January was the month we challenged ourselves to write a self-love blog for 10 minutes every day, or more days than not.
February’s prompt is to ask ourselves the question, “What would love do?” as a guiding light for our actions this month.
Following is a brief history of some people who asked themselves this question. They have been honored as Love Warriors.
The first Love Warrior, Love Warrior 2007
Eating Disorders Recovery Support, EDRS Inc., was a fledgling group of committed professionals and community members who were passionate about spreading the word of recovery for people suffering from eating disorders. We offered our first community conference during Eating Disorders Awareness Week, EDAW in 2007.
Professionals, as well as community members, shared their energy, experience and expertise and passion. One young woman stood out amongst the crowd. She was a Sonoma State student who wrote and performed a one-woman play as part of her course work, and scheduled it for Eating Disorders Awareness Week, (EDAW). Her moving performance focused on her journey of healing from chronic sexual abuse, self-harm and anorexia.
At the end of the show she invited the viewers to come to the stage, light a candle and speak. One audience member told the audience she would practice self-love by going back to residential treatment to recover from anorexia. Other people in the theatre spoke of feeling more self-love and acceptance, others resolved to go to therapy and seek help for themselves. There was laughter and tears. All who attended the play were moved by the power of the message. This student became our first EDRS Love Warrior.
Thank You Lindsey Wert for your passion, honesty and courage in telling your story.
Love Warrior 2008
The second Love Warrior distinction was given to a senior in High School. She produced a dinner/raffle fundraiser in collaboration with her school and her community in honor of Eating Disorders Awareness Week. She received help from a 4 star chef who worked in a therapeutic program that treated people with eating disorders. She got donations for dinners from local restaurants, artwork, massages, jewelry and assorted gifts. She donated the profit from the fundraiser to a deserving young woman to help finance her continued recovery work. Thank you to Lauren Sowell, our second Love Warrior!
Love Warrior 2009
Our 3rd Love Warrior recipient courageously and lovingly told her story of recovery from anorexia and bipolar disorder at the Eating Disorder Awareness Week, EDAW Conference in 2009. Her life story was a valuable contribution to our audience. She was able to personalize the complexity of recovery, and the extra challenges that occur for those with a dual diagnosis. She spoke from the heart, and touched many people with her story of hope, and successes. Her personal choice to continue with on-going therapy in order to stay balanced and healthy helped others view therapy as a supportive process versus something you do if you are sick. She ended her presentation by reading a poem she wrote which helped the audience understand what recovery is. She received a standing ovation. Her story helped others trust that they could heal.
Here is her poem:
Looking in the mirror and liking what you see
Knowing that life is not about weight, numbers, or the size that you wear
About taking risks
Knowing that life is about love, friendship, happiness and peace
Asking for and accepting help
Living life, enjoying every moment and doing what you love
Trusting your body and its wisdom
Believing that life is unfolding just like it is supposed to be and that everything happens for a reason
Remembering to slow down and breathe
Celebrating your successes
Treasuring your existence and valuing yourself
Continuing forward in the fight against your eating disorder when you have grown tired and want to give up
Never forgetting to have fun
Holding on to those you love and telling them how much you care
Enjoying wonderful, pleasurable things
Remembering that life is a gift not to be taken for granted
Learning who you are
Respecting the amazing body you were given
Using your voice
Believing in yourself
Feeling your feelings
Following your dreams
Speaking your truth
A sometimes difficult, often wonderful, life altering journey
For me this is recovery
Thank you to Audrey Bell, our third Love Warrior!
Love Warrior 2010
Our Love Warrior for 2010 was a woman whose life was touched by eating disorders within her circle of relatives. She took these challenging life occurrences and used them to educate herself, help those she loved and answered the invitation to do her own personal growth work. Her further response was to be an advocate for families and friends of people suffering from eating disorders. She also collaborated with other eating disorder organizations to become a support for therapists and other professionals to find the resources they needed to help their clients. Heartfelt gratitude goes to our fourth Love Warrior for her dedication and compassion.
Love Warrior 2012
When a group of Eating Disorder specialists from EDRS, (Eating Disorders Recovery Support Inc.), Beyond Hunger and Body Positive gathered to prepare for this year’s conference, they nominated and unanimously agreed upon this year’s Love Warrior.
This woman moved to California in 1985. It was her vision to develop an organization that replicated the clinic she had left in Manhattan which had a direct-service clinic, a training program, a prevention division, a research component, a group department, an intake department and a community outreach effort. In addition, she wanted to create an opportunity for eating disorder therapists and other professionals to know one another, network with one another, and have access to learning opportunities and collaborative opportunities with one another.
Out of these goals she created The Association of Professionals Treating Eating Disorders (APTED), a non-profit organization in San Francisco, serving the Bay Area for over 25 years. Her life’s passion has been to promote recovery from eating disorders.
Thank you to Deborah Brenner-Liss PhD our Love Warrior for 2012!
How might you answer the question “What would love do?”
Your answer will be uniquely yours. I look forward to hearing your story.
Visit the Love Warrior Community and check out the creative resources you can use to develop your self-love practice.
Michelle Minero is a licensed marriage family therapist who specializes in eating disorder recovery. She created an intensive outpatient eating disorder program in 2000, brought ANAD (Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders, Inc.) to Petaluma shortly after and founded EDRS (Eating Disorder Recovery Support, Inc.), a Marin and Sonoma County based 501(c)3 non-profit organization in 2005. In 2011, Michelle co-founded the Love Warrior Community with her daughter, Emelina, an online community that helps people cultivate self-love, self-acceptance and body acceptance through creative expression. Michelle is finishing her book, Self-Love: The Only Diet That Works, and her dream is to see a world filled with people who love themselves and their bodies. Connect with Michelle on Facebook and Twitter and help spread the Self-Love Movement!