The most important transformation I’ve had at this phase of my journey with food, body image and spiritual growth is my continued application of self-acceptance, compassion and – dare I say – love of myself and others. Creating an inner world of peace that makes it possible for me to reach out and help others find this for themselves is my driving force at present. I am done trying to fix myself because I have discovered that I am not broken, and neither are you.
I have spent my life trying to fix myself to become something other than what and who I am. The deep belief that I am not enough began at a very young age. I have been a dancer my entire life. When I was 3 I started ballet class and I was good. More importantly it was a place I could go to escape the alcoholic home I was living in. I was free there and it fueled my fantasy life. I learned how to check out of life through dance. Being numb was safe, pain free and thus satisfying. Living numb required more fuel – food, alcohol, drugs. Then they slowly quit working. I have been free from alcohol and drugs for over 30 years. My relationship with food has required deeper work and an acceptance of self that my soul had been screaming for – unbeknownst to me.
I’ve learned that my negative body image is a self-selected choice, one that I was exposed to at age 4 or 5 in ballet class. The pursuit of a perfect body is part of the dance culture, but it was I who decided I did not have this body. This unconscious decision, which I nurtured, believed and loved kept me in a false state of security and separateness. The urge for inner security in a seemingly hostile world found its home in me through self-hatred.
Through the exploration of my relationship with food I have discovered the truth about the many ways I have looked for security and love in my life. Prior to this, I had done lots of soul work as I am a seeker. However, this most primal relationship with food and how I nourish myself was a different journey. I have acknowledged that the bingeing, overeating, calorie restricting, denying and intense over-exercising behaviors were there to teach me about love. I will forever be grateful to The Institute for the Psychology of Eating for lighting a spark inside my spirit.
The path has been confrontational, abrasive, sweet and soft – kinda like life. The shockingly bizarre news I have learned is that I am gorgeous, soulful, WHOLE. Who knew? You see, I never needed more than what is inside me. It’s all there, connected to the great universe. I’m a progressing, evolving person still learning––not a broken human. I am choosing my beautiful body, daring to live.
And you? Tell me your story. I’m here.
Open. Intuitive. Inspired.
Marilyn owns the Movement Studio at The Downtown Athletic Club (DAC) in Eugene, Oregon, where she teaches Pilates, GYROTONIC and GYROKINESIS. She also teaches barre and water classes at the DAC where she was Group Exercise Director for 5 years. Her career path has included being a professional dancer, choreographer, Assistant Professor of Dance, dance teacher and educator. Marilyn graduated from The Juilliard School with a BFA and from UCLA with a MA. She is certified with the PMA, ACE, AEA, GYROTONIC, GYROKINESIS and most recently, The Institute For The Psychology of Eating. Her personal journey with food, body, and eating gives hope to others that they too can heal. Working intensely with bodies has given her a platform to trust in the wisdom of our physical self as well as our spirit self.