photo: Shawn Rossi on flickr

photo: Shawn Rossi on flick

Every day, we hear stories of people who heal impossible things.

How does it happen? What are the ingredients that allow miracles to occur?

I was prompted to write this post while pondering my own healing of an eating disorder.

I began my journey with food addiction in sixth grade. That’s when I started to experience the pangs of adolescence, along with the realization that the consumption of chocolate seemed to lessen my angst.

My chocolate habit started out as a casual affair, but like any addiction, my consumption of chocolate – and sugar in general – grew. And grew.

And I grew along with it.

When I was sixteen, I decided I needed to lose weight, so I went on a diet. The diet then led to anorexia, as I became obsessed with getting thinner and thinner. I lost perspective on what a healthy weight actually was.

The good news was my anorexia didn’t last long. After only a few months of striving to be as thin as possible, I woke up to what I was doing.

The bad news was I still didn’t have the resources to deal with what was making me use food to handle my emotional stress. My few months of anorexia were followed by almost a decade of compulsive overeating.

I felt crazy. I felt out of control. I had no idea why I was doing what I was doing.

Help came in the form of spiritual practice.

photo: Mike Tungate on flickr

photo: Mike Tungate on flickr

For the first time in my life, I had Something bigger than me to rely on. For the first time in my life, I had perspective on my emotions.

Meditation, in particular, proved to be an amazing tool to notice the thoughts that led to a particular emotional state. It was particularly valuable to notice not-at-all-helpful thoughts like I’m a loser and I suck.

Prior to meditation, I had no idea that my eating binges were triggered by not-at-all-helpful thoughts. These thoughts led to feeling crappy, which led to overeating in an attempt to soothe the crappy feelings.

Before meditation and the awareness of the not-at-all-helpful thoughts, I just thought I was crazy.

Spiritual practice – and leaning on Something bigger than me – also allowed me to realize I was addicted to sugar. This Something bigger also gave me the strength to stop eating it.

Which leads me to the subject of healing.

In my case, Divine Timing was the root of my healing.

photo: Cristian Bortes on flickr

photo: Cristian Bortes on flickr

Both words are key here. It wasn’t just spiritual practice that led to my healing. It was also a question of time. 

Even when my disordered eating got a lot better, I still counted calories in my head. I did this obsessively.

I remember thinking: There is no way this is ever going to get better. Yes, I started meditating and stopped eating sugar, and those things healed my eating habits. But my mind is another story. I know the calories of everything I eat. I can’t unlearn that information. There’s no way these obsessive thoughts are ever going away.

But they did.

How did it happen?

Unlike the changes in my diet, which happened quickly, the changes in my mind happened over a period of time.

Somehow, over a span of decades, I was able to give up the obsessive counting of calories. It happened so gradually, I didn’t even notice the change.

Until I did.

Until one day, I realized the obsessive thoughts were gone.

Like the changes in my eating, the changes in my thoughts were also a result of spiritual practice – particularly meditation. But they were also a result of growing up. And meeting people who inspired me to take chances in my life. And learning to trust myself and my emotions.

In other words, the change was due to a whole bunch of things that are difficult to categorize.

But the passage of time had a lot to do with it.

photo: Damian Gadal on flickr

photo: Damian Gadal on flickr

It was this gradual change that I was reflecting on the other day. Even more than the changes in my eating, the changes in my mind were a healing of something I thought could never be healed. A healing of the impossible.

Which brings me back to the questions I posed at the beginning of this post:

How does healing happen? What are the ingredients that allow miracles to occur?

In my case, it was Divine timing.

But isn’t it always Divine timing?

Sometimes that timing is quick, as in the case of sudden remissions and spontaneous healings. Other times it is slow, as it was for me with my obsessive thoughts.

Often, healing happens in a time frame that’s different than what we might expect. Or what we might deem as best. A timing that is in the hands of Something bigger. A Something that really does want what’s best for us, even though sometimes it can feel like this isn’t true.

And there’s one more thing: when it comes to Divine timing, there’s another factor that’s crucially important. A factor that makes or breaks the whole endeavor.

It’s us.

Are we open to miracles? Are we open to Divine timing?

Are we open to those miracles that happen in an instant? And those that happen over years and years?

In the end, that openness is perhaps the biggest miracle of all.

photo: Indi Samarajiva on flickr

photo: Indi Samarajiva on flickr

What is your experience with Divine timing? Share your comments below!

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