How Your Story May Be At Work This Holiday Season

By Beckie Stauffer, MA, RD, LPCC

In westernized American culture, you can hardly make mention of the holidays without talking about food. There’s Halloween candy, Thanksgiving dinner, Christmas cookies, and New Year’s champagne. Food is culture. It’s how we celebrate, commemorate, and elevate seasons, events, and life. Food brings sparkle, oomph, and pop.

And yet, food is not just culture. It’s health and weight and image. It’s one way that we measure vitality and discipline and worth. So, needless to say, the holidays are a very conflicting time of the year for our minds and our bodies. We experience both a sincere longing to engage in the festive fun, and a wildly shameful aftermath for “giving in.”

Most people land in this double bind at least once between October and January and from my work with clients, many people believe that their routine encounter with disappointment is reserved to just them and their experience. This, this moment, is where your story comes in, gets activated.

If you have never considered how food and your body and your story are interwoven, the invitation is to pause and do so now.

Anne Lamott writes, “If you have a body, you are entitled to the full range of feelings. It comes with the package.”

Here are a handful of scenarios that demonstrate how your deeper story may be at play this holiday season:

  1. You feel both elation and self-loathing when you have a second helping at Christmas dinner.

  2. You make vows like “no more carbs” or “more time on the treadmill” when your holiday party dress is snug.

  3. Your reason for eating another Christmas cookie is because, “I already had two”.  

  4. You can’t look at yourself in the mirror without having hurtful thoughts.

  5. You don’t like looking in the mirror, period.

  6. You feel highly anxious when you see the dinner buffet.

  7. You numb out and just keep eating.

  8. Or, your numb out and do not eat at all.

At Restoration Counseling, we believe that every part of your story matters and every piece of your narrative has the capacity to empower or imprison you.  We are aware that food is substance, culture, and nourishment- and it can also be the trigger to a trap.

Do you remember the first time you had that thought?

Can you recall how your childhood was shaped by food? 

Is there a moment in adolescence you felt shame around your body? Your femininity or masculinity?

As you circle around the potluck, the Christmas tree, or the gym track this Christmas, we invite you to pause, breath, and sink into your body. Let yourself feel what it is like to occupy your flesh, to connect with your matter, and to acknowledge the thoughts that come to your mind.

And then we invite you to be kind to yourself. To forgive yourself. To love yourself. And to begin to restory those narratives.

Happy Holidays!

3 Reasons Why a ReStory Intensive is Worth your Time and Financial Investment

By Tracy Johnson, Story Coach

“I can’t believe how much has happened over the past three days!” are words I often hear at the end of an intensive. When I think of the reasons to set aside the time and resources to take advantage of an intensive this would be something that quickly comes to mind.

In a weekly counseling setting we often engage what is happening in the here and now of your life, and while that includes considering your larger life story we simply do not have the time to always enter into that story deeply and linger there. We visit a scene and then often too quickly the hour is gone and the session is over until a week or two later when you return for another hour long session. Reason #1 for doing an intensive is that it creates the time to stay in your story longer, lingering to notice and name more fully the particularities of what has left imprints on your heart and soul.

And, you cannot change what you have not faced and named.

Preparing to come for an intensive setting includes taking the time to work through several assignments designed to stimulate the process of remembering where you have come from, and how you have come to be where you are in your life today. If you are feeling stuck, or numb or struggling to feel fully alive taking the time to remember is often key to experiencing positive changes. Reason #2 for saying yes to an intensive is that intentionality of the process connects you with places in your life and story that are often easily forgotten or passed by in daily life. And, in order to move forward with greater understanding, purpose and freedom we need to first consider where you have come from.

Leaving your daily life and responsibilities affords the space and luxury of staying in what begins to surface inside of you as you linger in the scenes and story longer. There are no children, no job, no outside responsibilities that require you to “pull yourself together” allowing you feel your feelings without having to manage them. Further, the hours spent staying focused on your internal well-being often break down the walls of resistance most of us rely on in our daily routines and relationships. This opens the space where real transformation can happen, as you are able to devote your time and energy to entering the stories and considering what the impact has been and how you would like to live differently. Reason #3 for choosing an intensive is that it creates the environment for deeper, lasting transformation to occur.

An intensive setting is a gift you give yourself, and those you are in relationship with. It’s a tangible way of saying, my life and my heart matter and are worth investing in.