaction, and I appreciate it very much. Where it's possible. 

    Because sometimes clients need more. Deeper understanding, more safety, longer engagements. And I'm really interested in being able to provide that. Thus, I have been looking at schools. 

    Which brought me to the Institute for the Psychology of Eating, an outfit in Boulder, Colorado, same place I come out of. Now there is good work being done at IPE, and I respect these people. But some of their ideas seem very … well, Boulder, to me. Here's one: They offer a list of 20 attributes of non-disordered eating. So, for example, if disordered eating involves mindlessness, then non-disordered eating means being present. Mostly sane stuff like that. But they also include attributes like "eating local," which made me go Huh?! "Eating local" is the opposite of disordered eating? WHAT NO.

    To me, "eating local" is a Good Person thing to do. You know, a Boulder-style Good Person, which also involves things recycling, meditating, and yoga. I like to eat local, especially when I'm traveling, but for me, overcoming my eating disorder had nothing to do with supporting local farmers, desirable as that is, and everything to do with undoing all of that Good Person crap.

    But I found it a very worthwhile exercise to define for myself the difference between an [my] eating disorder and eating sanity. Here's what I came up with:

    Disordered Eating
    : : :
    Eating Disorder
    Sane Eating
    Neutral Eating
    Delighted Eating
    Chaotic or rigid. Rules-based. Flexible. Guideline-based. 
    Painful Pleasurable
    Distracted or multitasking (reading, tv, "working," tense discussion) Present. Aware. Unitasking!
    Huge or teensy amounts (binge / restrictions) Moderate amounts. The middle way.
    Graze-itty graze! AND ya don't stop... Meals
    Body perpendicular, possibly at the fridge. Sitting down. In a chair. China, silver, napkins: Also yes.
    Fast / Superfast / Champion Competitive-Eater Fast Slow: SUH. LOW.
    Secret, secretive, ashamed Open, convivial
    Defensive. deserve this! Non-defensive because nothing to defend. I get to choose, and if the food police show up, I can teach them about boundaries.
    Quantity rules Quality rules
    Junky  Homemade / House made / Thoughtfully made
    Super-saturated tastes: Fatty, rich, sweet, umami preferred. Full range of tastes, including bitter, sour, sharp
    BEIGE All the colors + beige, which has its place
    Programmed (brain) Choice (body gets a weighted vote)
    Self-hatred, beatings. I did it again! Reflection + response. How'd that suit me? What might be good to try next time?
    Forbidden / prescribed foods. Good v bad. Uh-oh. Might be going to hell... All food is morally neutral. Nothing I eat makes me a bad person. 


    I could put more, but really, you could sum up the difference as being one of eating in service to the body, versus eating in subjugation to the mind, forcing the body into the subject position.

    So I would encourage anyone struggling with their eating to define what the differences are for them. You can just draw a T down the middle of a piece of paper, or you can use this simple blank worksheet I made for you. Download it here.

    I would seriously love to see what you come up with.

    Oh, and by the way,  I ♡ Boulder like a house on fire. It is the best place on Earth, next to Taos. Just so we're clear.

    Have thoughts?

    Leave a comment! I would love to know what you think.

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  • Wayfinder's Quest Post #129: Alien Artifacts

    Window "treatment." The little Italian heraldic dog is from the Wellfleet thrift. He's my favorite. You?

    Coincidences (aka Spontaneous Unsolicited Upgrades, aka signs of Forming)

    Mr Jones has been traveling this week, so I have been noticing another thing about my unsolicited Thai Cuisine Life Upgrade: While I was rapidly becoming accustomed to a fancy and different complete Thai dinner every night I was failing to notice the accompanying Upgrade, because it kinda came free with, which is that I was doing no work at all during the dinner hour. My job was to mix a cocktail or pour some wine, maybe wash a pot or two, and then keep Supgravity Jones™ company while he produced beguiling scents and sounds and sights and got me excited for my supper. Every night. True pageantry here at Casa Franklin. I just need a squashy armchair in that kitchen now.

    What we are doing here:

    Treasuring ourselves.

    Dwelling in mystery. 

    Luxuriating in pleasure. 

    Seeking the hot tracks.

    Working magic.

    Glorying in the pageantry and spectacle of the phenomenal world, and gracefully negotiating the contradiction between revelry and spirituality. (If there is one.) 

    And: asking What else might be possible?
     Allowing awareness of what I would truly like my life to be made of...

    Also. Not long ago I found a Chez Panisse poster at the Goodwill. It's from their second anniversary in 1977, and it's showing its age. But this is not such an easy thing to come by, they were selling way below market, and I love it very much. It's a group of Mackintosh roses, whose pink forms echo the copper pots hanging nearby. It's making me very excited about our upcoming dinner.

    Right now, what with the poster and the copper pots, and some newly curated tiles, my kitchen is mostly pink, yellow and black. A pink and yellow and black kitchen! Previously on The Anne Daniels Show, this would have got the writers fired. Because, I don't know, simply TOOOOOO fabulous?

    It's so crazy, when you start excavating these assumptions, brushing off the shite of ages (in your hot little graduate archeology student shorts and halter top, let's say, maybe a bit of simple gold jewelry, and while I'm sure anything but steel-toe workboots is off-reg on your site, let's give you some nice strappy leather flat-heeled sandals with a big ankle cuff, and you're rather tan, and wow look at you field-stripping your cigarette, you hot thing), you discover these artifacts that can only have been formed by an alien, ancient and shockingly misinformed world view.

    Such as: Pink and yellow = fabulous and desirable. SHINY! (Like that's a universal truth. Clearly this idea is the product of an Easter egg hunt with a happy outcome.) Such as: I, Anne, am not qualified yet for fabulous and desirable (buried here: But I might qualify one day! If I'm very very very GOOD!!! <- I hate that "be good" shit more than any other legacy). Such as: Therefore, I cannot have a pink, yellow and black kitchen. And the reason for the unfabulousness of my current kitchen is exempt from scrutiny.

    Some people get up every morning and save their pennies for their dream kitchen. They spend lunch hours reviewing contractors on Angie's List. They tear out tear sheets all day long. Those people get nice kitchens - not perfect, but nice. 

    Then there are people who think the reason they don't have a nice kitchen is because Having the Builders In Causes Divorce. 

    Uh-huh.

    It's really the same old thought I've been chiseling away at for decades: I am not going to get what I want.

    That was probably true a lot of the time. As a two-year-old. Today what's true is Holy Toledo, do I ever get what I want! Like, A LOT! This is Note to Self No. 129 in the Look How Often I Get What I Want category.

    Updates on past experiments

    I have been to every head shop and its cousins in Harvard Square, and there are no flash tattoos to be found. I will have to order them. And pay postage. Ugh. Unless you know where to get them in Boston? Let me know.

    Decluttering continues. Out this week goes my wedding dress. I once thought I could wear this again, as it is an ivory tiered skirt of feathered layers with a kind of genteel shredded look. It's not a punkrock skirt. It's a very nice piece of Indian silk. Maybe it is ever so slightly Miss Havisham. (Now there's something else we could excavate. Anyway I paired it with a crazy Roberto Cavalli halter held together by a garnet-eyed snake, some Indian gold-and-ruby chandelier earrings - the something borrowed - and a towering pair of pink-and-black Prada stilettos. I was perfectly presentable. My I'm-not-worthy shit was a good oh man I wanna say at least 40% totally repressed. That's right!)

    Anyway, as far as shredded tier skirts go, Lena Dunham owns that look now. It's like if I were to come to cocktails wearing a swan. Would your first thought be OMG that is completely insane. No! It would be Ho hum Bjork called she wants her swan back and the police are coming here now.

    Bjork owns the swan, Lena owns crazy frothy tiers. Goodbye, wedding dress!

    Destination: Date night

    What has happened? I went to Alden & Harlow on my own, for a full meal: Cocktail, "secret" burger, a small plate, dessert. It is a challenge to be alone in a busy dining room for two hours without hauling out your phone, but it can be done, and builds character. 

    Alden & Harlow has a pickle-based decor. (Chicken wire, too. Farmy. Sounds like a hipster TGI Fridays, said Mr Jones.) Lots of jars of presumably housemade pickles all lined up everywhere. My drink: Also pickle-based. It was mostly mezcal, but with a pickled sunchoke purée. Does that sound good to you? It did not sound good to me, but: Mezcal. Turns out it was AMAZE, as the kids say. It kind of had a Chloraseptic afterglow - one of my favorite childhood flavor/sensations, which I thought I'd never recapture. (As actual Chloraseptic is made different now.) 

    Also, I went on a Monday night at 7:30. It was cold and raining so I was not expecting a full house. But it heaving, and I still got the last "secret" burger, which apparently they do not make in quantity. Very happy! 

    (List compiled 9-nov-2014)

    1. Alden & Harlow
    2. Alinea (scheduled)
    3. Area Four
    4. Asta
    5. Battersby (Brooklyn)
    6. Bondir
    7. Brine
    8. Bronwyn
    9. Chez Panisse (scheduled)
    10. Commonwealth
    11. Coppa (for brunch)
    12. Franny's (Brooklyn)
    13. The Gallows
    14. Giulia
    15. L'Espalier
    16. The Market (closed for the season)
    17. Myers & Chang
    18. Neptune Oyster (why have I never been here? BECAUSE THE ALL-DAY CROWDS)
    19. O-Ya
    20. Ostra
    21. Puritan & Co. (for brunch)
    22. Rialto 
    23. Ribelle (ugly and harshly lit but the food! the wine! spectacular)
    24. Roberta's (Brooklyn)
    25. Scampo
    26. Shojo
    27. Tres Gatos
    28. West Bridge

    Then there is a short list of places I shall not soon tire of, and always want to go back to:

    1. B&G Oysters
    2. Brick and Mortar
    3. Miracle of Science
    4. Oleana
    5. Sarma
    6. Sportello
    7. Strip-T's
    8. Toro

    That should keep us busy for a while, but please feel free to suggest additions.

    Imagining

    1. What my life is going to be like when I am done decluttering. I could not have guessed how much energy I would gain from clearing out, like really seriously clearing out, which is what is happening now. And I'm only halfway (est.) there.

    Next week I will tell you about the ten-item wardrobe. I never thought I'd do this. Or take life lessons from a book called Lessons from Madame Chic. But there you are. And I am recommending that book, so I am.

    2. Having grown-up children. All my children are unicorns, and my middle child is a dark glittering obsidian unicorn of deep mystery and personal privacy. Yet lately he appears to be into hanging out with Mumsley. I dare to imagine even more of this!

    3. Friday off. That's tomorrow! I shall go down to Newbury Street and watch the people. Maybe hit The Closet and paw through the scarves. Maybe HAVE AN ADVENTURE. I will let you know.

    The internet's tiniest comment link...

    ...is right down below. I hope you will use it to add your thoughts, report on your own Wayfinding results, or just say Hi. 

    It is also very cool to lurk here. I love receiving your warmth and connection, too.

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  • A Woman Walks Into A Gym

    I propose we coordinate parades.

    Guess what? I just started going to the gym. I feel certain I have been to the gym before, somewhere, maybe decades ago, on the other coast? Not sure. Just seems impossible that I could be writing a piece called A Woman Walks Into A Gym, subtitle: For the first time, ever. At age 54. 

    Letsbereal: There is no pleasing Lucretia, my inner critic, thus no point trying.

    Anyway, I looked for the gym closest to my house, rejected two smelly and ugly places, found a third one only half a block further, that's nicer, bigger, prettier and cheaper!, and I signed right up. I met with the owner, told him what I wanted (knee rehab, drop the 10 pounds I've gained this year, hike my bum up 3 inches - he laughed), got the transmission, and totally went to town. 
     
    Except for this one little thing. He - his name is Pierre, actually - gave me a series of stretches to do after the workout. Then Pierre said to me offhandedly, You should do this series every day. Ideally, twice a day.
     
    So here I am, having just gone from no gym for decades to working out three times a week every week since I started, right after Halloween. My knee is definitely better and so is my mood, and everything is great except for that one little thing, the not stretching twice a day.
     
    And that is all the more evidence that my Not-Good-Enough conditioning needs to show that I am p*ece of sh*t. This is a certain kind of grim marvel to me. I mean letsbereal:

    1. There is no pleasing Lucretia, my inner critic, thus no point trying and
    2. I TOTALLY DESERVE A PARADE.

    Now I mention the parade part just in case you too find yourself in a gym soon, say next month, right after the New Year. If you are working out at all, let's coordinate parades! It will be so much more fun waving from a communal float, don't you think? Like, I am imagining complementary outfits and everything!

    :  :  :

    Also since Halloween I have been working hard on a couple things - well, one of them is arranging for many upcoming holidays, not even kidding, that is work too, y'all - and I have not been reminding you that I offer one-on-one coaching. But I will be offering coaching again in the New Year

    So if you have been wanting to work privately with me, which is good for the kinds of things you don't want to discuss in groups, perhaps particular eating issues, perhaps relationship difficulties, perhaps that lederhosen thing, let me know in an email, and I will put you on the waitlist.

    And if you live in Asia / Pacific, we will make special times for you, so let me know that too.

    To get on the waitlist, email me here.

    Have thoughts?

    Leave a comment! I would love to know what you think.

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  • Wayfinder's Quest Post #128: Pot rack FTW


    Decluttered kitchen. Honestly, I think it's going to stay this way.

    Coincidences (aka Spontaneous Unsolicited Upgrades, aka signs of Forming)

    You guys, I hardly like to say this for fear of jinxing it, but seriously, my parking mojo is unstoppable lately. For someone who can't parallel park, this is a very important superpower.

    What we are doing here:

    Treasuring ourselves.

    Dwelling in mystery. 

    Luxuriating in pleasure. 

    Seeking the hot tracks.

    Working magic.

    Glorying in the pageantry and spectacle of the phenomenal world, and gracefully negotiating the contradiction between revelry and spirituality. (If there is one.) 

    And: asking What else might be possible?
     

    I guess I could cultivate the superpower of parallel parking, but letsbereal: I prefer praying for a spot I can pull straight into.

    So this weekend I did a yoga workshop called Leaning Into Arm Balances. I have always wanted to be able to do Crow, because it just looks so stylish.

    This is my principal relationship with yoga: Style. I love those Chan Luu bracelets, you know? And sexy faux denim outfits. 

    Also shavasana. I love that. It's why I come to class.

    Basically, I like the easy parts of yoga. And arm balances are not easy. But when the instructor asked if there was any particular arm balance we wanted to learn, and I did not say Crow! Crow!, and in fact no one said anything, and he then announced we would be doing Crow, The End, and spending most of the class preparing to get up into that one pose, it seemed perfect.

    And I got up! Me, in Crow. This was very much an episode of Be Careful What You Wish For. It was hard as hell. The instructor came over and said Your body is going to have to work very hard to do this. (I think he was talking about my knee, but I'm not actually sure.)

    So I think I might be able to check that off my list. Crow: Done. Strenuous yoga? Also possibly DONE. The next time I went to yoga we went into shoulder stand, and I came down early, and my teacher said Are you ok?! and I said Yep! I was just done.

    Easy yoga for a little while, I think.

    Imagining

    Flash tattoos. That's what I want to play with this week. This style.

    Also, super bone growth powers. I went to see my dentist today, so he could see how possibilities for Implant No. 2 were looking. He checked the site and said Wow! You are a SUPERHEALER!

    Same as he said the first time. And that's nice. I'll take that. But now I want to be a SUPERIMPLANTSUCCESSSTORY, which is a little different.

    He recommends 1. sleep 2. vitamin D 3. exercise and 4. good nutrition. "You know, what you'd give a little kid!" he said. Ok, then. That's my prescription. And since I am no longer in constant Tooth Agony, sleep is coming easier. This is all going to get my closest attention.

    Updates on past experiments

    I.

    I have a pot rack! It is hanging up in my kitchen. It is breathtaking.

    I have written about my pot rack wish before. Having a bunch of copper pots hanging from it is an important aspect of the wish. My sister-in-law sent us a giant set, which we've been using, and keeping every whichawhere. This weekend our neighbor Witold came over and helped us put up a pot rack that my sister sent. And it is so beautiful. Our sisters are totally outfitting us.

    Probably I have some kind of racial memory that requires a fire in the kitchen for that homey feeling. I think a pot rack, with a set of bright pink copper pans (Mr Jones went to town polishing them), is an excellent replacement.

    The homeyness factor has been hugely cranked up by the decluttering. I have been mentioning Marie Kondo and her book here; her decluttering technique is unstoppable. I just want to spend all my time staring wonderingly at my kitchen.

    II.

    Now about books (which as you know I have already decluttered): Back when self-improvement (sic) ruled the day, I read almost nothing but self-help. High-brow, low-brow, everything in between. I really thought The Answer was somewhere in someone else's work.

    Eventually I understood that if The Answer could be found in books, I was doomed, because I was reading a lot, and I wasn't getting better. Enough.

    (Also I realized that The Answer had to be available outside books in order for those books to be written. I decided I'd rather be, principaly, a writer of my own answers than a reader of other people's answers.)

    But I am still quite vulnerable to reading self-helpy stuff because My Clients Might Need Something In There.

    So that is why I picked up the December issue of Real Simple. Client might need something in there. What I got was an etiquette lesson. The etiquette columnist responded to a person who never gets thank-you notes from her young nephews. She is burning up about this. The etiquette columnist advised cutting the nephews off, and informing the parents about why. I don't get my gratitude? You don't get your gift.

    What I remember about etiquette, besides some rhyming info on the topic of dipping your soup spoon away from you - if you need to know about this, just ask me! - is that etiquette exists to make other people feel comfortable, safe and relaxed. (I would bet you anything that table manners have their origins in the moment we decided to give up cannibalism, and needed ways of assuring our companions they were not about to be eaten.) Thus, the Number 1 rule of etiquette is Never criticize someone else's manners (unless they're your minor child), because that will make them feel bad, and the goal of etiquette is to avoid making people feel bad.

    It goes without saying that giving gifts to children only if they write back is not my idea of giving. So I was horrified to read that shit in an etiquette column. In December, the season of giving. It felt like a dip in a poison pool. Augh. Thank you, Real Simple! You have cured me of thinking The Answer (For My Clients) is within. I never have to read that shit again.

    Very happy to heed to the call of Readme, Ooooh, Readme! when it feels good. Henceforth ignoring the call of Readme Or DOOOOOOOOM. It's easy to tell the difference.

    Destination: Date night

    What has happened? We went to Bronwyn with friends. It was ok. Hip. Also Teutonic; not a scene embraced to death by hipsters so it is for sure novel. I wished the service had been less ... slammy. The spaetzle kicks ass, though. And the company was very fun.

    More important, we are going to Alinea! And Chez Panisse! In the same month. OMG WHAT IS LIFE.

    Mr Jones and I had a rezzo for Chez Panisse last year. We were booked two days after their fire. They called and were very mournful about canceling, but I want to say I might have been even sadder.

    Single menu, no substitutions. Adventure! I will let you know.

    (List compiled 9-nov-2014)

    1. Alden & Harlow
    2. Alinea (scheduled)
    3. Area Four
    4. Asta
    5. Battersby (Brooklyn)
    6. Bondir
    7. Brine
    8. Bronwyn
    9. Chez Panisse (scheduled)
    10. Commonwealth
    11. Coppa (for brunch)
    12. Franny's (Brooklyn)
    13. The Gallows
    14. Giulia
    15. L'Espalier
    16. The Market (closed for the season)
    17. Myers & Chang
    18. Neptune Oyster (why have I never been here? BECAUSE THE ALL-DAY CROWDS)
    19. O-Ya
    20. Ostra
    21. Puritan & Co. (for brunch)
    22. Rialto 
    23. Ribelle (ugly and harshly lit but the food! the wine! spectacular)
    24. Roberta's (Brooklyn)
    25. Scampo
    26. Shojo
    27. Tres Gatos
    28. West Bridge

    Then there is a short list of places I shall not soon tire of, and always want to go back to:

    1. B&G Oysters
    2. Brick and Mortar. Tomorrow!
    3. Miracle of Science
    4. Oleana
    5. Sarma
    6. Sportello
    7. Strip-T's
    8. Toro

    That should keep us busy for a while, but please feel free to suggest additions.

    The internet's tiniest comment link...

    ...is right down below. I hope you will use it to add your thoughts, report on your own Wayfinding results, or just say Hi. 

    It is also very cool to lurk here. I love receiving your warmth and connection, too.

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  • #reverb2014: Releasing unfinished projects

    Regret not required

    Oh you guys! I am so excited about December this year, and it's not just because it's 60°F out, either. It is because I have begun what I think may be my last-ever bout of decluttering. (I'm very enamored of things that promise "last time ever".)

    And one of the big things I have begun letting go of is the project of expressing love for my children through food.

    Although I do believe that the equation Food = Love, though crude, is really not wrong (and millennia of human neurobiology appears to line up with that idea), my project at Casa Franklin was a little more sophisticated. I aimed to create an atmosphere of love and comfort and safety. I thought food - plus a little live Gilbert & Sullivan - would do that.

    I have enjoyed some success. I can now cook. But an atmosphere of love and comfort? I do not think any of my children would agree, although in my defense I will say that my kids and our circumstances presented some uncommon difficulties, and I worked my ass off trying to keep up. I'm gathering my strength to write about that another day….

    Today I want to write about my wise and funny friend Kat McNally's Reverb project, which is a series of reflective writing prompts, designed to help us release 2014 and get nicely set up for 2015. Kat is in Australia, and I am in New England, so my prompt, which appears tomorrow, is already up. It is this:

    What unfinished projects from 2014 am you willing to release now? (Regret not required.)

    Because decluttering is never just about tossing old pudding molds.

    (Side note: I have never made even one pudding for Christmas, never in my life. I feel that is rightfullly my grandmother's job. But oh! The fantasy. The convenience of clinging to the idea that Christmas would have had that Victorian perfection if only you'd made the pudding.)

    Decluttering is about acknowledging that children can experience disappointment at Christmas. That you will never finish that fisherman's sweater because that color is so ugly, and it would be better to start over. And starting over might take more strength than you have. And that you will never read Moby Dick, because… because! To say nothing of how you will never ever buy love with a cookie, because no one is selling that shit.

    (Maybe a three-year-old. Certainly not my adult children.)

    However, it is absolutely possible to release old projects with relief, instead of regret. I am seeing, not for the first time, that as I release everything whose time has come and gone, relief is what's filling the newly empty space. Relief, and a little wiggle of excitement about new projects. What might they be? I have no idea! How fun! I hope some of them involve my children.

    And that all of them involve love.

    Here's what the lovely Kat says about Reverb:

    "The month of December is the perfect time to reflect on the year that has passed and start to manifest your dreams for the new year. Reverb is therefore a reflective writing challenge that celebrates the successes and honours the challenges of the year that’s passing, then sows the seeds for a rich and rewarding new year.

    "Reverb was started by Gwen Bell, Cali Harris and friends in 2009 as a writing challenge for bloggers to consider the reverberations they sent out into the universe."

    You can sign up to get your December Reverb prompts here. Enjoy!

    Have thoughts?

    Leave a comment! I would love to know what you think.

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shaman sessions

MBI Books & Resources

Into the Closet class