I first began working with Scott Kiloby’s welcoming phrases four years ago in response to a thought “Stop in at the coffee shop up the street for a chocolate croissant.” I pulled my car to the side of the road and tuned in to my body. I wasn’t hungry. There was a pulsing energy in my throat and an uncomfortable sensation in my stomach. I tried out the phrases. There was a LOT of talk-back.

Thank you for arising

Ya right! You’re sabotaging me all the time with these thoughts: stop here for a croissant; order pizza, buy some ice cream for later. I’d been working with these persistent “suggestions” for years. When I was distressed, I often stopped. Most times not. But I was sick of it! I wanted it to leave me alone and shut up already!

I love you 

It is really hard to love something that’s harming you! These thoughts and compulsions felt like they were my enemy that I was always having to resist. I was tired!  I worked with the thoughts for a few minutes, seeing if I could find the compulsion for a croissant in the image or words. No.

I let go of the words and dropped down into that familiar pulsing energy in my throat. I repeated the phrases to the energy. Thank you for arising. I love you. I became curious about this energy. Why was it here? Why does it always signal a craving for sweet and I feel soothed after I eat? As I sat with it, I became aware of an innocence. It felt like my twelve year old self who wanted me to have comfort. I could welcome that energy. Thank you for arising. I love you. I looked to see if I needed comfort. No. I was fine. There was nothing distressing me. I didn’t need comfort. I relaxed for a moment, breathing. I asked some more mining questions.

Why is this energy here in my throat? Thoughts about self-sabotage melted away. It wasn’t that. What did it want? I thought to reassure it. I’m fine. I don’t need comforting. “But what if you’re upset later?” Ah, the root of pre-emptive eating and soothing. Have the croissant now in case I’m upset later. If I’m numbed out in a sugar fog, I won’t even notice! It will take the edge off it. When I was a teenager, access to numbing out with alcohol and other drugs was unreliable. Ice cream was only a few steps away.

That few minutes sitting in my car on the side of the road changed my relationship with those thoughts. They are largely silent now. If they do come up, I have a look to see what is underneath.

A few years later I was at the Kiloby Center for Recovery for a week as a client working with Scott. I had a big release in the persistent pain and contraction between my shoulder blades. It was then I became aware of an energy in my heart center that was connected to that pulsing energy in my throat. I worked directly with the energy in my heart center and the pulsing in my throat went away! It occasionally comes up now with much less intensity, and again, I have a look and welcome it.

These were pivotal moments in the journey from pre-emptive eating to truly, wholehearted welcoming of everything that arises and falls, of my whole experience. At times I sit with these phrases in response to disordered or compulsive eating that still arises. These patterns in our primitive brain and nervous system developed for a reason and they have a lot of momentum. I know now that we are in some manner trying to take care of ourselves, to protect ourselves from harm, to comfort and love ourselves.

You are welcome to stay

I mean this in every cell of my being. I sit with this welcoming. Give it space. Time. Kind attention. I welcome all of myself.