This Messy Magnificent Life is the book of a woman who changed my life decades ago with her books about bulimia (such as When food is love). She has now acquired so much wisdom that she generously shares it in a fascinating new book.
Here are my 10 takes on Geneen Roth’ latest book.
1. The way we eat or the way we live
“Putting the spoon down feels like falling into the crack between worlds, like the ending of every relationship I didn’t want to end“. Do you know the feeling?
This is the same feeling we have when a relationship is ending and we know it is a good thing but still there is so much resistance. Because we are afraid of things ending. Anxious of being left with a void in our life.
I love how Geneen Roth shares her struggles with us and allows us to relate and not feel alone in this weird emptiness feeling we can have sometimes.
2. Being thin is not the be-all and end-all
As I shared in my Weight loss series (“Why be #thin? Why loose the weight? – Weight loss Series Ep. 6“), it can be worth it to ask ourselves what being thin really means to us. As Geneen Roth writes in her book, being thin does not have only good sides.
Indeed, not having fat around us makes us vulnerable and visible. We cannot hide anymore and loose a kind of protection from the world.
Of course it does not mean that loosing weight is not a good thing, but maybe we can become aware of the positive and negative sides of being thin. It is not all easy and rosy and does not prevent us from being left and sad (see the video “I feel I want to give everything up! is being #thin a cure-all?“).
3. Our body is a source of creativity and wisdom
When I finally got rid of bulimia, I discovered a new thing: myself.
Instead of filling my body with tons of food to suppress the feeling of pain, I was discovering who I was. Very slowly, I reconnected back to my body.
After years of rebuilding my life, a miracle happened: I realized I had some creativity inside of me.
I am not an artist like my mother and my sister, I have no talent in drawing, sewing, singing or playing an instrument.
However I have one way to express: I speak and I write. Today I am exploring this creativity well with delight.
What is your way of creating my friend my sister?
In her book, Geneen Roth invites us to stop starving ourselves or filling our body with food to numb the pain. She writes that when we stop abusing our body, it can open and reveal our potential of creativity and wisdom.
4. The way we live our days makes our life
What matters at the end of life? “Whether you brought yourself to your relationships with kindness, or with reactivity. Whether you shut your heart or opened it, even in the face of rejection“. Relationships.
Life is too short for resentment. I love my parents whatever choices they made in the past. This is not what matters. The important thing to to keep some lightness in our heart. In our life.
Indeed he left me and I am so frustrated because I had so many things to tell him, places to go with him, moments to share, and a lot of giving to do. However he is still my friend. I am sending him good vibes as I always did. In a way, I love him for ever. In a different mode, inasmuch as I can welcome another man in my life, someone who is willing to build a relationship with me.
Our daily life makes our life. May we cherish it with tenderness so it is worth it.
5. Victim, not good enough, in lack
Geneen Roth noticed that each time she was feeling down, angry or hurt, it was because she was either feeling like a victim, not good enough or in lack.
When we decide to look at these three big worries with awareness, then we can let them go.
6. Choosing not to complain
As long as I can remember, I don’t complain, or not anymore. It became second nature. Furthermore, I cannot stand being in the presence of people who complain because I get discouraged.
Geneen Roth in her book is very clear about complaining: lamenting on the past is like eating rat poison and expecting the rat to die.
We only have one life my friend my sister. Yes I would love to rewrite the past differently. I wanted to tell the man who left me so many things, now lost forever in the big oblivion river. He will never know these things and we will never live together.
Nevertheless, being stuck in these thoughts, complaining and having regrets will not change a thing. To admit it is to be able to turn the page. It means opening up to the endless possibilities of life, to love and joy.
7. Spending time on what instead?
What we put our attention on determines our entire life. Geneen Roth underlines that since our days on earth are counted, we should simply ask ourselves: how do I choose to spend the days I have left (and which are gifted to me)?
I do not want to miss one second of this precious life, I do not want to ruin it with stupid stuff like regrets. Yes I do welcome grief, to better open myself afterwards to this beautiful life.
Our life is not like the big rehearsal of the dance shows I did at the Italian-style theater when I was a kid. The show is today. Life that matters is now. “I realized that this life wasn’t a dress rehearsal for some bigger, better promise around the corner. This was it, and my breaths were numbered“. May we not wait to be ready to live life, to have a man in our life to wear beautiful lingerie nor to have a reason to smile before smiling.
We become what we love and our life is what we do most of the time. Geneen Roth writes: “attention is the way you bless yourself with love“.
8. Paying attention to the ordinary
Geneen Roth shares a beautiful prayer with us: “After so many years of so many practices and so many prayers, I have only one left : let me remember to pay attention to the ordinary, not just to the extraordinary.”
9. Reconnecting to our body
I feel like we always go back to this idea, don’t you think my friend my sister? Moving from our brain to our body, from the rational and intellectual mind down to our gut, our intuition and our beautiful body.
My body, which I chose to abuse myself before a man did it, my body which nevertheless always supported me. Now I cherish it, I care for it, I love it and am thankful for it.
Now I practice yoga in the same way I make love to a man: feeling each sensation from my toes to my head, enjoying the nice energy which goes through my muscles and sometimes makes me shake and tremble, sometimes being on the verge of tears because I have so much gratitude to be able to gracefully move my body with such flexibility.
My body is precious now. I am not ignoring it anymore and this is a magnificent feeling.
10. What happened to us
When we stop defining ourselves according to our past, we can open ourselves up to life. Geneen Roth shares in the book This Messy Magnificent Life how such a freedom is even better than chocolate, sex or the most gorgeous pair of shoes 😉
Becoming aware that what happened to us does not define us in any way is true freedom. My friend my sister, you are not stained by physical abuse, even if you still have scars. Because we are far more than our past. We are infinite potential.