Find out what Luna, our Santa Cruz location Recovery Counselor, loves about being a member of the Lotus team. Thank you Luna for the inspiring words and sweet song, we are honored and privileged to have you on our team! #thisisrecovery
I have been with my boyfriend for five years. Today, his mom sent me an email. In this email, she told me (in two pages) why she is concerned for my health and weight. Her reasons were mostly medical, insisting I have hormonal issues and possibly PCOS because (she is projecting, for one) her niece was recently diagnosed with it. Her email came mid school day for me, one of my longest days of the week. Needless to say, this email crushed me. I felt ashamed, overwhelmed, confused, angry, heartbroken- all of it. I felt like my boyfriend's family didn't see me for who I am, but rather who they thought I should be.
I wasn't going to respond. I was overcome with embarrassment and hurt. No one had ever taken such a concern and I was worried I looked awful. I knew that if I didn't find a way to turn this around and quick, my eating disorder and shame would creep back. So I sat down and wrote back to her. I wrote honestly, openly, and kept true to myself. I needed to share, because this is my truth, and also because I am so proud of what this says about my recovery.
Here's my response:
I don't think it will come as a shock when I tell you that this email disappointed and hurt me.
Since you are always honest, I assume that I am able to freely express my feelings regarding this email.
I feel as though this advice would be much more warranted had my habits or health be inquired about. It was never asked if I was in good health, you only assumed I was not, I’m guessing, based on the fact that I have fat. This is very disheartening for me, as I have been working for my entire 20’s to become the healthier, happier version of myself that I am today.
When I was Bulimic and starving myself, I went through major health issues. My hormones and thyroid had been damaged, my blood levels were terrible, and my weight was at an all time low and accompanied many other issues. I was miserable at the peak of my illness, however, compliments on how my body looked never ceased. No one cared that I was miserable or sick, because I “Looked good.”
Now, fast forward to one of my last doctors appointments. I got a blood test that indicated after 5 years of recovery, trauma work, and food - not only were my hormones were normal, but my thyroid had HEALED! (Although doctors had told me years of starving myself would surely mean it was permanent.) It was the healthiest I had ever been. This seems hard to believe for some who stick to the assumption that all fat is bad. However, when my body was shutting down from starvation no one was concerned. Yet ironically, it is at this point in my life that I get a concerned email regarding my health.
I love and take care of my body. Your email did indeed make me feel as though my lifestyle and the way I look is being openly judged. This is painful because I love your son and family, and I want you to see all of the good things I am and can offer the world. I shouldn't need to defend my lifestyle to anyone. I shouldn't feel as though I owe anyone any explanation of my journey or my body, or of how I look. I shouldn't need to tell you that I work out, eat mindfully, and nourish myself healthfully and without binging. I shouldn't feel ashamed around certain people I fear may be judging me.
I can tell you that I am proud of my recovery over the last 5 years, weight gain and all- because it was my path to full recovery (as it is for many with an eating disorder.) I am healthy, I have none of the mentioned symptoms, and I have the right to feel good about myself. I have always been chubby, unless I was sick. It is my genetics, my shape, my structure, and unless I risk my recovery by taking drastic measures, I will most likely always be a thicker person in general.
I do hope you see more than the fat on my body, because I am so much more than the inferences someone can make about it. I'm going to say thank you for your concern, although it is unnecessary.
I hope you understand where I am coming from, and see all the positive things my experiences and my body has done for me. I am what I am, and I am going to do my best to keep taking care of myself and practicing loving this body I am in, especially when other people do not.
The Science of Friendship: Nurturing Social and Emotional Intelligence with Christine Brooks, Phd
Tuesday, January 20, 2015 7:00 PM - 8:30 PM PST
701 Mission st, Santa Cruz Ca
Christine will introduce the Science of Friendship, or the motivations, behaviors, and skills necessary to make and maintain friends, which are core components of social and emotional intelligence. In her work with individuals and teams, Christine teaches the critical processes of befriending: ways to find common purpose, create solidarity and use the power of interconnection to enhance success in our professional and personal lives. Concepts and practices of social and emotional intelligence can be useful in a practitioner’s personal growth as well as techniques to implement with clients in virtually all healing settings. Christine will offer practical tips to take into your own practice. Christine Brooks, PhD, is a coach and educator with over 20 years experience integrating creativity and self-awareness practices into her own work and in supporting the work of others. She has a doctorate in psychology with specializations in clinical psychology and transformative education and research from the Institute of Transpersonal Psychology. Christine co-founded the Science of Friendship Project in 2012 because she believes that our capacities for interaction and connection are our greatest commodities. In addition to her coaching practice, Christine gives presentations on multiple aspects of Friendship including The Art of Letting Go, Befriending the Self, and Friendship and Personality Types. Her book, The Science of Friendship will publish in summer 2015.
To find out more about Christine Brooks:
Soul Yoga with Dr. Pamela Singer, Certified Yoga Teacher
Wednesday, January 28, 2015 9:30 AM - 11:00 AM PST
1610 Union Street, San Francisco Ca
Dr. Singer, a certified yoga teacher and ED psychologist, will take attendees through a 30 minute yoga practice specifically tailored for those suffering from an eating disorder. She will take guests through her process of integration exactly as she does for her clients, with process afterwards regarding the benefits of yoga incorporation in ED recovery treatment.
When: December 17th, 6:30pm - 8:00pm
Where: Santa Cruz High Library, 415 Walnut Ave, Santa Cruz
What: An hour presentation, followed by an opportunity to get your specific questions answered by our Dietician and Therapist.
Presentation by: The Lotus Collaborative, Eating Disorder Recovery Center, Santa Cruz and San Francisco, http://www.thelotuscollaborative.com/.
Counting calories? Gluten-free? Going vegan? Vegetarianism? Juice cleanses? Grappling with the confusing food messages and choices in our culture is difficulty at any age. As parents we are faced with the challenge of deciding what constitutes a healthy and "normal" relationship between our teens and their food choices. Experimentation with food and diet culture has become close to inevitable in the life of teens.
Join The Lotus Collaborative's Registered Dietician Christina Gaunce and Eating Disorder Therapist Lauren Reppy, for an evening of education on the "thin-line" between diet and disordered eating. Learn how to navigate through the tricky balance of relaxation and firmness when it comes to our teens and their health.
Alyssa Strong, Body Paint Artist
Alyssa Strong is a native Santa Cruz lady who has been deeply passionate about art and creating since her early days as a child. She is currently studying Fine Arts and Spanish at Cabrillo and is preparing to transfer into a University next year to continue her studies. She has discovered that her greatest joys come from art work, community and of course, the beauty and meditation the ocean has to offer. She has been blessed to receive the compassionate guidance that Lotus offers and was able to cultivate a healthy relationship with not only food, but her spirit. She now dedicates her life to continue the work of recovery and her promise to nourish her authentic soul.
Alyssa learned her trade of face painting from her grandmother six years ago and has been working for various fairs around the Bay Area as well as individual events. Her body art is very unusual, for unlike most face painters, she does not cover the entirety of the face, but rather uses her designs as highlights.
Teresa Sweeney, Registered Nurse, Aromatherapy &
Doterra Wellness Advocate
Teresa has been involved in the health and wellness field for over 30 years.
First as an Aerobic instructor, then fitness director and personal trainer.
She has worked with many different clients educating them on fitness techniques and helping them to embrace and love the body Mother Nature gave them.She now practices as a Registered Nurse. She has unconditional love for her patients and has helped many men and women make healthy lifestyle changes. Teresa understands that most all Physical Illness, or Disease is directly related to Lifestyle choices. Studies have shown that “Stuck emotions never die”, and “Physical Ailments stem from Emotional Trauma”, are both valid ideas. Teresa has a strong belief that our body can heal itself given the right “medicine.” She educates her patients and clients on changing their diet, reducing stress and decreasing toxic impact. She understand the importance of hydration, physical activity, and the use of holistic modalities to create the balance between Spirit, Mind and Body.Teresa has been a Wellness Advocate with Doterra (The #1 Essential Oil Company in the World) for over 2 years. She is an essential oil educator and promotes wholeness along with helping others take charge of their body, mind, and spiritual needs. She is certified in the Aroma Touch Technique, a light-touch massage therapy practice and has performed well over 100 healing sessions.Teresa’s goal is to educate, empower, and inspire her community to be the managers and producers of their own personal health, and to make lifelong changes that will increase their quality of life.
TRUTH BERENSON, CMP
Integrative Counseling & Energy-based Bodywork
I practice psychologically and spiritually focused process bodywork which integrates energy based modalities and counseling techniques. I am a Certified Massage Practitioner trained in polarity therapy and massage through Cypress Health Institute and I currently attend Interchange Counseling Institute. I have an intuitive, discerning, and nurturing
presence and approach each individual with high regard and compassion. Listening to the inherent wisdom of the body, I support healing and growth within one’s immediate experience as well as in the broader context of one’s life. A session with me may provide you with:
∙ release of physical and emotional tension
∙ grounded self awareness
∙ connection with your intuition
∙ inspiration to live in your integrity and with self responsibility
∙ confidence to powerfully identify and communicate your desires
∙ spiritual and creative insight
Polarity Therapy is an energy based bodywork system that integrates Ayurveda, Chinese Medicine,
Osteopathy, Naturopathy, and other Eastern and Western healing modalities. Encouraging the body’s natural healing ability, it frees blockages in one’s body-mind-spirit. The therapy helps to balance the five elements of Ether, Air, Fire, Water, and Earth in your body and how they show up in your life.
Downtown SC Clinic
108 Locust Street #4
Santa Cruz CA 95060
Lyona Thibault is a Medical Intuitive, Clairvoyant & Energy Medicine Practitioner. Her clientele are local & global. She has practiced and taught yoga for over 25 years. Lyona studied to become a Certified Skydancing Tantra Facilitator after a powerful life-changing Kundalini Rising experience.
This is when her psychic abilities profoundly increased. Ultimately, gaining mastery, she entered her current profession. Lyona is the creator of Therapeutic Ocean Immersion a BlueMind Practice & she is the founder of
Santa Cruz Natural Healers Network.
She lives in Bonny Doon with her beloved, delights in life & plays in the ocean.
Kim Stewart, Esthetician
Hello my name is Kim Stewart. I was born and raised in London, England. I happily live and work in San Francisco and have my own skincare business. I have been an Esthetician for 14 years. It is a blessing and a privilege to have found a career that not only helps people feel good about themselves, realizing that the external appearance of blemishes, wrinkles or dullness of skin seriously affects one’s confidence and self esteem; so I strive to make you feel and look radiant and younger every day. Caring for people’s needs and pampering them with TLC is my specialty. I believe in keeping fit and healthy, so I use the best organic skincare ingredients: “Eminence Organic Skin Care products” These ingredients are freshly handmade in Hungary. We often get caught up in every day life activities and we forget about our own needs. That is why I'm here to make sure you receive the best skin treatment and care for your well-being.
Join us for next month's healing collaborative with couples and sex therapist Melissa Fritchel, Wednesday November 12th, 9:30am-11:00am
Melissa Fritchel , presenting Empowered Sexuality as a Part of Healing.
Sexuality is a powerful and integral part of our lives. Yet many healing professionals feel uncomfortable and ill-equipped to bring up sexual concerns with their clients or to support clients in creating empowered sexual lives. In this workshop, holistic sex therapist Melissa Fritchle, LMFT will provide ways to bring sexual health into your assessments, to honor the role sexuality plays in healing, and ways to make this topic more comfortable to talk about for you and your clients.
Melissa Fritchle has a vibrant private practice as a licensed marriage and family therapist, sex therapist and sexeducator in Santa Cruz, CA. Her focus is holistic, always honoring the integration of the mind, body and spirit and diversity. She is adjunct faculty for two Bay Area graduate programs in Counseling Psychology and travels in the US & internationally to provide workshops and trainings.
In 2011, she was awarded the Sexual Intelligence award for her groundbreaking work providing sex positive training for counselors and caregivers in Uganda. This year she worked in Kenya with a group of priests and nuns addressing sex positive approaches to sexual issues within the clergy. Melissa is the author The Conscious Sexual Self Workbook, due to be published November 2014 and writes an ongoing blog on sex and relationships. For more info www.mf-therapy.com
We believe proving quality eating disorder treatment is only one piece of a very complicated puzzle. We believe, that to be fully committed to the treatment of eating disorders, means actively working to change the social climate that helps create them. Which is why The Lotus Collaborative is beyond excited to join their sponsored team of UCSC students at The Body Positive's fall leadership training this coming weekend! The 2 day training prepares teams of students and educators to become compelling body positive leaders and role models and to lead initiatives that reinforces the importance of healthy eating, positive body image, self-love and mindful self-care. Our goal is to use this training and education to not only inspire, but to empower students to create a cultural shift in the way they perceive beauty and their our own bodies.
It's a tall order but we believe....that together......ANYTHING is possible. Are you ready!? Lets do this.
To learn more about The Body Positive check out their website at